Now that you are all finally getting belted with much needed rain and cold fronts down south, it means the weather in the Kimberley is just perfect. A month or so ago when Broome was copping strong easterlies, a 40ft catamaran returning from the Rowley Shoals did not cope too well and finally had to beach itself on Gantheaume Beach, as there was no crane available at the slipway. I have since had a good few chats with the skipper, “Stewie” and as one would expect he has many stories given he is 11 years into a planned 3 year trip around Australia. He is currently waiting for Club Marine Insurance to come to arrange repairs to significant damage before he heads down to Ningaloo Reef, but I think it may be some time before that occurs!
On a trip to Derby a few weeks ago, I took great delight in attending the first season Mary Island Mud Crab Races. Has to be seen to be believed. Locals headed out during the day and caught over 100 mud crabs which were then named, raced and eventually cooked up for the hordes of locals and tourists who attended. Those crabs that were a little timid were ‘coaxed’ along by the master of ceremonies to ensure an even field for each of the eight races. A great fundraiser, good time had by all with local music and ample ‘refreshments’.
The following afternoon we wandered down to the river bank alongside the famous Derby jetty to catch up with a family friend. There were a few families fishing the mud bank, with not much action, but as we were leaving I noticed an elderly lady walking along the bank with a hand line and obviously struggling with something decent. With a mob of kids surrounding her, squealing and yelling, she landed a black jewfish well over 30lbs. It was quite special to see the animation and smiling faces and when I asked if I could take a photo there was no holding back. The lady angler was very happy for the kids to hold up the prize, almost as if they had caught it themselves.
Finally, we were also able to catch up with down south locals Bernie and Pascale Abbott as they were on a first ever Kimberley trip in their ‘baby’ camper trailer. One of their highlights was a trip to Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm where there were treated like kings by the owners. They also managed a fishing trip out from Lombardina landing mackerel and trevally, but also learnt about the tides as they had to walk a few kms to retrieve their friend’s boat after missing the tide. With the minimal wet season, all indications are that barramundi hunting out from Kununurra will be increasing difficult this year, but I will certainly be giving it a red hot crack once I arrive there next week. Until then, stay chilled!