DISCOVER WBS Deal Island 50





JUNE 2021

In late April 2021 we were getting restless to return to Jane Kerr, our 54’ fishing boat that had been waylaid by Covid restrictions since the early days of the pandemic. She had been on her way to the MoU Box, but now our focus was getting her to Broome. We had a wonderful adventure stretched out before us, with many nautical miles to cover, and our first stop were the incredible Abrolhos Islands.

The Abrolhos are phenomenal! Clusters of islands and reefs hover just a few metres above sea level and are interspersed with fishermen’s dwellings that are occupied during the high season. The shacks are an architectural delight, and we took great pleasure in discovering the many idiosyncratic shelters. Mostly we spent our days fishing and exploring, and dove on the infamous Batavia wreck. All up we spent about three days at the Abrolhos and were lucky enough to be shown around by locals.

At the Abrolhos we caught a yellow fin tuna and had a great feast ashore. Next up we headed back to the mainland to Shark Bay at Denham. There we refuelled, bought more supplies, ate at the pub, and spent an afternoon exploring the peninsula in a hire vehicle.

Cruising on a traditional fishing boat proves to have its perks. While underway we could swim and wash in the wet well, where we also kept our catch of fish alive. The mizzen keeps the boat stable and reduces the roll from swell, and the boat generally keeps cool from the unrelenting sun with a great awning made by Geoff, our Wooden Boatshop sailmaker.

After Shark Bay we continued north to the awe-inspiring Ningaloo Reef. Coral Bay tends to become overrun with tourists, but we dodged the crowds and swum with an incredible array of fish, turtles, and rays. At this stage we had all sunk into the relaxing rhythm of cruising life, and our days were long and languid.

From the Ningaloo Reef we headed further north, overnighting at Tantabiddi and then continuing  to the Dampier Archipelago. We spent a few days at Dampier as we troubleshooted some issues with the starter motor (the old Gardner in Jane Kerr was working as good as ever).

The Dampier Archipelago are an extraordinary cluster of islands in the Pilbara with excellent remote beaches and coves to discover. There’s no doubt our Australian coastline offers the best of the best. We could’ve spent weeks here exploring, but instead pushed on further north.


We were hoping to head out to the Montebello Islands, but the weather would’ve been on the nose and rather unpleasant both on our journey out and back, so instead we overnighted to Port Hedland to catch up with some friends.

After spending the day exploring the local sights and learning about the enormous ships and industry at Port Hedland, we overnighted to Broome. The wind would soften and drop out in the evenings, after blowing hard all day, so at this stage we became accustomed to travelling at night. We arrived at Gantheaume Point, Broome in the early hours of the morning, and enjoyed a beautiful breakfast ashore at one of our favourite cafes!

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