Russell James

BELONG

I had my first glimpse of The Kimberley Ranges when I was 11 years old. My father was a state police detective and was stationed in one of the most remote places of Western Australia.

‘The Kimberley’ as it is affectionately known to locals, begins just a hundred miles north of the outback town we lived in. It is a breathtaking eco system spanning 420,000 square kilometers and rises up from an ancient fault line that is millions of years old. It connects the Simpson Desert to the Indian Ocean with brilliant red mountain ranges and crystal blue waters.

In the tropical wet season, inland rainfall races over the vast inland deserts in search of the ocean. From the ocean side, one of the largest rise and falls of the tide in the world pushes and pulls every six hours by as much as 30 feet in height. The effect of all these forces at work is a Jurassic Park-like world - teaming with waterfalls, giant whirlpools, and an overwhelming abundance of life that includes prehistoric sharks, crocodiles, birds, whales and their calves, and fish of spectacular species. It is truly a place that is overwhelming to the natural senses.

The blessing and the curse of The Kimberley is her remote location and unwillingness to be hospitable - the waters are only navigable to the most experienced of skippers with specially built boats, and even then, the waters of The Kimberley are only accessible for about one month each year.

I was lucky enough to be offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to board one of the few vessels in the world designed for these waters, manned by one of the most experienced skippers. I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture the source of my entire inspiration.


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