Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mud crab racing in Derby, WA

After nearly three weeks in Broome we packed up and headed east - we had
enjoyed our time in Broome and could understand why so many people head
there for the winter months to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle for a while. Our
neighbours in the caravan park planned to stay between three to five months
and there many others like them.

It was only a two hundred kilometre drive from Broome to Derby and we
initially planned to drive straight through. However, we stopped off at a
rest area for lunch and as it was quite pleasant, and a number of campers
already set up, we stayed on overnight. The advantage of having no forward
bookings that we were committed too.

Derby is a small town located on the tidal mud flats of the King Sound - it
has the highest tidal range of any port in Australia. There is a population
of approximately 4,500 people and half of this number are Aboriginal. The
majority of the population employed work in State and Commonwealth
departments such as main roads, community services. There are a few shops
including two supermarkets, chemist etc. There is also a visitors centre
providing information on the Gibb River Road which is a popular route to
Kununurra from here. The Gibb River Road is one of the iconic four wheel
drive routes in Australia and is approximately 700 kilometres long. We will
not be travelling the track as it is unsuitable for caravans (dust,
corrugations and river crossings) so we will follow the Great Northern
Highway which is bitumen.

When we checked into the caravan park we were told that the local fishing
club were holding a mud crab racing event on Friday night and so we went
along. Our new neighbours at the Derby caravan park are also a New Zealand
couple touring Australia - they have come from Greymouth on the West Coast
and after selling up there plan to settle in Australia where three of their
four children now live. We enjoyed the mud crab racing with them.

The mud crabs had been caught locally and after payment of $10 we could
choose a crab. The crab was then named and in our case I called it Kiwi
Runner and he was in race five. No amount of training was going to help
Kiwi Runner - he hung around at the starting line and then after nearly
every other crab had finished their race Kiwi Runner took off. He could
certainly run but too fast too late.

The prize for all crabs was the boiling pot at the end of the evening to be
enjoyed by all!

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