Our final full day on board today and a full day at sea. We are crossing the Timor sea heading up to Kupang in Indonesia to then catch a flight back to Darwin and eventually home to Brisbane. It seems all ‘foreign owned’ vessels must make one of their voyage ports out of Australian territory for whatever reason known only to maritime law. The Captain thinks the whole thing is crazy but as he says, that’s the law!
Today we have anchored at the entrance to the King George River, way up north on the map!
It’s a 3 hr zodiac cruise today which takes us into the King George river, in and around it’s multiple tributaries and up to the end of the river to where the King George Falls actually spill over. But actually don’t…. :) This is the dry season and only the tiniest of trickle coming down the huge 80-100m drop.
The falls are the tallest in WA and the rock formations in the region are ‘jaw-dropping’ to say the least. Our zodiacs once again skim underneath all the huge stacks of rock and one wonders as to if/when they might drop on us! However something that’s been there for 1.7 billion years is probably likely to not fall so we are probably safe - we think!!
Another night at sea as we head up to “Bigge Island’ the second largest island after Dirk Hartog in this ‘Bonaparte Archipelago’ off the Australian coast. Took a pleasant ‘stroll’ over and around the coastal area. Landing once again was tricky and even the zodiacs couldn’t get over the reef area for the early folk but another hour or so later and there was 3 feet of water covering the coral reef. Lots of crocodile searching here and no swimming allowed due to the crocodiles but the water just looks so inviting, one would love to jump in for a swim - but a big no-no! Still haven’t seen one yet though. It’s the ones you don’t see that are the problem I guess.
We are continually being reminded this is an ‘Expedition’ not a cruise but we still seem to have the same level of comfort albeit no pool to blob in. Staff to manage our rooms and more staff to feed us all the food they possibly can!!
The name of the game here is get out in the Zodiacs and adventure into the wilderness and we have been doing that well.
Slept well, awoke early but a quick read of my book and I nodded off again for another couple of hours. 7am and the captain gets on the loud speaker, ‘sorry to get you all up early but there’s an infestation…. of whales on the starboard side! Had cringed at the thought of perhaps having to be loved in our room for the rest of the cruise!!!
But no - we spent the next several hours stooging along and watching whales galore! Small ships such as this one “Caledonian Sky’ can easily manoeuvre around so we circled and watched whales for quite a while - magnificent! Took about 60-70 photos I think but culled it right back to half a dozen of the best.
After our ‘whale watching’ the ship sailed into Talbot Bay and headed towards the ‘Horizontal Falls’.
Basically a free day in Broome today as we weren’t being picked up till 3.30pm so I arranged a half day tour of Broome to get a feel of the place and where we were at. Broome has really only ‘come of age’ since the 1970’s and now boasts a regular population of 15,000 which explodes to 50,000 in the peak of the dry season which is where we are at now so every caravan park in town is full as is most of the accommodation. The Broome races also happened to be on in town today so people fly in from everywhere for that as well.
Flight from Sydney to Perth, one of the nicer flights we’ve been on, with the little more expensive option of course to make it happen that way. Turned out to be a long day with just under 5 hrs to Perth, a 2 hour wait there then onto a smaller aircraft for another 2 ½ hr flight up to Broome.
I had a window seat and every time I fly over anywhere on long haul in Australia, it’s staggering to think how bit this country really is. WE flew for ages with nothing but red earth below us and no sign of habitation anywhere for miles. The odd long stretch of road or pipeline, never sure which from up high but otherwise nothing.
Quick 7 day trip to MZ to help Mum packup and move from New Plymouth to Tauranga.
Neryda and Claire had done a heap of work re garage sale and packing in order to get things happening and the weekend I arrived, Neryda and Peter also stayed so we put in a full day and a half of just packing.
It was all a bit hard on Mum though pulling up stumps and having to downsize at the same time, not only that but also watch her family just get in there and do stuff that she couldn't even see what was going on. But it had to be done with a time factor involved for a removal truck arriving!
But the new home in Tauranga is gorgeous, up high at Althorp Village and lovely to sit and watch the sunsets and clouds rolling through over to Mount Maunganui. A great spot.
It is well known that the Cardrona Pub is a great stopping point on the road between Wanaka and Queenstown but have never actually been there.
As such, our goal for the day was to head over the Crown Range road as it's called, stop at the Cardrona Pub for lunch then venture on to Arrowtown after lunch.
The pub is only about 25kms from Wanaka and all flat to get there. I had always thought it was up high on the range - wrong! Anyway, a gorgeous day in this neck of the woods, mid 20's and hardly a cloud in the sky so we had a drink before lunch out in the beer garden then the usual pub fare for lunch.