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Point Samson

Point Samson and the nearby town of Wickham are part of a series of towns in the Shire of Roebourne that make up an area with a population of more than 20,000. Other towns include Karratha, Roebourne, and Dampier. The area is rich in tourist attractions with the Millstream National Park and Karijini National Park in relatively close proximity (at least by Australian Outback standards). The main attraction for trailer sailers is the Dampier Archipelago, a group of 42 islands. Most of the archipelago is better accessed from Dampier but Port Samson does give easier access to Delambre and Legendre Islands, with access to the Burrup Peninsula.

Launching

There is an excellent 2 lane facility situated in the Point Samson Small Boat Harbour at John's Creek. The ramp is usable in all and offers protection from all  breezes via a rock wall. However, our experiences suggest that the marked channel entrance to the harbour is only suitable for the top half of the tide. A strong outflow from John's Creek into a mod/fresh Easterly is also to be avoided as the waves can form small breakers. Care also needs to be taken with the large number of sizeable commercial craft using the harbour. 

Shopping

Little shopping is available in Point Samson itself. There is a very small store near the tavern. A large supermarket is available in Wickham and full shopping facilities, including some well stocked marine service shops, are available in Karratha, approximately 40kms away.

Accommodation

Point Samson has two caravan parks. The older one, attached to the store and tavern, is often full. The Cove Caravan Park is fairly new and very well appointed. We highly recommend it.

There is also an extensive camping area at Cleaverville, approximately 25km East of Karratha. Small fees are collected daily by a camp supervisor. Both spots are suitable for boat trailers.  The 13km access road is gravel but is always very well maintained.

Tides

The tides at Port Samson can be up to 5 metres so the day revolves around tidal movement when cruising the archipelago. With the abundance of rock and coral to be found, accurate assessment of depth when selecting an overnight anchorage is essential.  We also found it necessary to take into account the direction of tidal flow when planning a sailing leg. We encountered some quite nasty seas when sailing with wind and tide opposed and some unusually flat seas when the tide ran in tandem with even a fresh breeze.  The charts warn of some large tidal rips between Delambre and Legendre Island.

Seasonal Winds/Climate

Summer is the calmer time of the year (cyclones excepted) but a close watch needs to be kept on all low pressure systems. These can generate some serious localised storms, best avoided. The heat is also a consideration. The early part of Winter (May to June) will give the best weather, with cooler temperatures and light to moderate South Easterlies rather than the fresh to strong South Easterlies of the mid to late Winter. The dry season (Winter) wind patterns are controlled by the flow of High pressure systems across the Great Australian Bight. A High setting in the Bight brings a strong pressure gradient across the Pilbara and fresh winds which reach a peak around noon and ease  in the mid to late afternoon. To break this pattern, look for a strong front coming through to the South. A front as far North as Shark Bay or even Exmouth can produce several days of light winds and ideal "easy cruising" weather but watch for the over enthusiastic front that pushes the rain as far North as Dampier.

Features

This list is by no means complete, being limited to a brief 3 day sail .

Point Samson - launch from John's Creek

Cape Lambert - some restricted areas. Keep well clear of the iorn ore loading wharf and ship movements. Watch and observe tug movements.

Bezout Island - reef on Eastern and Southern sides. Care is needed with navigating between Bezout and Cape Lambert on anything less than 3/4 tide. Charts show as unsurveyed and we found some shoal areas.

Delambre Island - Some good sand areas and sand beaches on both Eastern and Western sides. Extensive reef on South West corner. Rocky cliffs on Northern end. Surrounded by drying depths at low tide. Beautiful corals and lots of sea life, including nesting turtles.

Dixon Island - Port Robinson at Western end gives shallow but protected sanctuary. No real depth between island and mainland. Some aquaculture floats close in on Northern side.

Cossack - Entrance channel starts out at Jarman Island (with lighthouse). Heavily silted but can provide a useful calm anchorage and a chance to explore the historic ruins.