This morning we awoke to the beautiful scenery of Naturalist Island. Those inclined joined staff on an early sunrise photography cruise amongst the dramatic sandstone bluffs and mirror-perfect reflections. As guests boarded Zodiacs, schools of herring were observed from the back deck, periodically split by hunting silky sharks. Early rises were rewarded with a close encounter with a saltwater crocodile and many active sacred kingfishers. Shortly after the photographers’ return, morning tea was served before remaining guests ventured to Thor’s Hammer. This unique rock formation is composed of a large boulder balanced upon a narrow pillar of metamorphic sandstone with rich quartz intrusion. Alongside the spectacular geological phenomenon, guest enjoyed a perfectly posed and active osprey nest. The resident parents antagonized a white-bellied sea eagle that ventured too close to the nest. Once back on board, guest enjoyed a roast lunch and a cold drink.
The afternoon promised excitement as we headed towards Porosus Creek. Porosus is renowned for its relatively high saltwater crocodile population, and it did not disappoint. We spotted many crocs amidst the beautiful mangrove tributaries overseen by red sandstone cliffs. Brahminy kites, mudskippers, and more sacred kingfishers added to the allure of the skinny waterways. As the sun began to set, our time in the Hunter River came to an end, and we returned to the mothership for cocktails before a beautiful seafood barbecue dinner. For dessert, guests enjoyed confectionary delights complemented by evening entertainment. National Geographic Orion’s crew delivered a show that will not soon be forgotten. The humorous, musical, and vocal talents were in no short supply and provided hours of entertainment.