Day 2 - April 23, 2014 - Yampi Sound, Kimberley, Australia
By Brad Climpson, Naturalist
Coordinates: 16° 08.398’ S and 123° 40.566’ E
Temperature : 25-35 degrees Celsius
Wind : 0-5 knots
After embarking the Silver Discoverer
the previous day and steaming north away from Broome it was nice to wake up to a sunrise in the “true” Kimberley. The sun was reflecting off our first sights of 1.8 billion year old sandstone. Yampi Sound is part of a geological boundary in the Kimberley so the beautiful examples of folding in the sandstone were amazing to see. After a great breakfast where 3 Bottlenose Dolphins came to say hi next to the ship it was time to board the Zodiacs for our first cruise in the Kimberley.
In our groups we headed off on the flat calm turquoise waters of Yampi Sound for a cruise -looking at rock formations and also searching for wildlife. Ospreys were seen flying overhead scanning for their morning breakfast. Turtles popped their heads up every now and again just giving us a quick sighting before refilling their lungs and diving again. Sooty Oystercatchers, Whimbrels and Reef Egrets were also seen looking for food on the rocks close to the water’s edge.
In Yampi Sound Cockatoo and Koolan Island are mined for their high-grade Haematite. The two mines which are now being mined below sea level were seen in action throughout the morning. Large cargo ships were anchored in the bay waiting their turn to load the iron ore to be exported overseas. Flocks of Little Corellas were found on some of the smaller islands squawking and carrying on as they flew from rock to tree.
The great cruise in the morning led into a wonderful lunch, so we could refuel ourselves for the afternoon’s activities. Boarding the zodiacs again we headed up to Crocodile Creek swimming hole. The area was originally used as a place of respite for the miners on Cockatoo Island in the 60’s. The waterhole which can be filled with seawater on high spring tides was easy to access due to the neap tides experienced today. Everyone took the chance to cool off in the crystal clear waters and with the crew of the Silver Discoverer setting up a bar; it was time to relax with a cool drink.
During the afternoon various species of pigeon including the Peaceful Dove were seen flying around the waterhole. A White-bellied Sea Eagle cruised about on the thermals at the entrance to the creek, guiding our way back to the ship. Once aboard again, and after a relaxing shower had been taken, Captain Luksa held his cocktail party to officially welcome us all aboard.
This had truly been a great first day in the Kimberley!
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