Follow The Voyage: The Kimberley Cruise
Broome to Broome | 23 March 2022 – 2 April 2022
Master: Jacopo Barchetti, Expedition Leader: Ashleigh Peters, Assistant Expedition Leader: Ilana Archer-Ebdon Expedition Crew: Christina Schwartz & Adam Woolcott Guest Lecturers: Greg Watson & Terry Done
Day 1: Departing Broome
23 March 2022
Guests arrived at the Broome Civic Centre for SailSAFE check-in and screening. They enjoyed the aircon whilst the nurse checked temperatures and the paperwork. Ashleigh gave the guests a little briefing about the next day’s activities whilst waiting for the RAT’s results to come through and all the guests started to get excited about the upcoming journey. Once the all-clear was given from the RATS and the Nurse everyone boarded the buses and we made our way to Coral Geographer.
Greeted by Captain Jacopo Barchetti and the hospitality staff, guests were shown their cabins and got acquainted with the ship. We then departed Broome and enjoyed the views as we set off for our adventure through the Kimberley.
The safety briefing was conducted up in the bridge deck lounge and dinner was announced shortly after.
Dinner was enjoyed by all, before retiring early after a long and full day.
Day 2: Banggoon (Hidden Island)
24 March 2022
Guests started the day with a lovely buffet breakfast enjoying beautiful views of the Kimberley coast as they dined. Guests were then invited up to the Bridge Deck Lounge where Ashleigh introduced her wonderful Expedition team and Guest Lecturers.
Terry Done delivered his introduction to the Kimberley presentation where he gave an overview of the geology and ecology along this coastline. Eager and ready everyone boarded the explorer for the first excursion of the trip around hidden and through whirlpool pass. Wairu nosed the Explorer up to the reef which was still out of the water and an array of corals and anemones were visible for the guests. Up above soaring over the cliffs an Osprey with prey in his claws was hanging around and a number of Eastern Reef Egrets made an appearance as well. We made our way across to Seal Rocks and the impressive Elge Silstone where guests enjoyed a very scenic cruise in awe of these rock formations and honeycomb weathering. To finish off the excursion Wairu took us back to the notorious Whirlpool Pass where the explorer spun and whirled in the impressive tidal flows.
In the afternoon guests scurried around the ship completing the Coral Geographer treasure hunt, collecting all sorts of objects and getting snaps with the crew which then followed shortly after with purser Josh’s wonderful wine tasting. Guests enjoyed an array of wines paired with canapes whilst learning a few interesting facts about wine and how it can be enjoyed.
Soon enough sunset had arrived and Captain Jacopo Barchetti invited all the guests up to the Bridge Deck Bar for his welcome drinks whilst looking out over the beautiful Talbot Bay. Dinner was served at 1900 and afterward, guests were invited up to the Bridge Deck Lounge once again to enjoy the documentary BBC Coast Australia (The Kimberley) before retiring to their cabins for the evening.
Day 3: Talbot Bay – Cyclone Creek & Horizontal Falls
25 March 2022
An early rise for Coral Geographer as guests set out on a sunrise cruise in search of the local Rock Wallaby. Yushi our wonderful skipper puttered along the rock wall and to our delight two Wallabies were spotted just at waters edge hoping through the rocks. The weather picked up and we had a squall come through creating a moody set over Talbot Bay as we returned to Coral Geographer where breakfast was waiting.
Mid morning the much awaited Horizontal Waterfalls rides began. Guests whipped through on zodiacs as our talented skippers navigated the wide gap and ripping tide. Excited and grinning ear to ear guests then rejoined in the dining room and chatted amongst each other over lunch about the exciting adrenaline-filled morning they just had.
The explorer once again set off on another adventure, this time through Cyclone Creek. Here guests witnessed billions of years of rock formations, some twisting and buckling and creating an absolutely striking backdrop. Guest Lecturer Terry gave a wonderful overview on Geology filling everyone’s minds with so much knowledge. Just when you thought we had seen it all, Adam spotted a male crocodile lying under an overhanging rock thermo regulating. Guests were absolutely thrilled getting many snaps whilst our passionate guest lecturer Greg talked all things Crocs!
Back on the ship, guests got comfortable and had time to relax briefly before heading up to the Bridge Deck Lounge for Greg’s talk ‘Beyond Birdwatching’ where he explains common fundamentals in the structure form and function that allows even new birdwatchers a much greater insight into their quarry than just simple identification.
Pre dinner drinks were held in the Bridge Deck Lounge Bar and dinner was available soon after. After dinner Adam invited the guests up to the Bridge Deck Lounge for the showing of the Rabbit Proof Fence.
Day 4: Bigge & Winyalkin
26 March 2022
The morning started off with a lovely sleep-in and then breaky at 0800 before guests were invited down to the Explorer to depart on their first art excursion over to Bigge Island. With a lovely moody setting from a rolling storm in the background, guests arrived at the beautiful beach where they split into two groups. One group led by Terry went on the longer walk up a little rock ledge and through a wee gap before looking out over the bay and over an old Ceremonial site which then lead through some mangroves and over the hill where they meet up with the other group who stayed at the art and beach. There in these beautiful cave-like systems guests were greeted with a wonderful array of rock art. Adam lead a little beach comb along the foreshore for those interested and saw many tracks for turtles, monjons and an olive python track. The explorer then picked us back up and we headed over to Cathedral Cave which is only accessible when we have a very low tide. Guests got lost in this astounding cave system taking lots of photos and exploring through before they re-boarded the explorer to head back to the ship.
After lunch guests were invited up for a relaxing afternoon of board game’s which then followed with the next excursion across to Winialkyn and Wollaston Island. Guests walked up through the gaps in rocks and then navigated through the grass which lead up to an overlaying cave system that was filled with impressive aboriginal artwork. Guests were in absolute awe soaking up all the beautiful pieces of work.
With a quick transfer back to the ship to change into something, new guests were taken across to Verandah Beach where the wonderful hospitality staff was waiting for them with drinks and canapes. The sunset over the Kimberley produced amazing reds and oranges in the sky and onto the red rocks above. Delighted with the day guest then enjoyed a delightful dinner before heading up to the Bridge Deck Lounge for the movie tracks.
Day 5: Vansittart Bay
27 March 2022
The morning started a little earlier. Guests were invited to their breakfast at 0715 stealing glances at the glassy water in Vansittart Bay as they dined.
Everyone made their way down to the explorer and we all set across to Jar island which is well known for its Gwion art galleries. The group split in two and each went to one of the sites where Greg and Terry talked about the fascinating figures and stories taking the guests back in time before they swapped to see the other sight.
Everyone re-boarded the explorer and Wairu navigated his way round to the back of Jar island where Paspaley pearl farm lies. Greg did a marvelous job of explaining the history of the pearling industry and how they seed and grow them before half the group got off on the beach and had a little mangrove wander with Terry. The others stayed on the explorer and looked out for wildlife around the bays spotting whiptail rays, sharks, squid and many species of fish.
After a delightful morning on Jar, guests enjoyed a delicious lunch back on the ship before retiring to their cabins for an after-lunch siesta.
In the afternoon everyone gathered down on the explorer and across to the Anjo Peninsula where the DC3 wreck is laying just beyond the mudflats. Here guests heard the tale of the flight that had to force-land here after running out of fuel after going miles off course on their way to Broome. In the area, the bug life and plant life were abundant with lots of little critters to showcase to guests as well as the great Boab tree.
Back to the ship, Terry presented his talk on the “Mysteries of the Kimberley Rock art” Guests learned about the different styles, how the ages had been determined and some mysteries surrounding some enigmatic images.
In the evening guests were treated to pre-dinner drinks on the Vista deck followed by a delicious BBQ that the wonderful hospitality staff cooked for them. A huge storm brewed just off the coast giving the guests a spectacular evening light show along with a glorious sunset. Another wonderful day in the Kimberley!
Day 6: King George River
28 March 2022
A wonderful morning starting with a delightful buffet before guests eagerly boarded the explorer to set off to the long-awaited Oomari – King George and the Falls.
The explorer stopped in various bays on the way up, guest lecturers pointed out a sea eagle’s nest and spoke about the various creatures that lurk in the area. We cruised along the mangroves looking for crocs and then around the corner, the zodiacs were awaiting to transfer guests in and get an up-close look at dugong bay and the honeycomb weathering on the towering cliffs above. As we meandered down the river further guests enjoyed the reds and oranges of the rocks against the beautiful lush green plants around the area. Finally, we reached the end and were greeted with the enormous flow of water over the two waterfalls. Guests were in absolute awe and delight as we were sprayed with water from the force of the falls. The Zodiacs again took the guests in turns to get closer and get a feel for the full force of the water. With a quick zip back to Coral Geographer guests enjoyed lunch before Captain Jacopo Barchetti presented his talk “a brief history of navigation” where guests learned about all the methods Captains around the globe use to navigate the seas.
A quick intermission and afternoon tea the guests returned to the Bridge Deck Lounge for Greg’s famous presentation on Venom. Sunset approached and guests enjoyed a drink or two up at the bar before dinner was served in the dining room.
To end the evening guests gathered in the Bridge Deck Lounge for a games night.
Day 7: Swift Bay
29 March 2022
Early morning, guests wandered up to the Bridge Deck Lounge for a morning mobility, stretching and mindfulness class with Expedition Leader Ashleigh. Guests enjoyed a lovely stretch, ending in a guided meditation whilst watching the sunrise over the Kimberley. A lovely way to start the day.
After a bite to eat guests joined the explorer to take them over to Warrabi West art site in Swift Bay. First the explorer slowly made its way up along the rocks for some bird spotting. Guests saw the common sand pipper, pied oyster catchers as well as bee eaters. To everyone’s delight we were also joined by a pod of snub nose dolphins who were slowly making their way through the bay. Our skipper turned off the engines as we floated around watching them from distance pop up for air. Soon after, we landed for a little beach comb across the shore which was littered with all sorts of critters and plant life. The explorer then made its way across to the wonderful art. A beautiful and bright display of some fine aboriginal work. Gregs favorite Wanjina in the Kimberley included in the works. A few guests decided to stay back and go for a little cruise and were not disappointed. More birds, a very large school of mullet and a whip tail ray who swam past and danced for everyone amongst the mangroves.
Back to the Coral Geographer everyone went for a quick lunch before re boarding the explorer for another wonderful display of art. Guests enjoyed two galleries and an exquisite rock cave which was overflowing with lots of life as it was still quite wet from the passing rain season.
In the afternoon Chrissy held an exciting game of BINGO! Everyone gathered in the Bridge Deck Lounge for some afternoon fun. Legs eleven!
An evening enjoyed once again with a cocktail in hand watching the sunset over the Kimberley Coast followed by dinner before the guests retired to their cabins.
Day 8: Wunbung-gu (Careening Bay) & Prince Regent River
30 March 2022
A beautiful start to the day with glassy waters as the guests cruised along the Coastline into Careening Bay. A rock wallaby was spotted along the line of Boabs to everyone’s delight. The explorer gently touched down at the beach and guests disembarked and headed up to the famous Mermaid Boab tree which was in-scripted in 1820 by the HMS Mermaid and Philip Parker Kings crew. The boab tree’s fruit was passed around so everyone could have a taste if they wished, whilst Greg and Terry told the tale of Philip Parker King, the HMS Mermaid and its crew.
We then returned to Coral Geographer where Greg gave his famous presentation on crocodiles, spreading his knowledge and passion for the animal. Guests were then invited down to enjoy today’s lunch.
In the afternoon we split into two groups for the second excursion up to the King Cascade – Prince Regent River. Full steam ahead, everyone enjoyed a lovely journey up the river overlooking all the beautiful scenery. With a little putter up a creek to the side, eyes were on the lookout out for crocs and wildlife as Terry and Greg each talked mangroves and local botany. Further up the river the journey went, and everyone was greeted by the stunning King Cascade Falls. There was so much water flow, toppling down the tiers creating an absolutely wonderful scene. Our talented explorer skippers nosed up to the falls to allow guests to enjoy a spray and splash under the fresh water! Just before it was time to leave Greg and Terry shared the fateful tale of Ginger and the crocodile of Kings Cascade. We all enjoyed the lovely cruise back to Coral Geographer.
The evening was enjoyed with cocktails, over looking the Kimberley landscape before heading down for dinner in the dinning room. Chrissy then invited the guests up to watch the movie Pirates, Band of Misfits… another of Greg’s all time favorites, with lots of laughs!
Day 9: Freshwater Cove & Montgomery Reef
31 March 2022
This morning guests enjoyed a slow start, sipping on a coffee whilst over looking the Kimberley sunrise. At 0930 the first group set off across to Freshwater Cove. Greeted by the traditional owners with a welcome to country, we were told the stories of the importance of a welcome to country and what this means to them. We then headed up the hill behind the beach towards a wonderful art gallery. Looking back down the view of Coral Geographer in the waters below was postcard material. The walk was lovely through the native bush lands and up over the to a cave where the traditional owners pointed out the art and explained the stories that have been passed down over generations. The second group followed not to long after and were lucky enough to spot a crocodile on the way in before they started their tour.
Back on board everyone enjoyed a lovely lunch, followed by Terry’s Philip Parker King presentation on the very famous explorer who navigated this coastline with his crew. A nice way to tie in all the stories and knowledge guests have learnt along the way.
The afternoon rolled in and once again all joined on the explorer and headed out for the famous Montgomery Reef. Here we waited, as the reef began to emerge, creating cascades down into the water below. The bird life and marine life was plentiful, with the Reef Egrets flying round and turtles popping their heads out for air at every glance. Skipper Jonathon nosed in and up close to the cascades giving everyone a great view of the reef and then let the tide take the explorer back down towards the entrance. The wonderful hospitality crew then handed out sunset sippers and everyone enjoyed watching the reef go by as the sun slowly started to sink below the horizon, casting beautiful red hues across the reef.
Back to the ship everyone went with a wonderful dinner waiting. After dinner, Adam and Ilana hosted the famous Coral Expeditions quiz testing everyone knowledge over the trip so far before the guest all retired to bed for the evening.
Day 10: The Lacepedes
1 April 2022
A later start for guests this morning as the ship made its way to the Lacepede Islands. Boarding the Xplorer and the zodiacs, we made our way over to the birding paradise.
Brown boobies, frigged birds, terns, gulls and pelicans were just some of the many birds putting on a spectacular show. Guests were transferred into the zodiacs with Adam and Chrissy to get up close and personal to the banks of the islands. To everyone’s delight the marine life put on an equally spectacular show. Shovel nose rays, Black Tip Reef Sharks, fish and Bull Sharks were all swimming and lurking in the shallows.
Greg and Terry once again doing a wonderful job spreading their knowledge and passion for the species and history of the area. Back on board guests were treated to a lovely lunch. The afternoon came around and our engineers invited guests interested in the working parts of the ship to join them on a tour below deck at the engine room. The expedition team then invited guests up to the Bridge Deck Lounge for an evening looking back over all the wonderful moments we have had on our trip through the Kimberley. Chrissy surprised everyone with a short video of our time together.
The captain then invited everyone for farewell drinks at the bar, while canapes were being served and the sunset melted below the horizon. After giving a few words of thanks, guests were invited down to the dining room for their final dinner of the trip.
Day 11: Arrive Broome
2 April 2022
This morning guests arrived and disembarked, with many goodbyes and ‘see you next times’ exchanged. We thank all who made our first Kimberley trip of 2022 a wonderful time, and wish all well on their forward journey.