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Swept away by a seabird sanctuarySwept away by a seabird sanctuary

An expedition to Western Australia's Kimberley coast reveals a parallel universe of remote islands, massive reef systems and beautiful gorges.

Story and photos Kandy Curran

There is great excitement, and a tinge of apprehension, as we zoom toward the Lacepede Islands. These far-flung islands, 150 kilometres north of Broome off the Kimberley coast, will provide fantastic bird watching opportunities with extensive colonies of breeding seabirds. We also expect to see abundant turtles, as the Lacepedes are Western Australia's largest green turtle rookery. But we can only wonder whether the dark shapes below our dinghy are marine life or the ghostly remains of pearling luggers and guano sailing ships wrecked by cyclones around the turn of last century.

Swept away by a seabird sanctuaryNearing the 'gut' between West and Middle Islands, the dinghies are quickly surrounded by a curious and noisy greeting party of 'islanders'. Evidently, Homo sapiens are infrequent visitors in these parts - after all, the four flat islands that make up the group are lacking in freshwater and very windy for most of the year. Story end

Full story Issue 30 Aug/Sept 2003

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