Today we docked in our final Australian port of Darwin, where we have another overnight stay. Arrival time is 14:00, so we have booked an optional excursion – Eco Cruise.
Prior to arrival Darwin, the Galley hosted an amazing buffet for all World Wonders pax, sailing from L/A to London. It was a special German buffet, with some excellent food and drinks.
Wind/Weather: Overcast with fresh wind and chance of thunderstorms
Clox: Back 1/2 hr (Z+9.5 hrs)
We arrived at the pilot station about Noon, so the Captain was unable to provide his daily navigation briefing.
Overcast skies, with heavy rain showers. Winds were following at about 20 kts.
No special meals today, as the Galley hosted a private brunch for the World Wonders Passengers (L/A to London). Ultimate 245’ers were also welcome to join us at the end.
This featured an excellent German themed buffet with cutlet sandwiches, German sausage, sauerkraut, suckling pig, etc. The dessert table included a type of Black Forest cake and apple strudel. In addition to loads of food, the drinks were being freely poured, with shots of Schnapps being poured during dessert. Yes, this eating and drinking extravaganza started at 10:00.
At dinner we sat at table #153, with a couple who ate and ran to attend the show. Allison and Ron, at the adjacent table, had lost 2, so we moved to their table joining them and the couple we did the Hunter Valley tour. After a couple of glasses of Port, we missed the show, so headed straight to Torshavn.
Headed up to the Deck 8 sauna about 05:30 and while it was still hot, it wasn’t quite so humid as yesterday. Regardless, after an hour of walking, when the rain started I was already soaked, so continued for another 1/2 hr, as I couldn’t get any wetter.
After breakfast, I intended to spend most of the morning attending lectures, but our kids called to discuss the status of Judi’s car. Our house sitter was provided the use of the car to take dogs walking, etc and he was involved in an accident. Well, today the insurance confirmed it is a write-off. Fortunately we have full replacement insurance and our daughter has full power of attorney. So both kids went out to the salvage yard to collect any remaining personal effects and have spent time at Ford getting a quote for a new car. Basically, when we get home, Judi will have a new car.
Finished dealing with the car and headed up to the Brunch, then straight to Trivia at Noon. Today we scored 11/15, but were a couple short of the winning total of 13.
- Tour Type – Ship’s Optional Excursion
- Tour Name – Eco Cruise
- Duration – 2.5 hours
- Summary – A short cruise down the Mangrove lined estuary to observe wildlife.
Our Eco-Cruise departed right from the dock, as we walked down onto a pontoon, then across the bow of the boat. which was a rigid hull with twin outboards of > 400 HP each. Departing the dock, we cruised out past the Viking Sun and stopped while they discussed the LNG docks across the inlet. We then headed into the inlet at about 25 kts, stopping at the fishing wharf.
Continuing past the wharves we encountered our first stretch of Mangroves.
In the above photo, the entire inlet originally was covered in Mangroves. The adjacent fishing wharf is built on reclaimed land, with the Mangroves having been cleared. Once we got further into the inlet and had Mangroves on both sides, it looked like we were deep in the jungle, but in fact, based on Google maps we were rarely more than a few hundred yards from civilisation.
The tidal range, or height difference between high tide and low tide is up to 26 feet. The inlet has a number of marinas, with all of them having lock gates to keep the marinas full at low tide. The marinas all appear to have expensive waterfront condos built around them.
Although fairly wide at the entrance to the inlet, we were at low tide, so for much of the trip had minimal clearance below the hull. At one point, we had about 1 foot clearance.
The inlet has numerous private boats moored on both sides, which with the shallow water made navigating a little challenging. At times, we went between the moored boats and the shore.
This was close to low water, so at high tide the water level is up to the leaves.
All of the offshoots from the main channel were too shallow to investigate.
This was our only wildlife sighting.
This was located at the head of the inlet and as the gate was raised, it was empty. Fisheries and oceans have numerous traps around the local waters and check each of them on a weekly basis.
Due to the shallow water, we couldn’t go any further, so we turned around and re-traced our route out of the inlet.
Once clear of the inlet, we had only been aboard for an hour and had another 90 minutes to spend. While not exactly “Eco-cruise” content, they took us past the Navy Base and showed us some old gun emplacements.
Certainly wouldn’t recommend this tour to others that visit Darwin in the future.
Viking provided a complimentary shuttle bus from the port to Bennett Street. The journey is about 10 mins and the last bus left town at 21:45.
As another day closes, we bid you farewell, till tomorrow and hope for fair skies and following seas.