Path of the total solar eclipse as it passes over Australia. The path is only 229km/ 143 miles wide where we are sailing. See the dark oval above where totality lasts longer than most other places along the path. All maps shown are courtesy of X. Jubier.
This solar eclipse tour is our 58th solar eclipse adventure from RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS. It will feature a 10 day cruise from Darwin ending in Broome with the highlight being the fantastic total solar eclipse on the morning of July 22. The tour will be led by Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society in Houston, Texas USA and this will be his 93rd solar eclipse. At night, if the sky is clear, there will be opportunities to observe the stars in the sky. For photographers, the Sun is positioned well in the sky. It is not too high to make it hard to take images. The eclipse begins at 9:17am where the Sun is at elevation 40 degrees azimuth 47 degrees, reaches totality at 10:47am with the Sun at elevation 52, azimuth 23 and ends at 12:23pm with the Sun at elevation 54,azimuth 345. Expect up to 5 minutes 9 seconds of complete total eclipse! Since we plan to be on land, it would be helpful to have a Sun tracking mouont capable of operating in the southern hemisphere.
Our ship, the Coral Geographer
Launched in March 2021, Coral Geographer is the newest addition to our ground operator Coral Expeditions’ fleet, purpose-designed to access remote wilderness shores around the world that are often inaccessible to large cruise vessels. Sister ship to Coral Adventurer (launched in 2019), she has over 1000 square meters of open deck space, multiple bars, majority balcony staterooms and suites, and public areas featuring a collection of Australian Indigenous art.
Coral Geographer is as comfortable as she is capable – her design draws on the latest technical advances as well as Coral Expeditions’ 37 years of experience building and operating expedition ships. The ship’s lightweight dual Xplorer tenders, a trademark feature of all this ship, extend the capabilities of the ship by allowing deeper exploration on shore excursions. These ‘safari jeeps’ of the sea are fast, sturdy, and comfortable and developed to allow easy boarding from the ship and walk-off disembarkation onto remote shores.
Able to navigate into shallow bays, disembark onto remote islands, and visit small villages without overwhelming the environment or community, Coral Geographer explores the hidden nooks and crannies of Australia’s Kimberley Coast, Australia’s West and South coastlines and international voyages including to New Zealand, Sulawesi, Mauritius, and Zanzibar.
Coral Geographer carries a maximum of 120 guests, delivering Coral Expeditions’ renowned warm Australian hospitality, intimate onboard atmosphere, and world-class expedition experience.
The above graphic shows 4 passenger decks available for booking.
One of many successful total eclipse photos from the April 2023 total solar eclipse cruise aboard the Coral Discoverer. Photo of the Sun’s corona by Eliot Herman.
While clear weather can never be guaranteed here is an early look at weather prospects based on day time cloud information over a 17 year period. Blue areas indicate best chances for clear sky. Courtesy Jay Anderson.
A select satellite view of the eclipse zone on July 22, 2022. Courtesy NASA Worldview.
Effective June 2023 but may be changed as circumstances dictate.
Our program price includes a pre-night in Darwin (16 July) and Direct Travel will block seats from Melbourne and Sydney to Darwin so everyone can connect accordingly. Flight prices are at additional cost. Pre- and post-cruise optional tours will be quoted in 2027 when costs have been fixed. Guests can contact Direct Travel for the most current international airfares which will be available no earlier than August 2027. This is an 11 day/10 night cruise. Darwin to Broome.
Overview of the beginning and end cities for our cruise.
Arrive in Darwin. One night is included here with dinner and breakfast (the following day) as well as arrival transfer.
Arrive at 7:00am for SailSAFE check-in. Board your Coral Expeditions ship in Darwin at 8:00am where there is time to settle into your cabin before our 9:00am departure. Spend a relaxing sea day at leisure as we cruise across Joseph Bonaparte Gulf and sail into Western Australian waters. All meals included on the cruise (see inclusions below).
Fed by the King George River draining across the Gardner Plateau, 80m tall King George Falls are the most impressive Kimberley waterfalls and the highest twin falls in Western Australia. Before reaching the mist-like spray rising from the base of King George Falls, we cruise through steep-sided gorges carved by a flooded river system that carved a swathe through the Kimberley landscape 400 million years ago. Early in the waterfall season, we may cruise around the base of impressive King George Falls while in later months we take the opportunity to view the honeycomb erosion patterns of sandstone cliffs up close.
Vansittart Bay is home to many cultural and historically significant sites like the remarkable Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Aboriginal rock art galleries estimated to be up to 20,000 years old. Jar Island is so-named after the pot shards found here, brought to the island by Makassan fishermen harvesting sea cucumbers (also known as trepang). Nearby, on the Anjo Peninsula lays the well-preserved wreckage of a US Airforce C-53 Skytrooper aircraft, the result of a pilot losing his bearings flying from Perth to Broome in 1942 and putting down on a salt pan near present-day Truscott Airbase.
On the way, if we are lucky we may pass by aptly named eclipse islands.
Tumbling down the Mitchell Plateau in a series of tiered waterfalls and emerald green rock pools, the Mitchell Falls are the photogenic poster child for the Mitchell River National Park. Take a scenic helicopter flight (additional cost) to multi-tiered Mitchell Falls where emerald-hued rock pools cascade down the escarpment and ancient rock art galleries are concealed in caves behind curtains of water. Mitchell River National Park is inhabited by significant numbers of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and bird species which are lured by a year-round water source. Sandstone terraces beside tiered rock pools make a terrific viewing platform from which to savor the serenity of this ancient landscape.
An alternative option to Mitchell Falls is exploring the sandstone caves of Wollaston Bay or Wollaston Creek. This mass of weathered tunnels, arches and columns form a labyrinth-like maze and was once an Aboriginal midden. Another option while anchored at Winyalkan Bay is a visit to a series Wandjina and Gwion Gwion rock art galleries at Swift Bay.
In the evening we will enjoy watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean while indulging in a gourmet BBQ.
Today is the “bigge” day since Bigge Island is the focus of our eclipse planning. We plan to disembark everyone at one of several pre-selected locations for eclipse observation and will advise everyone on those locations prior to the sail date. At the moment there is no plan to observe from the ship as we did in April 2023 since there are apparently a number of good sites.
The very broad path of the total eclipse offers a number of choice locations for land observation where photos can more easily be taken. Map courtesy X. Jubier
Prince Frederick Harbour is one of the Kimberley’s most spectacular locations at the southern end of York Sound. The harbor is dotted with islands lined with mangroves and monsoon rainforests, set against a backdrop of ochre-hued escarpment. White-bellied sea eagles and other birds of prey are often seen here, and at low tide, expansive mudflats reveal large populations of mudskippers and mangrove crabs. We will take our Xplorer tender vessels on a cruise up Porosus Creek to view some striking rock formations.
Bigge Island’s Indigenous name is Wuuyuru, and the Indigenous Group of the area is the Wunambal people.
King Cascade is a classically beautiful terraced waterfall and is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the Kimberley. Falling from a considerable height and around 50m across, water tumbles down a staggered terrace of Kimberley sandstone. Layer upon layer of ochre-hued and blackened rock sprouts grasses, mosses and ferns in a sort of lushly vegetated hanging garden. We reach King Cascade after cruising in our Xplorer tender vessels down the steep-sided Prince Regent River which is a remarkable anomaly as the river runs dead straight along a fault line.
Lt. Phillip Parker King named nearby Careening Bay after he beached his leaking vessel HMC Mermaid to effect repairs. While stranded on this remote coastline for 17 days the ship’s carpenter carved HMC Mermaid 1820 into the bottle-shaped trunk of a boab tree near the beach. 200 years later, the Mermaid Boab Tree has since split into two trunks and sports a mammoth girth of 12m. Significantly, the bulbous tree is listed on the National Register of Big Trees and the carpenter’s careful inscription now stands almost as tall as a person.
Raft Point guards the entrance to Doubtful Bay, a vast body of sheltered water that harbors significant sites such as the ancient Wandjina rock art galleries. Located a short walk from the beach, they are considered some of the finest in the Kimberley. We visit the rock art galleries when Traditional Owners are available to guide us. Doubtful Bay is the traditional country of the Worrora people who follow the Wandjina, their god, law-maker, and creator. Images of Wandjina are found throughout the Kimberley, recording their stories, knowledge and culture in stone.
Red Cone Creek flows gently downstream until it meets the small but impressive Ruby Falls. Named by local mariner Capt. Chris Trucker after his daughter, Red Cone Creek is carved through rock formations stacked atop each other like building blocks. These rock walls are great for climbing and clambering over before reaching a series of freshwater swimming holes and waterfalls. The falls may be a gurgling torrent or a gentle trickle, depending on the time of the year.
Other sites we aim to visit in Doubtful Bay include the mighty Steep Island and Ruby Falls at Red Cone Creek.
The Horizontal Falls are one of the Kimberley’s biggest attractions and are a result of the mammoth 11m tides the Kimberley is renowned for. Naturalist David Attenborough described the Horizontal Falls as ‘one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.’ This natural phenomenon has been created as the ocean thunders through a narrow gorge in the McLarty Ranges. Water builds up on one side and is forcibly pushed through the bottleneck, creating a rushing horizontal waterfall of swiftly flowing seawater. Riding the rapids on our Zodiac inflatable tenders is one of the highlights of our Kimberley expedition cruises.
Talbot Bay is at the heart of the Buccaneer Archipelago, where rocks on the 800 or so islands are estimated at over 2 billion years old. At Cyclone Creek, you will see evidence of massive geological forces in the impressive rock formations and cruise through the Iron Islands, past Koolan Island, before enjoying sunset drinks at Nares Point.
The Lacepede Islands are a protected class-A nature reserve and are significant as a seabird nesting rookery for brown boobies and roseate terns. Other species often sighted at the Lacepedes include Australian Pelicans, frigate birds, egrets and gulls. The four low-lying islands are also an important breeding and nesting habitat for green turtles.
If weather and tide conditions are suitable, we will explore the lagoons by Xplorer and Zodiac tender vessels.
As our incredible Kimberley adventures draw to a close, on our last evening aboard we enjoy the Captain’s farewell drinks amongst new-found friends.
Arrive in Broome this morning at 8:00am. A post-cruise transfer to Broome CBD or Airport is included. If you’re not transferring directly to the airport why not spend the day visiting world-famous Cable Beach or stroll the historic streets of Chinatown in central Broome. And if you are staying over, consider riding a camel on the beach.
Our incredible adventure along the Kimberley Coast concludes. Bid farewell to new-found friends, the Captain and crew.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Some modifications may occur due to routing and schedule changes in the region prior to the time of the tour. Prices are those in effect as of the date above and may change due to currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges caused by escalating oil prices or increases mandated by ground operators.
Eclipse observation is facilitated by the ship’s tender which can navigate shallow areas close to islands.
We plan to land. A small table top scope or similar with ND5 filter are recommended for viewing/photographing the eclipse. Motor tracking capability in the southern hemisphere is advised so you do not have to constantly move the telescope by hand during the eclipse process. Example above is the IOptron SmartStar R80.
The ship’s six Bridge Deck Suites are spacious and elegant retreats after a busy day ashore. Suites are equipped with a lounge area, minibar and personal coffee machine. They have Junior King-sized beds. A 3.5 sq m private balcony has an outdoor daybed and lounge chair for two. A unique outside-facing bathroom with a horizon bath completes the experience. A complimentary minibar is replenished daily. Bridge Deck Balcony Suites are 37.5 square meters.
Explorer Deck staterooms are comfortably furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. The compact ensuite has a toilet, shower and ample storage. Your private balcony has seating for two from which to view the passing coastal vistas. These staterooms are located on the Explorer deck. Explorer Deck Balcony Staterooms are 21.4 square meters
Promenade Deck Staterooms are located below the Explorer deck and furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. The compact ensuite has a toilet, shower and ample storage. A large picture window gives you wide views of the world outside. Promenade Deck Staterooms are 17 square meters
Coral Deck Staterooms are located below the Promenade Deck and are identically furnished with a junior King size bed which can be separated into two singles. A wardrobe, desk and armchair are included. The compact ensuite has a toilet, shower and ample storage. A porthole window gives you views of the world outside. Coral Deck Staterooms are 17 square meters,
Prices will be quoted as soon as available. The cruise cost may be known as earlier as 2024. All prices will be initially for the cruise only and in US Dollars. No discounts for children and no children under 12 are permitted.
A registration form (one per person) and a fully refundable deposit of $1,000 per person is required until such time that the program and final pricing is established and announced. All passengers will be given the option to proceed or cancel once that is decided.
Note that prices are based on 2 persons in a cabin. Single cabin prices are twice that of listed price. IMPORTANT: Final pricing may vary based on contracting chartered vessel, port taxes and other government fees that are subject to change at any time.
|CABIN TYPE||DECK NUMBER||CABINS AVAILABLE AT THIS MOMENT||PRICE PER PERSON||BALCONY?|
|BRIDGE DECK SUITE||6||0 OUT OF 6||$23,950||PRIVATE BALCONY|
|EXPLORER DECK||5||26 OUT OF 26||$18,950||BALCONY|
|PROMENADE DECK||4||16 OUT OF 16||$16,950||STATEROOM|
|CORAL DECK||3||11 OUT OF 12||$14,500||STATEROOM|
You will be confirmed on the cruise ONLY if you submit BOTH a registration form for each person — a separate form is required for each person with a limit of 2 persons in a cabin—and deposit in the amount of $1000. IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS DEPOSIT IS NONREFUNDABLE.
Click HERE to register and submit payment