Weather: Sunny with Haze
Air Temperature: 34ºC
Pressure: 1008 hPa
Wind: calm, 1 knots
Before sunrise all members of the expedition team, guests and crew gathered on Deck 7, our top deck, to commemorate ANZAC Day. It was a beautiful service with the guests sharing a war story. As this was my first ANZAC Day experience it was very moving to see how Australians celebrate this part of their history.
As the sun continued to rise we prepared the Zodiacs for a real expedition-day. For the first time ever we got the opportunity to explore Prince Regent River by Zodiac, and the “King Cascades” were our target. Soon our adventure began!
There was a beautiful sunrise while we were cruising up the Prince Regent River in the Zodiacs. The Prince Regent starts as a wide river mouth with mangroves on each side. Soon after we had entered the river we did spot some wildlife: a young crocodile lying on a sandstone rock ledge to warm up. The crocodile was not paying any attention and everyone was able take lots of photos.
After ascending up the Prince Regent River for 20 nautical miles(!), I turned my Zodiac into a small bay at starboard. In front of our Zodiac an impressive waterfall appeared: one main cataract and several smaller waterfalls to each side flowing over a sandstone front into the bay, surrounded by mangrove trees. We had finally arrived at the “King Cascades”.
The luck was still with us as we encountered another young crocodile in the water -its length approximately 1.6 meters. We observed it for a while.
Because it was a nice warm day we were enjoying the waterfalls. One after the other, each Zodiac was driven into the waterfalls, and refreshing splashes of water were dropping down on us inside the Zodiacs. What fun!
On our way back to the Silver Discoverer we did a second stop at Camp Creek to have a swim this time. I navigated the Zodiac up the billabong towards a rock at its end. After a short walk a bath was our reward. All Zodiacs were back at the Silver Discoverer at noon.
In the afternoon a second premiere was on our schedule. The captain anchored the Silver Discoverer near Careening Bay -to touch history. The Zodiac-shuttle took us to the site of an ancient carved Boab tree.
In 1820, while Philipp Parker King was surveying the North West Coast of Australia, King and his men were forced to land at what was later called Careening Bay –as they had to careen their vessel- and carved “HMC Mermaid 1820” (HMC = Her Majesty Cutter) into a nearby Boab tree. That very tree is still alive today and is protected officially under Australian law as a historical tree.
Several displays illustrate the facts of this important point of Australian history. We took the impressions with us in our minds while going back by Zodiac during a beautiful red sunset.
Dawn to dusk – a real expedition-day finally came to an end as we arrived back at the Silver Discoverer.