Monday, May 21, 2018

Kimberley Coast Day 6: York Caves

An early morning (low tide) on-shore to York Caves. a sandstone cave system that seems more "organic"  and rounded - presumably due to volcanic melting - than most of the cliffs we've been seeing up to now. Vegetation and small creatures add to the appeal.

Kimberley Day 5: Prince Regent River

In the afternoon we cruised in the Explorer up the Prince Regent River, a very long, broad, and straight river, stopping at the King Cascade. The waterfall is striking for its well-defined steps resulting from the many layers of underlying sedimentary rock. Along the way were dense mangroves with lovely reflections in the calm water, and the striking red rocks so characteristic of the Kimberley. The red was outshined, however, by that of the zodiac accompanying the Explorer.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Kimberley Day 5: Careening Bay

Our morning landing was at Careening Bay, where the explorer Philip Parker King beached (careened) his ship HMC Mermaid for repairs in 1820. The most famous attraction here is the boab tree on which the ship's carpenter carved the ship's name and date. The tree and carving have grown considerably over the years (photo 7 below). However, I found the greater interest in the pretty, gentle scenery, shells, and coral on the beach and the vegetation on the land around the tree.

Coral Expedition I moored offshore, viewed from the beach

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Kimberley Coast Day 5: Sunrise

May 4, the 5th day of our Kimberley cruise, began with a breathtaking procession of sunrise images. No further comment needed.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Kimberley Day 4: Red Cone Creek and the Crocodile

In the afternoon the Explorer motored to Red Cone Creek. We passed Ruby Falls and more dramatic rock formations, then offloaded those who wanted to make a steep climb to a freshwater swimming hole. The rest of us stayed on the boat where we were rewarded by a close encounter with a thermoregulating saltwater crocodile - sunning and warming itself on a rock, while cooling itself through its open mouth. When we returned about an hour later to pick up the swimmers, the croc was still in the same posture on the same rock, except that the tide had dropped the water level about six feet, so the croc was now well above us.

As we returned to the Coral Expedition I, we passed dense groves of mangroves along the shore, a boab tree related to the baobabs of Madagascar, and another crocodile. Shortly after we arrived at the mother ship, we were treated to a magnificent sunset.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Kimberley Coast Day 4: Montgomery Reef

My 3, 2018. One of the highlights of this cruise was Montgomery Reef, one of the natural wonders of the Kimberley. As described in Wikipedia:, "Covering an area of approximately 400 square kilometres (154 sq mi) and with a length of about 80 kilometres (50 mi), the reef is subject to unusual tidal movements to a maximum of 10 metres (33 ft). When the tide is out vast lagoons, sandstone islets and a central mangrove island are revealed. The outward movement of the tide forms a torrent of water, creating a river cutting through the reef and hundreds of cascading waterfalls. At low tide more than 4 metres (13 ft) of reef can be exposed."

The photographs show a brilliant sunrise from the ship, the torrents of water, and the vast variety of corals.