The Regional Manager WA/SA for Discovery Parks arranged for us to have a site at the Discovery Park Broome, while we waited for our last parcel. We were welcomed warmly as “David’s friends” and allocated a beautiful site, with views to Town Beach. The kids got some special attention, with one of the staff offering to buy them an ice-cream after they had helped us set up the Jayco and their swags.
We began the chase to find where our final parcel was, as the anticipated delivery date came and went. This was a great source of frustration for us, so it was incredibly relaxing to later take our chairs and a drink, sit on the grassy knoll overlooking the beach and watch the sun set. The kids explored on the exposed tidal flats, and Joe, one of the park managers, told us that the Staircase to the Moon was best viewed from the very spot at which we were seated. At this special time during the full moon in Broome, and select other places in north west Western Australia, the tide goes out so far as the moon rises, and the reflected light gives the appearance of a stairway to the lunar body itself.
As the dates for this event arrived, we watched the park around Town Beach fill with people filled with anticipation. We lost count of the numbers of tripods! People explored the tidal flats, left bare for hundreds of metres by the receding ocean, and the creamy moon was mirrored in the pools of water left behind by the tide. It is a truly moving spectacle, and we are extremely grateful to have been given what amount to be front row seats.
The children made the most of the tides while we were in Broome. Often already out exploring by the time Paul & Kirstine got out of bed. We lost count of how many times they came back to show us the crabs they had found near the mangroves, and even though Joe had told us that there were octopus to be found over the other side of the mangroves, the timing of the tides had changed and there was no way we were going to go searching for octopus at midnight when the tide was out. You can well imagine that the kids were keen to give that a go though!
Paul had escalated the parcel delivery issue with the relevant company, and while we waited for updates, we took a drive out to the Yawaru Conservation Park further along Roebuck Bay, where Paul flew the Phantom 4 Professional, and the kids tried to count the massive numbers of hermit crabs of all shapes and sizes, along the beach. We also went out to Willies Creek, to the free camp site near the pearl farm, to put both the Phantom and the Mavic Pro into the sky, albeit one after the other! We had seen signs pointing out that No Drones could be flown at the pearl farm, which made perfect sense due to the number of tourists, as well as scenic helicopter flights which landed there. Naturally Paul was using his ICOM Airband radio, and Kirstine was in Observer mode. There was a bit of air traffic around! We also spotted a sign to say that there had been a recent croc sighting in the area. As we surveyed the proposed takeoff/landing site nearby, we also spied a crocodile sunning itself in the distance on a sandbar. We’ve seen both freshwater & estuarine in captive environments, and freshwater crocs which come out of a pond on a property to have feed three days a week, but there is something very exciting and simultaneously terrifying about seeing one sunbaking on a beach, wild and free.
News came that the parcel was finally enroute from Sydney via road to Broome. The Discovery Park extended our stay, and even though we had offered to move to a different site, they had no problem with us remaining where we were.
As we sat watching the sunset one evening, a lady came to talk with us and meet Luna. She had left her own dogs back in NSW, so was very happy to have a big happy dog to pet. We also found out that her husband is a paramedic, and very burnt out from the pressures of his work. Seemingly, there is no down time if the first call out on a shift is an extremely traumatic one. They are simply expected to keep going to the next job, because staffing pressures and budget cuts mean that there is no-one to cover them so they can debrief and decompress before returning to duty. She finds it so hard to see her husband treated this way, so seeing first hand how a mental health assistance dog can benefit a first responder with PTSD, gave her real food for thought.
Another couple from the Netherlands fell in love with Luna and wanted to take her to the beach to play. We tried, but our quirky canine kept taking the stick back to Paul, trying to engage him in the play as well. Apparently in the Netherlands there are organisations training Labradors as assistance dogs for epilepsy and diabetes, as well as therapy dogs for nursing homes, but dogs for mental health was new to these Dutch travellers.
Our parcel finally arrived, with great service by the local courier contractor, and we made plans to leave. Though we could have stayed another four days in Broome thanks to the Discovery Park, we let them know we would be departing early, so they could allocate our premium site to new travellers due to arrive.
Biding time in Broome was by no means a horrid way to be. The difficult part was having to constantly adjust our plans because of courier companies’ timelines, and then rethink our onward travel and rebook accordingly. We had to force ourselves to try and relax, but this was easier said than done some days. Watching the sun set, and the happy visitors surrounding us, relaxed in the warm evening air, has been a definite high, and the attractions on offer in this area will no doubt draw us back in the future. Bye bye Broome and thank you for everything!