My Coral Expeditions Adventure
on 16 Sep 2019
Coral Expeditions, and their newest ship the Coral Adventurer showcase the extraordinary Kimberley’s in their Darwin to Broome 10-night itinerary (also operates in reverse). From the greeting at the Darwin wharf it was clear that this was an informal ship but still maintaining slick and professional operations. The all Australian crew were personal and attentive in their greeting and all guests were settled in the Dining room before being shown to their cabins. The ship itself has all that you need, delivered in a very intimate (120 passengers) setting which is sophisticated and understated, outdoor decks fore and aft offer great views and the Navigator lounge which doubled as the expedition presentation area was always welcoming. The dining room is conducive to communal dining, facilitating friendly conversations as guests get to know each other and share their day’s adventures.
Our first day was at sea travelling across the Cambridge Gulf allowing us to familiarise ourselves with the ship, soak up the sunshine and get to know our fellow travellers. The days that ensued were spent appreciating the magnificence of The Kimberley, I haven’t experienced too many places that feel as untouched, whose landscape speaks of strength and beauty. From the intense blues of the seas, the palette of reds, pinks and oranges of the rocks contrasted by the black algae that covers much of the at times water covered rocks, and the greens of the flora. To the glorious cliffs rising out of the sea and the rivers, incredibly powerful and awesome in the truest sense.
The days are filled with expedition options, showcasing the geographical features, beautiful indigenous art sites, areas of historical relevance and of course the abundant wildlife; estuarine crocodiles, turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins and an array of birdlife. These visits are enhanced by the accompanying expert expedition guides who provided the facts behind each and educated us on what we were seeing.
Access to sites is made easy, with options being graded from easy to hard and crew to help along the way. However, Coral Expeditions have a distinct advantage with the inclusion of their two Xplorer vessels, these flat-bottomed boats are shaded, have comfortable seating for around 50 guests per vessel, and a toilet onboard. Access on and off could not be easier with a fancy hydraulics system for transfer from ship to boat and a drop-down ramp for wet landings. From the Xplorers the guests were able to board zodiacs which enabled close viewings of the sights for a short time before returning to the shade and comfort of the Explorers, rather than spending several hours on zodiacs exposed to the elements.
This is expedition cruising at its best, don’t expect glitzy live shows but do expect to be entertained and educated on the region. Don’t expect multiple choices of dining but do expect a good selection of food with wine and beer included for lunch and dinner. Don’t expect to pack your tuxedo and best formal wear but do expect to dress appropriately for excursions and neat casual is suitable while onboard. Don’t expect to say a brief hello to your fellow guests, do expect to get to know them as you share the journey, they’re likely to be down to earth well-travelled folk who don’t mind a chat.
Take a great camera, binoculars and good footwear for wet landings plus the usual sun protection. Do consider when you travel to the Kimberley, in August at the end of the dry season we were treated to soaring cliffs rather than thundering waterfalls. Regardless it was spectacular, but if it matters to you maybe the beginning of the dry season is a better option.
The Kimberley is special, for days we went without seeing modern civilisation, the sea and the environment was pristine. The enormity and magnificence of The Kimberley gives perspective, it reminds you that you’re a very small cog in a very big wheel. Thank you, Coral Expeditions, you delivered this extraordinary piece of the world in a respectful, appreciative and very comfortable way.
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