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news ISSUE 41 ¼ JANUARY 2018


Daymanu and the malarra painting

THE CULTURAL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE MAKASSAN TREPANGERS AND ELCHO ISLAND There is a popular misconception that Indigenous Australians had no contact with the outside world before European settlement. Yet, Indigenous Australians along the tropical northern coast had extensive interactions with fishermen from Makassar in the southern Celebes (the present-day Indonesian province of Sulawesi), who visited the northern Australian coastline of Arnhem Land and the Kimberley throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Makassan fishermen came in search of trepang (sea-cucumber or bêche-de-mer). The processed trepang is prized in Chinese cooking for its texture and flavour-enhancing qualities and is used in Chinese medicine. The Makassan trepangers, after collecting and processing trepang in Australia, returned to Makassar to sell the product to Chinese traders. The Makassans negotiated fishing rights, employed Aborigines to help them fish for trepang and traded in Indonesian pottery, glass, fishhooks, coins and clay pipes; remnants of which have been found along the coast. Aborigines, in turn, returned with the trepangers to visit Makassar. Recent linguistic studies show that some Australian Aboriginal languages contain Makassan words. Aboriginal rock and bark paintings record the visit of the Makassans and their perahu or fleets of wooden sailing vessels. Another legacy of the Makassan trepangers are the tamarind trees (Tamarindus indicus) they planted from seeds that now grow wild along parts of the coast of northern Australia. The Warramiri people, who are based at the Gäwa Community on Elcho Island, are the main clan historically associated with the Makassan people of Sulawesi. Their ceremonies and language has echoes of the Makassan legacy, and the name of the community, “Gäwa”, is said to have been given by the Makassans after the port of Gowa, southern Sulawesi. On our recent inaugural Indigenous Culture & Art Expedition, visiting


The cultures and art of Arnhem Land


Cape York & Arnhem Land, 11 nights

remote and unique islands across the top of Australia (departing Darwin on November 23, 2017), guests were treated to the expertise of guest lecturers including artist Brian Robinson presenting workshops and lectures on Torres Strait Island art and Samantha Martin on native bush tucker of the north-east coast. Against a backdrop of a remote and striking landscape, guests were warmly welcomed by children and teachers from the Gawa Christian School on Elcho Island. With the help of interpretation from resident Guest Lecturer, Ian Morris, Gawa Traditional Owner and school patron Daymanu (a Makassan word for leader) told the story of his Malarra manta-ray painting to our guests.

^ Top: Bush Tucker Woman Samantha Martin being greeted by the children of Gawa.

Lore contained within paintings and songs is part of a larger story making up a songline which is based on the travels of the Dreaming ancestors. Daymanu shared the lore of Malarra, a Manta Ray the size of a whale which is especially significant to the Warramiri.

The small coloured triangle patterns seen in the painting come from Malarra’s wings as he rides the ocean, an action sung by Warrimiri as ‘wirritjun’. These little clouds start rising off the sea and become larger as the season progresses during the Midawarr, or calm at the end of the wet, and in Wulma-murryunamirri, the calm of the first build-up thunders. Warramiri people emulate the wings of Malarra with paddles they use to traverse the ocean called marrwala. Stories like these are used to keep the history of the Warramiri people, and describe the natural progression of the seasons and behaviour of the animals. These stories may be the same ones that Indigenous peoples shared with those Makassan traders long ago.


Flute player in the Solomon Islands

A scattered archipelago of some 990 richly forested mountain islands and low-lying atolls, the Solomon Islands has remained relatively unknown since 1568 when Spanish explorer, Alvaro de Mendaña first sailed into the tucked away corner of the South Pacific. Mendaña’s legacy can still be found in the Solomon Islands today with many of the islands still bearing the names he gave them; Santa Isabel, San Cristóbal and perhaps the most famous of all, Guadalcanal, the name synonymous with World War II which takes its name from a small township in Andalucía in Southern Spain. Our Islands of the South Pacific voyage this December 3rd , 2018 pays homage to some of the trailblazing pioneers that explored these lands with the promise of being the first to discover new territories, forging a path with faith and a potent zest for life. The 16-night expeditionary voyage takes in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, and guests

^ Top: Being welcomed to Star Harbour, San Cristobal, Bottom: Performers in Vanuatu

will discover the diverse traditional cultures and stunning natural scenery of Melanesia. Throughout the expedition aboard Coral Discoverer, slip into hidden lagoons, visit colourful coral reefs and walk volcanic calderas with our expedition team. Our particular focus on history in this voyage is helped by the presence of our guest lecturer Captain Peter Martin. A practicing mariner, maritime historian and navigation expert, he will deliver fascinating presentations on history including Mendana’s Spanish exploration, Captain James Cook’s historical navigational techniques, and an overview of Australasian Maritime Explorers.

TOUCHING HISTORY: SANTA ISABEL & SAN CRISTOBAL Some of our destinations will have a direct link to the explorers. One of these is remote Santa Isabel Island. Alvaro de Mendaña departed Peru, with two vessels and approximately 150 men, on 20 November 1567. After several months of sailing they encountered this large island about 700 km east of New Guinea, and named it Santa Isabel. The Spanish crew camped here to construct a small Brigantine (two masted sailing vessel), and spent the next five months exploring what they soon realized was a large archipelago of islands. With no discoveries of gold, aggressive responses from many of the indigenous groups encountered and supplies running short, in December it was decided to abandon plans for a colony and return to Peru.


Idyllic islands & indigenous cultures of Melanesia


Islands of the South Pacific - 16 nights


3 December 2018

Beach huts at Budibudi Atoll, Papua New Guinea

Santa Ana and San Cristobal also bear the history of exploration. After learning about the 14th century expeditions to this naturally stunning island, we will be welcomed by the locals of Star Harbour, San Cristobal with a colourful and energetic cultural performance. Meet the children at the local school and learn about the harbour’s WWII history as a US base, and enjoy a scenic zodiac ride through surrounding mangrove-lined creeks. Many of these islands retain the freshness of their culture even while the modern world continues to grow in influence. This voyage is a chance to truly encounter cultures and locations so remarkable that they will live in your memory forever.

did you know: Christmas tree worms Spirobranchus giganteus, commonly known as Christmas Tree Worms, are tube-building polychaete worms belonging to the family Serpulidae.

While these spectacularly coloured marine creatures are renowned for their stunning appearance, few people are aware of the important ways they protect our coral reefs. Much like the complex tree-root systems of a large forest, colonies of Christmas Tree Worms create a calcium carbonate tube that penetrates the corals they inhabit where they can live for up to 40 years, depending on animal size and reef health. They’ve been observed protecting their coral hosts from Crownof-Thorns starfish by pushing away the predator’s tube feet, leaving living corallites intact around the worm’s tube orifice. There have also been observations of fast recovery of living coral tissue adjacent to Christmas Tree Worm burrows following coral bleaching, predation, and overgrowth of turf algae. In these cases, total coral colony death was prevented, and recovery facilitated by the presence of the Christmas Tree Worm.

behind the scenes INTERVIEW WITH HOSPITALITY OPERATIONS MANAGER TAMARA SWEETING, AND HOSPITALITY EXECUTIVE PERRY KRAKOWCZYK. Q. Describe to us what your day involves? A. Tamara: Day to day, the operations involve an extensive amount of administration. Hospitality operations cover the entire hotel side of the onboard experience, so it keeps us very busy! We review housekeeping plans, conduct inspections of ship cabins and public areas to ensure it meets our standards, plan maintenance and upgrades of hospitality equipment, coach and mentor crew and plan new initiatives. We are also busy interviewing chefs and hospitality crew as we grow. I am also involved in planning galley, dining and bar areas for the Coral Adventurer, preparing for her launch in 2019. Perry: I am working on lots of new exciting dishes, with a uniform standard of presentation and quality across all our vessels. We will also have more lactose or dairy free, gluten free, FODMAP and vegetarian options included. I’m also working on fine tuning our great dining experience, including wine paring with dinner menus, offering a wider selection of healthier meal choices, and creating daily seasonal breakfast specials. I am also continualy seeking talented chefs to join our company. Q. Food! What is Coral Expeditions doing next? A. Our approach at Coral Expeditions is to deliver wellpresented and tasty seasonal produce, and showcase Australian wine, beer and spirits. It continues to remain an objective of ours to develop more local food networks, with a governing approach that supports economic and environmental sustainability. There is time spent researching local products that can be prepared on board, which adds to the story of the cruise. For instance, Grandvewe Cheese Farm in Tasmania – the guests visit for the experience, but we also source the cheese to serve on board. In Papua New Guinea’s Madang markets, our Chefs purchase local produce to complement locally caught fish including fresh crayfish. Some of our new voyages include culinary points of

difference. This can mean collaborating with Bush Tucker specialists, such as for our upcoming Cape York & Arnhem Land Bush Tucker departure in March this year. Adding to our already fantastic remote beach barbeques, more adventurous travellers may be about to join a hunt in the mangroves for mud crabs, and then experience them being prepared with authentic Indigenous spices and flavours. Some of our cruises also feature demonstrations by the chefs on how to prepare a dish. These demonstrations are always very popular. We eat with our eyes! So our priorities are about constantly improving the standard, presentation, and freshness of our cuisine, but also making food part of the expedition experience. Q. Why is hospitality so important to Coral Expeditions? A. We focus on complementing an amazing expedition experience that remains a great memory for life, with service that exceeds expectations and makes us different from other cruise lines. Guest feedback is important to us so that we can make sure their bucket list holiday or cruise experience has been everything they wished. Our guests come from different walks of life and have their own life stories and experiences. They have a lot in common with other guests or crew members, and develop friendships. From a crew member’s perspective, as each day passes you become more familiar with each guest’s habits – do they have three cups of coffee in the morning, what do they order at pre-dinner drinks, or are they the first to board the Xplorer for an excursion? At the end of each cruise, the crew members farewell the guests and often some tears are shed, because of the friendships that have been made. When our guests depart, we often hear how efficient and friendly the crew really are. And when the crew debrief, the first thing you hear is how they will miss this guest or that guest. This is what hospitality means to us.

Sydney to hobart: A yachtman’s cruise Bookings open for 2018

Following the success of our inaugural Yachtman’s Cruise last December, we are pleased to offer the Sydney To Hobart Yachtman’s Cruise 2018. Once again following the famous yacht race, you will experience the excitement, nautical traditions, and the beauty of the southern coastline. Embarking in Sydney on December 26, 2018, you have the opportunity to view the start of the race from Coral Discoverer’s vantage point off Sydney’s North Head. As the fleet turns south, Coral Discoverer will leisurely follow them. You will hear expert commentary on the race, and maritime history. After crossing the Bass Strait, a few relaxed days will be spent exploring some wonderful locations on the Tasmanian coast, such as Maria Island, Bruny Island, or the Fortescue Peninsula. Arriving in Hobart on December 31, you will have a chance to experience the excitement of the race celebrations, and ring the New Year in with the fireworks display over the Derwent River. Disembark January 1 2019, or book our adjoining 7-night Pristine Tasmania cruise and go on to explore even more of Tasmania’s magnificent coastline. Contact our friendly Reservations team on 1800 079 545 or email reservations@coralexpeditions.com


EXPEDITION DIARY > EXPEDITION LEADER MARK STEADMAN > TASMANIA 7 NIGHT CRUISE “We arrived at Ile des Phoques at sunrise. We saw many fur seals lounging on the rocks, and many more juveniles swam out to investigate who we were. We also saw a colony of Blackfaced Cormorants perched on the rocks as we circumnavigated the island twice.” - Expedition Leader Mark Steadman



SPECIAL DEPARTURES 8 AND 15 JANUARY, 2019 OUR RANGE OF EXPEDITIONS INCLUDE > Great Barrier Reef > Tasmania > The Kimberley > Cape York & Arnhem Land > Papua New Guinea > Spice Islands

Book online coralexpeditions.com FREECALL

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Discover News January 2018  

Discover News January 2018