Cape Leveque – Thumbs Up

Just got back to Perth after our annual winter trip to Norwest WA including 2 months fishing at Pt Smith – 150ks south of Broome.
I won’t bore you with the whole trip but one of the highlights was a side trip to Cape Leveque.

10th June - Cape Leveque for a week.
On Sunday, after days of record rains, the Broome to Cape Leveque road re-opened - a 100ks of bitumen plus a 100ks of red mud roads and water filled potholes – 3 hours easy going with a 4WD.

On Monday; half way up The Cape the wife and I called into The Beagle Bay Mission aboriginal community. It was an uninviting place with signs prohibiting visitors from their beaches and lots of mangy looking dogs roaming around. Drab public housing, their front yards full of litter and derelict cars with flat tyres and broken windscreens, plus the town’s petrol bowser padlocked in a heavy steel cage, and the dogs put me off. By contrast the mission’s church stood out, being clean and freshly painted - we made sure the car was locked (something that I didn’t feel the need to do later at Cape Leveque) and toured the church.

Monday afternoon we arrived at Cape Leveque – what a contrast - no junk, dogs or car wrecks.
A very professionally run aboriginal holiday resort and camping ground – it runs rings most other non-aboriginal camping grounds and caravan parks I seen in my travels around Australia. It was originally the Cape Leveque Light House keeper’s home, sheds and grounds - given back to the Bardi people in the 80’s.

We pitched our tent at a bush shelter beside the ocean. The tent was our bedroom and the bush shelter our daytime living area, which had a cold (warm actually) shower in one corner. The sea’s warm all year round too – ideal for an afternoon swim at beer o’clock. With an Engel full of beer – what more could one ask for?

On our first day, whilst away fishing, our shelter was raided by a mob of crows. These birds have developed a technique where one or two of them lift the cover of a food container whilst another dives under it to pirate the goods.

A large beach towel over the groceries fools them, as they hadn’t yet figured out how to drag a large floppy cover – whereas lifting a rigid cover such as rubbish bin lid, piecing individual eggs through the top of a closed carton or opening a packet of biscuits doesn’t cause them a problem.

During the day, whilst reading or resting in the shelter, one got the eerie feeling of being watched – you would look up and find a beady black eye staring at you through a slit in the shelter – a crow casing the joint - a bit like a scene from the Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.

The wife and I didn’t fish much at The Cape - we swam, read books and generally slacked off and also visited One Arm Point’s trochus shell hatchery
The One Arm Point community replenish their reef from this hatchery and harvest 15 tonnes of shell a year, for jewellery making and for sale - a well organised and self-funded aboriginal operation.

I was most impressed with what the aboriginals are doing at Cape Leveque and One Arm Point, including allowing visitors the simple pleasure of being able to fish and swim from their beaches.

16th June - Port Smith for a week
This is our 6th week here and on the 24th we head south to Perth, arriving early July.
The other day, whilst the wife and I were flicking lures from waist deep water at False Cape Creek’s inlet, a six foot shark leapt completely out of the waves, as it chased fish through the breakers not far from our lures – we quickly backed off to shallower water.
A couple of days prior, I was with a friend who fishes here regularly, when we came across another shark in the same spot. He says they’re not man eaters, as they are well fed on fish, and he has encountered them often. The wife and I also spotted a couple of other sharks, whilst beach fishing, at the front of the Port Smith Lagoon. It sure makes the heart pump and the legs backpedal when a shark rockets out of the waves in front of you.

Thursday night – Port Smith’s fish and chip night.
The park’s staff catch crabs and fish for the night which costs $5 for the first meal and $2 for seconds. Piggy me had a second meal of cod. It’s all donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Including the snapper and mud crab raffles; I estimate they donate over a $1000 for the night

The Bidyadanga Mob, an aboriginal family band (father, daughter and three sons) drives across from the old La Grange Mission (renamed Bidyadanga) to play country and rock music – they do a real good job. That night they offered to play Slim Dusty but the audience declined and requested more popular American stuff, Johny Cash, Kristofferson etc – there’s just no accounting for taste.

By providing the entertainment, The Bidyadanga Mob and their family get a free meal plus they get to pass a plastic bucket around – assuming most of the audience chip in, they would collect $500 or better for the night.
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Reply By: Member - Brian R (WA) - Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 23:47

Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 at 23:47
Hi Dennis
Thanks for sharing, we only got back from East a month or so, but you give me itchy feet.....can't wait to hit road again.
Beagle Bay reminds me of Docker River when we dropped by in the late 90's.
Nearly made it to Broome last year but left a bit late too hot
Brian R
AnswerID: 514987

Reply By: bigmarkc - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 07:04

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 07:04
Good story but when I get there I will be requesting Slim Dusty.
AnswerID: 514994

Reply By: bobldo - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 11:36

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 11:36
Great trip Dennis. Great reading. Makes me want to get there asap. cheers Bob.
AnswerID: 515019

Reply By: Davine P - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 16:00

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 16:00
Thanks Dennis for a great update. We are at Fitzroy Crossing at the moment and intend to head up to Cape Leveque in the next couple of weeks. We are driving a Toyota HiLux so I am presuming we will have no trouble with the road? At Port Smith where did you stay and I have read that there are lots of sand flies (midges) there. How did you find it?
Thanks Davine
AnswerID: 515036

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 18:31

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 18:31
Hi Davine
You will have no trouble getting through to Cape Leveque in a Toyota Hilux.
Some people love Pt Smith, others hate it.
We stay at the carvan park and unless you know your way around it will be dificult to camp elsewhere.We’ve been going there to fish for a month or two over the last five years.
I’ve seen people book in for a week and leave after two days – badly bitten by midgies.
I would have a problem if I didn’t use tropical strength repellent.
The best is the DEET 80% cream applied every eight or ten hours - produced by Bushman - about $100 a litre over the internet direct from Bushman – a litre lasts the wife an I about 3 years. You can buy it in smaller tubes from sports stores though. The spray can variety is only about quarter strength and has to be applied every 2 or 3 hours.

FollowupID: 794189

Reply By: Davine P - Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 21:43

Friday, Jul 19, 2013 at 21:43
Thanks Dennis. I have a pretty good supply of Bushmans as the midgies got me twice in Darwin. We will be travelling down the WA coast so if you know of any other great fishing locations or must see places I would love to hear.
AnswerID: 515050

Follow Up By: Dennis Ellery - Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 11:43

Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 11:43
Some good spots we’ve fished at over the years are Eighty Mile Beach, Exmouth, Coral Bay, Warroora Station, Quoba and Shark’s Bay. But with fishing it can be feast or famine - catch them one day and then none the next. Best of luck.
FollowupID: 794212

Reply By: Sandman - Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 10:24

Saturday, Jul 20, 2013 at 10:24
We stayed at James Price Point, never made it up as far as Cape Leveque.. 5 nights up on the beach, twas magic

AnswerID: 515063

Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Monday, Jul 22, 2013 at 23:12

Monday, Jul 22, 2013 at 23:12
I'd recommend taking a detour up past James Price Point on your way to Cape Leveque.

Great camping near the beaches up there - we stayed at Coulomb Point. Plenty of opportunities to try and catch a fish.

Middle Lagoon is popular but still fairly quiet. It's north of Beagle Bay and about 30 kms off the main road up the Dampier Peninsula.
Plenty of people come here to fish but many use boats to get out to the marks.

FollowupID: 794386

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