Augustus Island, at the northern end of Camden Sound, is one of the largest islands on the Kimberley coast. The island measures 22km by 16km at its widest point, with a total landmass of 190km². Surrounded by an extensive sandy reef at the northen end, the interior is mainly comprised of a quartzite sandstone, with deep fissures which offer shelter to the Narbalek or Little Rock-Wallaby (Petrogale concinna). The Narbalek was considered the smallest rock wallaby until the discovery of the Monjon in 1978.
At the northern end of Augustus Island is a massive sandy reef with deep tidal pools. This sandy reef complex supports a diverse coral assemblage, which in turn supports a variety of marine life including fish,Cushion stars, Giant clams and Featherstars. Cusion stars (Culchita sp.) are found in a rainbow of colour forms, with the appearance of a tapestry pincushion; their thick, globular form and calcified body walls makes them a difficult meal.
These reef systems also provide shelter for the region’s Humpback whales. The cows find shelter from the bulls behind islands and reefs in the warm, tropical waters, with the water temperature in Camden Sound in late August a balmy 26.5° c, compared with 22°c in Broome. The water temperature earlier in the season in June/July ranged from 16°c along Eighty Mile Beach to 24°c in Camden Sound.
Augustus Island is now part of the newly gazetted Camden Sound Marine Park.
All images taken with a Canon 14mm ll f2.8 L series lens. © Richard Costin | Kimberley Media 2012.