30th November 2017 – Day 8 of Darwin to Cairns Indigenous Art Cruise

Submitted By: Jennifer Mancinelli

We awoke to a stunning vista of islands in the Torres Strait, as Coral Discoverer anchored off Badu Island. There was a buzz of anticipation onboard – we were the first cruise ship ever to visit Badu Island. We all watched from the rear deck as Expedition leader Jamie brought Badu Councillor Artist Laurie Nona back to the ship on Xplorer. He gave an overview of the island, its people and culture, and his hopes for economic growth.

We loaded into Xplorer for the cruise to Badu Island jetty. From there we walked to the Badu Arts Centre, where guests took turns perusing the many fantastic screen prints produced by local artists, including Laurie himself. There was a flurry of purchases whilst Laurie gave a demo of the printing press.

Lunch was a feast fresh from an underground oven: crayfish, freshly caught fish, and aromatic curries. Then it was time for a traditional dance performance. As the local women raised their powerful voices in harmony to the beat of drums, a line of young men wearing headdresses danced to the rhythms. Guests were moved to tears by the powerful voices of the local women: it was a truly special moment as these proud people shared their culture with us.

In the afternoon we headed over to Laurie’s private beach for a refreshing swim in the sparkling water – absolute paradise. Laurie’s many young children were having a blast swimming and playing with the guests, and we all delighted in their giggles and antics. Too soon it was time to head back to Coral Discoverer. We finished off an unforgettable day with sunset drinks and BBQ at the Xplorer Bar – everyone on a high from our amazing experience.

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