Sunday, September 25, 2011

Great Barrier Reef

Moving northwards behind the Great Barrier Reef we had little time for sightseeing - by the time we'd left Brisbane the sailing season was well advanced and we simply had to move smartly.  The good news though, we were soon back in shorts and tee-shirt country, and not long after that that even this attire seemed far too much!

The sailing was also splendid with strong winds, although strong currents and sharp chops were also part of the package, as were a great deal of shipping.

I continued to finish off work on the boat while we traveled, and by the time we arrived at Thursday Island on 26 July I was feeling confident that Mojombo was ready for our first major off-shore passage aboard her.

Great Keppel Island.  Architect and landscape architect Zeke designing a French villa complete with grand garden, statuary and waterfeature.

Amazing patterns made by the sand crabs on Great Keppel

Magnetic Island off Townsville.  On this walk we stumbled onto a 
nudist beach which Zeke found totally embarrassing

Bringing the bikes ashore, Cairns (a brilliantly bike friendly town).

Captain Cook’s monument, Cooktown.  A tiny crowded and shallow anchorage, but full of character. I wondered if Cook felt the same way?

Thursday Island is a fascinating outpost.  It celebrates its Melanesian heritage through a vibrant contemporary art scene, harvests and exports an astonishing number of crayfish and has an amazing amount of intact cultural heritage.  Heritage  highlights include traditional island culture, pearl divers, WWII soldiers and Japanese aerial attacks and of course Eddie Mabo’s famous fight through the courts.

didn’t see turtles but did see a wonderful art gallery, and real live crocs

"headhunter of the Torres Strait" says the caption
but isn't he wearing a singlet?

pearl diver aboard one of those famous luggers

I reckon the white soldier in the centre of the
photo looks like my Uncle Roy

Aircobra pilot TI

But we had to make tracks! So on the morning of 2 August we departed Thursday Island for Ambon, Indonesia.  We made some early startling progress!!!  Through the passage between Thursday Island Prince of Wales Island we did 11 and 12 knots with just a tiny headsail up.  The currents through the Torres Strait are fierce and the trade wind relentlessly strong.

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