24th June 2016.
We motored through the night past Cape Leveque to put us in good position for our Horizontal Waterfalls experience, described by David Attenborough as “One of the greatest wonders of the natural world”.
I have to say no one got much sleep as the motors were very loud throughout the night but it was all a means to an end and fortunately the rest of our trip had us anchored through the night.
Each evening for the rest of the cruise we had a briefing for the next day with a whiteboard showing what was planned.
Horizontal Falls was one of our anticipated highlights on this cruise so to have it happen on the second day was exciting. Lots of people do a day or overnight trip to the falls from Derby or Broome and everyone says what a magical experience it is, so our expectations were high.
We rose early to see what there was to see.
Some of our fellow travellers enjoying an early cuppa.
The high tide mark was very obvious all along the shoreline.
We motored past the abandoned iron ore mine at Koolan Island. When the iron ore price dropped past the point of making the mine viable, it was abandoned with all the infrastructure left in situ.
We were soon at the Horizontal Falls site and moored to the staging vessel. The place was swarming with people who had flown in from Derby for their tour but it was all very well organised.
Swimming with the sharks was included but was not high on our list of priorities!!
The jet boat ride through the Horizontal Waterfalls.
There are two gaps in the McLarty Ranges which create the waterfall effect. The northern most is the wider at around 20 metres and the southern most is only 12 metres wide. We had chosen our cruise dates based on the tide heights to maximise our experience. Perhaps we were a little too clever because the tide through the narrower gap was too high for us to pass through safely. It was running at 5 metres difference and, while we could have safely passed through, we would not have been able to return. But we were not disappointed as our jet boat went back and forth through the wider gap several times.
An optional helicopter ride to view the falls from above at $100 for a 10 minute flight was excellent value as the views were spectacular. Note that there are no doors on this helicopter.
This shot gives a good perspective of the two falls.
Back on Homer, we were taken for a run up Cyclone Creek to explore more of the waterways. Until 2008, Talbot Bay was the centre of the pearling industry in the Kimberley. During cyclone season all of their infrastructure was moved to relative safety in Cyclone Creek. Currently staff are accommodated in this ex-pearling industry floating apartment block moored in a protected bay.
Lots of interesting rock formations further up the creek.
Having a draft of only half a metre allows Homer to get right up close.
All too soon we were back on Odyssey heading for our overnight anchorage at Kingfisher Island.
Another spectacular sunset.
Perhaps a tad too much red in this shot.