Monday 27 May 2024

From on Board: Croc spotting in the Kimberley

#expeditioncruising .

Veteran travel journalist and world traveller, Jeremy Bourke, makes his Kimberley debut in style aboard Scenic Eclipse II.

Crocodile or 'logodile'? That is the question on the lips – and the eyes – of everyone in our Zodiac as we focus our attention on a long, dark form floating in the waters of Porosus Creek, in Western Australia’s vast Kimberley region. Unless they’re going in for the kill, these apex predators don’t necessarily show themselves. However, they do like to get some sun on the mudflats in front of the mangroves. But the tide is rising this morning so it’s a race to get far enough up the creek – an odd designation for a body of water that would put most of Australia’s major rivers to shame – to maybe catch one or two napping.

Stealthy croc in Porosus Creek (Silvia Furtwaengler)

We’ve been instructed to keep nothing to ourselves, so when one passenger spies “something” off to starboard, Zodiac driver Izzy swings the craft around, kills the engine and we drift in, ‘drift’ being the pertinent word. Because it’s nothing but a long piece of driftwood. Maybe other Zodiacs will have better luck, as Izzy’s walkie-talkie maintains a semi-constant chatter with the rest of the squadron.

We’ve all come off Scenic Eclipse II, a sumptuous adventure yacht (their term) on a voyage from Broome to Darwin. The scenery is rarely less than stunning, not to mention the sunsets, but at every opportunity, passengers board Zodiacs to explore. We’ve already got close, but not too close, to the phenomenon of the Horizontal Waterfall in Talbot Bay, spotted an amazing banded sea snake, some small dolphins, sharks trapping fish in the shallows and wonderful seabirds at Montgomery Reef, and admired the rock art of Widgingarra Butt Butt, aka Freshwater Creek.

But everyone wants crocs, albeit with a nice buffer zone, and so we spend a few hours plying the creek, a tributary of the Hunter River which eventually empties into the huge and spectacular Prince Frederick Harbour. Other Zodiacs had reported a shark harassing two crocs on the other side of the harbour, but by the time we arrive the action is over. Eventually, we move into a narrow section of the creek and everyone is peering intently into the mangroves. However, the best we can do is several very distinct claw marks on a muddy bank, where a croc has obviously been not that long ago.

We return to Scenic Eclipse II, its cosseting appointments, an amazing array of restaurants and the largest collection of fine whiskies on the high seas, to discover that there had been a significant croc sighting maybe an hour before. Not up in Porosus Creek, where we’d whiled away a few hours in croc-less sunshine, but off the back of the ship, maybe 50 metres away. But we’re only halfway into this 11-day adventure, and there’ll be plenty more crocs in the sea.

Jeremy Bourke was a guest of Scenic on its Uncover the Kimberley Coastline cruise, part of its Tastes of Discovery series.  

His article on the entire experience will be published in Travel+Luxury in The Weekend Australian.

#sceniceclipse #sceniceclipseii #luxurytravel #thekimberley

No comments:

Post a Comment