This month’s entries are ordered backward, so that they are easier to read from the top, as they are a rough kind of journal, and not a web log as such. This means the dates at the top and bottom of each entry is incorrect, the correct dates are at the beginning of each item. Sorry about that.
I’m travelling this month so this is all going to be a bit of an experiment, I’m going to see how well this works as a journal. I’ll try to include at least one good photo every day, but some of the entries may be more of a personal reminder to myself, and might not interest anybody else.
We’ll see how things work out.
I’m writing this blog entirely on my Palm using U*blog, photos will either be from a SonyEricsson K700i phone, or Finepix 420. Ypu can click on any of the photos to get a larger image from Flickr. Links to Google maps are embedded in the text, too – you might need to select “Satellite view” once the Google page has loaded, though.
I’ll try and post these entries as network connectivity is available, but there aren’t a lot of WiFi hotspots around here, and phone coverage is also a problem.
I may also edit these posts after I get home, but my intention is to really give remote posting a good try, without using a desktop computer.
Not a pleasant day – up at 3.20am, to catch 6.00am flight to Sydney; from there, to catch another flight to Cairns. Since I have a really bad cold at present I really didn’t enjoy any of this.
Checked into our hotel, then went for a walk around Cairns. The Holiday Inn is (surprise!) a really nice hotel – it is large, with exterior corridors well suited to the climate, and large open interior atriums with lush gardens and fish ponds.
Cairns is pleasant enough place, but too touristy for my taste. The beach is mudflat for most of the time, but the council has built a really nice artificial lagoon at the south end of the beach, complete with sunhades, sculpture, and lifeguards. They’ve done a great job.
I did notice, though, that the town has been developed since we were last here, several years ago, with more new buildings replacing the original old timber houses on long piles.
Went to the night markets for dinner, had a great self serve chinese meal – didn’t think much of the markets themselves, though.
Totally stuffed (and two hours ahead of local time) so crashed quite early.
Fine and sunny in Cairns, went out early and had breakfast at a place on the esplanade, what a pleasant climate – about 20C, with a very light breeze.
Two hour flight to Horn Island, then a very expensive bus and ferry ride across to Thursday Island. This is like a real frontier town – very utilitarian. For a very small island (it takes about two hours to walk around the coast) it has a surprising number of vehicles. Lots of boats parked around town,
I don’t understand how the island supports itself – everthing has to be imported, and with the distances and transport involved must be very expensive.
Roast dinner at the motel – we travel all the way to the tropics for roast beef.
Got up for a quick walk around the eastern end of Thursday Island, which took a little over an hour. TI is quite built up, although housing is low density, just about the whole island has been built on.
The eastern end has a small area of mangroves, with fruit bats roosting. Otherwise, wildlife doesn’t seem very common – not even many seabirds.
After breakfast we went along to the cultural center, it is very modern and has been open for about a year. I didn’t realise Christine Anu was from up here, she was one of the VIPs at the opening.
There is a fairly small collection of art, sculpture and traditional artifacts on display; also a number of photographs by Frank Hurley, taken as part of his “Pearls and Savages” expedition to New Guinea. By chance, we watched a documentary about his work, it seems he was reviled by some people for his approach to photography. McCulloch was Hurley’s partner for the “Pearls and Savages” expedition, he committed suicide two years after the expedition; a lot of the historical artifacts on display were collected (or maybe stolen) by him.
Walked up to the Green Hill Fort, built early 1890s for defence. The museum there was closed, but the guns themselves were open.
Later in the afternoon we walked up to the windmills – I bet that there was no opposition to their installation, as they must be very important to TI, all their power otherwise is produced by a diesel fuelled power station on the north side of the island.
Arrived at Seisia – what a superb location, campsite complete with beach shelter, right on the beachfront overlooking the Torres Strait islands, and with endless sandy beaches in both directions as far as we can see.
Had to get up early (5.20am) to catch the 6.30 ferry, which was a great idea as there were only about 6 passengers on it, and the trip was very smooth and fast on dead flat water – it usually gets quite windy later in the day; and the afternoon ferry was standing room only, absolutely packed full.
An added bonus was the chance to watch a spectacular sunrise over the islands.
Seisia itself doesn’t have much, just the campground, a service station/mechanic and supermarket. It is very quiet, although people in general don’t stay long at the campground as they usually leave their boats and caravans further south and find they get bored up here once they’ve seen the sights.
Janene and Phil brought everything with them, and have been here 5 weeks already, they are even thinking of staying on after we leave, they like it so much.
Busy day today, up early to leave camp at 8.00am, drove past several townships to meet Phil and the boat near Jardine River.
Quick trip past the rivermouth, we left the boat near several turtle tracks, and walked along the beach. What a huge amount of rubbish – ropes, nets and fish crates by the truckload. There was even a television, the remains of a dugout canoe, and lots of jandals.
Phil met us after about 1.5 hours, had smoko and watched dolphins going past before heading back to the car. A very wet and bumpy boat trip, though we did see a turtle and also several tuna.
Drove back to Seisia via the “main” road to Cairns, not used much and in a fairly bad state, lots of trees lying across it.
Stopped at the WWII radar station at Mutte Heads, also the settlement on the beach nearby which later moved to Bamaga.
Woke early to see another spectacular sunrise, quite cold to start with at 19 degrees.
Four “wild” horses walked through the camp before breakfast, the neighbours were silly enough to feed them, and the guy next door was stupid enough to walk behind one of the horses, which tried to kick him but missed.
Slight problem with flying out of here, Aero Tropics’ Friday flight is full, if we fly with them we’ll need to leave on Thursday, which means an extra night in Cairns. Yuk. Off to Regional Pacific Air to see what they can offer.