Monstrous tides of the Kimberley coast

At the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, an oyster's pearl sac is sliced open to reveal a lustrous orb. Tawny nurse sharks, with tiny razor-sharp teeth, feature in the rich marine life of Kimberley. (Left and right) To get a full-on experience of the Horizontal
(Above) To get a full-on experience of the Horizontal Falls in Western Australia's Kimberley region, boats power tourists through a small gap in the cliffs. PHOTO: CAROLYN BEASLEY, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
At the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, an oyster's pearl sac is sliced open to reveal a lustrous orb. Tawny nurse sharks, with tiny razor-sharp teeth, feature in the rich marine life of Kimberley. (Left and right) To get a full-on experience of the Horizontal
(Above) To get a full-on experience of the Horizontal Falls in Western Australia's Kimberley region, boats power tourists through a small gap in the cliffs.PHOTO: CAROLYN BEASLEY, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
At the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, an oyster's pearl sac is sliced open to reveal a lustrous orb. Tawny nurse sharks, with tiny razor-sharp teeth, feature in the rich marine life of Kimberley. (Left and right) To get a full-on experience of the Horizontal
At the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, an oyster's pearl sac is sliced open to reveal a lustrous orb.PHOTO: CAROLYN BEASLEY, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
At the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, an oyster's pearl sac is sliced open to reveal a lustrous orb. Tawny nurse sharks, with tiny razor-sharp teeth, feature in the rich marine life of Kimberley. (Left and right) To get a full-on experience of the Horizontal
Tawny nurse sharks, with tiny razor-sharp teeth, feature in the rich marine life of Kimberley.PHOTO: CAROLYN BEASLEY, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA
At the Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, an oyster's pearl sac is sliced open to reveal a lustrous orb. Tawny nurse sharks, with tiny razor-sharp teeth, feature in the rich marine life of Kimberley. (Left and right) To get a full-on experience of the Horizontal
At Waterfall Reef, the falling tide pours out of an ancient, living reef, creating a cascading wall of seawater.PHOTO: CAROLYN BEASLEY, TOURISM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

In Western Australia's Kimberley region, 11m tides create dramatic ocean waterfalls while the same ocean movements sustain the country's oldest operating pearl farm

Our small runabout boat employs 900-horsepower to surge closer to a small gap in the cliffs, only 12m wide. Funnelling through the opening is an avalanche of white water and the boat is buffeted by powerful, swirling eddies.

It is a spectacle reminiscent of a great river gorge, but this is no river. This is the ocean and the force driving the water is none other than the tide.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 28, 2019, with the headline 'Monstrous tides of the Kimberley coast'. Print Edition | Subscribe