Last frontiers - ask and you shall receive!
21.09.2010 - 28.09.2010
It has been windy all week in Broome and one windy morning Geoff and I were relaxing at our van when we got a very exciting phone call.
Just to back track. We had met a skipper of a Kimberley cruise earlier in our travels who told us all about cruising in the wilderness. We had seen something about it on TV on some very luxurious liner that cost a fortune - it is called True North. He was a skipper for another cruise boat and then he explained that there are several operators doing that sort of thing (at various prices) and you can get end of the season specials, if you have time and are hanging around Broome. He also added that it was a very unique experience and similar to going to the Antarctic on a cruise except different landscape. He recommended that everyone who travels should at least do this experience once in their lifetime. It's amazing.
This got me going and I thought it was worth a try. So during the first windy week I contacted some of these operators, however, there were not many more cruises going at this time of the year. That's when we got a call, the day before a cruise was leaving. We were to pack our bags and would be flying 2.5 hours over the wilderness to Mitchell Plateau where we are met by helicopter to take us to our boat! Wow. We are not lovers of light aircraft.
So with much trepidation about the flying part, we had to quickly pack some sort of bags because we didn't have suitcases. This is what we got! A plane the size of a flea and take-off on a windy day! Only 4 people can fly in it plus pilot.
I thought we had better let some family members know we were going for a week in case we fell out of the sky!!
We were then met by our friendly helicopter pilot who was showing us Mitchell Falls which look really nice in brochures but not much water in it at this time of year. Then onward for about 30 mins to our cruise boat.
Then the adventure began. Some would say the flights are also part of the adventure and they would be correct! After a welcome aboard we had a beautiful chef-prepared lunch on board before the afternoon activities began. The smaller boats at the back (tenders) took us up the Hunter River to sightsee. We then had sunset on a beach and took a short walk up to the rocks to see the Aboriginal rock art. Fantastic. Wandjina means various spirit paintings.
Then back to our home (boat) for cocktail hour with welcome champagne etc. Dinner and off to bed for the next adventure the following day.
The next day we had a list of activities on offer starting with an early morning fishing. I went and Geoff stayed in bed. I didn't even get a bite but the chef did and got us our first barramundi. Others caught some other fish which was to start us on our seafood meals.
After that we went to another rock art site of which there are several thousands all around this wilderness. There are different types of art and the peg figures, some with sashes around their waist were discovered by a guy called Bradshaw but painted by Aboriginals. We had to do some work (climbing) to get there but it was well worth it and all part of the adventure.
After lunch we were taken again by the tenders to some inlet off the river for a walk and swim in a rock hole.
Then it was time to go back to the 'mothership' for cocktails, dinner and sleep!
Day three was another really interesting day. Geoff decided that he would have a go at the early morning fishing for barra. Having had no experience the staff would show him how to do it. I wasn't there but he hooked someone's hat, got caught on the mud flats a lot and hooked onto rocks. Well you may laugh but he caught 3 barra. Nobody in that boat did or could believe it. I have nicknamed him 'barra boy'. Reminds me a bit of an Adam Sandler movie. I can just picture it. He had UV facecream all over his hands and touched the lure with it. The people on his tender were telling him that's not good and nor was his technique. He was reeling it in too fast. Well they had to eat humble pie and he was the star of the fishing after that. Everyday, with his lousy technique the fish would always find his lure. He also provided a good laugh for all those expert fishermen on board. What a hunter! Check out the action.
After lunch we went for a cruise by tender to see some more amazing wilderness.
And then it was time to go home to enjoy cocktails, tales for the day adventures, lots of laughs and dinner before a big sleep.
Some people went crabbing but we went on the walk for the swim and rock art. It was hot and more difficult than most walks we had done to date but the swim and the rock pool was worthwhile. These are some of the photos.
I guess by now you are getting the gist of our trip. It was pure wilderness, beautiful and so much fun. We have some amazing footage and can't possibly put it all in the blog. The next day we went to see 'stone warriors' which had the most amazing rock formations. We also enjoyed a swim in the ocean with staff on croc/shark watch just in case. We saw whales migrating to warmer waters, I enjoyed the spa on the upper deck whilst watching the scenery and then we anchored at another very picturesque place with fishing always on offer early in the morning or at the end of the day.
On day 6 we went to a beautiful reef where the water cascades over the corals and the tide never gets a chance to run away from the corals. Changing of tides happens really quickly here and they have 4 tides a day. Spectacular sight and of course there was the usual swim after that.
On day 7 we did the famous horizontal falls ride. We anchored at Talbot Bay and the tides around this time were huge. 10 metres. The water is forced between gaps in the rocks. You go through one gap when it is safe to do so and swirl around in these whirlpools formed by this huge tide. The next gap is really narrow and unfortunately we weren't able to go through this due to the high tide. My photo doesn't quite show the drop is height from the high tide trying to push through this narrow gap. Hopefully our video footage will show it better. What a rush this was. It was really scary and gives you a real respect for the ocean.
Then it was last chance for a spa and some more viewings of the wilderness including seeing an iron ore mine on Koolan Island, a blight on all that wonderful wilderness. Also one final swim in the ocean at a silica beach. We then farewelled the Bucaneer Archipelago area with all those beautiful azure waters.
We had cocktails on the top deck overlooking Cape Leveque. Final viewings of all the lovely scenery and a lot of frivolity. What a fantastic adventure and how lucky we were to get that call on one windy day in Broome.