Montgomery Reef, to the south of Yawajaba Island in the Kimberley
Region of Western Australia, is subject of one of the most significant
and unusual tidal movements in the world. It is an extraordinary
panorama of vast lagoons, tiny sandstone islets and a central mangrove
island - but only when the tide is out.
Arriving by charter boat or by tourist cruiser to the area at high
water, you drop anchor in what appears to be an endless ocean. As the
tide falls right before your eyes, along a navigable channel running
deep into the eastern reef, a stunning horizon of white water rapids is
created. Suddenly, a loud, raging torrent of water erupts around you as
Montgomery Reef appears to rise out of the ocean.
You find yourself in a narrow channel sinking slowly below the
horizon. Contained by reef walls on both sides all you can see is the
'rooster tail' effect as the water cascades off the reef to the river
forming below. What started out as a nice spot for a cuppa becomes a
raging river as the waters rush past your vessel to battle its way out
into open water.
What you are witnessing is the power of the immense Kimberley tidal
movements which literally create daily hundreds of waterfalls cascading
off the reef and a massive lagoon as the boat lowers almost up to 10
metres with the natural drop of sea level. 300 sq. kms of surrounding
reef become exposed with natural cascades forming as trapped surface
water rushes off the reef top.
Montgomery Reef offers a spectacular array of marine life. Here you
may see whales, dolphins, dugong, turtles, manta rays and the black
tipped reef shark continually patrolling the reef ledges.
Montgomery Reef was named by Phillip Parker King after Andrew Montgomery, the the surgeon on his survey vessel, Mermaid.