Western Australia Pearls
Today finds us in Broome, and we went off on an excursion to learn all about the cultured pearl industry at nearby Willie Creek. Here is a collage showing what we learned: The main photograph shows an oyster that has been busy growing a pearl over the past couple of years. Our guide cut it open to show us where the pearl is located (see red arrow). Top right corner shows the pearl once it's been removed from the shell, below that is a shot of the long lines, where the oysters are suspended in the water on racks to feed on nutrients in the water. Under that is a shot of our boat guide demonstrating what the oysters look like in their racks, and how he cleans the shells of algae growth and barnacles. Bottom left is a picture of a nasty wormy critter that can damage the oyster shells and ruin the pearls, then a shot of the inside of a gold lipped oyster showing the beautiful nacre or mother of pearl on the inside of the shell. A view of the stunning white sand beach and turquoise waters in the tidal estuary of Willie Creek (too bad the water is full of stinging jellyfish and crocodiles!), and finally the amazing red dirt road leading to the Pearl Farm.
Extra shows the amazing colours in the landscape as seen from our balcony while we were docked in Broome.