Some of us started the day by joining fitness instructor Belinda for a yoga class at sunrise. After breakfast, we headed to Bigge Island for our morning excursion.
Upon arrival at the beach, we went beachcombing and found interesting shells and corals of the animals that live here. We spotted obvious turtle tracks and turtle nesting sites and northern quoll tracks as well as several crabs. Hermit crabs are proliferous, and we had a look at the little critters. Super-fast, white ghost crabs left holes in the sand. We looked at the sandstone and the native plants on a walk. Mangroves are a food pantry for other animals and people, including shellfish eaten by fish and a variety of plants and seafood eaten by Aboriginal people.
Near the mangroves, we found a flat area called rock stone that resembles concrete. Water seeping out of the sand mixes with the powdered lime of sea creatures to form a very hard surface.
Upon returning to the beach, we got to see caves that contain Wandjina and contact art. It is fascinating to observe art that is 5000 to 6000 years old. The art remains relevant for local Aboriginal people. There was also contact art, which demonstrates the first encounters of Aboriginal people with the Dutch and possibly the English. These rock paintings from around the 17th century are deemed young compared to the other artwork that we got to see yesterday and today.
We returned to the ship for lunch and a short rest to let all the new information sink in. While on the ship, humpback whales gave a brief appearance in the distance as they checked out the ship.
The tide determines a lot here, and we had a very small window to visit Cathedral Cave. We headed off after lunch to see the natural sandstone cave with different weathering patterns that expose the white stone as well as the coloured parts. We admired red through iron oxide, green and black from different algae, and shades of yellow. Since the acoustics are brilliant in the location, we came prepared. Naturalist and photo instructor Taneesh sang a popular Australian folk song, “Waltzing Mathilda.” Afterward, two of our talented crew members performed. Ricky was on vocals and Daryl on the guitar. It was a very moving experience.
Back to the ship, we enjoyed afternoon tea, cocktail hour with recap, and stories by Adam and Birgit. In this pristine environment, dinner was served in the balmy outdoor cafe during sunset. It was a perfect day. We can’t wait to see what is in store tomorrow.