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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Kimberley Cruising Is Definitely One For Your Bucket List

Posted by Andrew Castles on May 18, 2017

If you are looking for the perfect destination for your next holiday in Australia, you need to consider Kimberley cruising with Expedition Cruise Specialists.

Kimberley cruising is by far the most outstanding holiday option for those who enjoy first class accommodation, fine food, excellent service and exceptional itineraries that are designed to allow guests the opportunity to really experience the destination.

The Kimberley region is one of the most stunningly beautiful and unspoilt destinations in the world.

 

Kimberley Quest II on a Kimberley Cruise at Raft Point
 

To really appreciate the magnificence of this remote paradise, you need to be able to get up close and feel the spray of the waterfalls, listen to the calls of the wildlife and breathe in the freshest of air.

For an unforgettable experience to treasure for the rest of your life, sail on one of the multiple expedition vessels that take guests away in small groups to experience wilderness ‘up close’ and, to add yet another dimension to your adventure.

Several of the Kimberley Cruising options even feature an onboard helicopter.

The team at Expedition Cruise Specialists will be able to help you plan your dream Australian holiday on one of their magnificent vessels that will provide you with the luxury of first class accommodation and service as well as exclusive day tours to remote and stunningly beautiful locations.

 

True North Kimberley Cruise Helicopter
 

The carefully crafted and unique itineraries include activities such as;
Scenic walks
Helicopter flights
Fishing
Culture tours
Picnics
Nature 
Exploring 

Kimberley Cruising Seasons

Cruises on the Kimberley Coast only operate in between mid April and October each year, due to the rest of the year being prone to uncomfortable hot, humid weather conditions and the chance of cyclones.

The Kimberley’s Three Seasons:

Waterfall Season (April & May)

Iconic waterfalls are one of the main draw cards of the Kimberley Coast, including the towering 80-metre King George and four-tiered Mitchell Falls. 

The landscape will be covered in a brilliant green hue, as vegetation regenerates with the rains.


Great Escape on a Kimberley Cruise

 

Peak Season (June, July and early August)

If you have had enough of the cold winter then June and July are probably your best and most popular time of year to travel to the Kimberley, because this is the Dry Season and the weather is characterised by clear blue skies and balmy days.

The iconic King Cascades on the Prince Regent River are spring fed and will have a water flow year round. 

 

Beach BBQ on a Kimberley Cruise

 

Whale & Wildflower Season (August, September and early October)

The Kimberley Coast is the world’s epicentre for whale watching with up to 30,000 humpbacks making their annual journey from the Antarctic feeding grounds to the warm tropical waters to breed and give birth.

Often your skipper will idle the ship’s engines so these amazing creatures can put on a playful display around the ship. 

The wildflowers are also blooming, covering the ground in a carpet of colourful native blooms.

The three seasons for cruising this awesome region are all very special in different ways, offering a completely different tour experience.

 

Mermaid Boab Tree on a Coral Discoverer Kimberley Cruise

 

Speak to an expedition specialist:

Phone: +61 7 4041 2101

Freecall: 1800 90 20 80 (within Australia)

Email: [email protected]

Is the Great Barrier Reef still Great?

Posted by Andrew Castles on May 16, 2017

great barrier reef cruise

 

For decades, travellers from all corners of the globe have been drawn to Australia’s tropical north by one single allure, the dream to snorkel or dive the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. Growing up, we’d all seen pictures of 'the Reef' in exotic magazines like National Geographic and wondered whether the corals could really be THAT blue, THAT red and THAT yellow, and whether the fish really would look like Nemo. For most visitors the answer has always been a resounding “YES”, the reality matched the expectation.

But, over the past couple of years we’ve been hearing a lot more about the Reef, and not all of it good. Global warming, coral bleaching, forests of dead coral and potentially even the future of the entire reef under threat being a common theme.

So it begs the question; What’s really happening to the reef and is it still worth visiting?

Rebecca Finlayson, a qualified Marine Biologist at Coral Expeditions - the region’s only multi-night cruise operator - sat down to answer all the hard questions for us!

 

 

There has been a lot of talk about coral bleaching. Can you explain what this is? Is this a natural phenomenon?

Bleaching is when the coral expels the microscopic algae that lives in its tissue. This algae gives coral its colour and so when it is expelled what we see is the white calcium carbonate that coral utilises. It’s a bit like the bones inside of humans; some coral has this calcium carbonate internally, while others use it more like an exoskeleton. The coral becomes bleached when it becomes very stressed, and ‘thinks’ that expelling the zooxanthellae (or algae) is its last chance to survive. Just because coral has bleached does not mean it is dead, but conversely, dead coral will always be bleached. If the stressful factors around the coral are eliminated or reduced, coral can draw back in the zooxanthellae and recover from the event. However, if it remains stressed, it will not draw the zooxanthellae back in, and the result is that it will usually die around three months after the bleaching event. On our cruise programmes we saw some bleaching in specific locations, with more recovery in some areas and less recovery in others.

 

Some people are saying “the reef is dying / dead”. Is this true?

It is a very bold statement to declare something as ‘dead’, particularly something as large as the Great Barrier Reef. Although certain areas of the reef do not look what they did 10, 100 or 1000 years ago, it can be for a number of reasons; some places will even look better than they did years ago. The whole reef is continually going through different stages of development and replenishment and as a result different areas of the reef will look different to each other.

 

If tourists want to travel to see the reef, are there any areas that the reef are completely untouched?

No areas of the reef are 100% ‘untouched’ except the designated pink zones. These are the areas most stringently managed in the Reef, and no operator has ever or will ever enter these areas. However with our own private moorings at some sites on all itineraries - including the Ribbon Reefs - usually there are no other ships in sight, and in these locations, the reef is truly spectacular.

 

Can you tell us a little about the condition of the reef where Coral Expeditions II visits?

On the 5 night Northern Expedition from Cairns I have noticed the bleaching a little more, and in some locations, the coral looks a little different to what it used to. Equally through, it has recovered almost fully in other areas. Generally, I see the reefs visits on the 3 night Southern expedition virtually untouched by bleaching and the coral looks as it always has - beautiful.

 

 

Where on the Coral Expeditions itineraries will you find the best diving/coral/marine life?

In my opinion, the Ribbon Reefs on our Northern Expedition are the most spectacular. But others are also beautiful, including Thetford Reef and Steve’s Bommie.

 

During a Great Barrier Reef cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II, will travellers notice any coral bleaching or damage?

They may notice a little bit of bleaching, but equally, recovery is evident in many areas. The main area that is still noticeably different is Lizard Island, however this being a fringing reef goes through large changes quite regularly. It is a learning experience for our guests too to see the differences in not only reef types but bleached, undisturbed and recovering reefs as well.

 

What’s the typical reaction of a guest on a Coral Expeditions guest when they see the reef?

Usually astonishment - our guests are impressed beyond what they expected! The diversity in fish is something that our guests find magical, but our guests are often most impressed by the coral. We quite often hear our guests remark that the Reef is ‘the only place where the coral is just as interesting to look at as the fish!”

 

Do we need to “hurry up and see the reef before its gone”?

No. Nobody has a crystal ball, and the Reef is the kind of place that you can return to again and again, as it is alive and constantly changing. Sounds like a good excuse for a holiday to me anyway!

 

 

So there you have it, according to Bec it is not all doom and gloom. Indeed on our own recent 3-night cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II we were simply blown away by what we saw, the snorkelling was the best we’ve ever experienced and most of our travelling companions (from all over the world) agreed.

Simply put, there is no better way to experience the Great Barrier Reef than with the team at Coral Expeditions. Their small ship, the 44-passenger Coral Expeditions II, calls at exclusive parts of the Reef where there’s no other travellers around and you feel like you have the reef all to yourself. You’ll learn a lot during your cruise from people like Bec, and enjoy first class service from the rest of the young Australian crew. And the food.. oh the food. How the chef manages to prepare spectacular meal after spectacular meal in such a small galley we will never know!

If you would like to learn more about joining a three, four or seven night Great Barrier Reef cruise aboard Coral Expeditions II click here or call us today!

 

For more about the Great Barrier Reef visit the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website.