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The Sound of the Wilderness

Thank you for enduring my little soapbox moment about the environment last week (I hope you’ve joined the petition yet, just kidding…have you? One more chance!). I’ve really fallen in love with the Kimberley coastline and wanted to share a little anecdote with you about this place.

Bush camping north of Broome is magical. Camping sites are scarce and spot the coastline in selected areas. Each site is nestled on top of the cliff featuring undistracted views of the ocean including breaching whales and sunsets. Neighbours are out of earshot, in fact, all you can hear is the gentle wind from the sea carrying the scent of sea salt.

This is probably why the strange sounds I heard on our first night startled me. It wasn’t a loud noise, just a little clinking as if someone was throwing tiny pebbles onto the rocks of the cliff. Once the sun had set little light was supporting my investigation, but the sound got more and more frequent.

We finally worked out that our neighbours weren’t the perpetrators, but the sound was caused by billions (slight exaggeration here) of hermit crabs that were climbing up the cliff to hide and feed in the protection of the grass for the night. Every now and then a crab would fall down a steep side of the rock it was trying to climb up on or hit another stone with the shell on its back causing the clinking noise.

Unfortunately I couldn’t capture the nightly spectacle that erased all human footprints and only left the little marks of hermit crab feed in the sand. I did find a volunteer during daylight to show how terribly cute these little crabs are.

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