|Explore Australia's Buccaneer Archipelago with One Tide Charters. |
A truly unique beach camping eco-adventure and fishing safari, visiting
remote pristine coastal wilderness areas of the Kimberley's Buccaneer
Archipelago aboard an extremely safe, fast and robust aluminum
catamaran purpose built for exploring these uncharted waters
One Tide Charters commenced operations in April 1997, initially doing one day fishing & crabbing tours from Derby. In September 1998, owner / operator Greg Prouse purchased their original charter vessel “White Lightning’ to offer extended cruises to the Buccaneer Archipelago. In addition to eleven years experience as a charter boat operator, Greg has had in excess of 30 years boating experience, previously owning his own private boat called ‘Yellow Boat”.
The naming of the Charter business ‘Onetide Charters’ came about when Greg was doing his ‘Charter Boat Operator’s Apprenticeship’ with his good friend Joe on ‘Yellow Boat’ when in 1987 they spent 3 months cruising the Kimberley coastline. Not fully appreciating the significance of the extreme tidal variations they ended up a river system and had to wait ‘for one tide’ to be able to get out of there. It was during this trip that Greg & Joe where the first people to visit Mike & Susan Cusack during their Australian Geographic sponsored ‘Year in the Wilderness’.
Our original vessel ‘White Lightning’ has served the business admirably and with distinction over the past 10 years. However the time came to make the hard decision to retire a much loved vessel, and in February 2008 One Tide Charters took delivery of their new charter vessel Kimberley Explorer. Undoubtedly, 'White Lightning's famous toilet will be sadly missed by those who did a trip on 'White Lightning'.
Over a 25 year period, Greg made several extended trips to the Kimberley of 3 – 12 months duration, where a significant amount of his time was spent exploring the Kimberley coast line. During this 25 year period, Greg spent 3 months working with Malcolm Douglas to produce a documentary titled ‘One Wet Season’. He also spent 12 months living with an Aboriginal Community in the northeast Kimberley, learning about Aboriginal culture and bush survival.
Prior to commencing the Charter business in Derby, Greg owned and operated his own roof plumbing business in Perth for 20 years. This business was sold in 1997, prior to coming to Derby to commence preparatory work to establish the charter business in April 1997.
Wayne, Alex and Sue make up the highly regarded and very capable crew. With a reputation for being very considerate of passengers’ every need and their attention to detail, they are highly commended in the visitors book.
Greg is assisted in the charter business by his partner Anna. Whilst Anna’s professional qualifications are not entirely relevant to the charter business, her domestic skills seem to be appreciated by the passengers and crew. In addition to doing some of the catering, keeping the books up to date, doing GST returns and maintaining tourism accreditation, Anna co-ordinates the advertising, responds to customer enquiries, helps with client’s travel logistics and makes sure the swags are clean and fresh for each trip. When time and opportunity permits Anna is always a willing deckhand / cook.
Eco Adventure & Fishing Tours
Vast, rugged, adventurous and one of the most amazing areas in the world. To see, experience and really enjoy this beautiful area, all you need to do is allow yourself time. There are places and gorges you can only dream of, adventures you think only other people experience. To find all this you only need to come with One Tide Charters and let owner operator Greg Prouse show you the most beautiful backyard in the world.
With the benefit of a host with local knowledge, a passion for adventure and the most incredible sense of humour, you are assured your cruise to the Buccaneer Archipelago will be a rewarding and memorable experience.
Whilst itinerary and departure & return dates can be altered to suit individual client preferences, One Tide Charters offers a range of cruises from 5 to 12 days (see itineraries for more details).
12 Day Kimberley Coast Explorer
The ultimate cruise experience is One Tide Charters’ 12 day Kimberley Coast Explorer cruise which combines the major Buccaneer Archipelago icons of the Prince Regent River, Sale River, Montgomery Reef and the Horizontal Waterfalls. During the 12 days there is ample time to incorporate land excursions, with time to relax on secluded beaches.
Five Day Horizontal Waterfall Adventure
The standard five day tour is a wonderful introduction to the wonders of the Buccaneer Archipelago and the benefits of a beach camping adventure. During the five days you will visit the Horizontal Waterfalls and other places including the Inland Sea; Cascade, Crawford, Cone, Strickland and Talbot Bays; Cockatoo Island; Silica Beach; Crocodile Creek, Phil & Marian at Silvergull; Hells Gate and Whirlpool Passage.
Camp Creek Spa
During any of the tours you will get to see some of the most pristine wilderness the Kimberley Region has to offer, and will include spectacular waterfalls, crystal clear swimming holes, mangrove lined creek beds, lush rainforest vegetation and multi colour rock formations, along with a vast array of bird and marine life.
Customise Your Own Cruise to the Buccaneer Archipelago
Being a smaller niche operator, One Tide Charters is able to customise tours and offer exclusive use of the vessel for extended tours. For example One Tide Charters has previously done an exclusive tour of 21 days duration for only two passengers. This trip traced the activities of the early explorer William Parker King and his vessel the Mermaid from 1817 – 1822. Using information contained in Marsden Horden’s book ‘King of the Australian Coast’, the itinerary for the 21 days incorporated finding places of significance as described in the text and included indigenous rock art and carvings left by these early explorers.
Activities can include fishing; swimming; sight seeing & exploring; mud crabbing; oystering; beach walking; bathing in fresh water rock pools; bush and reef walking; and observing the bird and marine life of the Buccaneer Archipelago. Participants are free to take part in as many activities as they feel comfortable, or if you're looking for a lazy idyllic break, you are welcome to sit back and just enjoy the scenery. The skipper and deck hand are more than happy to bait your fishing line, remove and fillet your fish, or catch and prepare the mud crabs for cooking. Your participation is welcomed although not essential.
Your Beach Camp - Accommodation is ‘one star’ under a million stars. In the evening you will camp on a secluded beach, where you are provided with a swag and mozzie dome. Table and chairs are also provided. The deckhand will help you set up your mozzie dome, light the campfire and provide any further assistance you may need
Your Meals - Kimberley Explorer has well appointed kitchen facilities including 4 fridge / freezers, gas stove with hot plates and griller, microwave oven and deck side BBQ. The catch of the day makes for superb cuisine. However for those that prefer alternatives to fresh seafood, alternative cooked meals are provided. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served on "Kimberley Explorer." For those early risers, there are always provisions to have that peaceful cup of tea or coffee as you watch the sun rise. Morning and afternoon tea is also provided.
Shower & Toilet Facilities - Essential comforts are well catered for with male & female showers and toilets (with hot and cold water). With 1000 litres of water storage and a desalinator, beach camping while cruising the Kimberley coast has just become a whole lot more appealing.
Electrical Supply - To ensure the sounds of silence are preserved, Kimberley Explorer is fitted with solar panels and deep cycle batteries providing the vessels electrical supply. A 240 volt inverter is also available for charging camera batteries and small appliances.
Kimberley Coast Beach Camping Cruises
Derby Jetty at low tideOVERVIEW
Our cruises have been designed for travellers who still have a spark in their lives and are looking for a unique experience to adventure beyond standard cruise itinerary and explore rarely visited and untouched parts of the Kimberley's pristine wilderness coastline.
As the birds fly, it is said that the Kimberley coast spans well over 1000 kms, but if all the inlets and bays were measured it is probably twice that distance. About 3000 islands lie off the Kimberley coast. With more than 800 islands in the Buccaneer Archipelago the return leg of every cruise is able to incorporate new sites and activities ensuring passengers have every opportunity to experience the wonders of this amazing pristine wilderness coastline. It should also be noted that with up to 9 metres of tidal movement every six hours what you will see on one leg of your journey will be radically different to what you can see and do on the return leg of your journey.
One of the great
With a cruising speed of 20 knots passengers have a lot more time to incorporate more activities beyond the standard cruise itineraries, and because we don't travel at night passengers don't miss out on seeing any aspect of this amazing coast line.
Subject to tides and weather conditions where ever possible passengers have the option of camping on a number of different secluded beaches with a roaring fire or rolling out your swag on board Kimberley Xplorer's outdoor bunks. Either way you will get to sleep under a million stars in the fresh air.
All meals, camping and fishing gear is provided (BYO alcohol). All our cruises incorporate a high speed boat ride through the amazing Horizontal Waterfalls.
Horizontal WaterfallsWith a maximum of 12 passengers and 3 crew, One Tide Charters prides itself of making sure our clients get to see the best of this amazing coastline. In addition to seeing and doing the things listed on our individual cruise itineraries (subject to tides and weather conditions) each day the skipper will offer different suggestions on the type of things you can be doing by working with the massive tides to make sure your trip is exciting, memorable and more than just a set itinerary. So if as a group you would like to do more fishing or exploring let us know and we will endeavour to accommodate these individual preferences during the course of each day.
Each cruise will incorporate the following activities
Meet one of the localsObserving the bird & marine life - Population of flora and fauna, rare or extinct on the main land have remained virtually unaffected by the impact of fire and the introduction of exotic species on the islands of the Buccaneer and Bonaparte Archipelagos.
Great BushwalkingBush Walking - All our cruises offer the opportunity to do some great bush walking, primarily along fresh water courses so there is always the opportunity to have a refreshing dip along the way.
Collecting oysters - at low tide passengers are able to collect sumptuous black lipped oysters which can be eaten fresh straight off the rocks, or saved for an evening meal entre of oysters Kilpatrick.
Sight Seeing - From both a visual and wildlife perspective, the Kimberley coast is one of the world's great cruising grounds.
A Great Day FishingFishing - the diversity of habitats guarantees enormous fishing opportunities along the Kimberley coast. Barramundi and other great fishing abound, while trawling for pelagic offshore is great fun. Reef fishing also ensures passengers will land a wide variety of species that are all great eating.
Reef walkingReef walking - Reef communities are diverse along the Kimberley coast with over 100 species of coral. For those who take the time to explore any of these reefs carefully will be rewarded with fantastic numbers of marine life.
Cooked fresh Mud CrabsMud crabbing is great fun and freshly cooked even better eating. For those who are keen (and don't mind a bit of mud) a great half day can be spent setting and pulling the crab pots. Eating the freshly cooked mud crabs is usually done at one of the many fresh water swimming holes. Instead of needing a silly little finger bowl to wash in after you have eaten your mud crabs you can dive into the fresh water and clean yourself up.
Time for a swim
at Silica Beach Swimming - throughout your cruise there will be numerous opportunities to either swim in fresh water swimming holes or at carefully selected beaches like Silica Beach.
Star Gazing - During the dry season there is good opportunities for some of the best star gazing in the world. The ability to sleep under the stars either on a secluded beach or onboard Kimberley Xplorer offers maximum benefit as you drift into a peaceful slumber.
One of the Many
Fresh Water Swims
Indigenous Rock Art - The Kimberley region is one of the world's greatest repositories of indigenous art. As a massive outdoor gallery, the Kimberley's indigenous rock art rivals in richness, cultural complexity and sheer aesthetic achievement more famous than rock art bodies in Europe, Africa and the Northern Territory1. The 8, 12 & 15 Day cruises incorporate some incredible Wandjina, Gwoin Gwion / Bradshaw rock art.
Whale Watching - From late July to September humpback whales can be seen migrating south from the whale calving ground at Camden Sound. With their calves close at their side the opportunity of seeing these massive creatures breaching and shooting water into the air is an incredible site.
POINTS OF DIFFERENCE
ArrangementsWith a cruising speed of 20 knots (average cruising speed of other charter operators is 12 knots) passengers are able to maximize the time exploring and fishing the coast line with a lot more time to incorporate more activities
Our charters do not travel at night. This means you don't get to miss seeing any aspect of this amazing coastline plus passengers have the ability to do some fishing in the evening or observe the marine life swimming around the vessel at night.
Aerial view of another
great camp site
Kimberley StyleValue for money. Our charters are for full days departing from Derby at approximately 0730 and returning to Derby at approximately 1500 on the last day (most other operators depart on the afternoon of the first day). With no night travelling and the faster cruising speed passengers get far more time exploring the coastline
5 OR 6 DAY YAMPI SOUND / HORIZONTAL WATERFALL THRILLER
This cruise is an action packed 5 or 6 days that gives you a good introduction to the Kimberley coastline. Cruise itineraries are the same for the 5 and 6 day cruise, however the extra day on the 6 day cruise gives you more time to explore and fish this amazing coastline. On this cruise you will have up to 3 different camp sites on beautiful secluded beaches each with their own characteristics. Incorporating the activities listed above, subject to tide and weather conditions you will get to visit the following locations:-
at X & X's
Sculptured RocksCascade, Cone and Crawford Bays - Travelling north from Derby the mudflats of the King Sound give way to the wonderfully picturesque coastline. Cascade, Cone and Crawford Bays lie crumpled and creased, their shores notched with a myriad of mangrove estuaries, bays and sand beaches; plunging cliffs and rocky masses; stony islands and innumerable hidden reefs that litter these offshore waters. Numerous freshwater springs flow from the hills of King Leopold Sandstone into the bays creating pockets of rain forests. At X & X's you will walk up through the rain forest to an abandoned camp site established by a hippy with his commune of women between 1974 and 1987. After exploring the remnants of the camp you will take a refreshing swim in one of the many fresh water rock pools.
Strickland Bay is an incredibly picturesque bay with numerous islands. At the back of Strickland Bay is the unsurveyed water mass of the 'Graveyards'. Named after the pearlers who lost their lives in the area and were buried on Edeline Island. We visit the graves, have a quick swim and admire the sculptured sandstone rocks.
One of the gaps at the
Gardens at Silver Gull
Horizontal Waterfalls are two narrow gaps in vertical sandstone rock strata which creates two spectacular 'horizontal waterfalls' when the tides reach peak flow in both rising and falling situations. Here you are transferred into one of the fast boats for an exhilirating ride through the gaps
With 3 Sea plane operators working at the location and Paspaley's Pearl Farm close by it's a hive of activity which is in stark contrast to the rest of this isolated coastline. We enjoy lunch while watching the sea planes land and take off and feed the tawny nurse sharks that swim around Kimberley Xplorer.
Crocodile Creek in Yampi Sound is a little paradise tucked away behind the sandstone walls. The miners from nearby Koolan Island iron ore mine used this spot as a getaway site. With the top pool cascading into the lower pool and then onto the creek below, it's a delightful swimming hole with all the yachtie memorabilia left behind from passing travellers hanging from the shaded patio area. This spot makes for an enjoyable outing.
Concrete Tank at
Silver GullSilver Gull is the home to a couple of real life castaways living life in the slow lane. Phil & Marion have lived at Silver Gull for the past 15 years and support themselves by making jewellery and other souvenirs to sell to their visitors. They are the eyes and ears of the Kimberley coastline and a great couple to visit and catch up on the latest news.
With lovely gardens and concrete tank continually filling with fresh water that flows out into the creek below this is a great spot to have a swim or sit on their famous outdoor throne.
Hidden Island & Silica Beach. With its powder soft pure white sand and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Silica Beach is a resort destination in the making. Enjoy a refreshing swim at this pristine beach or take the time to climb up the sandstone rocks for some great photography.
Hells Gate - This narrow gap separates us from Cone Bay and makes for a helluva ride on spring tides. The force of the tide either coming into the King Sound or receding back to the sea makes for some turbulent water with impressive whirlpools and back eddies to get the heart pumping.
Whirlpool Passage - Whirlpool passage divides Chambers and Hidden Islands in the Buccaneer Archipelago. A scenic 3 mile 'S' bend tour is characterized at times of peak tidal movement by large metre deep whirlpools and tidal flows in excess of 10 knots. Passing through the passage when the tide is running is a dramatic experience as your vessel negotiates the violent whirlpools. However, get there at the turn of the tide and it looks like a millpond and ever so peaceful.
Another Great Camp Site
A close inspection of
one of the numerous
species of turtle
While cruising between all these sites of interest there will be some great adventures and fantastic scenery. At times we will have a couple of lures hanging out the back of Kimberley Xplorer trawling for a mackerel while you sit back and enjoy a cuppa or ice cold beer. As you traverse the reefs at low tide look out for passing dolphins, turtles and manta rays. From July to September you will get to see the humpback whales.
Your evening camp on a secluded beach offers the opportunity to explore the beaches or take a dingy ride around the island with a fishing line in tow. With an esky of chilled beverages and some pre dinner nibbles it's a great opportunity to watch the setting sun and reflect on the day's events. Its then back to Kimberley Xplorer for dinner and an abundance of laughs as Skipper Greg entertains you with stories of past adventures. With sore sides from laughing too much it's back to the beach and your roaring fire to relive your carefree younger days when the 'in thing' was to party on the beach. Its then off to bed in your mozzie dome to star gaze in a comfy swag as you drift off to sleep.
Trying their hand at
Mud crabbing with the ladies is a real hoot. The first question is always "what do I do if a crocodile grabs me". Skipper Greg's reply is to suggest you swim away from the rest of the group so the rest of us don't end up in the drink! The other question is "what do I do if a mud crab gets out of the bucket". No reply is needed as the ladies are quick to stand on the dingy seat if a mud crab escapes. All in all its great fun and we haven't lost anybody yet.
Lost in the MangrovesThe reef walking at low tide around deserted islands is remarkable. It's amazing to see the water recede and uncover all the wonders contained on these unique eco systems. With pockets of water left behind there is every chance you will see mangrove jack darting between the rocks. Witness large clam shells spurting water, baler shell (Melo amphora) foraging for food along with an abundance of other marine life including sand bubble crabs and trocus shells; the black tipped reef sharks swimming along the edges of the reef; the ospreys nest perched up on the rocks and eagles soaring on the thermals above, exploring the Kimberley's many reef systems is a naturalist's paradise. For the adventurous ones, go climbing with Skipper Greg for an over view from the top of one of the islands.
8 DAY SALE RIVER & MONTGOMERY REEF ADVENTURE
Departing from Talbot Bay and The Horizontal Waterfalls the 8 day Sale River & Montgomery reef cruise incorporates sites and activities from the 5 or 6 day cruise but travels further up the coast cruising past the Kingfisher Islands to:
Montgomery Reef which is more than 400 sq kms in size and exposes up to 4 metres of reef at low tide. As the tide falls the reef begins to show itself to reveal a river cutting through the reef. We take Kimberley Xplorer up as far as the river will allow to anchor up while we have breakfast and watch the water cascade off the reef into the emerging river. After breakfast we lower the dingys to travel further up the narrowing river for a close up look at the turtles, black tipped reef sharks and abundance of fish and bird life. Several small islands dot the reef's surface supporting rich mangroves, crocodiles, turtles, birds and fish.
Wandjina Rock Art
Raft Point Indigenous Rock Art - a half hour ascent of a red sandstone bluff overlooking 'Steep Island' will take you to a ledge where you will come face to face with the Wandjina whose effigy was raised at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games). The Raft Point ledge is an art gallery to savour with its walls and ceilings adorned by an exceptional collection of Wandjina figures, dugong and the 'Great Fish chase'.
About 8 kms up Red Cone Creek we follow a mangrove lined creek to the magnificent waterfalls of Ruby Falls. Climbing to the top of the plateau we have an enjoyable swim with great scenery and photography. Small bats can be seen clustered together in black masses under the overhangs and crocodiles will often be up on the rocks or small beaches basking in the sun.
Cruising on to Three Ways at the southern end of Doubtful Bay we spend our time cruising the merging river systems in the dingys. This whole area is very impressive visually and offers some great fishing opportunities including barramundi, NW Snapper, Finger Mark, Black Jewies (Mullaway) - they're all there.
Cliffs along the Sale RiverOne of the true oases in the wilderness, the Sale River flows into the NE side of Doubtful Bay opposite Storr Island and Success Strait. As you move up river it is possible to see cabbage palms, Kimberley Rose and Boab trees on the northern bank. As you make your way upstream there are a series of rock bars across the river restricting access unless you are on spring tides. With the big tides you can make your way to where the freshwater flows over a small cascade with a sandy beach. Behind the beach and up the stream is a monsoonal rainforest where we have a freshwater swim. Passengers can either throw in a line to catch a barramundi or take a walk along the gorge to some rarely seen rock art.
12 DAY PRINCE REGENT / SALE RIVER & MONTGOMERY REEFADVENTURE
Departing Doubtful Bay and the Sale River area the 12 day cruise incorporates sites and activities from the 5, 6 or 8 day cruises, but continues further up the coast to:
on the beachAt Llangi you will stop to see some strangely weathered rock formations known as the 'Petrified Warriors'. Named after the warriors who, in Aboriginal mythology took part in a big dreamtime battle between the Wandjina and other spirits, like sentinels, they guard the nearby entrance to Llangi Gorge.2 In 2000 skipper Greg took some of the Dambimangari group (traditional custodians of this area) along with a student film crew to film Donny Woolagoodja touching up some of the paintings in Namaralli's cave and passing on their stories to the young ones. With a beautiful beach and small waterfall we take some time to view these imposing rock formations.
Slade Island with its beautiful weathered sandstone rock formations that take on all sorts of shapes. Take the time to let your imagination run wild identifying the creatures carved by nature's elements.
We travel past the Kurri Bay Pearl Farm which is one of the largest operational pearl farms in the Kimberley.
High & DrySheep Island - on the cruise take the time to read the story of this area "There Were Three Ships - the story of the Camden Habour Expedition 1864-65" by Christopher Richards (1990). The book recounts their disastrous journey to open up grazing in the far north of the Kimberley. We will stop to look at the lonely grave site of 'Mary Pascoe' on a small island.
Camp Creek Walk
Camden Habour, the site of the disastrous scheme to colonize the area in the mid 1860s following earlier explorer reports of fine pastureland. Camden Habour is also the area where the Presbyterian Church established Kunmunya Mission in 1915. Kunmunya Mission is also the site where in 1987 Dick Smith and the Australian Geographic Society sent Michael & Susan Cusack to spend a year in the wilderness. Their book 'Our Year in the Wilderness' is on the boat where you can see a photo of Skipper Greg and his good friend Joe who were the Cusack's first visitors in Greg's 'Yellow Boat'. (Read a very informative commentary about the Kunmunya Mission at http://kimberleycruising.com.au/Excursions/kunmunya.htm)
Leaving Camden Habour we continue on through George Waters past Hanover Bay and down through Treachery Head on our way to St George Basin. We travel through boiling and turbulent water prior to reaching the opening of St George Basin passing Mount Trafalgar and Mount Waterloo. We then take a 12 nautical mile run which brings us to the beginning of:-
Prince Regent River is the eroded remains of the longest single straight lineament in Australia running 240 kms SW into the King Leopold sandstone plateau
Camp Creek SpaCamp Creek is about 15 km in from the Prince Regent River mouth. With limited time and tide we set up camp for 2 days camping next to a rock escarpment with fresh running water, surrounded by paperback trees. With lines in to catch a barramundi in one of the many pools this is a great site for bird watchers. Here passengers have the option of doing a 2 hour walk following a fresh water course over the rocks and amongst the shrubbery to find two magnificent pools that end in a series of waterfalls for a fresh water swim.
King Cascade Falls
King Cascade Falls is one of the Kimberley's most beautiful waterfalls and sits at the head of a natural amphitheatre fringed by mangroves and ferns, with water cascading over the 50 metre rock face to the south of the Prince Regent River. Discovered by Phillip Parker King, the King Cascade Falls are probably more famous as the location where America model Ginger Meadows was taken by a large crocodile while swimming at the bottom of the falls. After nosing Kimberley Xplorer under the falls and getting a good drenching and some top photography we head back out into the basin for an overview of the entire area and another swim in one of the many fresh water pools well above the watchful eyes of the crocodiles. We then spend a night onboard Kimberley Xplorer we have the opportunity to take the dingys out to do some mud crabbing, flick a rod for a barramundi or check out another great art site.