We started the morning with a cruise around the rugged sandstone country. There were options for a scenic cruise or a photographer’s cruise with National Geographic photographer Krista Rossow and photo instructor Mike Greenfelder. The islands around us offer interesting geology with layers of sandstone and dolerite exposed. There are pockets of rainforest on the richer, volcanic-type soil, and one island is covered in Livistona palm trees. In the mangrove habitat, we found fish as well as several bird species. Back on board for lunch and to refresh, some guests attended an informative talk by Krista Rossow to learn how to improve their photos. Her examples were breathtaking.
In the afternoon, we were in for a special treat: visiting Wollaston Island, where a large rock art gallery is found in the Wandjina style. These intriguing figures are found on the walls and under the ceiling of a rock overhang. They depict the spiritual ancestors who are responsible for the rain falling every year during the rainy season to keep the country alive and healthy. This 5000- to 6000-year-old art is still relevant to local Aboriginal people today and is connected to their tribal stories. We observed depictions of several animals, including the extinct Tasmanian tiger (the thylacine), and various marine animals. The more we looked, the more we found. It was well worth a short walk up the rocks to get there.
With all this fresh in our minds, a talk on the life of Aboriginal people was offered by cultural specialist Birgit Aikman after we returned to the ship. It was timely to gain more insight into this old culture and the way Aboriginal people see their world. During the relaxing cocktail hour, members of the expedition team – Martin, Javier, and Adam – entertained us with recap stories. We enjoyed the expertly-prepared dinner and the friendly service. Guests viewed a documentary about the area before retiring to bed. And so, a full day came to a satisfying end.