This is a slight diversion from the Kimberley! I took this shot yesterday of 3 Southern Right Whales in Geographe Bay just off Castle Rock. I was up on top of the rock and waited for them to come past. As they went past Dad got a bit frisky and turned and fronted Mum, then span around. They locked flippers (I guess the whale equivalent of walking arm in arm!). The calf got caught between them and here you can see the calf’s tale in the air as it tries to get out.
I am not an expert on whales, but these seem to fit the descriptions of Southern Right whales – they are very large (the mother is around 50 foot long – 15m). One characteristic of the SRW is that their blow is V shaped and these whales exhibited that characteristic. According to Wikipedia there are only around 1500 of these along the southern coast of Australia.
From the Gibb River Station we returned along the Gibb River Road to Mt Barnett (overnight) and then down the road past Imintji, and to the turn off to Windjana Gorge. We travelled down this road towards Fitzroy Crossing. The road travells along and through the Devonian Reef – a range of hills that are actually part of an ancient Barrier reef. The land has been uplifted and now the reef is an interesting formation hundreds of kilometres long. One formation that is especially interesting is Tunnel Creek – a stream flows through a tunnel through the hills – you can walk through it. Just outside is a large slab of rock that has many fossils showing – mostly small stingrays. They are around 300 million years old.
The tunnel itself is dark and at various places you need to wade through water knee deep. There are many tours going through and the tours give all participants a LED torch. This image shows the lights of a tour group returning. This was a 30 second exposure and in the full size version you can just make out the images of the people – I assume they stopped to listen to the guide briefly and left a faint impression.
This was as far along the Gibb River Road we went and is about halfway between Derby and Wyndham. The pastoral lease is owned by the Ngallagunda Community. We called in here and met the locals – they told interesting stories. These are images of the original homestead which date back to the 1920’s. Although it is not heritage listed I understand there is interest in the community in restoring these buildings, both to attract tourists, and because many of them had a long association with the homestead (having either lived or worked in the homestead). I hope they succeed because these buildings are associated with the very early days of pastoralism in the Kimberleys. These buildings show just how hard life must have been here then. The original owners (Fred Russ and his wife) lived here until the 1960’s when they built their dream house nearby. Unfortunately their health deteriorated and they had to move to town (perhaps Kununurra) two years later. White ants have got into this new house and it is now unsafe to enter.
The homestead consisted of a number of buildings including a radio room, a meat store and a kitchen.
How would this be in your backyard? After a long hot walk to get to the waterfalls at Manning Gorge, a long cool swim is very welcome. Fortunately no crocodiles are here.
This pool is just below the waterfalL (you can see the waterfall on the far right). It must be impressive to see this river at the end of the wet season. It was a long hot walk to get to this point and we enjoyed a swim under the waterfall just after this photo was taken.
This is a popular gorge just off the Gibb River Road (about a 1km walk in) and a few km Derby side of Mt Barnett (Kupengari). We went there at sunset, but the sun sets behind the walls of the gorge and sunset was just a faint glow.
Manning Gorge is about 5k off the Gibb River Road and well worth the visit. This pool is next to the camping ground, but if you like you can take the 1 1/2 hour hike to the waterfall (pictures still to come!). I am now back in the south and as I post this I am looking outside at hail and rain – certainly different from the 38 degree warmth of the Kimberley.