Boating - Diving - Aquarium & Lab - Permits - Freight & Transport
KMRS has a range of vessels available for research use. These vessels are available for use (along with KMRS skippers and support crew) upon prior request only. Please ensure you outline your boating requirements in the Research Application Form when lodging your trip booking.
21ft high speed dive boat “Southwind”
Custom-built research & tours boat "Atalanta IV"
10t converted cray boat “Dorado”
12m catamaran “Escapade"
Each vessel is equipped with adequate safety equipment as described by State and Commonwealth regulations and maintenance is conducted regularly by Cygnet Bay Pearl’s (CBP) marine mechanics.
Competency & licensing: All boat users are provided with a thorough CBP boating induction prior to vessel use covering boat handling, safety, equipment, CBP company regulations and local boating conditions. Only researchers with adequate licensing and competency levels will be allowed to drive KMRS vessels. A current WA Restricted Coxswains certificate is mandatory to drive any KMRS vessel and operation of various larger vessels requires higher levels of certification. Safe and competent boating practices must be demonstrated prior to driving vessels independently. We ask that teams please notify us in advance of any vessel survey requirements specific to your Institution and/or project.
All snorkelling and diving activities at KMRS must be flagged on your Research Application form prior to confirming your booking.
Swimming, snorkelling and diving in particular in the Kimberley can be dangerous with large tides coupled with the risk of dangerous tropical marine life including Irukandji, crocodiles and sharks. However, Cygnet Bay Pearls has divers working on the pearl lines most days, year-round. With local knowledge and prior planning around the tides and season, diving is an option to support research. Arrangements may be made for dive operations based under stringent safety and operational considerations. KMRS does not supply any dive gear however can provide assistance to do so from Broome. If you are interested in diving at KMRS for research purposes, please ensure that you state this in the relevant sections of the Research Application form and discuss detailed plans with KMRS management staff in advance of your trip to ensure the work is deemed feasible.
Safety in the marine environment at KMRS
There are numerous safety considerations regarding the marine environment at Cygnet Bay that require your attention and consideration at all times when planning and conducting field work in the area. Regardless of the nature of your work, please read this section carefully and ask us for advice on anything that is unclear.
All water-based activities (boating/swimming/reef walking/snorkelling/diving) must be discussed in detail with KMRS staff in advance of your field trip and require correct clearances from both your affiliated Institution and KMRS.
Tides: With some of the largest tidal ranges in the world, tides are a key consideration for all water-based operations in the Kimberley. Spring tidal range at Cygnet Bay is up to 9m. Navigating the area without experience or local knowledge of the tides can be extremely dangerous as there are numerous areas around Cygnet Bay that remain uncharted and the depth range unknown. Please keep in mind that Cygnet Bay is 2.75 hours behind Broome on NTC tide charts. Sunday Island is approximately 1 hour ahead of Cygnet Bay. For local tide info in the specific areas you plan to visit, please talk to the Research Officer.
Prevailing winds: Change of season & Wet season (March – April) prevailing wind is from the West. Cygnet Bay is sheltered from westerly winds so working within the Bay and along the eastern coastline of the Peninsula is usually fine as long as you remain close to the coast. Dry season (April – Oct) prevailing wind is from the South-East. As Cygnet Bay faces south-east, this can make conditions particularly difficult and dangerous to work in. In particular, as chop, waves and swell increase, underwater visibility deteriorates significantly. Please ensure that you consider seasonal winds when planning water-based field work at KMRS and ask for us advice regarding the best times to visit for your specific projects.
Dangerous marine life: It is also important to be vigilant at all times when in, on or near the water. Numerous dangerous marine animals inhabit local waters including saltwater crocodiles, sharks, stone fish, sea snakes, Irukandji and box jellyfish, cone shells and sting rays. We ask that visiting teams please adhere to advice from KMRS staff in regards to assessing risk in relation to exposure to dangerous marine life for each project.
AQUARIUM & LABORATORY SPACE
KMRS is currently constructing a pearl oyster hatchery and marine laboratory facility on the front beach at Cygnet Bay, to be fully operational year-round with designated lab areas and tanks for KMRS visitors. The facility will include ocean fed through-flow systems for filtered and unfiltered seawater on tap, fresh water, and air to service both wet and dry bench space accordingly. A light and temperature controlled “dark room” will be included as well as numerous sizes of aquaria and tanks, microscopes and lab-wear. The facility will include limited gear storage capacity for teams wishing to leave equipment at KMRS between trips. For more information on the new facility, please contact us.
As part of our operational pearling facilities, KMRS has a large aquarium facility at our seeding shed (photographed above and right) which is located on the shores of Shenton Bluff (north of Cygnet Bay main camp). This comprises a basic open-air shed housing 7 tanks filled by an ocean-fed system, sea and freshwater on tap, electricity and both wet and dry bench space. The seeding shed is easily accessible by boat as well as by 4WD track from the main camp. The 7 tanks are 1.5m wide x 4m long x 0.5m deep. All are fed by through-flow water systems. The seeding shed is heavily utilised for pearling operations during harvest season and is unavailable for research use at this time (from June - August each year).
KMRS also has a 10l liquid N cryogenic Dewar flask (Taylor-Wharton CXR100) and shipping case available for hire for transporting small amounts of samples at cryogenic temperatures. Liquid N dewar flasks are sent to BOC Gas in Karratha for filling on a weekly freight run from Broome. As such, please ensure that you plan your dewar use around this factor. Please advise us of your intent to hire the dewar flask by filling out the correct sections in the Research Application form.
As we are remote and have limited gear stores on-site, we ask that teams please supply all required gear for field work at KMRS. This includes PPE, field guides, chemicals, sample vials etc.What limited equipment KMRS does have will only be available to teams who have confirmed availability in writing prior to each trip.
Please ensure that your team provides copies of all required research collection/activity permits to KMRS staff upon arrival. A copy of all permits must be kept on-hand at all times when working at KMRS. This includes Department of Fisheries and Department of Environment & Conservation collection and activity permits as well as ethics approvals and any other documentation relevant to your project at KMRS.
FREIGHT & TRANSPORT
· KMRS Cygnet Bay is approximately 210km from Broome, a 2.5 hour drive including 90km of unsealed dirt track. On-site, our accommodation facilities are located approximately 1.5km from the main camp along an unsealed track. As such, we strongly recommend that teams hire a 4WD vehicle in Broome, giving a mode of transport whilst on-site and for travel to and from Broome. KMRS can book hire cars on your behalf through Broome Broome Car Rentals, please select this option in your Research Application Form.
· For smaller teams or those who choose not to hire a vehicle in Broome, KMRS can arrange 4WD transfers between Broome & Cygnet Bay where possible. This service is limited and depends on KMRS crew movements at the time and must be confirmed in detail with the KMRS Research Officer prior to booking confirmation. Teams with more than 4 members and large amounts of gear may not be suitable for transport in KMRS 4WD vehicles.
· When planning road, sea or air freight to KMRS, please allow a window of at least 10 working days between anticipated arrival of freight to Broome and the date the gear is required for use in the field at KMRS.
· We recommend that teams use Dean Wilson Transport (9192 1946; email@example.com) for road freight consignments. DWT are the local agents for Northline & TNT Road Freight as well as the contractors for weekly grocery and supply run to all the communities on the Dampier Peninsula, including freight consignments from Broome direct to Cygnet Bay. This onward service to Cygnet Bay is a weekly run scheduled for Thursdays only. As such, please note that it is imperative that teams plan ahead and send freight up to Broome with ample time (at least 10 working days) ahead of required date for arrival at Cygnet Bay.
· Please notify KMRS in writing for any freight consignments that are being sent to KMRS prior to doing so. A copy of the consignment note for each despatch must be forwarded to KMRS prior to collection in Broome. Please ensure your sender contact details are included on each pallet and that all freight consignments are clearly labelled to:
KMRS, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm
Cape Leveque Rd, Dampier Peninsula c/o Broome
(Attention: Ali, Research Officer 9192 4999)
· Alternatively, the Cygnet Bay Pearls company truck runs on schedules to suit the general pearl farm operations and can only collect KMRS freight consignments with the above window of due notice (10 working days minimum). Freight will be collected by the CBP truck with prior written notice only, please do not send gear to Broome for collection without informing us beforehand.
· For planning purposes, it is important to emphasise that both Broome and Cygnet Bay are isolated locations and that we recommend allowing as much time as possible for gear freight, particularly during the wet season when many local roads close with heavy rain.
· Freight consignments requiring urgent or last minute collection from Broome will incur a higher fee and cannot be guaranteed. Freight sent without prior notice or not appropriately labelled can cause confusion at dispatch and will incur a higher fee for onward transport to KMRS. As such, unmarked or miscellaneous freight may not be collected on time.
· If not organised through DWT, return freight from KMRS to Broome will be delivered to the allocated transport depot on the next available CBP truck run. Freight requiring urgent return transport to Broome will incur a higher fee and cannot be guaranteed without prior notice.