A quick stock up on supplies in Broome and we hit the road heading north up towards Cape Leveque on the Dampier Peninsula. June and Alastair (the lovely couple that we met down at Barn Hill) had given us a tip to go to a camp site at an Aboriginal Community called Gnylmarung (pronounced Nil-Marung) so this was the intended camp for the night. After endless corrugations and red dusty road we eventually pulled into what looks like a farm with a beach front and a few tin buildings scattered around. We were quickly met by Alphonse and then Grant, two of the Aboriginal guys that live here. After being shown the firewood pile and other camp facilities Grant jumped on the side steps of the car and led us to a great little camp site overlooking the beach with a half 44gallon drum for a fireplace. We made the instant decision that one night wasn’t going to be enough, so asked them to lock us in for two nights.
I went off to get some firewood and Alphonse came over to give me a hand loading it into the back of the Prado and we got chatting. As it turns out there’s a big shiny brand new solar powered phone in the middle of the paddock which the government stuck in there for them a few days ago with free calls to any land line in Australia. Of course I made a quick phone call immediately to make sure I was putting my tax dollars to full use.
The following morning we awoke to the amazing view of the beach. Seriously amazing and something I could really get used to! The brain immediately started going into overdrive thinking of ways to spend a month or two here rather than a couple of days!! After a morning cuppa I decided to head down and try my hand at fishing…with no real clue what I was actually doing. Another bloke came down not long later and was throwing a few lures out not too far away but was having significantly more luck than I was, so I made a beeline for him to try grab a few pointers and suss out the fish he was catching. This fishing bloke turned out to be a guy called Bryn, who worked hard for many years in underground mine construction, sold his share of the business and made a bit of money and was now spending 18 months travelling around enjoying the spoils of his hard work. After a bit more fishing from the shore, Bryn invited us to come out in his boat and try our hands at catching something a bit bigger which was awesome! He made a great fishing instructor for us and really taught Tara and I a LOT about fishing. What started off as heading out for an hour turned out to be an all day affair and we went back into shore late arvo with more than enough fish for our fridges – we threw quite a few back in but kept two Blackspot Tuskfish and a Stripey Seaperch. Given Bryn’s generosity to take us out on his boat, we invited him around to our camp for dinner and enjoyed some fish cooked on the coals and a few chats around the fire.
The following day was relax day. We didn’t really have anything planned which was great as we just hung around in the sun reading and swimming and generally being full swing into holiday mode. We’d decided we couldn’t leave this place, so organised to stay another night and in the arvo we went out on the Gnylmarung hire boat with Grant and Bryn.This boat is a bit bigger than Bryn’s so it gave us the opportunity to head out to some of Grant’s local secret spots to chase some bigger fish and he definitely didn’t disappoint! It was instant action with a couple of big blue fin tuna reeled in. We gave them a quick Rex Hunt kiss and threw them back in the water as they weren’t what we were chasing…plus we didn’t have any wasabi to enjoy them with! Not long after throwing the tuna back we were onto what we came here to get and had schools of mackerel chasing down our lures. The sharks had caught onto what was going on and about six of them started chasing our mackerel and eating them off our lines before we could get them in. One of them ate Bryn’s lure and had him working for a while to try save as much of his line etc as he could, however eventually the inevitable happened the the line snapped.
The following day we (sadly) left Gnylmarung and headed further north up the Dampier Peninsula and stopped in at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm for lunch and a tour to learn a bit more about how pearls are farmed. We then spent the afternoon trying out a few more of the communities that offer camping however the first couple were a long way off the mark from the magic of Gnylmarung so we kept moving and by the third one we went into we managed to find a great spot called Djoodoon (Bully’s Camp) with a little hut right on the beach to spend the night. By now we’d made quite good friends with Bryn so he also spent the night with us and we sat around the fire enjoying a few coldies and guess what…fish for dinner again!
Our night at Bully’s Camp marked the end of our time on the Dampier Peninsula and the following day we drove back down the corrugated road and into Broome to spend the night and restock everything before heading across the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley for a few weeks.