Darwin, Australia

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Fort Hill Wharf, Darwin

Today started with a call at 05:30 to give me time to get up and shower ready to pick up our pilot to enter Darwin. I need a bit of time to wake. I cannot say I am a morning person but it is amazing what a good shower does to kick start the senses in the morning. Once on the bridge a cup of coffee does the rest. Our pilot, captain Alistair Logan is an ex pat Scotsman. He arrived on the bridge and gave the team a really good briefing and our officers took the ship to the berth and I put her alongside just before 8am.

Then the day started in earnest. First of all the entire complement onboard, guests and crew, had to pass through a Customs and Immigration inspection as this is our first Aussie port. Although it took a few hours it was straight forward and the ship quietened quickly as most of the guests went ashore on tour.

The ship was as quiet as I have heard in a long time. We were empty. One tour was to go and see jumping crocodiles. The crocs leap up to catch food left for them. At the gangway I was told by a guest going on the tour that she was nervous to go and see the ‘flying crocodiles’ in case they landed in the boat. I had to explain they did not actually fly. I saw her later in the day. She had a great time.

Our Great barrier Reef pilot joined today. He will stay with us until Sydney and pilot the ship through the complexities of the reef. Captain Alistair Heron has plied these waters for many years and I hope to persuade him to do a brief article that I can publish over the next few days.

We left Darwin at 18:00 for the three day passage of 1228 miles to cairns through the barrier reef. I am really looking forward to that.

Mark Dexter 2015