The day in the life of a True North cruise
By Sally Stockdale
Sally recounts a day in the life of her True North cruise.
Day 5 – Prince Regent River & Kings Cascades Waterfalls, 28 August – 4 September 2010
As I wake out of the dreamtime, I check the time and see that it’s 5.30am already. I jump out of bed and make my way to breakfast which is served at 6am. Everyone is up and bustling around the dining room ready for the day; a friendly camaraderie has been quickly established between all the passengers and the crew. We have easily slipped into this routine as the sunrises over the Kimberley’s wilderness as it’s the best time of the day. Nothing can compare to the sun slowly rising on the Prince Regent River and the absolute calm beauty of this area. As the raspberry pancakes are served we all discuss our adventures at the Montgomery Reef yesterday and the hilarious impromptu wedding after dinner last night of Clive & Libby – officiated by Captain Brad & the crew.
Still laughing, we make our way to the tenders for our morning adventures. Many are fishing today as the mighty barramundi are biting. We are looking forward to dinner if this is true, and wave them off with great enthusiasm. We have huge faith in the fishing guides Richo, Pete, Simo & Cookie as they know this area intimately and are taking them to their favourite fishing spots.
There are 6 of us who jump into “the doll” tender with Dan the naturalist – we are heading off to discover the wildlife, chasing the massive crocs and finally a walk to see the Wandjina rock art of the Kimberley Aboriginal people. Dan has the most incredible knowledge of this land and its wildlife and history and we are enraptured by what we see. This land instils a sense of ancient and timeless wonder and makes you feel a little humble in its grand presence.
Back on True North for lunch, there is excited chatter as the metre long barramundis are being cleaned and prepared for dinner. The 2 chefs Luke & Jamie are going to prepare an amazing feast for all tonight! Over lunch of BBQ prawns on Vietnamese salad, the stories start about the “ones that got away” and various other claims. Some are backed by photographic evidence and the disputed ones are not. There is great debate about who is going to win the coveted fish hat award tonight!
After lunch when the 10 ½ metre tide is suitable to our conditions, True North noses into the Kings Cascade Waterfalls. Although it’s August and the end of the dry season, the waterfalls are still going strong. Captain Brad and Simo nudge True North right up to the waterfall until she is kissing the cascading drops with her bow. I take about 100 photos of these phenomena as I dodge the water, as I have never seen anything to equal this natural beauty. They then swing True North around until she is alongside the cascade and another 100 photos are taken.
Now Nitty the cruise director, calls us for our afternoon adventure above the Kings Cascade Waterfalls. We see and hear the helicopter taking off from the top deck as those who have chosen the flight option embark on their flight. I will never get tired of seeing Reiner taking off and landing on board - it’s pretty amazing. But we are getting close up and personal so we actually have to put on shoes now – we have been used to going totally barefoot onboard so this feels somewhat foreign now. We take off in the tenders for drop off point and climb up the rocks to the water holes above. We get to the edge of the first waterhole and swimming is required to get access to the series of cascading waterfalls above. Once across I almost feel like I’m in a resort, as so perfectly positioned are the rock pools and waterfalls it hard to believe they haven’t been designed this way. We spend hours discovering the many wonders above the Kings Cascade, swimming in the fresh water pools, getting natural massages and diving off the falls. Reluctantly it’s time to go back to True North so we climb back down the rocky path and board the tenders to go back to the ship.
A quick shower and it’s time for the magnificent sunset and cocktail hour on the back deck. It’s incredible as every sunset seems to be more magnificent than the day before.
Tonight we have the great honour of a feast of barramundi on risotto – as fresh a fish as you could ever possibly eat. We all regale each other with our different experiences the day has bought as Georgia keeps topping up our wine glasses. The service on board is next to none with every request being met with a gorgeous smile from Bec, Rebecca, Alysha, Georgia & Nitty.
Nitty gives us a rundown of the activities for the next day and especially for the helicopter picnic at Melaleuca Falls. We are all going on this trip and are looking forward to the BBQ and the mud crabs caught yesterday by Greg & Mick.
As another day draws to a close, I briefly wonder what is going on in the real world. But the luxury of knowing that I am completely cut off from all communications makes the idea to dismiss this thought extremely easy. I am looking forward to tomorrow and feeling tired and relaxed from the last 4 days. I retire to my cabin to slip back into the world of the dreamtime – it’s 9pm.
Sally is Team Leader at Cruiseabout Hampton.