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12 Nights | Departs & Returns to Broome | Coral Discoverer
Departs: 18 September 2023
Join our 12-night expedition voyage of Western Australia’s Coral Coast onboard Coral Discoverer, and explore the extraordinary marine environment, historic islands, and striking coastline of this hard-to-reach wilderness region. Departing Broome, we will visit the spectacular Rowley Shoals Marine Park, the Dampier Archipelago and the Montebello Islands. Our voyage will culminate with a visit to Ningaloo Reef, home to vibrant marine life both large and small. Our marine experts and guides will lead our discovery of the untouched atolls, marine life and rare bird species that are found in this pristine coastal habitat.
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|CORAL DISCOVERER||TWIN SHARE PER PERSON||SOLE USE*|
|Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom||$16,250||n/a|
|Promenade Deck (Category A)||$13,090||n/a|
|Promenade Deck (Category B)||n/a||$17,610|
|Main Deck (Category A)||$11,290||n/a|
|Main Deck (Category B)||$10,390||n/a|
Prices are per person, listed in Australian Dollars (AUD) and include GST. *Limited sole use occupancy available.
Embark: Board at Broome Wharf commences at 4:00 pm for 5:00 pm departure.
Disembark: Arrive and disembark at Broome Wharf at 08:00 am.
This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions, and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling.
At the edge of the continental shelf, 170 nautical miles offshore, lie the Rowley Shoals a chain of 3 coral atolls including Clerke, Mermaid and Imperieuse Reefs. The shoals, named by Captain Phillip Parker King, offer some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in the world. Their shallow lagoons are inhabited by myriad coral species and marine life, including giant potato cod, Maori wrasse, at least 233 species of coral and 688 species of fish – many of which are not found on other coral reefs. Diving along the outside edge of the shoals one can view colourful soft corals, hammerheads and pelagic fish. Water clarity here is absolutely unparalleled, making for superb underwater photography opportunities.
Conditions permitting, we will spend 1-2 days at Clerke and perhaps Mermaid or Imperieuse reefs, with ample time for snorkelling and diving opportunities. With each atoll covering approximately 90 sq km, there will be plenty to see! Guided by our on-board marine biologist, snorkel away the day in the coral gardens of the Aquarium at Clerke Reef, or dive along the sheer vertical walls and through coral canyons. Try a drift snorkel in the channel, or beach comb on Bedwell Island, keeping an eye out for the red-tailed tropicbird that roosts there.
Consisting of 42 islands and islets, 25 of which are nature reserves; The iron-red islands of the Dampier Archipelago stand in bright contrast to the turquoise waters which surround them. The archipelago not only offers exceptional natural beauty but significant sites for Aboriginal and European Heritage, many of which are in National Heritage Listed Areas. Named after English explorer William Dampier who first visited the islands aboard the Cygnet in 1699; the islands’ earliest inhabitants were the Yaburara people, as is evidenced by the thousands of rock engravings, shell middens and stone arrangements scattered across the area.
Alongside our onboard naturalist and historian, search for the ancient petroglyphs on remote islands such as Dolphin Island. Bottlenose dolphins are regularly seen in the area and the archipelago supports the largest Hawksbill turtle rookery in the Indo-Pacific region. Birdwatchers will have the opportunity to see several species of migratory waders as well as sea eagles and ospreys. With luck, we may even see the elusive Rothschild’s rock wallaby. There will be ample opportunity to explore the area’s historical and cultural sites before taking to the azure waters for swimming and kayaking.
Off the coast of the Pilbara, the Mackerel Islands are 10 atolls, a rarely-visited wilderness. World-class diving, snorkelling and wildlife spotting is accessible from this magic destination.
Spend the day snorkelling the fringing reefs and bommies close to the beach. The untouched coral reefs showcase an array of colourful sea life. Scuba dive sites ranging from 3m to 18m in depth are a dive playground for those seeking new reef frontiers.
Ashore, beach comb on Thevanard Island or for those looking for a longer hike, take the Eco Walk Trail to circle the island and soak in the beauty of the destination.
The World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is the turquoise jewel in the crown of the Western Australian coastline. Spanning over 5,000 square kilometres, this is one of the largest fringing reefs in the world. Its inner and outer reefs create a diverse range of habitats for vibrant corals and more than 500 species of fish. This is also where marine life comes to feed during their migrations, including humpback whales and giant manta rays. It is also a coastline with a fascinating heritage, where lonely whalers battled it out against the elements.
We will spend 2-3 days here exploring this stunning coastline from Exmouth to Coral Bay and its underwater playground. From Exmouth, take a coach tour to discover Cape Range National Park, enjoy a nature walk at Yardie Creek, and visit the Vlamingh Head lighthouse. A visit to the educational Ningaloo Centre prepares you for an incredible experience of snorkelling from the beach at Turquoise Bay, and a boat charter with a local operator to discover the outer reef with the opportunity to snorkel with manta rays and turtles. There may be an opportunity for advanced divers to discover the Navy Pier dive, depending on tides. As we cruise the ‘Humpback Highway’ down the coast, we have the opportunity to watch these majestic whales breach close by.
Located approximately 10 nautical miles off the North West Cape, the waters surrounding the uninhabited Muiron Islands are teeming with marine life. A variety of dive sites are on offer, including swim-throughs and ledges where nudibranchs, eels and angelfish hide. With fantastic bommies and protected reefs, snorkellers will appreciate the variety of soft corals and gorgonians as well the incredible fish life. After in-water activities, stretch your legs on a stroll down the beach on these untouched islands.
Serrurier Island is one of the 170 remote Pilbara inshore islands and is protected as a nature reserve. The coral competition here is fierce, as is the fish species diversity. Sea-grass beds feed dugongs and several species of marine turtle, which have been spotted on our previous expedition here. Today is all about the in-water experience as we snorkel this truly off the beaten path and untouched destination.
The Montebello Islands or ‘Montes’ are an archipelago of more than 250 limestone islands and islets off the coast of the Pilbara. A twitcher’s delight, the islands are considered an Important Bird Area, as they support over 1% of the world populations of fairy and roseate terns, as well as Sooty Oystercatchers.
The islands also have a fascinating maritime history. The survivors of the Dutch vessel Trial swam here after their ship was wrecked in 1622, being the first Europeans to land on the islands. The Montes have an ‘explosive’ past – Alpha and Trimouille Islands were the site of three British atomic weapons tests in the 1950s. Relics of the military operation can still be found on the islands today.
Spend a full day exploring this island group, with wildlife spotting opportunities and many beautiful beaches to swim at. We saw many rufous hare-wallabies and lagoon stingrays on our recent trip here.
|Departure||Departure||Arrival||Arrival||Cost Per Person||Cost PP||Ship||Availability|
|18 September 2023||18 Sep 2023||30 September 2023||30 Sep 2023||$10,390 to $16,250||$10,390 to $16,250||Coral Discoverer||Available||Book|
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There will be opportunities to snorkel and dive at several locations during the cruise depending on conditions, with opportunities to swim at beautiful beaches almost every day. Snorkelling locations include Muirons, Turquoise Bay, Shark Bay, and Abrolhos. Swimming and water activities will be available at the Montebellos and Dampier. Our vessel is fully stocked with a wide range of SCUBA diving and snorkelling equipment. Persons who wish to participate in either Certified diving or Introductory diving must be in good health for diving. Please review detailed information about SCUBA diving, snorkelling, and our dive medical evaluation form before boarding.