Seeking Kimberley Cruiser’s Advice

Exit Forum Forums Kimberley Coast Boating Forum. General Interest Seeking Kimberley Cruiser’s Advice

This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Querida 2 years, 4 months ago. This post has been viewed 2661 times

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  • #1619


    Would a Monohull with 1.8m draft be a suitable craft to cruise the Kimberley Coast?

    We don’t have far to travel , our home port is Broome, however we have been told by some of the locals that we would be better off with a Multihull due to the huge tides and strong currents.

    Do the Crocs really climb into your boat and use inflatable tenders as teething rings?

    How many safe anchorages are there for Monohulls along the Kimberley Coast?

    Seeking adventure and exploration of the Kimberley by land and sea!

    What would be your advice Kimberley Cruisers?

    Sally and John

  • #1620


    Hi Sally & John,

    Draft of 1.8M might prevent you entering a few of the shallower rivers like the Drysdale, but I think you will get into most places. You will need to work the tides to get over a few of the shallow bars such as the King George and the Berkeley Rivers. Always go over a river bar on a rising tide just in case you touch bottom. Put a sounder on your dinghy so you can survey the depth before you cross a shallow bar if you aren’t confident of the depth.

    The main advantage of a multihull is the shallow draft, which is obviously handy in shallow water. But I can’t see why a multihull would make any difference related to tide and currents. There will be quite a few days with little or no wind, and you will be motoring. If your motoring speed is 7 knots or less, expect to go backwards in some spots if you don’t work the tides. (You will very quickly learn how to work the tides).

    Crocs like to mouth things in their territory to test them out (probably to see how they taste). It’s not uncommon to have a fender left hanging over the side at night to get punctured by croc teeth. I have 2 on board as souvenirs. Thats how most of the reports of inflatables being bitten occur. But there are also reports of dinghies being bitten with occupants in the dinghy. The attacks are not restricted to inflatable dinghies, but I would much rather be in a tinny or GRP dinghy if a croc took a liking to it. The fact is that such attacks on dinghies are few, and you would be very unlucky to be attacked. Read these links for more info on RIBS. and Also read the General Information pages about crocs in this website’s Anchorages page.

    There have been quite a few reports of crocs lying on the sugar scoop of a vessel, but I’ve yet to hear one where a croc has actually made its way on board into a cockpit. A cup of hot water in the face should get them off a sugar scoop.

    There are literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of safe anchorages along the coast from Yampi Sound to the Berkeley River. Many are no more than half a day’s sailing apart, or less. A “must have” on board is the Fremantle Sailing Club’s “West Australian Cruising” guide book. Latest, 4th edition has just been published. (Jan 2015). Best $80 you will spend. It has been written by sailors of the wind driven kind, so it provides handy info on anchorages that are generally used by sailing yachts. Also print a copy of the anchorage pages on this website. It doesn’t include as many of the overnight type anchorages, but there is much more detail on many of the popular areas, mostly with details of several anchorages in each area.

    Adventure is what cruising the Kimberley coast is about. Provided you, your crew and your vessel are well founded, you will love it. And living in Broome, I would put money on a bet that you will be going back for more, year after year. There is no way you can hope to see all the coast in 1 or 2 dry seasons.

    Get out there and have fun,



    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Ross.
  • #1624


    Thanks Ross,

    That is welcome advice, what navigation systems would you recommend particularly for the Kimberley Coast?

    Hope to see you on the Coast this dry season, the “American Independance Day” party on Berkeley River sounds good!


    Sally and John


  • #1626


    Hi John,

    Any modern marine GPS plotter will do the job. It’s a matter of how much you want to spend, more than anything else.

    You need a good depth sounder/fish finder. You will be spending a lot of time in uncharted water, and you need to keep a close eye on depth. Also, you could be anchoring in areas with 10M tide variance, and its very important to know how much water will be left under your keel when the tide goes out, as well as how much anchor chain to let go.

    Radar is handy. If travelling at night, it’s an absolute must have. (Coastal travelling at night is not recommended in the Kimberley if it can be avoided.) Some electronic charts have anomalies in certain areas of the Kimberley coast. (IE they can be up to 100M out.) My Navionics charts are out by about 100M around the Koolan Island area, and there are a few other places they are out by around 20M. When you get close to land, such as in a river, your plotter is likely to show that you are actually on the land. Radar overlay over your chart plotter will show up these anomalies – in these situations, always believe the radar, not the chart plotter.

    Radar is also very handy around pearl farms. Most farms have radar reflecting buoys on the farm boundaries. They can be very hard to spot by eye in bad weather, sun glare, or low light, but a radar will pick them up.

    Our boat is in the Gold Coast up for sale while our new one is being built. Unfortunately, Ros and I wont be out there this year, except for the KCCYC Beach Party at the Berkeley. We are flying in and staying at the lodge for 4 days. Someone has to keep the French puppeteers under control.

    Hope this helps.


    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Ross.
  • #1628


    Thanks again Ross,

    Radar sounds the way to go to complement a good set of charts, however I suspect that does not come cheaply!

    It all sounds like the next great adventure for us, Sally and I can’t wait to get started, and it is all on our doorstep.

    Thanks again for your timely advice, we will keep in touch.

    Cheers, Sally and John.

  • #1825


    Hi Sally and John, I recently sailed a 35 foot monohull drawing 1.8 m from Mooloolaba Qld to Perth. We had no problems working through the Kimberley but you do need to work the tides and some bars can be tricky. If you would like to discuss our passage plan and other aspects of the trip feel free to contact me directly. We were on a tight schedule but enjoyed a deal of the diversity of the regain. My email is [email protected]

    The downloadable anchorage documents on this site were excellent and as Ross advises the West Australian Cruising guide book is a must. We had those as well as paper charts a chart plotter and navionics on a tablet.   So plenty of backup was reassuring even though not needed. Im a bit old fashioned so will always have paper charts although I no many who don’t. We experienced some GPS anomalies that Ross refers to but nothing that couldn’t be overcome with common sense. The worst was at the mouth of King George River where our plotter had us 200m on land!

    Regards Grant Walsh

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