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King George River, Tranquil Beach, and Calamity Cove

Today we met the wild side of the Kimberley. Our gangway is now stowed for the duration of our journey together and in its place the Zodiacs are revved up and ready to go. Eager to take advantage of every possible minute in this beautiful coastal wilderness, many of us were up and away by 0600 this morning and by 0800 we were all on our way. Read More>

Jul 1, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Wyndham

When visiting a town like Wyndham, the vastness of Australia immediately feels apparent. So many of us have come from “the other side” of the country, or even the other side of the planet. We are visiting this area that is like nowhere else. We had different options for the day to discover it further, with an excursion going on the Ord River dam, flights over the Bungle Bungle Ranges, and a tour of the town of Wyndham itself. Those who went on the Ord River Dam were certainly not disappointed. Read More>

Jun 30, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

At Sea—Timor to Wyndham

An explosive sunrise greeted early risers as National Geographic Orion steamed towards Australia from the tropical islands to her North, heralding a day to look forward to—of relaxation, conversation, education, and celebration on the high seas. Our wellness specialist Kat drew an enthusiastic crowd of participants to begin this day with her popular stretch class on the upper sun deck. A delightful open air breakfast followed in the fresh surrounds of the outdoor café, setting the scene for a day of engaging activities, all at an easy and social holiday pace. Read More>

Jun 29, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

At Sea, Timor Sea

This morning, we were able to have a nice sleep-in as the National Geographic Orion travelled north to Com, East Timor. Sea conditions were kind to us, and  most of us were up and enjoying the sunrise, while others hit the gym for a morning workout or joined Kat for morning stretches.  At 0800, our expedition leader Adam Cropp played the beautiful song “What a Wonderful World” before updating us on our position and the weather. Read More>

Jun 28, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

At Sea – Timor to Darwin

Rocked to sleep in the arms of the moving Timor Sea, we steamed on south towards our final destination for our Kimberley voyage—the port of Darwin. In the wee hours of the morning few were aware our expedition had reached its most northerly point, as we made a technical stop in Com in Timor, lowered a Zodiac at 3:00 a.m., which went ashore with crew to clear local customs and pick up some interesting local crafts to support the local people, which we offered for sale in our boutique during the afternoon. Most of us awoke to a rolling sea, a reminder that we had left the restful, rocky coast of the Kimberley behind, and we wandered in a rather zigzag fashion to breakfast in the lovely sea breezes that freshen the air at the outdoor café. Nice also to be able to focus the horizon while dining on a rock-and-rolling sea! After satisfying our morning nutritional needs we gathered in the lounge for what would be the beginning of a wonderfully entertaining complement of presentations from a passionate and learned line up of naturalists—a great way to enjoy the passage! Brent filled the lounge and gave us a great introduction to birding to kickstart the day and was followed by Adam with his eye-opening talk about crocodile research, revealing many secrets of how technology allows us to observe and discover much about these ancient predators from a safe vantage point. After a hearty lunch, Erin chimed in with her own personal take on crocodile and people interactions with her presentation, much enjoyed by all of us. Read More>

Jun 26, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

At Sea, From Wyndham to Com

In the 16th century, Francis Bacon said “knowledge is power,” and as I get older (and hopefully wiser) that statement starts to hold real value. It’s also timely as we have just been travelling through the Kimberley, where the indigenous people place great importance on knowledge. An indigenous woman once told me that her people didn’t value “objects or things,” but believed the greatest gift to be knowledge. Something that is not given lightly and is cherished when it is received. After all, knowledge has kept their people alive for thousands of years!  As we travel from Wyndham to Com in Timor, there will be many opportunities to share knowledge. Read More>

Jun 25, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Wyndham – the Bungle Bungles and the Ord River

The National Geographic Orion pulled alongside the wharf in Wyndham in the early hours of the morning, and everyone enjoyed breakfast early in anticipation of a big day. Three options were being offered, with flights over the Bungle Bungles, a more wildlife-oriented cruise along the Ord River, and tours of the bustling metropolis of Wyndham being on offer. Those on the Ord River cruise boarded a bus and we headed towards Kununurra, trailing through the arid countryside of the Kimberley Coast. Read More>

Jun 24, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

King George River and Falls VIDEO

It was a very early start for some of our intrepid explorers just after we arrived at Koolama Bay. This bay was named after the tragic but heroic story of the coastal transport vessel Koolama, which took place here early in World War II. We quickly headed upstream following a spectacular eroded valley, with towering sandstone walls leading to the famous King George Falls. Just at the entrance of the King George River we scanned the cliffs and were rewarded with a sighting of a Narbelek, one of the Kimberley region’s three Rock Wallabies, sitting out on a rock ledge for all to see. Read More>

Jun 23, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Vansittart Bay, Australia VIDEO

Today the National Geographic Orion arrived at Vansittart Bay, and a couple of beach landings awaited our guests. They were about to experience two quite different stories; one concerning Aboriginal art and history, and the other about human survival during the Second World War.  After another scrumptious breakfast, our intrepid guests headed out for the first beach landing on Jar Island, so named after the Macassan-like clay jars discovered by early surveyors. Read More>

Jun 22, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

Hunter River & Prince Frederick Harbour

What a day! Some people went off in helicopters and others went on Zodiacs, but all got to experience a place that time forgot. There are few places that are considered to be “untouched,” but there are some pockets left around the world. Today we were travelling through one of those places, up the Hunter River and along Prince Frederick Harbour. Hunter River certainly didn’t let anybody down. Read More>

Jun 21, 2015 National Geographic Orion in Pacific Islands & Australia

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