Exploring Talbot Bay and Australia’s Horizontal Falls
When dawn broke this morning, Silversea’s Silver Discovererwas already at anchor in Talbot Bay, Australia, ready for another day of exploration in The Kimberley, one of Western Australia’s most remote regions.
The Kimberley gets its name from a man named John Wodehouse, who was the First Earl of Kimberley and the Secretary of State for the Colonies in England between 1870 and 1874, and again from 1880 to 1882. I think we can all be thankful it wasn’t named “The Wodehouse”, which would obviously have to be pronounced as if Elmer Fudd were saying it.
Naming aside, I am finally beginning to acclimatize to the searing heat in this part of Australia. The average temperature outside – without much variation – is 36°C, with humidity approaching 60 percent. And that’s better than a few weeks ago, where the humidity was crawling up to 80 percent.
By night, the temperature hovers around 25°C, though it can feel cooler than that after the height of the midday heat. And it almost never rains here during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter months; a full 90 percent of the rainfall in the Kimberley falls between November and April, during the Southern Summer.
Because this is Silversea, I haven’t been down to the Discoverer Lounge on Deck 5 for breakfast once. Instead, I place an order for breakfast the night before, filling out the card and attaching it outside my suite door before turning in. Then, like magic, my breakfast appears right at the time I requested it, complete with table cloth and place settings just as onboard any other Silversea ship.
Aboard Silver Discoverer, every suite has a Butler – just as every suite does throughout the rest of the fleet. It sounds very upper-class, but Silversea’s butlers are lifesavers, particularly on active, busy adventure cruises like this one.
My butler, Heri, even goes the extra mile for me. I was going to go fill it up for the first time yesterday morning before embarking on our Zodiac tour, but it was already done for me; he’d filled it up the night before during the evening turndown service. Which impressed me to no end. I certainly didn’t expect it to be full this morning, but I picked it up off the counter and was pleasantly surprised to see it was filled yet again.
With a 7:30a.m. embarkation time for the Zodiacs, having breakfast in my suite allowed me to catch up on some much-needed rest. It’s all about little conveniences on Silversea.
Apparently, the scent of bacon sizzling on the grill was good enough to attract some other visitors: six sharks, which would spend the entire day slowly circling the stern of the ship. The Expedition Team tells us these particular sharks aren’t predatory. Falling in probably isn’t a good idea, but they’re not the kind of shark that made Steven Spielberg all that money.
Actually, everyone onboard was making references to JAWS this morning, but my personal favorite shark movie is 2004’s Open Water, which was far more terrifying – and based on a true story.
Our destination this morning: Talbot Bay’s Horizontal Falls, which we would visit as part of a larger 2.5-hour Zodiac expedition of the Talbot Bay coast.
The natural wonder that is the Horizontal Falls is made possible because of the largest tidal fluctuations outside of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, Canada. At this time of the year, the tides here will rise and fall by approximately 10 metres, and they do so with shocking rapidity.
This morning, we saw the Horizontal Falls when it was calm enough to get our Zodiac right into the swirling pools of water just after eight in the morning, and again around ten, when the tides were rushing in. The ominously-spinning whirlpools present early in the morning were gone, replaced with rapids that cascaded forcefully through the narrow opening. You could hear them before you could actually see them, and it’s a noise like no other. It’s part rapids, part rushing water, part jet engine spooling up.
Our Live Voyage Report from Silversea’s adventurous Silver Discoverer continues tomorrow, from Montgomery Reef and Raft Point in Australia’s Kimberley region! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.