What an uplifting and stunning day at The Kimberley coast. Today we had the opportunity to visit Bigge Island, a place of significance for the Aboriginal culture and rock art. This rugged island holds many mysteries and secrets and also many unanswered questions. This is where we can contemplate the intriguing Wandjina style of rock art. We were able to see a representation of the Kaiara, or Sea Wandjina, a very powerful mystical entity for the aboriginal culture of this region. Wandjinas are considered to be the creators of human descendants, the seas, the land and laws, and are still able to exert their powers. The Wandjinas are intrinsically linked to the mythological life, social organization and seasonal movements of Indigenous Kimberley people. This particular Kaiara was exceptionally large in size, painted with red ocher and grooved eyes that seemed to watch every move in this important ceremonial and meeting ground. With its distinctive halo headdress representing the monsoon cumulous clouds, Kaiara is able to wield destructive power, controlling floods, cyclones and lightning. This site is also home to some controversial rock art. What makes these paintings so fascinating is the depiction of sailing ships and a man with European features who appears to be smoking pipes and sitting on small row boats. There is an ongoing debate about these notorious paintings, as no one knows for sure, who are the visitors and where did they come from. It has been suggested they could be Dutch sailors and others have suggested the images depict the arrival of Chinese ships. Or maybe they could be related to Macassans? This is a mystery still to be solved. After a delicious lunch savored on deck, it was time to head to another mysterious tour! This time we boarded our Zodiacs without knowing our destination… and what a delightful surprise!
The expedition and hotel management team were waiting for us in a spectacular hidden tidal cave! Surrounded by turquoise waters, hidden in a little bay and protected from the wind, the cave performs as an amazing amphitheater with perfect acoustic conditions.
Aug 15, 2014
National Geographic Orion
Pacific Islands & Australia