A days steaming, 170 nautical miles west of Broome, prepare to be inspired by the Rowley Shoals Marine Park, three spectacular coral atolls rising 400 metres from the ocean floor, on the very edge of the world’s widest continental shelf. Named by the amazing explorer P P King in 1818. Only a fortunate few have visited since!
Today the shoals rank among the most remote and pristine marine areas in the world. They are regarded as the most perfect examples of shelf-edge atolls in Australian waters.
|Price||$4,200 per passenger OR $5,600 per day for an exclusive charter|
Welcome aboard King Tide, boarding late afternoon, meet our crew and join some like-minded adventurers. We depart Broome with the tide for our overnight steam to the edge of the Continental Shelf 170 nautical miles to the West. Dinner is served soon after departure, followed by a cruise and dive briefing.
Arriving in the early morning of Day 2, at the most Northern atoll, after a yummy breakfast, we will soon be exploring the outer reef depths. King Tide is actually a purpose-built live-aboard dive boat and she knows her own way around the Rowleys. We have many dive sites to choose from.
Anchoring inside the beautiful sheltered lagoon at night, we will spend the next three days diving around Mermaid Reef. All the usual tropical species will be around and often quite large ones. Coral trout, chinaman fish blackspot tuskfish, friendly emperors, flutemouth, pipefish, moray eels, turtles, barracoota, dogtooth tuna, spanish mackerel, striped mackerel, tuna, maori wrasse, napoleon wrasse, and almost anything you can imagine will swim by, seeming to know that they are in a sanctuary zone in a pristine wilderness.
In the early morning and late afternoon we will be lucky enough to encounter plenty of curious sharks. The beautiful sleek whalers, silvertip, grey reef and maybe bronzies will check us out. Whitetip and blacktip reef will be resting on the sandy bottom ledges. We have also seen great hammerheads, tigersharks and oceanic white tips out in the deep blue.
You can spend a whole day diving at one spot and still not see all the life that abounds. Visibility usually varies from good to spectacular, depending on the tide and angle of the sun. Night dives inside the lagoon will reveal corals feeding, fans, featherstars, clams, whilst some of the fishes will find a safe place to sleep.
Definitely one of the best dives anywhere. As we enter the water, one or two large tame potato cod will come up for a look. They seem to want us to cruise around this fantastic group of bommies with them as we gently drift past the beautiful walls of coral among schools of humphead wrasse, surgeonfish, huge coral trout and pretty moorish idols in pairs. Even the grey whaler sharks here will sometimes follow us lazily rather than do their usual fast approach and exit. Down on the sandy bottom we can sneak up on cowtail rays and more whitetip reef sharks resting, as they do in the day.
Be amazed at the sheer drop off to more than 80 metres, especially if we can visit when favourable tides give us 40 metres visibility. We must watch our gauges: it’s so easy to swim down deeply mesmerised by the spectacular vista sweeping beneath us.
Get a rush drifting out through the narrow channel, as the tide sweeps us to the edge of the reef and over the drop off surrounded by schools of Jacks and Chevron Barracuda.
If we have seen enough of Mermaid Reef, we will cruise a short way south to explore Clerke Reef. Outside the reefs we will troll for mackerel and tuna to eat, or maybe a sailfish to release. Here we will drift-dive the outer walls again to some new friends large and small.
This evening we anchor inside another lovely sheltered lagoon. Clerke Reef has a narrow channel, which we must navigate before the sun gets low. We can drift-dive into the lagoon on the incoming tide. Later we can take a dinghy ride over to the large sand cay at the Northern end called Bedwell Island and maybe have a BBQ on the white sand, or just go for a walk at dusk. After sunset at this time in the dry season the sky will be encrusted with more bright stars than you could ever imagine.
More diving and snorkelling in the lagoon, then time for a last couple of dives outside the lagoon before we pack up our gear and head for Broome with our last Rowley’s sunset behind us. Time to fill in logbooks; share our pictures and videos, as we cruise home. This time of year we are usually blessed with lovely calm seas and little breeze. We arrive back in Broome about 0830 of day 7 and bid farewell to our new friends.
* This is a suggested itinerary only and is subject to change due to guest’s desires and the prevailing tide and weather.
Dive tours are run in October and November and are scheduled subject to interest.
Browse our tour calendar for availability
To book, call Bruce on 0427 770 825 or Stephanie on 0417 180 463 or visit our bookings page for more information.