I arrived in Broome airport, which was essentially one room, to a tropical climate distinctly different to anything else I had observed in our time in Australia.
Here I was driven to the pier (the bay of this tropical turquoise sea was shaped like a pearl) where i had to hand over my passport for security reasons and I was then greeted by Rick Williams who headed up the pearling operation aboard the flagship boat ‘Paspaley 4’
The ship was like a small cruise liner with state of the art technology and the team on board ran a sophisticated operation all in a bid to produce the world’s finest pearls.
The location is one of the most pristine environments in the world, selected for the best feeding waters for the shells. Every three weeks of their two year cycle the oysters are cleaned to ensure they are healthy.
The care taken when handling the oysters is testament to the level of care it takes to increase the yield for the prized south sea pearls. Constantly kept in fast moving water to simulate the current even when they on the ship, the level of husbandry afforded to these shells is second to none.
Tim shared with me that only 3% of the annual yield are top grade pearls and he told us of the constant refinement of the process…adapting continuously, striving for that extra 1% of difference.
Everyone aboard the paspaley 4 is passionate about Pearling and they spend 9 months at a time stationed out at sea proudly caring for the Oysters and it is this level of care that makes the all important difference.