Leaving Behind the Borneo Jungle for Dinosaur Footprints in Australia

Leaving behind the steamy jungles, orangutans, and big-nosed monkeys of Borneo, and the Manta Rays, the Land of the Dead, and the magic of Bali, we sailed across the Flores Sea and Indian Ocean for two days before docking in the small town of Broome in northwestern Australia. This is the northern boundary of Western Australia’s Eight Mile Beach, but a small town of about 14,000. It is a blend of Aussie and Asian, with descendants of the early pearl divers still living here. It also seems like the end of the world, with bearded hippies mingling with Aborigines and an independence you can almost feel.
We had signed up for a cultural immersion experience with a fellow named Bart Pigram. There was room for only 12, so we were able to hear and learn a lot. Bart is a descendant of Aborigines on both sides of his family. One of his native grandmothers married a Filipino who had come to work in the pearl industry, while the other was from a tribe nearby. He is an attractive young man who is very proud of his heritage and working hard to ensure that the language and customs don’t disappear. He told us about the efforts of his people to reclaim land that the government had appropriated and they have been quite successful. It’s very reminiscent of the American Indian.
This area is also known as The Kimberley and famous for the red earth, blue Indian Ocean, and miles of white sand beach. Our first stop was Gantheaume Point, which is a sacred place for the native Yawuru people. Today, its notoriety comes from the recent discovery of dinosaur footprints from the early Cretaceous Age, about 130 million years ago. Most are only visible at low tide, but we were lucky enough to see a couple that Bart had discovered some time ago during a walk on the beach.

 Since the footprints are sometimes difficult to find, plaster casts of the prints have been placed at Gantheaume Point for viewing.

 The dinosaur footprint.

Bart showed us a few more footprints on the large pieces of rock that dotted the beach.

The beach seemed to stretch forever.

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