On a trip back up to my home town of Karratha, which I had left several years earlier, I wanted my kids to experience the wonders of the Dampier Archipelago as I had been privileged to experience for most of my life. Whilst they were both born in Karratha a move down south to Perth a couple of years later meant that they never really got to experience the unique lifestyle that is on offer to those that make the Pilbara their home.
I have spent countless hours boating, diving, fishing, surfing and exploring the entire archipelago and as a result know it like the back of my hand. I wanted to pass on some of this knowledge to my children, so towed up my boat from Perth so I could share with them the many wonders it held.
When you live in a place you quite often take it for granted, but upon returning you suddenly realise what an amazing place it was. The whole of the Pilbara is like that for me, and it one of the few places in the world I actually feel at home. I guess the red dirt got into my veins through growing up there.
This image was taken on a favourite reef complex know to the locals as Middle Reef. I actually lost a boat here once on a diving mishap when the anchor broke and it drifted away, only to find it several days later on a distant island totally destroyed. A harrowing swim with a good mate to a nearby island tested our fitness and to be honest we were actually pretty lucky to be rescued, but that’s another story.
Having my two kids at the time (I now have a third), was extremely special to me, and the weather for the week were there was nothing short of sensational. Flat calm water, light winds, clear blue skies and warm temperatures. Clearly paradise.
Captured handheld from my boat using a wide angle lens and a polarising filter to cut through the surface glare and reveal the magical coral reef below. The distant island is Rosemary Island, a particular favourite of mine.
The reef below is teaming with amazing fish life that have to be seen to be believed. A real treat on a clear day. My kids and I spent a few hours snorkelling over the shallow sections of the reef, and we were lucky to see all those fish, a friendly shark and a few turtles. Pretty standard fare for that part of the world.
Titled “Clearly Paradise” as combined with the clear water this part of the world is paradise to me.
The Dampier Archipelago, which consists of 42 deserted islands off the coast of Dampier in the Pilbara region of the North West of Western Australia. Founded by British explorer William Dampier in 1699. Green, loggerhead, flatback and hawksbill turtles nest on the beaches. Dugongs, dolphins and humpback whales are often seen in surrounding waters. Rothschild’s rock-wallabies, northern quolls and water rats thrive on some islands. Migratory waders use the beaches and mangrove flats to feed and rest after long flights from the northern hemisphere. It is the richest area of marine biodiversity known in Western Australia, with coral reefs, sponge gardens, seagrass and more than 650 fish species. The islands have numerous historic sites dating back to the 1800’s including relics from bygone pearling, whaling and pastoral industries. It was also a place of significance for the Aboriginal people and has many ancient sites throughout.