Jul 06, 2015 - National Geographic Orion
It is the final day of our Kimberley expedition on board the National Geographic Orion, and it's hard to believe that it's nearly over. We've seen so much incredible wildlife and epic scenery, and shared many memorable experiences. It feels like we've become a family, and it's always hard to approach the end of such a great voyage with our guests. However, we're not done yet.
Naturalist Adam Britton entertained the guests with a lecture on using modern technology to study ancient reptiles (and other animals) while we waited for the best time to visit Crocodile Creek. Despite its name, there's a fantastic freshwater swimming hole there with a small but spectacular waterfall, and it was a great way to relax with a drink and a dip in the refreshing water, and a chance to play with a couple of crocodiles... inflatable, of course.
After another lunch of epic proportions, we prepared for an afternoon touring Yampi Sound and Nares Point. This was the moment that a small pod of inshore bottlenose dolphins chose to visit the ship and have a good play with our Zodiacs. Our guests had a number of great chances to photograph the dolphins as they surfaced alongside the Zodiacs, accompanied by a huff of air and a light mist of delphinic breath.
How do you top a Zodiac tour that starts with such a high? Pretty easily, actually, because Nares Point is a spectacular spot with some incredible geology. Rocks might not sound particularly exciting, but their presence is quite enough to take your breath away. Incredible synclines and anticlines, the result of metamorphic buckling under incredible pressure many millions of years ago never fail to stir. If that wasn't enough, as the frigate birds wheeled overhead, the dolphins were back! Chasing the Zodiacs and presenting epic photo opportunities against the geological artwork, they seemed to be having as much fun as we did trying to get a good picture. As the sun settled lower in the sky, the golden light lit up the sandstone cliffs in a stunning way, and even the diagonal Elgee siltstone structures, projecting violently against the blue sky, took on a life of their own. With a final drive through an archway framing the National Geographic Orion, everyone agreed that the expedition had concluded most excellently.
Time to say our farewells in the lounge, one of our guests read an inspired rhyming poem that playfully summed up the crew and staff of the voyage, reminding us once more that for an all-too-brief period in July 2015, we became family and friends and shared this wonderful region together.