I have to admit they have done a grand job of promoting the staircase, which happens three nights a lunar month when the moon is full and the tide is low. It is actually just a few tidal undulations in the mudflats looking east across Roebuck harbour. The moon rises and reflects off the mud ripples, creating a ladder effect.
Apparently the excitement this causes is related to the fact that the moon is rising from the east over water. Or mud, actually. From Darwin west it is all about sunsets over the water. Back east we have sunrise over water but people are usually in bed, still sleepy or trying to get to work to marvel at them. And anyway, it’s all about the relaxing drink. Tequila Sunrise is fine as a song title but not recommended as part of lifestyle.
I have an idea was have a lot of stairways to the moon in the east but we just don’t get excited about them the way the touters do in Broome. On our previous trips we have missed the full moon rising. This time we were on schedule to savour the spectacle.
The best thing about it was the French. We chummed up with Francois, Claudina, Pasqual and Valerie from Avignon in the Roebuck Bay caravan park and told them about the staircase. Off we went to the water with chairs, wine and beer. We proceed to have a convivial evening and, as darkness fell, walked over to join the throng at the lookout.
Clouds and bushfire smoke had been lurking all day. The moon tried to peer through but we had only a brief glimpse of a red orb. Happily waving my glass of red, I made a futile photographic foray and then enlisted the help of some young blokes. One held the wine while I tried to shoot; we swapped roles and that was a little better. Well that's dubious (above).
We wandered back with the French and had another drink. I apologised for the pathetic staircase. They didn’t care. They were happy to be chatting in broken English and my appalling French.
On their fourth trip to Australia, they were from a French 4WD club and were romping around the unpaved highways of the NT and WA in a couple of Britz motorhomes.
We went back two nights later for the moon’s last attempt for the month to build a staircase. Even more of a fizzer.
Meanwhile speculation was running rife in Broome about a massive steel-framed marquee for about 500 that had been put up in front of the luxury Cable Beach Club Resort. Friends in the accommodation business told us it was all hush-hush. The whole resort had been booked out and organisers spilled over to nearby resorts. Chefs had to sign confidentiality forms and leave their mobiles and cameras at home.
A story was out that it was a big Commonwealth Bank convention but some preferred the Brangelina wedding speculation. As the marquee came down, no announcement was made that Ange and Brad had tied the knot. Nor had anyone else famous so if you have Commonwealth Bank shares you might want to run your eye over entertainment expenses in the next balance sheet.
Broome, of course, also has expensive pearls, awkward camel rides at sunset at Cable Beach and outrageous prices for beer at the Roebuck Bay hotel. We once again passed on the pearls and ships of the desert but had to find somewhere to watch the Bledisloe Cup.
At $9 a pot, it was sort of worth it to me because the weather was conducive to drinking coldies and the All Blacks won. Tony took solace in looking at the lightly clad bar attendants as the Wallabies wobbled again.