What Do People Love Most About Your Cruises? What Surprises Them?
One of the biggest things that surprise people is the vastness of the Kimberley. They have no idea. Even the fact that I've shown them on a chart, where we're going and what we're doing. They all say, "Greg, I never realised that the Kimberley was so big." I really recommend it to people. I say before you go overseas, you really want to get up and experience the Kimberly to see what it's all about.
People also tell me they didn't know how beautiful it was. You are seeing all this unspoilt country including 2000 islands. You explore islands and waterways. The reefs up here are amazing. You get out there and you go for a walk on it. It's like you're Robinson Crusoe.
People love the Kimberley's colour. The rocks are stunning. I'd say the best time to see them is when the sun is coming up or going down, it's just brilliant.
The Eco Systems
The reef walking at low tide around deserted islands 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.
Tell Me About The Beach Camping?
Sometimes, tides permitting we will have our evening meal onshore. We bring tables and chairs ashore and while the guests enjoy their evening refreshments of beer or wine we get a nice fire going. These times are great for siting back and relaxing reflecting on the days adventures while soaking up the ambience of the most beautiful sunsets and gazing at the millions of stars as they appear. They've got their tent set up to go to bed in. The swags are extremely comfortable with a 4 inch base mattress topped with a sheet of egg crate foam, fully made with top & bottom sheets, pillow and blanket. It's pretty civilised and very relaxing. The best part is being able to lay in bed and watch the millions of stars – your asleep before you know it.
In the morning there are provisions onshore for an early morning cup of tea or coffee before packing up and heading out to Kimberley Explorer for breakfast and our next adventure.
There are times when we have had great surprises on our beach camps. I've had people wake up and they're getting sand flicked into the tent and there's a turtle laying eggs right next to them. Everybody gets up to watch and they're just amazed.
Camping on the beach also gives our clients some personal space where you have the opportunity to explore the vicinity of your camp; take some great photography; or sit and find some solitude rather than being in the company of others continually.
What Are The Arrangements For Sleeping Onboard?
We sleep people up on the top deck. The day seats near the helm become double beds. You've got a double bed either side of the helm where we roll really comfortable swags out onto them. The balance of the people go out on the covered back deck on single beds. That's how we'll do a few nights on the boat. People love it, they say they feel like kids again.
On any given trip we might have three nights on the boat and the other nights will be on shore. When berthed onboard, we will more than likely be anchored up right down the lower reaches of a river system where the bigger charter vessels are unable to access. The tide will be racing out, you will be watching the crocs swim by and will get to experience the sounds, sights and smells of a unique eco system. As low tide approached the ‘Fiddler' crabs come out to feed; you can see the newly hatched baby crocs feeding for small fish while he avoids the overhead predators of the Brahamy Kite and Sea Eagle watching for prey in the mangroves above. The antics of the mud skippies and the egrets is also very entertaining.
It reminds me of camps you went on as a kid. At the end of the trip, people have all bonded, and they're exchanging emails and photos. I love seeing those friendships develop.
Can You Tell Me About Some of The Experiences of The Kimberley?
Some will say, "The best part for me was all the whales." When we get in amongst the whales and they're all breaching it is so exciting.
Visiting the Mangroves
Just sitting quietly in amongst the mangroves in a tiny in a couple of metres of clear water. You see all the mullet swim past, a little crocodile pokes his head up. Then you get your bee eaters your fly catchers along with a raft of other birds. People absolutely love seeing all the wildlife.
People love the quiet. You pull up at around 4:00 in the afternoon, and no generator is running. It is dead quiet, because I run my boat on solar panels. People tell me other boats they've been on run generators and there are always lights on. The whole night you hear this humming in the background when you go to sleep.
On our boat, you anchor up at around 4:00 in the afternoon. Sometimes I run the generator for an hour while we are having showers, then we turn it off. When we are having a meal on-board, people experience the quietness. You are sitting out there, maybe under a waxing moon. All the stars are out, and you can sit on that boat and listen to the sounds of the eco system where your are moored for the night. The gentle lapping of the water; the sounds of the night birds and crocodiles; and the reflection of the stars in the water – it's an absolute picture.
Stars in the Water
People enjoy sitting out on the boat at night. Some times it is so still that the ocean is a mirror reflection of the night sky. If you haven't seen the Stars reflected in the water then you're really missing something, it's mind-blowing. Fantastic.
Who Does Your Cruise Appeal To?
Look we get people from every walk of life, every profession. They're normally 50 to 70 and reasonably fit. We get a lot of campers and hikers because we speak a fair bit at camping shows. I get ordinary Mums and Dads that we take out and have fun with. I joke with them and they joke with me. There's a fair bit of teasing and stirring that goes on. When we're out, everyday is just comical. We talk about every topic under the sun. I tell them that if you still have that spark in your heart and a bit of get up and go – then this is the trip for you.
What Do Guests Say They Enjoy Most?
All of our clients tell us that the Kimberley Coast is an amazing wilderness experience. Not only do we put a great deal of effort into making sure that our clients get to see as much of the coast in the time available, our trips are absolutely brilliant fun, and very informative. The visitor book shows how people love the humour and comedy. I've had people tell me our trips are intoxicating. As one of our clients said
Hi to Capt. Greg, First Mate Chook and great chef Jodie - what a crew!
I cannot begin to describe to you how mind blowingly wonderful our adventures with you have been, beyond my imaginations and a totally new experience in my life being a soft Pome! I am so proud that I kept up and found new strengths to inspire me to adventure again! I also found it incredible that all the inhibitions of society and modesty went out of our lives and we just became a unit of good friends! How enriched our lives have become. I keep pinching myself to believe it really happened!
I have been busy telling all my friends about it and hope that some of them will take it up!
Thank you so much for caring for us all and how very hard you all worked for our comfort and safety. You even managed to catch a fish for me Greg!
What about food?
Whilst we don't offer an ala carte menu, our chef Jody is brilliant, and she has something special for us to eat every couple of hours. There are great meals (with sweets most nights). Jodie consistently receives standing ovations from the passengers as they disembark in appreciation of her efforts.
The interaction sitting around the barbi in the evening while Jodie is preparing another magnificent meal with all the different aromas while we are all laughing and telling stories with a beer or wine in hand is another special part of our unique cruising experience.
Do you still see things that surprise you?
All the time! You cant be in the Kimberley Coast and not see so many amazing sites.
On one trip we saw a meteorite. Without any light pollution it was unbelievable and brilliant; we saw it running horizontally across the skyline just above the ocean.
And the Long Toms are pretty amazing. They can pop up in front of the boat, stand and run along on their tails. They can run about 300 meters, people love watching them. I've seen an eagle grab a running Long Tom right off the top of the water. The Manta Rays jumping out of the water are spectacular. And then there are the flying fish that have been known to land on the table while everyone was sitting around with their evening drinks; or being surrounded by hundreds of tuna; or when the quols interact with the group at Camp Creek.
Leaving From Derby is a Special Part of this Adventure. Why is That?
To start with you are 200nm closer to where the action is as you are already in the Buccaneer Archipelago. Your adventure begins the very moment our tour bus collects you from your accommodation to take you down to the Derby Jetty and the collection point which is the boat ramp that was built by the local boating community. Here you will get to witness the unique challenges the offshore mining industry have to content with transporting their hall packs by barge to the mine site on Cockatoo and Koolin Islands as we collect you in the tender dingy to ferry you out to Kimberley Xplorer.
It then takes us 3 hours to get to the first destination point of the Inland Sea. As take you out and you will you'll be amazed how the muddy waters of King Sound slowly transform into the brilliant turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
By departing out of Derby you get to experience natural phenomena like Whirlpool Passage and Hell's Gate, and see a hundred miles of coastline and islands here that other charter boats just don't get to see.
The other advantage of departing from and returning to Derby is that because of the 9 metres of tidal movement every 6 hours there are things that you want to do which if the tides are out you cant get to these places. When you go on a cruise boat that cruises one way and then flys you the other way, then you will miss these opportunities. With us if you cant get to the location on the way up, then we will pick the location up on our return leg. With so many bays and islands you never have to cover the same ground twice.
Sounds like you really love this part of the world?
I do love it. I have the opportunity of taking 120 to 140 people a year around the Kimberley Coast, and with my local knowledge and 16 years experience I know a lot of amazing sites hidden in the nooks and crannies of this vast coastline. What we offer is more than just ‘drive by tourism'. What I love is being able to share my love for this part of the world with my clients and giving them ‘an experience that will touch there soul and awaken their senses'.
It's also a fantastic feeling to experience the remoteness, knowing that you are on your own. I take people past all these islands with beautiful sandy beaches. You can't but help to want to walk up onto one of those unspoilt beaches and have a look.
It's all about you just doing the right thing and getting people on to those fantastic beaches. I'm so lucky that my job is showing people this fantastic part of the world.