The Houtman Abrolhos (often informally called the Abrolhos Islands) is a chain of 122 islands, and associated coral reefs, in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Australia. it lies about eighty kilometres (50 nm) west of Geraldton, Western Australia. It is the southernmost true coral reef in the Indian Ocean, and one of the highest latitude reef systems in the world. It is one of the world's most important seabird breeding sites and is the centre of Western Australia's largest single-species fishery, the western rock lobster fishery. It has a small seasonal population of fishermen, and a limited number of tourists are permitted for day trips, but most of the land area is off limits as conservation habitat. Only way to stay there overnight is to get an invitation from locals.
Idea to reactivate OC-211 after more than 9 years of silence didn’t come through easily. Possibly it wouldn’t happen at all without a combination lucky factors:
Celebration of 400th anniversary of Houtman Abrolhos discovery – According to the surviving historical record, the first sighting of the Houtman Abrolhos by Europeans was by the Dutch VOC ships Dordrecht and Amsterdam in 1619, only 13 years after the first authenticated voyage to Australia. Discovery of the islands was credited to Frederick de Houtman, Captain-General of the Dordrecht. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houtman_Abrolhos)
Great hospitality and willingness to help offered by Pia Boschetti
My first humble question on Abrolhos message board had been answered in 15 mins – “Yes, I will be happy to invite you to visit the islands and stay at our premises there”. And it wasn’t just politeness. The lady I was so lucky to meet – Pia Boschetti - is well known in Australia and around the world as a cultural, social and business star named “The Girl Who Grows The Pearl”.
Her family owns pearl farm at Abrolhos as well as famous Latitude Gallery to offer rare grown pearls framed to make fantastic pieces of jewellery art.
I would insist asking you to visit Latitude Gallery and not to miss a chance to visit the place and meet real artists if you’ll get a magic chance to come to Geraldton, WA.
List of different initiatives she run is long and wide. I would notice just few of them here
As part of clean up Australia Day, Latitude Gallery pioneered an annual clean up of the Abrolhos Islands, followed by a competition for locals to create a work of art from the debris. This was named by Pia as ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’ with Flotsam meaning ‘the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on or washed up by the sea’ or ‘ things that have been rejected or discarded as worthless’, AND Jetsam meaning ‘unwanted material or goods that have been thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore, especially material that has been discarded to lighten the vessel’.
Latitude Gallery donates a % of each sale of this collection to Bird Research at the Abrolhos Islands
Latitude Gallery donates pearls to the local high schools jewellery classes so they can create jewellery around the pearl. Take a look at the latest awards