Willie Creek Pearl Farm Tour
The second and the last tour that I joined while I was in Broome was a tour in one of the pearl farm in Western Australia. Willie Creek Pearl Farm is just 38km from Broome and becoming popular destination when somebody wanted to combine learning about pearling industry while enjoying a beautiful backdrop of nature which is Willie Creek and its surrounding.
Missing the most adventurous tour in town such as Horizontal Falls and Cape Leveque because of neap tide and the other being fully booked, were really something that disappoint me but all the reason are beyond my control. I didn’t want to waste time in my hotel room doing nothing as I got a chance to be in different place and I had to take all my opportunity to see some part of it.
Broome-Cape Leveque Road on the way to Willie Creek Pearl Farm
The tour picked me up after lunch time with a minibus. We were out of the town after picking-up other tourist. We took Broome-Cape Leveque Road before we turned left to Manari Road. When we were taking the said road, my mind played again and wondered, how exciting it would be if I got a chance to be in Cape Leveque. Then the thought went away when we passed Manari Road and we were out in an open space with combination of sands and bushes while we were taking Willie Creek Road. It was like that, until we reach Willie Creek Pearl Farm itself.
Manari Road on the way to Willie Creek Pearl Farm
Willie Creek Road on the way to Willie Creek Pearl Farm
We arrived at the front of the main building and a showroom. We were welcomed by one of the staff and we went to a pavilion where we had a presentation about culturing and producing pearls. Here we saw oyster fresh from their farm. What happened was, these oysters are collected and spawned from hatchery, then seeded for more time before harvested. The facilitator opened the shell and showed to us a sample where a small white ball was beginning to develop to become pearl. The presenter also showed to us how these oysters lined-up with their metal net or cages holding them where in the end will be submerged into the water in oyster bed to follow the natural process to make the nucleus to be a full pearl.
Our facilitator during the tour
The presenter emphasized that the main business are producing and culturing pearls. The additional business is maximizing the mother of pearl or the nacre itself (this is the shiny part of the shell) to create useful products that are sellable. I also learned in the natural process of producing pearls, the healthy oysters has limited number like 2-3 times they can produce or culture pearls. The people who deal with pearling business hires skilled and professionals that takes care these oysters and to medicate sick oysters if it still possible to make them survive to continue the process of producing pearls.
Oyster with nucleated pearl
Sample of Mother of Pearl (or Nacre) produced
Shell Cleaning Machine
After the presentation, we went outside to explore Willie Creek where the natural process of producing pearls happens. Before reaching the small jetty, we passed a Shell Cleaning Machine where one of the net are inside of it. Then we continued our way to the creek.
When we were in the boat and ready to explore the Willie Creek, a male presenter went to the front, introduced himself and he was our guide during the entire exploration of the beautiful and turquoise creek.
Then, he started talking more about the life of the oyster and its challenges of breeding of it. Our boat started moving. Then, we approached a marker in the water and we stopped. The presenter took something under the water and that is a cage or net of the oyster which came from oyster bed. He picked-up one from the net and starts explaining that even the oyster has enemies while trying to grow itself under the water. He showed to us that there are holes, a sign that there are parasites eating the oyster shell. One of the challenges in growing and re-seeding the oyster that will produce the pearl in the future.
One of the parasites that showed to us that is enemy of the oyster.
Sample of holes made by parasites that attacks the shell of the oyster
Boat with Shell Cleaning Machine on it.
After the lectures, our guide in the boat let us explored the creek by moving it to different parts of the creek which gave us a chance to appreciate the beauty of the nature that surrounds us. Honestly, looking at how pristine the color of the water and thinking that the place is a great place to be a resort or some kind for human, but then I realized that not only people has the right to use the water. Human use water both for livelihood and recreational activity, while oyster use water as it is their world to live. The condition of the water for pearl farming is so critical to allow the oyster to be healthy and to allow to produce pearls still following the natural process after they re-seeded under the water. Looking at the turquoise water in Willie Creek made me felt envy with these oysters because they live in such paradise.
After exploring the creek, we returned to the jetty and go back to the main building where we had a snack for a bit. Then, we went inside the showroom to see the pearls they produced from the pearl farm and all we saw in the showroom are beautiful pearls on its own form, whether it has the five grading points of the most valuable pearl on earth, still they are work of art even in their imperfect characteristics. They are all cultured pearls since it is indeed rare to find natural pearls.
Main Building of the farm and showroom
On our way back to the town from the pearl farm, we took the same route and before leaving it, we had a glimpse of the Willie Creek Road before passing it completed. A horizon that so beautiful to appreciate.
Willie Creek Road on the way to Broome
Manari Road on the way to Broome
Broome-Cape Leveque Road on the way to Broome
My last tour in the town was ended and every time the tour was about to end, it was natural that I felt sad but on the brighter side, I looked upon on my next adventure that will begin the next day when I reach Perth.