What a croc!
An icon of Northern Australia, the Crocodylus porosus or salt water crocodile is not a creature to encounter lightly. This cold-blooded reptile lives in estuarine waters along the Kimberley coastline and they are often seen regulating their temperature by sunning themselves on the banks of Kimberley rivers. They are an apex predator with powerful jaws, serious teeth and stealth hunting capability which includes the ability to silently raise their eyes and snout out of the water without barely causing a ripple! Fortunately, the TRUE NORTH’s rigid-hulled adventure boats provide our guests with added safety when viewing these living dinosaurs in their natural habitat.
Dragons with and without manners
Within the national park, the giant Komodo dragons lay quietly, well-fed and content. TRUE NORTH guests are guided through the park by the local ranger, his calm demeanour not necessarily matched by the long wooden pole he carries for protection. It seemed a tad unnecessary as he also ensured a safe distance between lizard and guest.
The pole later proved to be without exaggeration when our guests witnessed the true character of this fierce predator. Power and fury were on display when they competed on the beach. The males rise-up on their hind legs, gnashing their teeth and clawing at their opponent. On occasion they take to the sea and swim, their heads held above the water and strong legs paddling below. Later, in the comforts of the bar lounge, the ship’s biologist fascinated all with more facts about the dragons from Komodo!
Birds of a feather
The canopy of Papua New Guinea’s lush tropical forest is home to the bird of paradise. These exotic birds are best known for the males brightly coloured plumage – long and elaborate feathers protruding from the bird’s tail, wings and head, all of which is displayed in equally elaborate dance when trying to attract a mate or when intimidating adversaries.
The local villagers create extravagant headdresses out of bird of paradise feathers that they find or trade. The feathers are treasured for their spectacular beauty and headdresses are worn as a part of traditional sing sings and celebrations. Guests on the TRUE NORTH are welcomed like family, not only to watch these entertaining performances, but to participate as well! The colourful headdresses are even placed on our guest’s heads! Only the small group experience can deliver such an intimate level of cultural immersion.
Puppies of the ocean
The TRUE NORTH has delivered its guest to another day of adventure on the Eyre Peninsular. Today the highlights will be swimming with sea-lions and, cage diving with great white sharks!
The early-risers are offered opportunity for some local sightseeing and a beachcomb, whilst at the same time the adventure boats head out to fish for whiting and squid. Later in the morning, the TRUE NORTH anchors in a quiet sandy cove before the adventure boats this time escort our guests to the shallow clear waters of a nearby sandy beach. Masks and snorkels adorned, guests slip into the water and the sea-lions bound from the beach to join them! Australian sea-lions are inquisitive and playful. They mimic swimmers, blow bubbles and jump out of the water. Their large eyes constantly watching with unmasked curiosity.
After playing with these puppies of the sea, it’s back onboard TRUE NORTH for a delicious lunch as we cruise over to our next destination.
The afternoon provides another opportunity to get up close to a creature of the sea – but this time one not so friendly. In the purpose-built cage a small group of guests wait just under the surface of the water. Schools of trevally distract but then a dark shadow looms into view. Suddenly it comes in close, an unmistakable predator. The great white shark!
Another day filled with adventure!