Silver Discoverer: Darwin to Broome

 

 

Day 1 - May 2, 2014 -  Darwin, Western Australia 

 

Darwin Harbour was named after Charles Darwin himself by Wickham and Stokes, two of his former shipmates from the Beagle. They had become important explorers and charterers of the Kimberley coast and they were the ones who discovered the large natural harbour we were floating in. We will hear more of them later in the voyage, no doubt.

 


(read more)

     
 

Day 2 - May 3, 2014 - Day at Sea

This morning we woke to a light breeze and flat calm seas as we steadily made our crossing over the Timor Sea. There were a few people up on deck early this morning, and we were fortunate to witness a pod of around 50 Spinner Dolphins putting on an acrobatic display only meters from the ship. The dolphins were leaping out of the water one after the other, doing backflips and performing a characteristic ‘spinning’ display for which they are renowned.


(read more)

     
 

Day 3 - May 4, 2014 - En Route to Wyndham

I attended the first lecture of the day delivered by our Expedition Leader Mick Fogg. His presentation entitled “Stories in Stone” proved to be a comprehensive overview of the aboriginal art styles unique to the Kimberley area, including Wandjina, Bradshaw and contact art styles. After just enough time to grab another stimulating cup of coffee, I was attentive and ready for the next lecture of the morning.


(read more)

     
 

Day 4 - May 5, 2014 - Wyndham

Perhaps the highlight of the trip for many was the view of the bee hive like structures of the Bungle Bungle Ranges. Found in Purnululu National Park whose name comes from the Kija people of the area and refers to the sandstone structures found here. The Bungle Bungle Ranges reach elevations of 578 metres and the wonderful structures have been formed from a plateau of sandstone being eroded away over millions of years.


(read more)

     
 

Day 5 - May 6, 2014 - Koolama Bay, King George River, Kimberley

It was a very beautiful morning when we were ascending the King George River. At the river mouth we looked out for birds and other wildlife. We were able to spot a couple of oystercatcher. The day was just beautiful -very good light and clear blue sky with mild temperatures during the early morning. The surface of the water was like a mirror, reflecting the gorge’s walls on the surface of the river.


(read more)

     
 

Day 6 - May 7, 2014 - Swift Bay, Kimberley

Fellow naturalist Malcolm Turner and I did a search of the rock art sites first, checking for wildlife such as snakes. Although we didn’t find any snakes, we did find a Coastal Sheath-tailed Bat and a type of cave-dwelling gecko which interested us greatly. However, it wasn’t until that evening checking the various identification books that we realised we may have discovered a completely new species!


(read more)

     
 

Day 7 - May 8, 2014 - Naturalist Island and Hunter River, Kimberley

It did not take long before I spotted something swimming in the distance and as I got closer I could see it was a small crocodile heading towards the mangroves. As we slowed down we were surprised to see it stop and swim slowly towards the zodiac and then stop only meters away. I could not believe that after only ten minutes out we had spotted our first croc, and for it to be just floating in the water only meters away. It was as interested in us as we were with it ...


(read more)

     
 

Day 8 - May 9, 2014 - Prince Regent River & Kings Cascades

On our way back to Silver Discoverer we passed young sunning crocodiles and turned into Camp Creek and nosed to a cascade of fresh water flowing from a billabong at its end. We met the short cruise group at the falls and were regaled with the excited news that they had seen a huge flock of corellas (a cockatoo species) in the mangroves and the rare and elusive Kimberley Chook (Chestnut Rail). Some of our party moaned with envy but that's the luck of an expedition.


(read more)

     
 

Day 9 - May 10, 2014 - Freshwater Cove/Langgi

Some of the most beautiful pieces of artwork I have seen, many of them painted by the men and women we had just met on the beach. The canvases ranged in price from $600-$5000, but still only a fraction of the price you would expect to pay in a gallery at a large town or city. Donny Woolagoodga, the Traditional Owner of the region, gave us a brief introduction to the area and shared some stories from the Dreamtime. A welcome ceremony was performed, and everybody had their faces painted with ochre, the same ingredient used for the canvas and rock paintings.


(read more)

     
 

Day 10 - May 11, 2014 -  Yampi Sound 

 

We woke up this morning to perfectly calm conditions with a mirror-like sea. The combination of still air and the low tides meant the visibility into the water was amazing. This was soon to play into our hands as we enjoyed breakfast and anticipated our last Zodiac expedition of the voyage.  As we headed off into these turquoise waters of Yampi Sound we soon came across a group of inshore bottlenose dolphins in a glorious mood. They were socialising and milling on the surface and we all had some incredible interactions.

 


(read more)