This cruise is an action packed 5 or 6 days that gives you a good introduction to the Kimberley coastline. Cruise itineraries are the same for the 5 and 6 day cruise, however the extra day on the 6 day cruise gives you more time to explore and fish this amazing coastline. On this cruise you will have up to 3 different camp sites on beautiful secluded beaches each with their own characteristics. Incorporating the activities listed above, subject to tide and weather conditions you will get to visit the following locations:
Cascade, Cone and Crawford Bays Travelling north from Derby the mudflats of the King Sound give way to the wonderfully picturesque coastline. Cascade, Cone and Crawford Bays lie crumpled and creased, their shores notched with a myriad of mangrove estuaries, bays and sand beaches; plunging cliffs and rocky masses; stony islands and innumerable hidden reefs that litter these offshore waters. Numerous freshwater springs flow from the hills of King Leopold Sandstone into the bays creating pockets of rain forests. At X & X’s you will walk up through the rain forest to an abandoned camp site established by a hippy with his commune of women between 1974 and 1987. After exploring the remnants of the camp you will take a refreshing swim in one of the many fresh water rock pools.
Strickland Bay is an incredibly picturesque bay with numerous islands. At the back of Strickland Bay is the unsurveyed water mass of the ‘Graveyards’. Named after the pearlers who lost their lives in the area and were buried on Edeline Island. We visit the graves, have a quick swim and admire the sculptured sandstone rocks.
Horizontal Waterfalls are two narrow gaps in vertical sandstone rock strata which creates two spectacular ‘horizontal waterfalls’ when the tides reach peak flow in both rising and falling situations. Here you are transferred into one of the fast boats for an exhilarating ride through the gaps.
With 3 Sea plane operators working at the location and Paspaley’s Pearl Farm close by it’s a hive of activity which is in stark contrast to the rest of this isolated coastline. We enjoy lunch while watching the sea planes land and take off and feed the tawny nurse sharks that swim around Kimberley Xplorer.
Crocodile Creek in Yampi Sound is a little paradise tucked away behind the sandstone walls. The miners from nearby Koolan Island iron ore mine used this spot as a getaway site. With the top pool cascading into the lower pool and then onto the creek below, it’s a delightful swimming hole with all the yachtie memorabilia left behind from passing travellers hanging from the shaded patio area. This spot makes for an enjoyable outing.
Silver Gull is the home to a couple of real life castaways living life in the slow lane. Phil & Marion have lived at Silver Gull for the past 15 years and support themselves by making jewellery and other souvenirs to sell to their visitors. They are the eyes and ears of the Kimberley coastline and a great couple to visit and catch up on the latest news. With lovely gardens and concrete tank continually filling with fresh water that flows out into the creek below this is a great spot to have a swim or sit on their famous outdoor throne.
Hidden Island & Silica Beach. With its powder soft pure white sand and turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, Silica Beach is a resort destination in the making. Enjoy a refreshing swim at this pristine beach or take the time to climb up the sandstone rocks for some great photography.
Hells Gate This narrow gap separates us from Cone Bay and makes for a helluva ride on spring tides. The force of the tide either coming into the King Sound or receding back to the sea makes for some turbulent water with impressive whirlpools and back eddies to get the heart pumping.
Whirlpool Passage Whirlpool passage divides Chambers and Hidden Islands in the Buccaneer Archipelago. A scenic 3 mile ‘S’ bend tour is characterized at times of peak tidal movement by large metre deep whirlpools and tidal flows in excess of 10 knots. Passing through the passage when the tide is running is a dramatic experience as your vessel negotiates the violent whirlpools. However, get there at the turn of the tide and it looks like a millpond and ever so peaceful.
While cruising between all these sites of interest there will be some great adventures and fantastic scenery. At times we will have a couple of lures hanging out the back of Kimberley Xplorer trawling for a mackerel while you sit back and enjoy a cuppa or ice cold beer. As you traverse the reefs at low tide look out for passing dolphins, turtles and manta rays. From July to September you will get to see the humpback whales.
Your evening camp on a secluded beach offers the opportunity to explore the beaches or take a dingy ride around the island with a fishing line in tow. With an esky of chilled beverages and some pre dinner nibbles it’s a great opportunity to watch the setting sun and reflect on the day’s events. Its then back to Kimberley Xplorer for dinner and an abundance of laughs as Skipper Greg entertains you with stories of past adventures. With sore sides from laughing too much it’s back to the beach and your roaring fire to relive your carefree younger days when the ‘in thing’ was to party on the beach. Its then off to bed in your mozzie dome to star gaze in a comfy swag as you drift off to sleep.
Mud crabbing with the ladies is a real hoot. The first question is always “what do I do if a crocodile grabs me”. Skipper Greg’s reply is to suggest you swim away from the rest of the group so the rest of us don’t end up in the drink! The other question is “what do I do if a mud crab gets out of the bucket”. No reply is needed as the ladies are quick to stand on the dingy seat if a mud crab escapes. All in all its great fun and we haven’t lost anybody yet.
Exploring the reef systems from the dingys is remarkable. It’s amazing to see the water recede and uncover all the wonders contained on these unique eco systems. With pockets of water left behind there is every chance you will see mangrove jack darting between the rocks. Witness large clam shells spurting water, baler shell (Melo amphora) foraging for food along with an abundance of other marine life including sand bubble crabs and trocus shells; the black tipped reef sharks swimming along the edges of the reef; the ospreys nest perched up on the rocks and eagles soaring on the thermals above, exploring the Kimberley’s many reef systems is a naturalist’s paradise. For the adventurous ones, go climbing with Skipper Greg for an over view from the top of one of the islands.