9 Day Ashmore Reef Birding & Mammal Trip

 Broome to Ashmore Reef

Day 1 –  Depart Broome

Sail from Broome, 18º00’S 122º12’E, (board around 07.00, precise departure point and time to be advised) and head NW to waypoint 1, 16º50’S 121º00’E. This is close to the edge of the continental shelf and a distance of 100 Nm, which at 10.0 knots should take 10 hours. Change direction and sail throughout the night on a more northerly heading to waypoint 2.

Day 2 – Birding and Mammal watching

Reach waypoint 2, 15º50’S 120º40’E, at 05.00 (dawn), distance 66 Nm, 11 hrs. At 6.0 knots. This point is beyond the shelf break (some 260 Nm from Ashmore in a direct line). Change heading to NNW to traverse shelf slope waters between 400 m & 600 m deep until noon. Then head for deeper waters to the north at waypoint 3, 12º25’S 122º30’E, continuing throughout the night. This will take us to the west of Scott Reef.  

 

Day 3 – Ashmore

  • Continue to waypoint 3 then head east into Ashmore Reef, waypoint 4, 12º13’S 123º00’E, arriving at about noon. Liaise with customs and after lunch go ashore on West Island (WI) until dark. Take a two-way radio provided by the charter vessel for ship-to-shore contact. Overnight at the inner mooring close to WI.  

     

     

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Day 4 – East Island

After juice, cereals & toast go ashore on WI at dawn. Return to the Charter Vessel for a cooked breakfast, a rest and or a snorkel. Predicted high tide (3.20 m) is at 1340 hrs and low tide (1.63m) at 1912hrs. After an early lunch we head off to East Island (EI) by tender. We have permission to land on East Island and visit Splitgerber Cay a vegetated sand cay located to the east of East Island where shorebirds assemble at high tide. Typically the round trip by tender is ~ 24 km. We may be away from the Charter vessel for 4 to 5 hrs. After returning to the Charter Vessel and replenishing our drinks we can again go ashore on WI if time allows. Overnight at the inner mooring.

Day 5 – Middle  Island

  • As Day 4 but land on Middle Island (MI) (seabird breeding island) and then visit the Horseshoe Sand Bar which is another high-tide shorebird roost. This round trip is around 14km by tender (the 3 charter vessel tenders are comfortable and fast). We may be away from the Charter Vessel for several hours. High tide is 3.00m at 1418 hrs so we will again have lunch before we go.

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Day 6 – Ashmore Reef

A rare bonus day at Ashmore Reef.  We will make the usual visits to West Island in the morning and afternoon. Through the middle of the day    there will be time for snorkelling. Second landings on any of the islands or sand bars are also options. The high-tide is at 1511 hrs 2.79 m The sequence of activities over Days 4, 5 & 6 are flexible and may change to suit prevailing conditions. 

Day 7 – Sail to Browse Island

  • Go ashore on WI for 3-4 hours from dawn. Pull anchor and leave Ashmore Reef by approx. 09.00. Sail to Browse Island a distance of ~120 Nm. We will have dinner at sea and arrive after dark. 

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Day 8 – Browse Island

Board tenders at first light so we can navigate over the reef and go ashore on Browse Island. Tide predictions show we should have plenty of time on the island (3 to 4 hours). Neap tides prevail (tidal range ~ 4 m) with the high (3.14 m) at 0314 and the (low 1.84) at 1136. Although it is an outgoing tide in the morning we should have plenty of water to get ashore and to get back to the boat by mid-morning. Luckily the low water depth is 1.8 m which still allows us to get over the surrounding reef. The sailing distance to Broome is at least 250 Nm so at an average speed of ~8 knots the journey will take us ~32 hours. 

Day 9 – Arrive in Broome

If we can get away from Browse early enough it should allow us an “add on” visit to the Lacepede Islands on our last morning if conditions are good. We did this in November 2019 and the experience was not only a highlight but great finale for the trip.

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Fishing Gear

There is no need to bring your own or pay extra for fishing gear.  It is all included in the package.

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KIMBERLEY ADVENTURES

We love the Kimberley and want to share it with you. Our days are packed with adventure so you don’t miss a thing! We aim to offer a  swim, walk and fishing expedition every day, you choose your own adventure!   

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Our motto is “Adventure by Day and Luxury by Night”.  Your cabin, living areas and bathrooms are serviced daily.  Our stewardess will take care of your laundry, and be on call 24/7 to take care of your every need! 

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We are not licensed to sell alcohol on board, however we do offer an alcohol purchasing service  where we will collect, deliver and chill your beverages ready for your arrival on board.  

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