Ancient Artwork, Massive Reefs & Sunset Cocktails
I was up before sunrise this morning aboard Silversea’s Silver Discoverer, ready for our 7:30a.m. departure by Zodiac rafts for our hiking adventure in Raft Point that will take us to see the Wadjina Rock Art that has been painted onto a rocky outcrop high in the hills above Raft Point.
To accomplish these Zodiac transfers, guests aboard the Silver Discoverer are assigned to one of four groups: Group 1, 2, 3 and 4. I am in Group 2, and with each of these outings, the groups are rotated so that no one group always gets the first wake-up calls.
Today, Groups 2 and 3 are meeting by the Aft Pool on Deck 5 to go ashore first, at 7:30a.m., while Groups 1 and 4 will depart the Silver Discoverer one hour later at 8:30a.m. Guests arrive between 10 and 15 minutes prior to their scheduled departure time, and wear special Zodiac lifejackets (not those awful, bulky orange things).
We were told today would be a ‘wet landing.’ Each morning, an Assessment Party goes ashore to scout out the local conditions and report back to the ship. That way, if we have to disembark the zodiacs in the water – which was the case today – we can be better prepared to wear footwear capable of being immersed.
To store your wet footwear once you come back to the ship, guests can use two sets of lockers located on either side of the Deck 5 promenade. Cleverly, these lockers correspond with the side of the ship your suite is on, and they are all numbered. All you have to do is find your suite number and place your wet belongings in that designated bin.
Some of the first aboriginal artwork present in The Kimberley was discovered by a man named Joseph Bradshaw. Bradshaw, like a number of other famous explorers, was completely and totally lost when he bumbled upon the mysterious Gwion Gwion art. In the time-honoured tradition of the lost explorer, this artwork became known as The Bradshaw Paintings.
Carbon-dating isn’t possible, but it is thought that these drawings could be as old as 17,000 years. The native Aborigines believe that these paintings – which are scattered throughout The Kimberley – were created by birds that pecked at the rocks until their beaks bled, then used their own feathers to draw these elaborate works of art.
For our hike to the galleries, we were met by local Wadjina members who greeted us and painted our faces with two stripes of red ochre to honour local customs. We then made a short two kilometre hike up to the galleries.
Here’s the deal with the hike: it’s not that hard, but the searing heat and rising humidity in the early morning hours makes it feel like you’re slogging 20 kilometres through the desert. Bring lots of water; most of what you drank at breakfast will end up in your shirt. In fact, everyone was perspiring heavily by the time they reached the top, but the rewards for making the trek were plentiful.
Our Live Voyage Report from Silversea’s adventurous Silver Discoverer continues tomorrow as we explore the Hunter River in Western Australia’s Kimberley region! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.