Day 7 Kimberly Expedition 18 May 2014
Hunter River & Mitchell Falls
Today was going to be a BIG day - Hunter River zodiac tour, Mitchell Falls in a helicopter, Listening to a presentation on "Cataclysmic Cyclones & Terrible Tides", seeing a movie "The Big Wet", attending Trivia (!!!), dinner and then a Show put on by the Philippine Crew. at low tide
We got up at 5.30am (ouch!), had breakfast and hopped on the Zodiac for the Hunter River Tour. More SPECTACULAR scenery. Mitchell River National Park, which is 115,300 hectares is one of the Kimberley's two newest national parks. The park lies in one of the most remote and inaccessible country in Australia. It's about 350km north-west of Wyndham.
We saw crocs (several who came right up to our zodiac very inquisitively), some birds, a few fish, fiddler crabs and enjoyed the experience of sitting in the zodiac madly capturing the scenery around us, on camera. The weather is always hot but very pleasant moving along in the zodiac. The tour took 2 hours.
We went back to the ship for morning tea although on the way we came across the Catering Crew in
their zodiac, with an umbrella, out in the middle of the river, giving out almond Magnums. Yum! We had a chat to them and then said goodbye and went back to the ship.
At about 11.30am, after a presentation, we hopped back into the zodiac which took us to a beach were we met our helicopter. Four of us buckled up in helicopter without any doors at the back. Tom sat in the front and I was at the back with the other 2. We were off. I was very excited.
We flew over the Mitchell Plateau, again experiencing superb scenery. We saw small patches of rain forest which grows around the margins of the plateau. This is one of the most biologically important areas of the State.
We then spotted the Mitchell River and followed it to the spectacular sighting of the Mitchell Falls. The photos will show you the scene we saw. After a 25 minute flight, we landed on the Plateau and was met by Ian, the 2nd in charge of the Exploration Team. He took us to the two lookout points for the Falls. Wow! What a sight. We cautiously climbed on the
higher rocks and edged towards the tip of the ledges to get the best view possible. The water was powering over the rocks. The Falls was on 3 levels. We sat and just admired the power of the water.
We then walked back over the Plateau. The rocks look almost iridescent as a result of the fast water flow over them during the Wet. Tom went for a swim. It was a little cool for me...yes I know I am a wimp. We then walked back to the helicopter landing pad and waited for the helicopter to come back with 4 more passengers. We then hopped on and it took 20 minutes to get back the beach where the zodiac was waiting for us to take us back to the ship.
We had a later lunch back on the ship. After lunch there was a movie shown called the Big Wet which was all about the effects of the extensive rainfall in northern Australia. Trivia was at 4.00pm but I used that time to organise my photos and get my blog a little more up to date. This ship life in very busy!!!!!
That night for dinner,
we had received an invitation to join Harry, one of the naturalists, to sit at his table for dinner. Each night, on the open deck, about 4 tables are set up where members of the crew can invite guests to join them for dinner. This is where everything is provided. We were discovering that there were more opportunities to receive free drinks than there was offered on the larger ships. This tour was far more intimate due to the low numbers of passengers. We had a really interesting evening, learning the Harry was originally from Perth but moved to Townsville to study Marine Biology, one of the best Universities for this course. He has been travelling on expedition ships over the past 10 years.
We then attended a show put on by the Philippino crew members. It was fantastic to see them get the attention they deserved. The acts included miming 3 Tenors, the Village People, the traditional Philippine candle dance, and 2 singers who had fantastic voices. This was not a tour for big night-time shows. It was an expedition tour. However, this show was fantastic fun. The next day when we saw them all serving the meals
and cleaning the rooms, we told them the show was fantastic. Some of them said "how embarrassing" and others said "thank you". It really bought the passengers and crew members together.
After the show, music was played by Glen who provided the guests with music to listen to, each night. Tonight, quite a few of us got onto the dance floor. After about an hour of dancing, Tom and I agreed that if we didn't go to bed, we would drop to our feet. What a wonderful day with many different experiences. Wish Kerrie, Adam & Gemma were with us xxx.
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