Friday, August 16, 2013

Broome, WA

Tuesday - 16/07/2013

The first thing we need to do is to see where we can get the anchor winch motor repaired, a friend had given me a place that thought would be the better place but when I rang the bloke yesterday on the way in he did not  sound that confident so this morning I called friend Sandy on 'Fayze Too' on the radio and said I needed some local knowledge, he invited us over stating he had a couple of people that had more local knowledge.

We met Brendon and Jodie, Brendon is local and is a fitter machinist by trade, he said that he and Jodie were going into town and he could take us to a couple of places that could probably help us. He ended up taking us to Red Dirt Marine where we met Sam, Sam had a look at the motor and with a little push from Brendon the motor was stripped down, Brendon had the rotor in the lathe and turned down the damaged area. Next we went and purchased a new bearing dropped it back to Sam, he said it would probably be back together by the next day. Brendan then gave us a bit of a guided tour around Broome and we had lunch in town and then did a little shopping, beer and wine of course.

Naturally I hardly recognise Broome these days as the last time I was here was 1971 when I was on HMAS Moresby, a survey ship, we conducted a 9 month survey around these waters. Those days there was the Roebuck Hotel, an old timber building that I believe was partially wrecked in a cyclone during the late 70's and has been burnt down and rebuilt since then. Also since those days Cable Beach resort area has been established which is one of the major places of tourism. Tourism has brought many people to the area and this in itself has created jobs. The Kimberley area has opened up to tourist via land sea and air and that was probably kicked off in the past 30 years.  Friends I have spoken about in Darwin, Ron and Barbara was one if not the first to start charters by sea in the Kimberley and that started some 30 years ago, now there is numerous boats involved in taking people by sea through the Kimberley areas. I have spoken about the campgrounds that we have seen that attract the road tourist many being the grey nomad. Broome is very spread out over about an 8km distance.
(The Roebuck Hotel today, at the far end is a drive through for buying takeaway and to the right hand side not seen here is Roey's Pearler Bar and accommodation a little different to the timber Roebuck back in 1971)
(Well I had to check it out, beers good)
We also met a couple on another catamaran 'Sonra'  they called out to us stating that they had just been reading our blog, they are heading north and over to Cairns and have been interested in the anchorages we have mentioned. I mentioned to Lloyd that we would be getting rid of the old tinnie here if he was interested as he has a similar inflatable as we have and I explained the dangers with those with the sharp barnacles and oysters on the rocks plus they say they are teething rings for crocs, he asked how much I wanted for it, I said the asking price is two cartons of XXXX Gold cans (beer), the next day the deal was done.
We then went back on board and returned to Brendon's yacht for sundowner's.

Wednesday - 17/07/2013

I stripped down the tinnie removing outboard, fuel tank and anchor and we re-floated our inflatable, Lloyd came over and took the tinnie to see if it fitted on his davit, once was alright he kept the tinnie and delivered the cartons.
Brendan called over and said my winch motor was ready would I like him to pick it up when he goes into town, he said it was going to cost $200, I said that is alright, he thought it a little expensive. I thanked him for his help. He said it was his birthday and would be having a few beers in the afternoon if we would like to come over to his yacht, which naturally we did.
So that was the day, once you have a few beers in the afternoon the day is lost.

Thursday - 18/07/2013

We had organised a hire car for a few days and had to get ashore to meet the only bus that comes this way once per day at 0755 hours, however, it was cold and high winds and I was in no hurry to tackle going inshore and I thought we would miss the bus and have to call a taxi. When we got ashore we found the bus was late and we got it anyway.
When we got the car we went on a bit of a tour around Broome, after a morning tea at one of the cafes we then went out to the  Port to check out the wharf area, a little changed since 1971, like all ports today there is security everywhere, in 1971 anyone could drive down the wharf fish off it not today. We had a phone call from Raighne Renshaw, he drives for Greyhound Coaches out of Darwin and was in Broome so we met up with him for a coffee and a chat.
(The main wharf at Broome and anchorage areas for when the SW to NW winds kick in)
Broome is spread out which could be a bit of a pain in the neck for locals as you have to travel all over the place to get things. They have a light industrial area some 5 kms from the CBD, there are two main shopping complex areas, the one with Woolworths is about 2 kms from the CBD, the complex with Coles is in the CBD. The CBD is really China Town.
The area where we are moored is some 10 kms from the CBD, the port where the main wharf is, is 8 kms from the CBD, Cable Beach Resort area is about 8 kms from the CBD, so transport is required.
The place does not cater for recreational boats as far as services. It is possible to book a place at the main wharf for water and fuel which can only be done at high tide when you see a 9 metre tide difference. This will cost $100 for going alongside and another $48 for fuel delivery that you have to organise. The main wharf can be a frightening experience if the wind kicks in and there is swell to deal with.
Basically for a yachty there are two options, one is what we are doing anchor off Cable Beach, hire a car and transport everything, the other option is to go around to the harbour and anchor off Streeter's Jetty area at half incoming tide dinghy into the Jetty which is a narrow passage through the mangroves, do your shopping get fuel from a servo and get back before the tide drops to block you off and leave your yacht high and dry.
(China Town which is the real CBD of Broome)
(The Sun Picture Theatre is an open air theatre and still operates as it has for more than 90 years)
Cable Beach is the common anchorage whilst the dry season SE and E winds blow and the harbour for any NW to W winds. Although Cable Beach can still suffer from SW to NW swell at times even when the SE winds are blowing but generally not too bad.
Anyway we had a bit of a look around and then returned on board to do some work. The wind had backed off as it seems to do in the afternoons. Wind is great when sailing but to work in it irritates to the point of getting a headache. So it was time to put the winch motor back on and see if it works. The only problem was that when I went to fit it, it had been assembled incorrectly and it was not going to fit back together. Some angry words were said. We had centre popped marks on each part to make sure all parts went back together in line. (Have a beer John and calm down).

Friday - 19/07/2013

We went ashore at 0800 hours and back to the workshop with the winch motor, Sam was not there and one of his boys asked what he could do for us and I think it was the same bloke that put it together wrong. I pointed out the centre pop marks and said they have to line up along with the electrical connections with the top bolt hole. He said he would do it, if we could come back in an hour or so. We headed off for a free talk on pearls at a pearl shop next to the information centre. They hold these every Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 1000 hours and it is well worth going to. When you come out of there you have a fair idea what is good quality and what is of a lower quality. What is interesting is the people in the pearling industry do not have a set standard of evaluation of quality and then you get the rip offs you may see on internet saying recommended retail price  ex-$'s, the fact is there is no recommended retail price for a pearl, it's value is what the person that values it puts on it.
The talk went on to describe the different qualities as well as the difference between South Seas Pearls, (Salt water pearls) and Fresh Water Pearls. The salt water pearls are very labour intensive and more difficult to culture and that is one of the reasons they are expensive, Fresh Water Pearls are basically cheaper for the simple fact that China is pumping them out in the thousands as they are produced in a controlled fresh water environment.
The talk went on for two hours which probably went over the time they had meant but everyone enjoyed it and so did the shop owner. Naturally there was a marketing ploy which was quite good. They had an pearl oyster they opened to show us how and where the pearl comes from. For a $20 gift voucher you could enter the draw for the pearl that was produced out of this oyster. You did not have to do it, but when a woman is involved would they give up a chance of obtaining a salt water pearl for a mere $20. I won't go into all the details but the lady that won the draw ended up with a pearl to the value of around $80, that is a pearl not in a setting.
At the end we had a gift voucher of $20, so I said to Nancy you better see what you like within our budget. In the end she walked away with her coming birthday present of a pearl in a gold seahorse setting. (Yes fresh water pearl, the other was a little out of reach).
(The first pearl on the bench after being removed from the oyster, the pearl is the same material as the inside of the mother of pearl shell.)
We then went for lunch at The Roey's,  the Pearler's Bar, which is part of the Roebuck Hotel, had a very nice lunch and when we left I looked at our hire car and saw these marks that I had not seen before, thinking someone had scraped me and I am going to be out of pocket for the excess. I contacted the hire car company and they said bring it around which we did the next morning, the boss had a look and said look don't worry about it, it won't cost you the excess we will just get a quote which will be less and get it fixed up. I was relieved, but I was more relieved when we found out that that mark was already on the paperwork as being done before we had the car. I think as we get older we need to take photos of the cars we hire, this car has about six marks on it from previous users and I honestly cannot remember the girl pointing this mark out to me but she did.
(Pearlers Bar at the Roey's)
Each day we use the car we take our fresh water containers and a couple of fuel containers and fill them all up at the Caltex service station at the Boulevard Shopping Centre as we return back to the boat.
(Tribute to the people who created the pearling industry)

Saturday - 20/07/2013

After going into town and sorting the car out which I have already mentioned we went to The Court House Markets, which is as suggests at the old court house grounds. The markets here are quite good a good selection of items, some markets tend to have the same old things but there was good variety at these. We had lunch there before returning to the chores of yachting more fuel more water and get organised for diner. Brendan and Jodie came over for drinks and dinner and we had a good night. They are nice people.
(Streeter's Jetty, this picture above is at high tide, below shows low tide, some boaties still use it today when the tides in and they are anchored around from the main wharf they dinghy into this jetty to store ship).
Sunday - 21/07/2013
Today was a quick run into town to do another fuel and water run. I had better explain something, I am not getting that much fuel at this stage, I have a few small ULP petrol containers for the outboard motors and generator, so I take one or two in fuel them and top up the six 10 litre water containers, I think it would be a bit cheeky to just go and take their water.
As a result of last night's dinner Jodie asked us over for lunch today on Brendan's yacht, I should probably explain one thing Brendan and Jodie are not exactly a couple they have been mates for many years, Jodie lives in town here and Brendan is on his yacht, Brendan will be sailing this week to Darwin then over to Asia.
Well it's always a lost day when you have such a nice lunch with great people and a few amber fluids, it slows you down from doing anything else and so that was a great Sunday with good comp any.
('Sam Male' ex pearling lugger now at a museum)

(These plaques are at the museum, one should realise that the early days of these divers they collected the mother of pearl, which is the pearl shell, cultivation of the pearl came later. The mother of pearl was used for making buttons)
(From L-R, Dive pump, dive suit and dive helmet)

Monday - 22/07/2013

We have to get serious we have the car for two more days and lots to do. Today was washing day so we took it to the Laundromat.  I left Nancy there and fortunately there was a tap and a hose next door at a car place and I asked if I could take water, they said I was the first person to ever ask most just take it. So I did a water run, took the water back on board put it in the tanks then went back for Nancy and another load of water. We got back on board hung some of the washing out that did not fully dry in the driers, I emptied the water containers then we went back into town and got the gas bottles filled and another load of water. By the time we got back to the dinghy the water was way out on low tide, so I had to get the dinghy to the water, Nancy drove the car down to the water's edge after dropping me off where the dinghy was. After two breather breaks I got the dinghy to the water and I said to Nancy, that thought I had of doing a diesel and another water run today forget it I'm stuffed.
I had a little rest for twenty minutes after emptying the water containers in the tank which thank heavens are now full. After that we saw a magical sunset and had a beer.

(An incredible sky)

Tuesday - 23/07/2014

Today Nancy cleaned the fridge/freezer before we headed into town and what a busy day, we started off by doing the first run in for diesel 100 litres, returned on board and the tanks took eighty litres, so back into town with the four fuel containers and some more water containers, filled those and then returned them back on board and stowed them. Then back into town again, I said to Nancy we can go and have lunch and then do the shopping.
So we went to the Pearler's Bar again at the Roebuck Hotel and had a very nice seafood basket and a couple of refreshing drinks. Then off to the BWS store (beer, Wines and Spirits), they had a special on three cartons of xxxx gold for $108, then red wine and a bottle of gin for Nancy. Then off to the other shopping food. We returned to the beach with car fully loaded. I had to do the usual get the dinghy half a mile to the water's edge. Then I think we entertained some onlookers as we loaded the dinghy, it was totally full with two small areas left to stick our feet. We made it back to the boat without sinking or losing anything and after unloading everything and stacking it away we were both done in. Our plan was to go ashore tonight to see the stairway to the moon which occurs around the three nights of full moon times. We decided we did not want to drag the dinghy up the beach  and back down again we had done enough of that so we missed out on seeing it.

Wednesday - 24/07/2013

(The race track is across the road from the beach and we see many horses being exercised on the beach and in the water, here we have one of the owners dog joining in the exercise as it swims after them)
We had to take the car back this morning so we did a little shopping on the way and the young lady at the car rental firm drove us back to the beach with our goods and we headed back on board.
There is one major thing I have to say is that all the guide books and information about Broome they indicate that they are not yacht friendly, I would like to clarify that statement. The port is not designed for yachts and that is because of the location of Broome and the tides vs. winds. The whole of the west coast is yacht unfriendly due to the weather, but the people are friendly through and through in fact they are very accommodating.  One of the biggest problems regarding boating in Broome is the tides, 9 metre tides are regular and naturally taking the dinghy ashore for a period of time means that you have to drag it for quite a distance. The charter boats that cruise the Kimberley have the same problems, everything has to be carted from the beach. Delivery from suppliers are taken from the beach and that can be fun when there is a wind and a swell.
The beach is a good solid beach that can handle two wheel drive vehicles and it is permitted with Broome Broome hire cars.
We have befriended Brendan and Jodie who I have mentioned and have had some time together, tonight we were invited to Jodie's house for dinner and a very nice house it is, very open Broome style house and very nice, Jodie loves local art and has many samples on the walls. This lady is very down to earth and sincere, she has three children aging from mid teens to around eleven, her husband died some four years back and I know she still suffers from that but she is a gracious lady and I am privileged to meet her. Jodie cooked a very nice dinner and we had a very pleasant night.

Thursday - 25/07/2013

Our original plan was to leave today but looking at the weather south of us the wind would be on the nose so we are waiting for sailing weather. Brendon and crew member Joel left today to head north, visiting the Kimberly and then onto Darwin before heading over to Asia. He came by as he sailed out to say farewell. The anchorage has been clearing out a few yachts the last couple of days.
Nancy had a call on the phone from a friend from her photography website who lives in Broome at the moment so we made plans to go ashore and have sundowner's on the beach this afternoon, so we went ashore and met Sharon and sat and had a talk and watched the sun go down with a nice drink. Sharon's son and his girlfriend came down for sundowner's to.
(Sundowner's on the beach)
We returned on board for dinner and had a quiet night.

Friday - 26/07/2013

I don't think we will be sailing until Sunday, the weather has changed but now there is little wind, Sunday should see some SE winds of 15-20 knots which should remain for a few days.
I have also got myself a head cold coughing and sniffing, this is what happens when you come to civilised places you catch germs.
So today I did one job I had been putting off and that was to dive on the props and clean the barnacles off them, the water here is a bit cooler after the winds we have had. The other job was to turn the anchor chain around, something I was told you should not do because it is usually the first 20 metres of chain that works on the bottom of the ocean removing the galvanising and by turning it around and placing that section in the cable lockers bottom where it is usually damp and has air to create further rusting will damage the chain. Well our problem is that around the 15-20 metre mark the chain is either worn or stretched because it jumps out of the gypsy when pulling the anchor up, so I think next major service it will be a new chain rather than re-galvanising.
We also re-marked the chain at 5 metre intervals, we do this by cutting into lengths of 800mm different coloured cheep plastic rope (type from the supermarket for clothes lines), and we weave it in and out of the chain links therefore each 5 metres is colour coded.
With all that done for the day it was time to relax.
Jodie contacted Nancy and said if she wanted anything she was free to run her around tomorrow so Nancy arranged a time for them to meet up.

(Cable Beach starts at Gantheaume Point to way passed the Cable Beach Resort)
(Looking back to Gantheaume Point from near the resort)

Saturday - 27/07/2013

Caught up with some of the blog notes this morning, dropped Nancy in at the beach to meet Jodie which was interesting with the waves crashing on the beach, Nancy wore her bathers and a good job as when she jumped off the dinghy she was waist deep. It would have been nice to go to but with this cold I did not want to spread it onto others.
I sat on board reading a book when I heard a radio call it was 'Oscar Blue' , Stephen had arrived and picked up the mooring next door as we are on his mooring which was arranged. We did not expect him until August. I explained Nancy was ashore and as soon as she returns we can swap moorings.
Nancy phoned a short time after and I went to pick her up, the tide had changed and the wind had backed off a little so the waves were not as bad. We said farewell to Jodie and returned on board via 'Oscar Blue' I had a chat with Stephen and then we changed moorings, Stephen said he did not know who owned the mooring but one night was not going to hurt.
(The ex pearl lugger comes by every sunset with the tourists aboard)
We had an early night ready to leave in the morning.



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