Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

Western Australia at the end of our journey

27-Jun-2005
   

From Fitzroy we headed west to Derby. Derby used to be a busy port for exporting beef but because of difficulties getting in and out of the port it was eventually closed. Derby has one of the largest tidal ranges in the Southern Hemisphere, up to 9mtrs, so there are some really strong currents. The tide comes in faster than you can walk!

We spent all our pocket money and splashed out on a flight to see the Horizontal Falls - looks like we will be eating dry bread and beans for several days to pay for it! The flight was great particularly as there was just the two of us as passengers and two pilots to look after us. The aircraft was a 40-year-old De Havilland 'Beaver' floatplane. It plodded along at a maximum speed of 90 knots driven by a 9-cylinder radial piston engine. Sounded like a line of Harley Davidson bikes revving up. The plane was rock steady though and very comfortable.

The Beaver Floatplane in Strickland Bay

Beaver float plane
Sculptured rocks in Strickland Bay

We took off from Derby and flew about 140kms north to Strickland Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago where we landed on the water and taxied into a beautiful bay that had some amazing rock formations.

Sculptured rocks in Strickland Bay

After spending some time looking around and a coffee on the beach, we took off again and headed for the Horizontal Falls. We had a good view of some of the 900 islands that make up the archipelago as we flew east towards the falls. The Horizontal Waterfalls are formed by two gaps in a range of hills through which the water flows as the tide ebbs and flows. The water flows through the gap at speeds over 30knots into two large lagoons. When the tide changes, the water flows back out. We landed and taxied right up to the water flowing through the gap at the bottom of the picture.

The Horizontal Falls from the air

The Horizontal Falls
Horizontal Falls

Here is what it looked like from the water. It was quite a memorable experience. It was very memorable for me as it was the first waterfall (and there have been a lot of them ) that we didn't have a very steep climb down or up to!!

Horizontal Falls from the water.

On the way back from the airport we passed a Boab Prison Tree that was once used to house Aboriginals who had been captured as slaves to work on the pearling industry.

The Prison Boab Tree near Derby.

The boab prison tree
Crested Pigeon

Back at the campsite a couple of birds popped in to see what we thought of flying. This is a Punky Pigeon better known as a Crested Pigeon.

Crested Pigeon

And the small Peaceful Dove. Peaceful Dove