Friday, 12 June 2015

Diamonds in the sky...

Another fabulous day in the beautiful north west. We were up early to be collected for our scenic flight and visit to the Argyle Diamond Mine...Eight a.m. and in the high twenties, we pulled on the sturdy boots ready to explore.

An hour and a half of flying took us over Lake Argyle
Our plane for the day

A small part of Lake Argyle

Bungle Bungle Range is the landform that is the major component of the Purnululu National Park in the top of Western Australia and are now a World Heritage listed location but surprisingly were not discovered until 1982 when film-makers arrived and produced a documentary about the Kimberley. The area was gazetted as a National Park in 1987 and inscribed as a World Heritage area in 2003;The scenery is absolutely dramatic. The distinctive beehive-shaped towers are made up of sandstones and conglomerates (rocks composed mainly of pebbles and boulders and cemented together by finer material). These sedimentary formations were deposited into the Ord Basin 375 to 350 million years ago, when active faults were altering the landscape.From the air it was an incredible sight. We flew ove deep gorges, a slashj  of green in the arid red landscape.
Deep gorges with dark green foliage 
The unusual beehive markings of the rock formations in the Bungle Bungles

We circled low over the range and the turned north again to land at the Argyle Diamond Mine. One of my upcoming books is set there, so I had many questions and took lots of photos. The mine covers a large area and was much bigger than we expected. It boasts the longest privately owned airstrip in the southern hemisphere and then it was about a ten kilometre drive to the staff village where we had lunch and enjoyed the view before we headed off to the mine.
Staff quarters...seniority goes up the hill.

Staff...wet a dry (no alcohol) worksite

Staff mess

Staff pool

View from the staff village
When we left the staff village , we travelled by bus to the mine site itself. Past the tailings dam, past the processing plant, past huge machinery and up a steep hill to overlook the old open cut which is now out of operation. (All mining is now underground)

Open Cut Diamond mine

How many diamonds would fit in here!

Waiting patiently while Anne looks at pink diamonds

Nathan...a great pilot and tour guide from Aviair

And Ian got to sit next to the pilot


The Ord River at Kununurra

Mango farms in the Ord River Irrigation area

Home safe

A tough afternoon,,, a swim and then we watched the sunset with a wine.
And the obligatory sunset...

And the little ducks
A top research day
A rest day tomorrow.. the Kununurra markets...and the sandalwood factory before we head back east to the Northern Territory.

All of the above places appear in Diamond Sky...

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