Adjoining the Buccaneer Archipelago to the north and Dugong Bay to the south, Talbot Bay is defined by stunning geological features including the Horizontal Waterfalls, the dramatic, vertiginous cliffs of Cyclone Creek, and the fascinating marine province of Turtle Reef, one of the largest reefs on the Kimberley coast which joins Molema Island to the mainland. Turtle Reef has recently received recognition in the marine science community with the publication of a new paper by Dr Barry Wilson, for the mechanism by which its corals cope with unusual turbidity .
The water is very far from clear and oceanic—it’s turbid and the light doesn’t penetrate far. It’s not the sort of environment [conventional] corals require, yet we’ve got this prolific growth of corals.
Dr Barry Wilson 2011 ALthough corals are know to survive at a depth of 60 metres in clear oceanic waters, Dr Wilson found corals as deep as 20 metres in turbid, muddy conditions in Talbot Bay, a landlocked gulf with a tidal flow of nearly 11 metres. Approximately 70% of the Talbot Bay corals are common to Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef and the remaining 30% are probably found in Indonesia’s Maluku province.
In January 2013, Colin Barnett, the Premier of Western Australia announced that Talbot Bay and Dugong Bays would become part of a new 3,000km² Kimberley Marine Park (Class A), also taking in Dugong, Collier and Doubtful bays and Walcott Inlet. Horizontal Falls Marine Park will be a multiple use marine park, including providing ongoing opportunities for recreational fishing and tourism, managed in conjunction with Traditional Owners. Final zoning is yet to be determined. Perth based company Pegasus Metals have plans to mine copper in a strike zone in Talbot Bay.