Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dampier Peninsula - Middle Lagoon and Cape Leveque.

The Dampier Peninsula is north of Broome and has many popular camping and fishing spots. The road has a poor reputation, and I think the devotees of the area like it that way. The first 14 km and the last 100km approx are sealed, but the 100 km in between is corrugated sand of indifferent quality. The 30 km from the main road into Middle Lagoon is very sandy and has extreme undulations in parts. The undulations are like nothing I have seen before. However we arrived at Middle Lagoon intact, and it's a beautiful spot. Although many campsites are numbered our area is flexible. There are fantastic sites overlooking the beach, but I think someone has to die before one becomes free. It's a great spot for the avid fisherman, and many spend a month or more here. It's over 50 km to the nearest shop in Beagle Bay, so you have to be well prepared if you plan to stay a long time.

The beach and lagoon are beautiful, the water is very clear and the tidal range is huge. The sand is extremely fine, almost a cross between sand and silt, quite white and surrounded by red Pindan, which is rocklike but is actually compressed sand.

Middle Lagoon Beach

Lots of shells and small rocks

The fishermens' cars all lined up on Lagoon Beach

Lagoon Beach

Bringing in a boat is a bit of a challenge

Where the red dirt changes to white sand

Some of the shells and rocks

Prime campsites along the beach

The beach late in the day

Sunset over the beach. the tall poles are for internet access
As there is no mobile coverage at Middle Lagoon,  except for about a square metre in one place, we took the opportunity to visit the lovely Whale Song Cafe, a few minutes down the road. It has wonderful food and also WiFi so is very popular. Our neighbour can get WiFi but he has an aerial more than twice as tall as his caravan to receive it.
The beach from Whale Song Cafe

At Whale Song

The beach in the opposite direction from Whale Song
Our neighbours have been excellent and despite the 23 foot caravan prefer to fish all day and cook on a campfire at night. Warwick spent some time setting our tyre deflators correctly, discovered and removed a screw in one of our tyres which had been there since Darwin, we think, and used our tyre repair kit successfully to plug the hole. Phil, also near us,  converted the clips on our compressor to an anderson plug to make life easier. In return David cooked his first damper, to universal acclaim. There was none left over, didn't get a photo either.

Our next day trip was to Cape Leveque, at the tip of the Dampier Peninsula. Kooljamun Resort occupies prime position there, with various types of accommodation and 2 beaches. The eastern beach is most suitable for swimming and has a beautiful sweep of white sand and turquoise blue water. The western beach has stunning red rock formations, some like crazy pancakes.
The red western beach 

Pancake rocks on the western beach

Red rocks on Cape Leveque

The beautiful eastern beach

Cape Leveque Lighthouse

The ultimate campsite and shelter just near the beach
Next stop was One Arm Point, with beach shelters overlooking middle beach and Sunday Island. It was much more rocky and not red at all. At the point is the Trochus Hatchery which produces trochus shells for sale, and also supplies a number of aquarium fish. We just wandered through and took as many photos as we wanted. There were also massive barramundi, ugly things they are.

One Arm Point and Sunday Island

Barramundi at the Trochus Hatchery

Trochus Shells

False clownfish, black and white
A bit further on was the Cygnet Bay pearl farm, which is the oldest pearl farm operating on the Dampier Peninsula. It also claims travel the only swimming pool. David planned to have a swim, but it was a long way home so he changed his mind. The pearls were beautiful, and came with a significant price tag as well. A photo is all I brought home.
David next to one of the pearl luggers

Beautiful, but not mine.

Our final stop on the Dampier Peninsula was on our way south again. We stopped at Beagle Bay and explored the Catholic Church which was built in 1918 by monks and the local aborigines, and decorated with beautiful shell motifs. It’s a lovely church, currently in the charge of Father Ernest, a Kenyan priest wearing (on that day) a T shirt with the logo Akuna Matata, from The Lion King.
Although the Dampier Peninsula has spectacular natural features we were glad to be off its roads so we could check what else had shaken loose. 

The altar in the Beagle Bay Church, decorated with shells.

Time now to get the hinge on the bed area fixed. This was done after 8pm by Ron Overall who runs an excellent mobile business fixing trailers and caravans.

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