Birds, Turtles and a Gala

Day 13. Friday 17 August.

Whales all around for the morning! Cows And calves, pods and solos, just basking and rolling, diving and blowing. A marvelous lazy morning for passengers.

Our last expedition day – tonight we sail for Broome. We have a slow start – the first activity – actually our last – is a 2 hour zodiac trip to the Lacepede Islands leaving at 2.15 PM. We have been promised something special in this location, a protected nesting area for many species of birds. There were birds in the thousands – more than we could count. The one that pooped on T’s hat made a quick getaway and was not clearly identified! We saw Brown Boobies, Crested Terns, Capped Plovers, Red Legged Stilts, Pied Oyster Catchers, Frigate Birds, Pied Cormorants and Common Gulls. The Brown Boobies, which numerically dominated, were curious about us, and flew with, across and over us for most of the time. Needless to say, the combination of moving birds and a bobbing zodiac meant that most of the photos taken were blurred!

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We also saw many Green Turtles, as this is also a year-round breeding area for them. Apparently the noise of the outboard motor either doesn’t bother them or they can’t hear it: we could see them rise to the surface, poke their heads out of the water, see us, then immediately disappear. D took multiple shots of clear water without capturing a single picture of a turtle. This is as good as it got.

Fascinating o watch the zodiacs being winched from & to the top of the ship – an operation that occurred before and after each stop.

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So tonight is the Gala Night. We don’t think that we’ll have the energy to be celebrating for long!  The activities started with the Captain’s Cocktail Party on the open deck: all the crew – marine, maintenance, room service, naturalists, cooks, stewards – 150 of them, were introduced individually and thanked in their own language (French, Italian, Ukrainian, Polish, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesia, Spanish….and English).

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Shared a delightful buffet meal after the formalities on the deck with two gentlemen from Melbourne, then finished the evening with a taste of Deck 4 entertainment: Paris Express can can dancers. In these times of PC culture, the teasing suggestiveness of the girlie lineup (with one boy) is amusing but a bit jarring. No photos.

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