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8-Day Kimberley Xplorer itinerary for Sale River & Montgomery Reef cruise - Derby to Derby


The 8 day Sale River & Montgomery reef cruise also departs from Derby and incorporates sites and activities from the 5 or 6 day cruise but from Talbot Bay continues to travels further up the coast cruising past the Kingfisher Islands to:


Montgomery Reef which is more than 400 sq kms in size and exposes up to 4 metres of reef at low tide. As the tide falls the reef begins to show itself to reveal a river cutting through the reef. We take Kimberley Xplorer up as far as the river will allow to anchor up while we have breakfast and watch the water cascade off the reef into the emerging river. After breakfast we lower the dingys to travel further up the narrowing river for a close up look at the turtles, black tipped reef sharks and abundance of fish and bird life. Several small islands dot the reef's surface supporting rich mangroves, crocodiles, turtles, birds and fish.



Raft Point Indigenous Rock Art a half hour ascent of a red sandstone bluff overlooking 'Steep Island' will take you to a ledge where you will come face to face with the Wandjina whose effigy was raised at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games). The Raft Point ledge is an art gallery to savour with its walls and ceilings adorned by an exceptional collection of Wandjina figures, dugong and the 'Great Fish chase'.


About 8 kms up Red Cone Creek we follow a mangrove lined creek to the magnificent waterfalls of Ruby Falls. Climbing to the top of the plateau we have an enjoyable swim with great scenery and photography. Small bats can be seen clustered together in black masses under the overhangs and crocodiles will often be up on the rocks or small beaches basking in the sun.



Cruising on to Three Ways at the southern end of Doubtful Bay we spend our time cruising the merging river systems in the dingys. This whole area is very impressive visually and offers some great fishing opportunities including barramundi, NW Snapper, Finger Mark, Black Jewies (Mullaway) - they're all there.



One of the true oases in the wilderness, the Sale River flows into the NE side of Doubtful Bay opposite Storr Island and Success Strait. As you move up river it is possible to see cabbage palms, Kimberley Rose and Boab trees on the northern bank. As you make your way upstream there are a series of rock bars across the river restricting access unless you are on spring tides. With the big tides you can make your way to where the freshwater flows over a small cascade with a sandy beach. Behind the beach and up the stream is a monsoonal rainforest where we have a freshwater swim. Passengers can either throw in a line to catch a barramundi or take a walk along the gorge to some rarely seen rock art.



While cruising between all these sites of interest there will be some great adventures and fantastic scenery. At times we will have a couple of lures hanging out the back of Kimberley Xplorer trawling for a mackerel while you sit back and enjoy a cuppa or ice cold beer. As you traverse the reefs at low tide look out for passing dolphins, turtles and manta rays. From July to September you will get to see the humpback whales.

Your evening camp on a secluded beach offers the opportunity to explore the beaches or take a dingy ride around the island with a fishing line in tow. With an esky of chilled beverages and some pre dinner nibbles it's a great opportunity to watch the setting sun and reflect on the day's events. It is then back to Kimberley Xplorer for dinner and an abundance of laughs as Skipper Greg entertains you with stories of past adventures. With sore sides from laughing too much it's back to the beach and your roaring fire to relive your carefree younger days when the 'in thing' was to party on the beach. It is then off to bed in your mozzie dome to star gaze in a comfy swag as you drift off to sleep.

Mud crabbing with the ladies is a real hoot. The first question is always "what do I do if a crocodile grabs me". Skipper Greg's reply is to suggest you swim away from the rest of the group so the rest of us don't end up in the drink! The other question is "what do I do if a mud crab gets out of the bucket". No reply is needed as the ladies are quick to stand on the dingy seat if a mud crab escapes. All in all its great fun and we haven't lost anybody yet.

Exploring the reef systems from the dingys is remarkable. It's amazing to see the water recede and uncover all the wonders contained on these unique eco systems. With pockets of water left behind there is every chance you will see mangrove jack darting between the rocks. Witness large clam shells spurting water, baler shell (Melo amphora) foraging for food along with an abundance of other marine life including sand bubble crabs and trocus shells; the black tipped reef sharks swimming along the edges of the reef; the ospreys nest perched up on the rocks and eagles soaring on the thermals above, exploring the Kimberley's many reef systems is a naturalist's paradise. For the adventurous ones, go climbing with Skipper Greg for an over view from the top of one of the islands.

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