Broome – Sunsets & Moonrises

Broome plays host to two iconic stellar events – the most well known probably being the sunset over Cable Beach. I spent all of Sunday at Cable Beach with Annie, Sarah and Tracy – who’d I’d been kayaking with in Coral Bay – with intention of watching the sunset that evening. Turns out, by 5 we were the air-conditioned bliss of the pub too content with our beers to bother with anything more than sitting on veranda watching the glow that burst up from behind the dunes – ah well, another time eh?

A few beers and games of pool later and, with no cheap way of getting back to the hostel, I was kipping on the front seat of the girls’ van – possibly the most uncomfortable sleep I’ve had so far and definitely on a similar level to the Greyhound buses. The discomfort did mean I was awake, but certainly not bright, before sunrise which turned out to be quite spectacular even if it was over land and competing for attention with the morning vista that was an almost empty Cable Beach. The highlight of the morning was actually swimming in the warm water before 8am, with almost all to ourselves, bar a few fish riding the waves that were rolling in and forcing us to push our stuff back up the beach every half hour or so. If there was ideal way to wake up every morning it would almost certainly include a dip in the sea at Cable Beach. After a starter of choco-milk, the fry-up breakfast at one of the nearby cafes was just what I needed to set me straight for a Monday almost entirely spent in the pool back at the hostel.

Once I got a hold of the dates of the event for October I extended my stay at the Kimberley Klub just so I could see the Staircase to the Moon for myself. It’s a thrice-monthly dry-season moon-rise during which the mud-flats revealed by the extremely low tide reflect the light of the moon creating a shaft of light which looks a bit like a staircase leading to the moon. It draws a crowd which, for the apparent size of Broome, seems quite unlikely so it wasn’t quite the peaceful bit of astronomical viewing I was expecting but it was still interesting and worth seeing once all the same. I’m told it’s best viewed earlier in the year as, later in the year, the moon rises over land which detracts a wee bit from the overall effect of the event.

The Kimberely Klub runs a free bus to and from Town Beach on each evening of the Staircase to the Moon, so I don’t really know why I didn’t take my tripod. Anyway, I managed to get some passable shots with my camera resting on my shoulder bag, using live-view and a countdown timer to stop me shaking the camera as it took the shots. It’s at times like this, and this night was no exception, where I get a bit dissappointed at folks who’ve spent the money on an SLR over a point-and-shoot and merrily continue using it on auto which, as the camera continues to the rather futile exercise of firing the flash at an object millions of miles away, just goes to show they’ve probably got more money than sense. I don’t mind seeing people with point-and-shoots doing that but if you buy an SLR at least read the manual and preferably read a photography 101 too. When we got back we had an awesome bbq: thanks to a Scottish girl rounding up a mere $5 from willing people and going to the shop for the food we had all the burgers, sausages, kebabs and salad we could manage to shovel down.

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