Photo: Apertunity

Photo Diary: Dirk Hartog Island by Sebastian Hartog

My journey of discovery to Dirk Hartog Island.

Film producer Sebastian Hartog is a first generation Australian living in Coolangatta born of Dutch parents. Sebastian is a Dirk Hartog ancestor and has been making plans to trace his family heritage for a while.

My father was born in Curacao in the Dutch Antilles and my mother The Hague, the Netherlands. I have one brother currently residing in Austria and it was with him that we hatched the plan in 2008 to re-trace Dirk Hartog’s voyage that landed him on the west coast of Australia (the then named Terra Australus Incognito) in 1616.

October 25 2016 commemorates the 400th year anniversary of Dirk Hartog landing in WA. This anniversary spurs the homage to my Hartog heritage that has inspired me to embark on this journey to seek out my ancestors steps and explore one of the more mysterious and spectacular regions of the Australian coastline.

Day One: Steep Point

I awoke at our campsite at Australia’s most westerly point “Steep Point” to a beautiful day and ocean passage across to Dirk Hartog Island in the distance. I can’t believe how close I am to this historical island and returning 400 years later to experience it.

We reached the island after a short barge ride across south passage. I am so excited touching down on the island at Cape Ransonnet I have goose bumps.

Day One: Dirk Hartog Homestead

We arrive at the Dirk Hartog homestead to a tour by Robby the lodge manager about the history of the homestead. We meet Kieran Wardle the owner and settle in to our super comfy accommodation for the night. The view from the homestead is amazing crystal clear water and sandy beaches on our doorstep.

Day One: Blowholes

We head over to check out Surf Point and come across the hugest Osprey nest and to our delight had live chicks in it so we keep our distance. No surf but we soak up the raw Beauty of this section of the island.

Next was the blowholes which we observed atop 100 m cliffs and still scored a good spraying from the crashing surf.

Day One: Dunes

Kieran takes us on a guided four-wheel-drive tour via massive sand dunes to watch the sunset and enjoy a drink at Herald Heights cliffs. This is the first of many epic sunsets on the Island.

Day Two: Cape Inscription

The next morning we drive the scenic 64kms to the north end of the island to Cape Inscription – the location Dirk Hartog and crew first set foot on 400 years ago on October 25 1616.

The 4wd tracks are easy to navigate and the trip is filled with some of the rawest scenic landscapes I have ever seen. It is literally bay after bay of postcard quality at every corner.

We drive through more dramatic sand dunes while hugging the coast and stop by the stunning locations of Stowk’s Cove, Isolation Lake, Withnell Point and the pink salts of Rose de Freycinet Lakes before having our minds absolutely blown by the vista of Turtle Bay.

We end our day at Cape Inscription visiting the lighthouse and the Dirk Hartog memorial plaque.  My feelings are excitement and emotional awe at the scene of this dramatic location. I have a real sense of pride that my Dutch bloodline actually first set foot on Western Australia at Cape Inscription 400 years ago.

Day Two: Urchin Point Camp

Before dark Jake, our drone photographer jumps in the ocean and catches our dinner of baldchin groper. We then drive 6km’s around the corner to camp at Urchin Point so we can get a surf in the morning and explore more of the amazing Dirk Hartog Island.

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