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A Blog Post

Back from Freshwater Cove

Andy Quinn and I have just returned from a week at Freshwater Cove, a remote fish camp near Montgomery Reef in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  Home to some incredible 12 meter tides, the camp was a meet up place for us with Peter Tucker and Mark Jones of Save The Kimberley nonprofit, a group dedicated to protecting the Kimberley from mining and gas interests.   This is a long story but a few highlights.

A 30 minute boat ride from Freshwater Cove lies Montgomery Reef, a 300 square kilometer offshore reef that will be the center piece of a new Camden Sound Marine Protected Area. On the eastern edge of Montgomery Reef are little specks of land known as the High Cliffy Islands. Only 1 km long and barely 300 m wide, High Cliffy may seem relatively insignificant, but for over 100 years they have been a source of intrigue and mystery. High Cliffy was once home to the Yawijibaya people, who lived here for almost 7,000 years. You can read more from a piece from our friend George Negus.  The place is pretty specki as they say down under.

We were there during the Spring tides that measured 12 meter shift over a 6 hour peroid. So doing the math, 6 hours, 12 meters means 2 meter water rise or fall per hour or 1 meter every 30 mins or about 1″ a minute water rise on an incoming tide.  And you can imagine the speed of the water racing by to find a place to go.  It is more like a river system than ocean except every 6 hours, it changes directions, dries out the beach and you wonder why all the boats are on dry land.

And we were there to talk about the Kimberley and these two citizens’ efforts to fight the oil and gas companies to extract the resources without destroying the ecosystem.  I am still sorting thru all the conversations and information we learned over the 6 days of talk, boat explorations and study of the native lands, their people and culture. I will try in future posts to tell the story.

 

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