The morning began with wellness stretches hosted by Belinda on the sundeck. Guests enjoyed watching the sunrise whilst spotting the occasional passing whale. After another delicious breakfast in the outdoor café, undersea specialist Adam delivered his presentation, “Avian Physiology and Behavioural Adaptations.” This presentation was partially postponed by a collection of whales engaged in a mating display in close proximity to the ship. Guests were treated to a rare encounter that included one female and several pursuing male humpbacks. Lots of tail, fin, and chin slapping could be seen and heard as the whales twisted and turned over one another in fierce competition. After lunch, we dropped the pick adjacent to the Lacepede Islands. Passengers enjoyed the sheltered waters the sand cays provided whilst cruising in the turquoise bay and looking for wildlife. The ever-present population of brown boobies was the centerpiece, complemented by the frigates, crested terns, oystercatchers, pelicans, and red-capped plovers to name a few. The sea snake guests spotted alongside the boat as we departed was a rare treat. Once inside the lagoon, the resident crocodile posed politely for some great photos. The clear, shallow waters offered guests the chance to observe a myriad of green sea turtles, shovelnose sharks, and cowtail rays. Back on board, guests indulged in a cocktail hour hosted by Captain Alex, who delivered a sincere farewell on behalf of all crew before we retired to the dining room one last time.
National Geographic Orion
Gidday and welcome to a unique part of the world, the west coast of Australia. After leaving Perth, National Geographic Orion set a course towards a remote set of islands on the offshore of Australia called the Rowley Shoals. Sunrise was a welcome phenomenon as we made our way towards our destination. We progressed through our normal routine of introducing the expedition staff to guests, in addition to Zodiac and snorkel briefings. Snorkel gear was distributed, and guests buzzed with anticipation as they prepared for the adventure ahead. After lunch, Zodiacs full of guests were sent off into the lagoon of the Australian atoll along Mermaid Reef. The water was chilly, but the environment was epic with vibrant corals, numerous species of fish, and calming sunshine. As a Polynesian person, I could have sworn I was in French Polynesia or the Cook Islands…but then I’m biased. All in all, it was a great first day for our happy guests that was topped off with a joyous Captain’s Welcome cocktail party hosted by Captain Alex. Cheers!