Wednesday, October 14, 2015
High tides make for a nourishing environment for the pinctada maxima oysters which produce shells with mother of pearl and most importantly for Broome, pearls. Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm was started by the first Australian to successfully seed oysters and harvest pearls. We were fascinated watching how the oyster is collected, washed, opened and the seed inserted in exactly the right place in the oyster – all with surgical like precision. Oysters are hung in racks taken back out to sea, then washed by hand every month until they are ready to be harvested 2 years later. All this work and yet only a small percentage of shells produce jewelry grade pearls. On our tour of four Geoff popped out a relatively large pearl – 14 mm with only a few imperfections but because its lustre was average, “our” pearl was worth just over $300 Australian.
To combine tent camping with fine food is a rare treat. Lunch at Kooljaman was barramundi for me and a Cretan salad with enormous garlic prawns for Geoff. An ocean breeze rippled across the Indian Ocean moderating the heat and humidity.
Surely one of life’s many pleasures is a deserted beach and falling asleep to the sound of the surf. Our roof top tent has ventilation on 4 sides with lots of space inside. The only drawback is that we try to limit our liquid intake after 6:00 p.m. so that we are not awake at 3:00 a.m. climbing down the ladder to find our way to the toilets in the dark. I’ve hoped that Australian snakes are not nocturnal!