Day 2 - May 13, 2014 - Yampi Sound, Kimberley, Australia
By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist
Co-ordinates: S 16º08.828’, E 123º39.532’
Air Temperature: 30ºC
Pressure: 1006 hPa
Wind: 5 knots
After our embarkation-day in Broome, this was the first proper day of our “Kimberley and Lesser Sunda Islands” Expedition and quite an introduction to the Kimberley region of Western Australia. This is an area I had wanted to visit for many years and it did live up to my expectations.
Having sailed overnight from Broome - our turnaround port -we sailed early in the morning into Yampi Sound. The weather was sunny and magnificent and even early in the morning the temperatures were already reaching 30ºC.
Disembarkation started at about 8:30 for a Zodiac cruise of Yampi Sound, Nares Point and the Koolan Canal. We set off and the first stop was made to have a look at the rocks. You cannot go wrong with that… The rock formations of the Kimberley, and particularly the sandstone, are one of the more characteristic traits of its natural history. The red color produced by the iron oxide along its surface creates a stark contrast with the deep blue of the sky above and the aquamarine of the sea below.
We cruised along the coastline and found (besides great rocks and geological folds) Osprey, Brahminy Kites and White-bellied Sea Eagles, not to mention Eastern Reef Egrets (commonly known as Pacific Reef Herons) and a few swallows.
There was also a huge termite mound and as we approached Nares point we started seeing the massive iron ore mine of Koolan Island. Along the Koolan canal we saw some Bottle-nose dolphins and as we approached it turned out they were very friendly and cooperative. We drove around as the pod (about 10 dolphins) delighted us as they went bow and wake riding. Great show! Some guests also had the opportunity to see Rock wallabies.
We then returned to Silver Discoverer and I promptly got ready to go scouting in Crocodile Creek. This swimming hole is a popular destination in the area and one of the few places where you can safely go for a swim -it is crocodile-free. Salt water crocodiles abound in these waters and Crocodile Creek, as counter intuitive as it may sound, has no crocodiles. The reason is simple. The huge tidal range reaches the pool only at high tide, but as soon as the tide starts to drop the landing site becomes a waterfall and as we all know, crocodiles are not known for their climbing abilities…
We started shuttling guests over to Crocodile Creek and they all had a great time swimming in the refreshing waters and playing in the waterfall that fed the swimming hole. In true Silversea style, the hotel department had set up a bar next to the swimming hole. Nice! Interestingly enough, as I dove down the approximately 5 meters depth of the pool, I came across a very steep thermocline and the water went from nice and fresh to quite cold and not only that but it also had a great number of Jelly fish. These non-stinging Jelly fish live in this lens of salt water that is stuck under the fresh water -quite a small world for those Jelly fishes… although they are not fish.
By mid-afternoon we sailed and our guests had an opportunity to enjoy a leisurely half afternoon at sea. Our expedition leader Mick commenced the lecture program with a very informative talk on the geography, geology and tides of the Kimberley region. This was followed by our daily Recap & Briefing and the Captain´s Welcome Cocktail and dinner.
This had been a wonderful first day in the Kimberley. Looking forward to tomorrow in Talbot Bay!
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