Pearl of the South: Discovering the Rowley Shoals

The Kimberley

Australia is the largest island-country that is surrounded by numerous water bodies from every corner of its land borders. With the abundance of natural water resources, the country is home to some of the best underwater sights in the world. Among these is the largest unspoiled coral reef: Rowley Shoals.

Situated just on the opposite side of the country from the Great Barrier Reef, this best-kept secret coral reef has more than 200 species of coral and 600 species of fish. This pear-shaped atoll is divided into three areas: Mermaid Reef, Clerke Reef (Minstrel Shoal), and Imperieuse Reef.

In the north-eastern part lies the Mermaid Reef, which has a large lagoon surrounded by coral rim. Southwest of it is the Clerke Reef, an atoll with detached coral patches and steeply rises from the ocean floor. On the far south-western part, meanwhile, lies the Imperieuse Reef. It has two lagoons that contain many coral patches, and a large portion of its reef falls dry because of low water.

Brief History of its Names

According to history books, Rowley Shoals got its name from Captain Phillip Parker King who named it in honour of Captain Rowley, the first person to lay sight on the coral reefs. He also named the three individual atolls. The Mermaid reef is from his ship HMS Mermaid; the Clerke Reef is from Captain Clerke who first reported it; and Imperieuse Reef is from the name of Captain Rowley’s ship, HMS Imperieuse.

Promoting Tourism

It was in 1977 when the authorities opened a portion of the shoal for tourism. Boats from Broome charted people for both fishing and diving expeditions in the coral reefs and surrounding areas. Since then, it acquired its title as one of Australia’s marine treasures and among the most pristine in the world.

Discovering the riches of the sea is one of the outdoor activities you should try to experience. Here at The Great Escape Charter Company, we offer 5 and 7 night live aboard trips to the Rowley Shoals during November each year. Contact us now and book your way to the great seas on the Indian Ocean in Western Australia where extraordinary adventure awaits you and your companions.