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.