Saturday, 1st September – Coral Discoverer

Our first excursion on the Xplorer – a tender which hangs off the back of the Coral Discoverer and allows the passengers into areas where the ship itself cannot go. It’s quite an operation floating this thing off the back of the ship, but they have obviously done it before…..
The destination this morning was the Berkeley River. Having got onto the craft, the first 10 minutes was somewhat breezy and quite a lot of spray was thrown up. Once we got into the mouth of the river, the wind dropped and the going got much easier.
We were then treated to an extraordinary landscape of layers of sandstone which had been pushed up over millions of years into vertical cliff faces. Expert commentary accompanied this from naturalist Ian Morris and it was calm, peaceful and beautiful. 

We also had a spin in a Zodiac – a rubber dinghy which could take you right inshore. Again, expert commentary, this time from Jamie, our revered leader. Wonderful – cloudless blue sky and lovely sunshine. Saw some of the local wildlife but regrettably no crocodiles.
Back to the ship for lunch, then almost immediately another Xplorer trip to Atlantis Bay, the scene of a forced landing by two German airmen in the 1930s. Quite a story at, although not enough is made of the role that the aborigines had in saving them.
Ian took us for a walk on the beach and pointed out crocodile tracks, water rat tracks, various types of bird tracks, a stingray, an upside-down jellyfish, and various remnants of ancient aboriginal campsites left in the sand. He also dug deep for a ghost crab:

Back to the ship for afternoon tea and another excellent evening meal.

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