Doubtful Bay

Doubtful Bay has several attractions, including impressive rock paintings, dramatic scenery and waterfalls. We ran from Talbot Bay to Doubtful Bay on the start of our return trip east to Darwin. Leaving Talbot Bay, we realized that not only was this the most westerly point on our journey so far, but we are nearly one third of the way around the world.

Trip highlights from June 20th and 21st follow. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

One third of the way

We took the more eastern route leaving Dugong Bay and saw no less than 90ft the whole way out. All around a much better route. We also realized that we are nearly one third of the way around the world now. Seattle is at longitude 122.3477° W and we’re currently at 123.8890° E.

Bluff Head near Raft Point dwarfs the 262-ft (80m) National Geographic Orion anchored below.

A panorama of the bluffs at Raft Point. The scenery in the Kimberley continues to be big and continues to amaze us.
Ruby Falls

At high tide, we ran the tender to Ruby Falls at the head of one of the tributaries to Red Cone Creek. The falls are cascading down the wall at the back of the photo, into the large pool below.

A tranquil freshwater pool is above Ruby Falls.

Enjoying a beer by the falls.
Sapphire Falls

Sapphire Falls are a short dinghy ride from our anchorage. This is the first falls, visible from the tributary head.
Second falls

Another falls is behind the first. We didn’t go much farther up the creek as the tide was falling and we didn’t want to get stranded.
Red Cone Creek

We ran the tender up Red Cone Creek to the end. The video (1:04) shows us running through one of the tributaries at speed. We’re a couple hours past a 37ft (11.41m) high tide and the water still is so high that we’re running alongside the tree tops.
Doubtful Bay

The view looking towards the mouth of Doubtful Bay as we depart Red Cone Creek.

Our kettle failed today, but we’d kept another that also had failed. Between the two, we managed to salvage enough parts to create one working kettle (and one that is now thoroughly junk).
Raft Point

We moved to Raft Point to stage for a run to Montgomery Reef the next morning.
Rock art

A short track from a beach east of Raft Point leads to this overhang covered with some impressive rock art.
More art

A little more art was on another overhang below the first.
Steep Island

The view across Foam Passage to Steep Island from the track.
Boab tree

The only Boab trees in Australia are found in and around the Kimberley area. They often are called “Bottle Trees” because their distinctive swollen trunks give the appearance of a bottle. The trunks can grow quite wide—some over 15ft in diameter have been recorded.
Bluff Head

Dramatic Bluff Head aglow in the late afternoon light.

Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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6 comments on “Doubtful Bay
  1. Stewart Kelly says:

    Amazing scenery and places you’ve been visiting. Sad to see the world has become a dangerous place to travel with so much beauty to be seen.

    • Since leaving Seattle, the Indian Ocean crossing is the first where personal safety concerns have impacted our travel plans. It’s a big world with lots of beautiful places to visit and most of it is relatively safe. We’ll not likely run out of amazing destinations by staying away from the few dangerous areas.

  2. Hi Jennifer

    I have been a long time lurker and enjoy following your adventures with Dirona.

    122.3477° W to 123.8890° E is about 113.76° of longitude if my maths is correct and halfway around the world from Seattle would actually be 57.65° E.

    I’d love to read a post explaining how you and James put your long term itinerary together and where are you planning to go in the future.

    • You are right Colin — it’s 1/3 of the way around the world. I think most celestial navigators of the previous century worked that one out more accurately. The world is flat, right? :-).

      How we figured out our route is a great question and we should do a posting on it if for now other reason than it’s been changed so many times for so many different reasons. We have an excel spreadsheet that was versioned each time we made a major routing change and, over the South Pacific, I think we got up to 17. There were many changes. Some brought on by us allocating more time, some from friends making recommendations, and some from learning more and deciding to diver deeper.

      In looking beyound South Africa we were originally headinig to Europe, then changed to South America, then decided to head for the Panama Canal and now we are planning to head up the Canadian eastern seaboard. I’m guessing we won’t really know for sure until we are getting ready to leave Cape Town.

      That’s one of the primary joys of small boat travel. You can make your own schedule and your own decisions and change them as often as you like.

      • 1/3 of the way round is big chunk of the planet – at this rate you should make it back to Seattle in 2020?

        I guess the route to South Africa is going to be via the Cocos, Mauritius, Reunion and is being chosen to avoid the Gulf of Aden

        I look forward to seeing which route you choose.

        • Hard to know when we’ll get back to Seattle–so much depends on the routings we pick and were we want to visit.

          Yes–we’d love to go through the Suez, but aren’t going to go anywhere near where there are pirates. Even the Seychelles and Maldives are looking pretty bad these days. From Australia we plan to make first landfall at Rodrigues. Not sure if we’ll stop in Mauritius proper or Reunion, but we are definitely looking forward to spending some time in South Africa.

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