Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
– Henry David Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
Where the desert meets the sea.
Out west, the dichotomy between desert and water, between dream and reality, is a shifting, mesmerising mess that shimmers endlessly, drawing you in, killing any chance of objectivity.
Of course you’re going to fall in love.
The desert here is carved by water, the water defined by the red and white desert rising bone dry, washed by strange tides, each slipping into the other, fading into the horizon.
These are my love songs, my little poems for a country that has had my heart since I first saw it, for the irises of the land that stare back, sometimes imploring, sometimes sultry, always pulling me in, vertiginously.
Beware the desert woman, fellow traveller. She snares you subtle, paints in colours without names, lures you far beyond the tide line, then washes over you – and you are owned now.
If you’re chasing colour, your path will always cross Cape Leveque, mistress of the primaries,
lady of Crayola, the pindan blush, the cerulean irises, she is the truest, the dizzying Desert Woman.
The Pentecost River divides two of the Kimberley’s most iconic stations: Home Valley Station and El Questro, together encompassing over 4.5 million acres of wilderness. It is the premier barra fishing destination here.
Brian Lee is one of the traditional owners of the country around Cape Leveque. He spends his days fishing, spearing and 4WDing around the coastline here, drinking it in and smiling.
‘Midnight’ has been travelling the back blocks of Australia for something like 50 years now. These days he’s fixing hydraulic hoists in places where that might be the only machine in town. He loves the open road.
There may not be another place on the planet where worlds collide so violently, in a colour-wheel explosion of extremes, like the Dampier Peninsula, the northwest of the northwest.
Bundy runs tours in the country around Lombadina and Chili Creek, which empties out into the Indian Ocean. He’s showing me how to spear diamondback, or mullet, here with a traditional bentwood spear.
One of the north-facing beaches of Cape Leveque at Kooljaman, accessible only on tours out to the country with the traditional owners. This is the Kimberley at its wildest, raw and untamed.
The sun sets behind Leveque Island, named for Nicolas Baudin’s hydrographer, Pierre Leveque.
Baudin’s expedition included the Géographe and Naturaliste, and hosted the father of anthropology, François Péron.
A smoky sunset over Lake Argyle. Most of the year the lake stills off a few times a day, and when it does, it’s easy to forget you’re not in a dream, you’re just in a boat on black water.