The Kimberley – Days 1 and 2

We arrived in Darwin, a town of about 150,000 people. It is primarily a port town. It is the capital of the Northern Territory which is >500,000 Sq.Mi. and home to less than 250,000 people. While it is about 18% of Australia’s land mass, it is only 1% of its population. We boarded the Silver Discoverer for an Expedition Cruise, basically the same formula as our Galapagos trip last year.

We were supposed to go snorkeling at Jaco island in East Timor but unfortunately, a prior cruise ran their ship aground on a reef in the bay causing damage to the reef and prompting an East Timor decision to suspend anchoring in the bay. We still went to East Timor which puzzled many of us. Why were we “wasting” a day or almost two at sea? The reason was Cabotage.

Cabotage – noun

    1. the right to operate sea, air, or other transport services within a particular territory.
        • restriction of the operation of sea, air, or other transport services within or into a particular country to that country’s own transport services.

Turns out that Cabotage is also the reason that most cruise ships to Alaska stop in Vancouver at the beginning or end of Alaska cruises. Many (most?) cruise ships, regardless of ownership are Bahamian registered due to tax advantages. However this means that in many countries (e.g. US and Australia) the cruise can not start and end exclusively in one country.

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