For a few years now, I’ve sat at Town Beach Café in Broome, looking out over Roebuck Bay, not realizing that part of Australia’s history lay below the turquoise waters.
Australians remember the day the Japanese bombed Darwin. The first of these attacks took place on the 19th February, 1942  and they continued until November 1943. Other Australian towns were also the target of Japanese air attacks including Broome.
On March 3rd 1942, nine Japanese aircraft attacked fifteen flying boats that were refuelling in Roebuck Bay. These planes, belonging to Qantas, the Royal Australian Airforce, the Royal Netherlands Navy and the US Navy, were transferring mainly women and children refugees from Java to southern states of Australia.
 

Plaque commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Attack on Broome
Plaque commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the attack on Broome

 
The wrecks of these flying boats are located one kilometre from the Town Beach shore and can only be reached at low tide. As we left the shore at 6.30 in the morning, we could not see the planes but followed the trail of people out to sea.
Roebuck Bay mud flats at low tide
 
The mangroves were high in the water, their trunks and the nearby rocks exposed.
Mangrove trees in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
An early morning mist was coming in creating an eery feeling. Looking back at the shore you could easily see it approaching.
Mist coming in at Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
As mud slushed between our toes and the water got deeper, it was a race against time as the tide slowly crept in. If only we had left a half an hour earlier!
Then we saw them….silhouetted against the horizon.
 Flying boat remains exposed at low tide in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
The water had started to rise covering the lower part of the planes but most of the mud covered remains could still be seen.
 Flying boats exposed at low tide in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
 Flying boats exposed at low tide in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
 Flying boats exposed at low tide in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
We headed back towards the shore towards another plane. The tide seemed to becoming in quicker now or was it my imagination!
 Flying boats exposed at low tide in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
Closer to shore I could take my time exploring the ocean floor and the small creatures that could now be seen.
Two turtles had been caught by the receding waters and were now waiting for the tide to take them back to sea.
Turtle in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
Small green worms could be seen scurrying along the sand, sand slugs slid by, molluscs lay open on the sand and many different coloured seaweeds decorated the sea floor.I particularly loved the small ones that looked like a miniature cactus forest.
Low tide exposes small sea creatures in Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
Coffee and breakfast awaited us at the Town Beach Cafe where we watched the mist reappear and the tide bring the water come closer to shore, swallowing the mangroves.
Mist over Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
Mist over Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
Tide comes in at Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
 
Tide comes in engulfing the mangroves at Roebuck Bay, Broome
 
Twice a day these tides can rise and fall by up to nine metres creating an ever-changing view of Roebuck Bay.
 
 
This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Pop over and see the other other contributions.