|Thursday Island||June 25 2019|
|An early start to be at Seisia Wharf by 08:15.
Not far, an easy drive through Bamaga.
|Our transport for the day arrived shortly after us.
Room for 16 people plus captain.
|The Thursday Island ferry was leaving just as we arrived. Red Island behind it.|
|To the south west a prawn trawler, and the remains of something older.|
|Two big outboards push us alond at 30-40 km/hr.
Between Entrance Island and Prince of Wales Island, then along the coast of Prince of Wales Island to Friday Island.
|A brief look at Kazu Pearl Farm on Friday Island. A couple of trees carrying bush peanuts. In August the nuts ripen and fall.|
|Some easy fishing off the jetty. But really a visit to a
shop rather than a visit to an island or an insight into pearling.
Paying to be delivered to shops is probably why we avoid tours. Watching "guide" behaviour is always interesting.
|A couple of pontoons to grow the oysters that grow the
A couple of Japanese back packers to help for about 6 months of the year.
Today is relatively calm, a bit breezy tomorrow.
The sand is quite coarse. Probably a result of the strong currents that flow through the islands.
|Then to Thursday Island. Population around 3,000.
With about 40 government departments. Including border force (what a horrible name) and police.
I say a horrible name as it seems symbolic of an authoritarian mindset that permeates our current government rather than public service.
|Around 1890 Green Hill Fort was built. To protect us from
the Russian invasion that didn't occur.
Three 6 inch breach loading guns to cover all the entrances to Thursday Island.
Apparently one of the guns was fired.
The museum in the arsenal was closed for cleaning.
|The channel between Horn Island on the left and Prince of
Wales Island on the right.
There's a sand bar through the middle that became visible when the tide went out. We arrived on the right, and will leave on the left.
I guess its easy to see why someone thought Thursday Island was defendable. And also why it may be sheltered.
|A broader view.|
|A quick taxi ride around Thursday Island. It isn't very
A primary school, a secondary school, an outpost of James Cook University. Sports ovals. A hospital.
Recent history, through to the 1960's is of pearling. The cemetery contains the graves of around 700 Japanese pearl divers. The bends must have been a horrible way to die.
We think perhaps the grave we saw at Somerset was Japanese rather than Chinese.
A "front" town and a "back" town. A story of racial segregation.
|The late 19th century saw the arrival of Christianity which
brought some sort of peace between warring tribes and islands.
|Main street Thursday Island. After a crayfish pie and coffee for lunch we meandered around.|
|Easily recognised near the commercial wharf where a barge
was being off-loaded.
The original customs house that's been substantially renovated and is now a border force office.
|A bit of symbolism. If I recall correctly there are four
groups of islands (the small turtles) that are seen as the Torres Strait
Islands (the big turtle). The island groups have associated peoples and
language and dialect.
While waiting for the boat we notice a small yellow bird behaving like a humming bird. Hovering while investigating flowers on a bush. We weren't quick enough with the camera, and then time up.
|The Thursday Island cultural centre had a cafe with lots of
customers, an an art gallery and a souvenir shop. No photographs. There was
an interesting display of pearl fishing with stories from fishermen (all
This is a model of a pearl lugger in the museum on Horn Island.
The museum is predominantly about WWII when about 5,000 people occupied the island. Mainly an air force base with all the necessary support services.
In a strange way perhaps WWII helped unite Torres Strait Islanders, a light infantry was formed. Individually the island groups and tribes would have been ineffective against a Japanese Army. Civilians were mostly evacuated.
Or perhaps just me applying the same thought process that concluded the great wall of China helped Ghengis Khan unite tribes. A big outside influence.
The airfield is now the airport for Thursday Island. A seemingly frequent ferry service between the two islands.
|Prawn trawlers and yachts in the sheltered waters.
The seasons are principally wet and dry, the difference between northerly winds and south east (that we currently experience) winds.
There are a couple of other winds to break the monotony.
Along with the strong currents life is interesting for the prawn trawlers which unlike our fast boat that planes are displacement hulls with powerful engines for trawling but incapable of speeds much above 8 knots.
|Parau Island is a bit west of Red Island, a bit west of
Volcanic. One of two volcanic islands in the Torres Strait. Very dormant looking. Unlike the Indonesian island chain to the north west.
A bumpy ride home, and wet for the people in the front of the boat.
|Back at Seisia by 4pm, looking north from the wharf.
Somewhere in the distance is Wroonga Point.
We returned to our campsite of last night. I walked in to check that it was unoccupied and I could turn round. An interesting arrival, it was occupied by a single vehicle with four friendly locals. Stopped to give their dogs a drink after hunting. They wondered if I was lost. This seemed at odds with the white guy traveling relatively fast along the track who's only interest was "have you seen a silver dog?". They all knew each other, the dog returned, they all left. Smiles and waves from the locals. A small interlude. What a strange world I live in.
|I had the tracker running for the day. It annoyingly lost
its gps signal just after leaving Seisia but recovered when I said "yes" to
something about do I want it to keep looking for satellites (of course I do
...) shortly before Entrance Island. What a strange machine.
We traveled about 100km.
Papua New Guinea, to the north, used to be a colony of Australia. The border is very near the PNG coast, a couple of km. Most of the Torres Strait north of the Thursday Island group seems to be a PNG-Australia protected zone. I'm not sure what its protected from.
We are also well to the east of the "Wallace Line". The line through the Indonesian islands between marsupials and apes.
|WWII Plane Crashes and Mutee Head||June 26 - 27 2019|