Today began as a normal touring day. Since we had been scheduled for the earliest tour yesterday afternoon, we had the earliest tour this morning. At 7:15 am we boarded our bus and were on our way to the Adelaide River for a boat ride that would bring us face to face with the jumping crocodiles.
In route we passed through a number of the suburbs outside the central city. Our guide gave us an overview of the city of Darwin. It is the capital city of the Northern Territory and acts as the regional center of what is referred to as Australia’s “Top End”. It is situated on a harbor twice the size of Sydney’s and acts as a gateway to countries such as Indonesia and Asia. It is the headquarters of Paspaley, known for South Sea pearls. This area is also known as crocodile country. Designers and stores from all over the world come here to purchase pearls and crocodile skins and products. Having been almost entirely rebuilt twice, once due to Japanese air raids during World War II and again after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, Darwin is one of Australia’s most modern capitals.
We reached the river, boarded the boat and set out to meet the salt-water crocs. Large pieces of raw meat were attached to a string on a pole that was held by the driver of the boat. The crocodile would approach, reach for the bait and eventually jump out of the water to almost full body length and grab the meat. These were large, fierce looking creatures with tremendous teeth. They swam right next to the boat and it was quite something to see them jump.
On the way back to the ship we saw two new sights. The wetlands were a landscape we had not yet seen and water buffalo were another animal to add to our list.
At noon the captain announced that he was saddened to officially inform us of the death of the lead singer. It had been verified that the death was from natural causes and the ship had been cleared to leave Australia. We would be leaving at the scheduled time, but due to recent events and the additional fact that the ship's speed was limited by one of the four engines being broken we would only have a three hour stop in Komodo and one of the days in Bali would be canceled. Extra engineers had joined the ship to work on the engine and representatives from Regent’s main office in Miami would be joining the ship in Bali.
The newest change in plans affected almost every departments of the ship. Guests had to decide on which of the two tours they had booked in Bali they would like to go. The Spa had to rearrange appointments since there would be more time at sea. The restaurants that require reservations were receiving calls because many guests were planning to eat in town when we had the overnight in Bali. The list continued. Needless to say the crew was working overtime and the guests were not happy.
We received no further information about the investigation, and will probably never know more, but the tragedy remained that a talented 24-year old woman had experienced an untimely death.