Past President John Tuckey was very pleased and proud to introduce his son Bryne Tuckey to the Club meeting of 16th January.
Bryne is employed by the Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures company, and is to tell the meeting a little about this award-winning tourist operation
Bryne began his presentation with a slide show describing his work with the Horizontal Falls Tour Company. Bryne has been with the Company for almost 8 years, and thoroughly enjoys his multi-faceted role.

Described by David Attenborough as “Australia’s most unusual natural wonder", Horizontal Falls is a natural phenomenon that is as intriguing as it is stunning. In the turquoise water of Talbot Bay, the fast moving tidal current squeezes through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range, pushing the water into rapid like formations which rush through the twin gaps at an astonishing rate, producing waterfalls turned on their side.

Image result for horizontal falls imagesThe Horizontal Falls

The powerful tides in the Kimberley can reach more than 10 metres and the direction of the flow reverses ensuring the water flows two different ways each day. 

Located in the Buccaneer Archipelago this unique waterfall is not accessible by vehicle. The visitor can view the Horizontal Falls from the air with a scenic flight from Broome or Derby almost all year round. Or, the visitor can get up close with an extended boat cruise from Port Hedland, or to visit by sea-plane, landing at the Horizontal Falls and then hold on tight as the visitor takes a thrilling boat ride through the rushing water torrents. The Falls are located due north of Derby and approximately 45 minutes by sea-plane from Derby or 60 minutes from Broome.

While tidal movements occur all year round, tour operators can advise on the best times to view the falls, as some times are better than others to get the full impact of the rushing waters. The Horizontal Falls Tour Company's tours generally only operate on the large tides so the low neap tides gives a welcome rest to the Company staff at half moons for 3 days during each lunar cycle.

The slides displayed the magnificent scenery and power of the huge tidal movement.
In the Kimberley area the tidal moves about 11m twice a day, and the huge volume of water has to squeeze through two small gaps into, and out of, landlocked bays. The smaller gap is only 7 metres wide, while the larger is 20 metres wide. The water is approximately 40 metres deep. The difference in height between the water levels on either side of the gap creates the force of water entering or leaving the falls. The rate of water flow at its fastest can be around 30 knots (approximately 55 km/hour) which explains the need for a boat with very powerful engines to be used in the tour operation.
Image result for horizontal falls imagesThe difference in water level is clearly seen as a tourist boat prepares to enter the falls

The tour operation has three sea-planes to ferry tourists in and out. The three helicopters based on-site give the visitor best views of the landscape as well as access to areas previously unreachable. The tours provided by the Company include visits to the Falls, scenic cruises along Cyclone Creek, and the opportunity to feed a number of "resident pet" Tawny Nurse Sharks. The tours include meals which feature freshly sourced seafood.

During the busy months of June to August the Company can cater for 200 people a day.

The operation has been running 13 years starting from humble beginnings, and is now a large operation. Large houseboats linked to pontoons provide some accomodation for the visitor who choses to enjoy a longer visit to this spectacular place.
Image result for horizontal falls imagesHorizontal Falls Houseboats and Pontoons
The Company also operates a number of  land-based tours up the coast to Cape Leveque using purpose-built vehicles.

The Company's staff do work long hours with early starts and shifts can occasionally stretch to 14 hours.

The major reef system here is the Montgomery Reef which covers approximately 400 square kilometres.  It is located some 20 kilometeres off-shore, and is around 80 kilometres in length. It is Australia's largest in-shore reef. When the tides drop away large areas of reef are exposed and the retreating water becomes a series of waterfalls. Deep holes in the reef trap marine life and are a haven for many different species.
Image result for montgomery reefs imagesMontgomery Reef at Sunset
Brett Mercer thanked Bryne for his enlightening presentation on tour operation and spellbinding scenery.
A number of Club Members advised Bryne they are happy to volunteer to work onsite for "board and lodging". Bryne regrettfully informed the meeting that the waiting list of volunteers has now over 10,000 names.