My week has consisted of camels, crab racing and pearls… Yes you heard right, crab racing. Tiny hermit crabs with numbers painted on them… I’m not going to lie, my preconceived image of this involved much bigger crabs!
The premise: buy raffle tickets; perhaps in multiples of 3 or 7 to save money. If said ticket is called, you are allowed to chose a crab. Whichever one takes your fancy ;-). This crab then has to win out of 8 crab competitors in the race… Buying quite a few raffle tickets, I wasn’t lucky enough to win a crab… Sam more lucky, unfortunately her crab named US Marine Claw was not quite quick enough… Placed in the centre, allowed to ‘whoop’ and cheer your crab on, no pointing allowed; a race to the edge, the victorious crab wins its chooser some money! Please see attached video to see this in action!!! No money won, at least we contributed to a good cause and tried something new ;-).
Deciding that I should be a bit more productive with my days off, I decided I would try out some of Broome’s pearling attractions and learn more of Broome’s history. Spending my day at the ‘Pearl Luggers’ showroom and Willie Creek pearl farm, the tour guides were very informative. They told of a man called Streeter, who brought diving suits to Broome. Enabling divers to dive deeper and for longer. Of the important role of the ‘tender’, holding the only form of communication between diver and boat and of the deckhand supplying oxygen by hand pump to the diver. Informed that one in five divers died on their first dive; of many divers suffering the ‘bends’ and of the challenges of cyclones and of sharks and other sea creatures becoming tangled and bursting air lines or lines to the tender, the tour left me feeling total respect for pearl divers!
I also learnt much more regarding pearls. I genuinely thought that most pearls were naturally produced. It is actually a very rare event. A one in 100,000 chance. Mr Mikimoto an important figure in the cultured pearl movement, I learnt what an interesting process it is. A seed inserted into the oyster, turned in the water every so often to keep it round, the oyster coats it in nacre (liquid pearl) and hence produces a pearl. Which is then sold for many $$$ :-).
Many different kinds of pearls, there are five attributes to look for when shopping for pearls ;-). Size, lustre, shape, complexion and colour; you can therefore know what makes a pearl more expensive and decide what price bracket you are willing to spend ;-). An interesting day out, and certainly different from my camel routine, it was really good to learn of Broome’s pearling history. Especially good to hear, was that of a different story of the Japanese in Australia, rather than those told on Australia’s many war memorials… If you have time do try and learn of Broome’s history :-). Especially if you think you’re having a bad day ;-).