WAving - from a west coast voyage

JohnM

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At this point, I’ll give an overall rundown of the ship, from photos taken at various times during the voyage.

The vessel is about two years old, weighs 5000 tonnes and has a passenger capacity of 120, but I believe they have limited it to 100 at present. When they released this voyage at the end of January, I immediately booked. I believe that it was fully booked within a short time, but with the Covid catastrophe that later emerged, the number of pax on the voyage was down to about 50, which turned out to be a very comfortable number. It also meant that our friends were able to make a last-minute booking.

We had a ‘Promenade Deck’ cabin. It had no balcony as the deck was outside the window. Cabins on the decks below and above are identical in size and layout, except those below have a porthole, as they are within the hull, while those above have a balcony instead of having a generally accessible deck walkway outside.

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The cabins are very comfortable and well appointed.

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Comfortable lounge/inside bar/lecture room.

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Voyage track displays on the big screens.

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JohnM

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Lounge and bar deck outside the lecture room.

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Dining room.

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Outside dining area (with one of the two ‘Xplorer’ tenders in the process of being raised – more on that later).

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Bridge.

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Spotless engine room. Diesel-electric propulsion via Azipull steerable thrusters. The ship can be turned on its own length. Cruising speed is around 10 knots.

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JohnM

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A great bragging point is the extremely good system for boarding the tenders for excursions. Each of the two ‘Xplorers’ seats about 60 people. They are stowed on the deck above the outdoor dining area and lowered and hoisted on a platform.

Boarding is from the deck below the dining room while they are rigid on the hoist. The platform is then lowered into the water and the tender can float free. Brilliant system.

There is an open sea-level deck that we did not use. I guess it could be used for the Zodiacs that vessel also carried.

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JohnM

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Back to the voyage in time sequence.

We cast off from Broome at about 1700h and then had 30 hours transit to our first destination, the Dampier Archipelago, off the coast of the twin towns of Karratha and Dampier and the Burrup Peninsula. Both are major Rio and Woodside ports.

We transited 80 Mile Beach at about 70nm offshore.

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Into the tender and off to Dolphin Island, which is effectively and extension of the Burrup Peninsula. The plan was to just cruise along the coast but changed to landing and doing a little beachcombing.

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JohnM

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Another landing in the afternoon in a different spot to scope some petroglyphs. They are not as striking on Dolphin Island as they are on the adjacent Burrup Peninsula.

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Like on the Burrup, the hills are a mass of boulders that look as though a giant alien dump truck has tipped them there.

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JohnM

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We then moved overnight to the Montebello Islands, NNE of Barrow Island. It’s staggering to think, given the development in the Pilbara and near offshore areas over the last 50-60 years that the Brits tested atomic bombs there back in the 1950s (Montebello Islands - Wikipedia, Nuclear weapons tests in Australia - Wikipedia,
).

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We went ashore on Trimouille Island, the site of the tests. It is recommended to spend only up to 1 hour there.

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There was a lot of turtle activity, as it was the breeding season.

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The lovely lagoon was filled with sharks, turtles and other large sea life.

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Pushka

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Back to the voyage in time sequence.

We cast off from Broome at about 1700h and then had 30 hours transit to our first destination, the Dampier Archipelago, off the coast of the twin towns of Karratha and Dampier and the Burrup Peninsula. Both are major Rio and Woodside ports.

We transited 80 Mile Beach at about 70nm offshore.

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Into the tender and off to Dolphin Island, which is effectively and extension of the Burrup Peninsula. The plan was to just cruise along the coast but changed to landing and doing a little beachcombing.

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SIL picked up the best shells I've ever seen on that beach earlier this year. Jealous on that score, but even more that you've been on a. ⛴
 

drron

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The marine creatures are all monitored for plutonium levels.They all received a large dose initially and still have plutonium in their flesh but for a long time at safe levels for human consumption.No impact reported on survival or breeding.
 

Port Power

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The marine creatures are all monitored for plutonium levels.They all received a large dose initially and still have plutonium in their flesh but for a long time at safe levels for human consumption.No impact reported on survival or breeding.
And there was certainly a lot of breeding going on! The green turtles were exhausted and resting on the beaches to recover.
 

JohnM

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Was the snorkeling and scuba diving around the same locale as the sharks???
Do you think they stayed in the area long enough to ingest radioactive material?

It was at the same island, but a different bay. We just viewed the lagoon from the cliff above as we walked a circuit from the landing via the detonation marker. We then re-boarded the tender and went to the other particularly nice sheltered bay for water activities.
 

JohnM

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Back to the ship for lunch, then in the afternoon, another landing on Trimouille Island. This time on the S end for a walk to the Elephant Hill lighthouse.

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This turtle’s remains were surprisingly far inland and high. The bays were full of turtles mating and exhausted females resting at the water’s edge. Copulation is a lengthy process and there were plenty of males circling those in copula waiting their chance. ‘Turtling’ became our new name for a mating frenzy 😉.

Turtle mating biology is interesting and explains the ‘turtling’: Animal Sex: How Sea Turtles Do It.

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JohnM

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Moving further S to Serruier and Muiron Islands.

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The main order of business for the day was snorkelling and scuba diving, or beachcombing for those that didn’t wish to do the former. I went snorkelling in the morning and scuba diving in the afternoon.

Twin torpedo tubes launching… – and in comes PJM.

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JohnM

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Next day we awoke to being moored in Exmouth Gulf, off the Exmouth marina and town. Once ashore at the marina we boarded a bus for a day’s outing around NW Cape and its star attraction, Ningaloo Reef.

The day’s outing took us first to Vlamingh Head lighthouse, then snorkelling at Turquoise Bay, followed by a picnic lunch at Yardie Creek, which is as far S as can be travelled on the W coast of the cape in conventional vehicles, before returning to Exmouth to visit the Ningaloo Discovery Centre.

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The naval communications towers array.

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JohnM

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Snorkelling at Turquoise Bay is a great experience. It’s only a few metres from shore to spectacular corals and sea life. A moderately strong current runs from S to N inside the lagoon, so the idea is to enter the water a few hundred metres to the S and simply drift along, taking in the kaleidoscope.

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