True North and her crew lap Australia each year, by way of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, but their home will always be the Kimberley.

Story By Mark Muller

There is a heightened sense of peace, purpose and pleasure to life aboard True North that casts a spell over all who experience it. The environment is stunning and the sense of laid-back luxury, well ordered adventure and of complete detachment from the everyday wraps like cool silk around you. It is also so very real and tactile. There are early mornings and late nights and days full of activity that constantly re-enforce the power of the absolutely spectacular, wild and remote areas that are central to the experience. To sortie out into this world is exhilarating – whether on one of the six dedicated tenders, or on the helicopter that travels everywhere with the ship.
North Star Cruises, which owns and runs True North, has been operating in the Kimberley for 25 years. True North herself was commissioned in 2005, and has 18 cabins accommodating 36 guests, who are looked after by 20 crew. The remoteness, the pampering salted with breathtaking scenery and more than a dash of adventure combine to create a state of relaxed and delighted satisfaction most of the time. Taking part in hammer-and-tongs activity is not compulsory, and on any journey guests do on occasion opt for a morning’s rest, or an afternoon curled up with a book, but this is the exception. “Well, you get tired, but you just know you’re missing out on something that you’ll probably never experience again if you stay behind,” says guest Rhonda Lewis, from Denmark, WA.
For the crew this is their workplace, and work they do. While things appear seamless on the surface, there is the constant challenge and effort that goes into travelling in remote areas. There are naturally the frictions and tensions of strong, independent, personalities rubbing together in a hierarchical structure. This is part of life on any ship and in any isolated workplace. Nevertheless, from the laundry to the bridge, the engine room to the galley, dedicated, switched-on people are helping each other to keep the props turning.

This story excerpt is from Issue #86

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2013