Kununurra felt like a steamy soup when we arrived back in mid January. Continuous days of heat and building humidity. We lived with the hope that this was the ‘Wet Season’ – a weather pattern which would deliver storms and rain every day bringing relief from the constant temperatures. In late November and December we experienced a couple of spectacular storms which had me asking the locals ‘Is this the Wet yet’? This is the annual question when the build-up becomes unbearable and everyone seek reassurance that the first sprinkle heralds the beginning of The Wet. Storms are a big event in the Kimberley – they commence with a build in pressure as the cumulus clouds pile ever higher and darken to pitch. Its all drama in Act 1. when lightening begins to flash and thunder rolls and rumbles. In Act 2, enter the wind followed by the first heavy drops of rain. All is resolved in Act 3 when the rain buckets and the temperature drops bringing great relief to the overheated audience.
The locals say that this is not a normal wet season ( I suppose that locals everywhere are saying this about the climate). We are often being teased by the build to a storm which passes, leaving just a sniff of rain and no decrease in temperature. And yet the countryside is verdant and the vibrant red ochre of the mountains and plateaus in the dry season has been hidden under a carpet of green.
When we do have rain, the creeks and rivers rapidly fill and water again falls over escarpments. Too much rain, and the dirt roads turn to mud and all this beauty the wet sows becomes inaccessible (to us).
The hash beauty that we experienced in the dry season softens; frogs and lizards are in abundance and the distinctive boab, the symbol of the Kimberley, is lost under a wig of leaves and fruit.
And yet the abundance of nature in The Wet is not reflected with what we can purchase in the supermarket. In fact, the roads can become impassable and the shelves become empty …..no fresh food.Even the meat, dairy and bakery were depleted after the cyclone on the Pilbara Coast last week.
Long may it Rain!!