Submitted By: Esther Venema

It’s difficult to suggest that one day may have been better than others; from the moment I stepped onto the gangplank to the moment of saying farewell to the crew who had outshone themselves, this was truly the trip of a lifetime.

The first morning onboard, we cruised past the Breaksea Islands into Port Davey. At 7am, the air was bitterly cold, however that did not stop us eagerly peering through the haunting fog to see spectacular views of the pristine wilderness. The bow of the Promenade Deck offered a great lookout spot, where many of us gathered with our cameras and phones to capture this stunning entry into adventure.

After a delicious breakfast we walked onboard the Xplorer vessel which was located at the aft of the ship. As the Xplorer vessel is lowered up and down by a hydraulic platform, walking onboard was as easy as it sounds. We were lowered gently down and then off we went on our first adventure! We cruised through the Narrows into the famous Bathurst Harbour and then along the magnificent Melaleuca Inlet. The fog was so dense and heavy that it was mysteriously eerie; at one moment we could see only about 2 metres out! Our experienced Xplorer driver navigated us expertly through this mist and our Guest Lecturers kept us entertained and educated with a running commentary on the raw beauty that we were passing through.

Another moment that really stood out for me was our climb up Mt Milner. The day was splendidly clear, and the sun was shining with barely a cloud in the sky. The Xplorer took us over to Bramble Cove where we had a ‘wet landing’. We took our shoes off and after stepping off the Xplorer, waded through the water to the soft sand waiting. Towels were provided to dry our feet, and then we started trekking up the trail. It was difficult to stay focused on where my feet were to step as I was so taken aback by the wondrous views around. Every way I turned, there was a stunning view awaiting. After about an hour, we reached the turnaround point where we stopped to take photos and just soak in the beauty around. We took a group photo and then ambled back down. Once at the cove again, our expedition leaders radioed the ship for the Xplorer vessel to pick us up again. Whilst waiting, myself and a couple of others made the most of the warmth the sun was bringing and waded into the water, which although fresh, was lovely. The sand underneath was so soft, and it was certainly a pleasant way to end this marvellous walk.

I am very grateful for the photos that were taken because I would certainly struggle to describe the breathtaking views. I would definitely recommend this cruise to anybody, and would leap at the opportunity to go again myself.