Mako Travellers Update 4 - Berkeley River

Story by Dominic Wiseman

The Mako travelling family found their way to Wyndham in the East Kimberly, for a long planned trip to the Berkeley River. Wyndham sits at the southern end of the Cambridge Gulf, inside the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf. This is often referred to as the “Blown-a-part” gulf, which we were to find out about later. We had to wait for a decent weather window to make a voyage to the Berkeley River.

This river is described as the jewel in the crown of the East Kimberly. It has stunning sheer cliffs and crystal blue water. To top it off it is wild adventure taking a trailer boat up to this river. There are big tides, strong currents, murky water in the Cambridge Gulf, steep waves and swell, plus strong prevailing winds at this time of year and an open ocean section to contend with. This has been one of my bucket list boat trips for many years.

Given the treacherous and unforgiving nature of this trip it was not a trip for the family to attempt so the plan was just for myself and my mate Aaron to try it. We waited in Wyndham for several days for the weather to become acceptable. We used this time top speak with “Dr Edge” who is the Commodore of the local Marine Rescue operation. We even managed to get a tour of the local marine rescue boat. Fortunately we did not have to see these guys again, but I would strongly encourage everyone operating in this area to make contact, and discuss your plans as “Dr Edge” was a wealth of useful advice. He commented that he likes it when the first time he meets a boater, isn’t when they have become a “floater”

We eventually set off, carrying 460L of fuel, 200L of which was loaded in jerry cans spread around the boat. Wyndham has a recently upgraded boat ramp and pontoon facility, and while the currents can be strong the facilities are first rate! On the way north up the gulf – we got absolutely belted with sheets of water being blown across the boat. This was consistent with the forecast and advice we had and so we sheltered in the Helby river near the mouth of the gulf for the wind to abate.

It took most of the day, with some stops and exploring, but we eventually made it out of the Cambridge, up the Blown-a-part and entered the Berkeley River. WOW!!!! What a stunning spot. The pics will speak for themselves. We camped for two nights on the boat in the river then made the trip back which was much more comfortable, but still had a wild ride in parts of the Cambridge Gulf and took a full day to return.

The fishing was slow, which we expected for the time of year but there were still plenty of feisty Mangrove Jack to contend with. In any case, the scenery and remoteness more than made up for it. There is even a freshwater spring near the main rock bar, ideal for a beer and relax. Overall, we averaged about 1.4kms/L, covering just under 500kms – which included a few trips up and down the river. A great spot to head to if you have the time and inclination for some remote Kimberly adventuring. During the trip, I wore my favoutrite white framed Mako’s in the GT frame with Blue tint or G3H6 lens. This works wonders in the bright Kimberly sunshine”