The Experience

DAY 1-3: U.S./Broome, Western Australia/Embark
Depart for Broome, cross the international date line (lose a day) and arrive on Day 3. Make your way to the National Geographic Orion and set sail. (D)

DAY 4: Rowley Shoals
We explore three coral atolls with crystal clear waters off the Kimberley Coast. With abundant marine life and untouched coral, Rowley Shoals is one of the world,™s most pristine marine environments. National Geographic Orion will give you access to snorkeling and diving from the sand cays that make up the shoals as well as sea kayaking, weather permitting. (B,L,D)

DAY 5: At Sea
A day at sea is an opportunity to sit back, relax, chat with newfound friends, read or attend a lecture, or take advantage of Orion,™s amenities: have a massage to unwind, a sauna for sore muscles, or enjoy a good book and a refreshment on deck. The day is yours to do as you wish. (B,L,D)

DAY 6: Freshwater Cove
Wandjina tour guides join us here as we stretch our legs with a scenic walk to view Wandjinas and Gwion Gwion rock art in ancient caves. There is contemporary art here too, linking the arrival of white man to the country. We will also see distinctive Boab trees with carved Wandjina figures on them. Today is a fascinating walk back in time. (B,L,D)

DAY 7: Camden Harbour & Sheep Island
After a failed attempt at settlement by Victorian sheep farmers in 1864, this area is rarely visited from the sea. Nature has gradually reclaimed the ghostly ruins, leaving fragments of a hard life from long ago. Colonial history buffs will enjoy the atmosphere here and we can also visit nearby Sheep Island with its graves of the ill-fated settlers. (B,L,D)

DAY 8: Bigge Island
We land by Zodiacs on this rocky island jutting out of vividly colored aqua seas. Small monjon rock wallabies and the northern quoll thrive here free of predators found on the mainland. The island is famous as a site for some amazing rock art. Join the expedition team as they point out the Wandjina figures, distinctive for what appear to be haloes around the head of each figure. Painted by the Wunambal people, you may also see images of sailing ships and figures smoking pipes, which have been interpreted as representing seafaring European visitors in the 19th century. (B,L,D)

DAY 9: King George River & Falls
Today Zodiacs will take us up the King George River, revealing spectacular scenery and a wealth of bird species. The almost vertical sheer canyon walls have been eroded over millions of years and look like stacks of sandstone reminiscent of a child,™s building blocks. The river drains the Gardner Plateau and the falls are the highest single-drop falls in the whole of the Kimberley. For guests looking for a bit more adventure, you will be able to take a steep walk to the top of the falls and have the opportunity to enjoy a refreshing swim. (B,L,D)

DAY 10-11: Wyndham/At Sea
These are relaxed days, cruising south as National Geographic Orion makes an operational stop at Wyndham to clear customs in Australia before proceeding north to EastTimor. Listen to informal talks from our staff, preparing us for the exciting days ahead. (B,L,D)

DAY 12: Jaco Island, East Timor
This small uninhabited island is considered by the traditional Timorese to be Lulic, a sacred place. Today it is part of the Nino Konis Santana National Park and is home to some of Timor’s endemic bird species, such as the dusky cuckoo-dove and the fawn breasted whistler. On arrival we receive a colorful traditional welcome from people from the nearby mainland. With dazzling white-sand beaches and crystal-clear blue waters, we will be able to swim, snorkel and explore. (B,L,D)

DAY 13: Dili
The capital of East Timor is now moving past its tragic history of conflict. Our visit will allow us to explore this evolving cosmopolitan seaside city with an optional full day tour exploring Alieu and Dare in the hills. At Dare is the memorial to Sparrow Force, the ill-fated band of Australian soldiers who fought a guerrilla war against the Japanese with the Timorese people. We visit the memorial to the Alieu massacre, where a large number of Timorese were killed by the Japanese troops during WWII. We also have an opportunity to visit the local craft market, where you can find the colorful local woven fabrics called tais. (B,L,D)

DAY 14: Larantuka, Indonesia
In the 1600’s, Flores was an important Portuguese trade center, particularly for sandalwood coming from Portuguese Timor. As Dutch influence spread throughout the 17th century, Portuguese populations from other areas, such as Malacca and Makassar, moved to Larantuka. Today Larantuka is a neat little seaside township with spectacular views. Our visit will allow us to meet the local people and learn of their history and customs, as well as swim and snorkel off the white-sand beaches. (B,L,D)

DAY 15: Komodo
At the world renowned Komodo National Park, we go in search of the world’s largest living lizard: the Komodo dragon. These prehistoric creatures can grow up to ten feet long and weigh 150 lbs. Learn about the conservation of these giants from park rangers, who join us on a hike to spot the lizards in their natural habitat. Just a short distance away is Pink Beach, named for the red coral fragments that lend their color to the sand. Swimming, snorkeling, sea kayaking or just relaxing on the beach are all options today. (B,L,D)

DAY 16: Badas, Sumbawa
We,™ll experience the strong culture of the Pamulung villagers with an elaborate cultural display of a mock traditional wedding ceremony and a local boxing match. (B,L,D)

DAY 17-18: Bali, Indonesia/Disembark/U.S.
Arrive this morning to the island of Bali and transfer to the airport for your flight home on August 24, then arrive home the next day. (Aug. 24: B)

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