help exchange   Host 8952
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Help Exchange

All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: 6+
Category: Other
Host ID: 8952
Region: Western Australia

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Last Updated: July 16, 2020

Our Pearling Base, on the shores of Beagle Bay, is 135kms north of Broome (approx 2 hrs on unsealed road in 4wd vehicle) on the Dampier Peninsula. Our dry season (April to October) is also ‘tourist season'.

In exchange for (on average) around 5 hours work per day (often you will work independently), you will be provided with a rare and remote place to stay for a while, healthy food - mostly freshly caught fish (catching the fish & cooking the fish are shared experiences), single or double room and shared bathroom facilities, & possibly sightseeing, fishing and freediving opportunities by boat, or onshore, & in addition, you can use our fishing rods and try your luck from the rock ledge or the beach.

Helpers are usually accommodated in one of five private rooms on the mezzanine level of our very large workshop (where boats are stored and maintained). Each room has a window looking out to the bay, and the entry door opens on to an internal walkway inside the workshop. The five rooms are in a row at the top of a stairwell (25 steps), each has a ceiling fan & small fridge. The shared toilet and shower facilities are on the lower level of the property so you must walk (approximately 70metres) to get there - including going down & up the stairs. All bed linen, towels etc provided.

All cooking, cleaning & other domestic duties are jobs shared by all. We've hosted happy helpers in the past, often 4-6 people at a time, which provides for good social engagement, stories around the evening fire, or shared sightseeing excursions. Experiences at the Pearling Base are varied, and depend a lot on who is on site, what work is taking place, and the weather. Most free-time activity is based around the water, including the whale migration (winter months), catching fish, beach walks, swimming, getting to know the rare birds that frequent the inter-tidal zone, stargazing, use of the kayak or a fat-wheel bike (for beach & bush track riding), and enjoying some rest & relaxation at our remote location on the coast. Some helpers have swum with whales & manta rays, others have embarked on great Kimberley adventures as volunteers, & some have engaged with Aboriginal Traditional Owners or Kimberley Rangers who might be visiting.

Lately we have hosted skilled labourers & tradespeople, those with carpentry, mechanical & handyman skills, and anyone who has been happy to put in some muscle around the Pearling Base as required. We're still dealing mostly with maintenance and repair of damaged infrastructure from recent storms, as well as working through the (always long) list of farm jobs such as clean-up, painting, maintenance on boats, vehicles & farm machinery, and general labouring work.

We usually start work after early breakfast, break for morning tea, get back to the tasks at hand, then have the afternoons to relax and enjoy the very special environment of the bay. Our family owned pearl farm base is centrally located between Aboriginal communities and tourism sites of interest.

Pearling operations are being conducted off-shore on a boat. There is not the hussle & bussle you might expect when pearling ops are being dealt with on-shore. Certain types of personalities might even find it's just too quiet out here! We continue with aquaculture research & development activities & on-going land based pearling maintenance. We are building our solar farm & developing our fruit & vegetable gardens.

The only mobile phone network is Telstra. We advise visitors and helpX-ers to bring their own portable internet data if they want reliable communications as we can only spare a small amount of data daily. We do scheduled trips to town (Broome) for stores, so we can make arrangements to pick up helpers (if you don't have your own 4wd vehicle). We're off the beaten track and remote, and many of us enjoy the serenity - but you need to also enjoy your own company at times, as there may not always be crew on site to socialise with.

I want to be clear to helpers, that it can sometimes be very quiet - at those times, you might want to have a good book nearby. Steve is an amazing source of local knowledge and is always happy to share a conversation and/or an excursion with visitors and helpers. But Steve is not always at the pearling base, and on some occasions you will need to occupy yourselves socially in your free time. We look forward to hosting you if this opportunity is of interest, and thank you for your curiosity.
Steve and Erin

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