Redcliffe Pier

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BEYOND THE CAPE

At last I found a map of our trip to Cape York. 

 After our hike to the tip of Australia we returned to Bamaga for another night. The next morning Chris, our driver took us to the wharf where we said goodbye to him. Chris had to drive the bus back to Cairns to pick up the next tour group.
We were to catch a ferry across to Thursday Island, where we would meet another guide.

Thursday Island is one of many islands in the Torres Strait. TI as it is known has the best harbour and biggest population of all the islands. In 1606 The Spanish explorer, Luis Vaez de Torres, was the first European to navigate the strait between New Guinea and Australia. He was looking for Australia but he thought the tip of Cape York was just another island and so missed claiming Australia for Spain. However, the strait was named after him. It is only 150k/90m from Cape York to New Guinea.

The ferry took us to Thursday Island.

Torres Strait Islanders on board the ferry. Cute kids.


Not sure if this Tradie had a big night or if he's been working hard but he was catching up on some sleep on the ferry. People up here in the tropics are very laid back. No one is in a hurry, nothing is urgent.

 We sailed between islands and the water was a magic colour.

 As soon as we arrived we were ushered onto a tour bus with a local girl as driver and guide. She took us to the top of "Green Hill", which is actually brown in the dry season. At the top we had a view over the settlement.

There was a fort built on the top of the hill in the 1890's when the government was expecting an invasion by Russia. The guns have only been fired once when a friendly ship came into the harbour but didn't identify itself. Underneath the ground there is a museum which used to be where the ammunition was stored.

The view, heat and colours reminded me of the time I lived in New Guinea, very tropical. 

We visited the historic cemetery where hundreds of japanese pearl divers are buried from the times in the 1800's when the pearling industry was thriving here before plastics took over.

Then it was time to book into the Jardine Motel. We had fish and chips for lunch, settled into our room and then we went for a walk to explore the little township. The beach was at the end of the main street.

 The Anglican All Saints and Bartholomew Church is actually the smallest cathedral in the world. The right Reverend Bishop Saibo Marbo is a special bishop for the Torres Strait Island people. The church is also called the Quetto Memorial Church. In 1890 the ship, Quetta, hit rocks on its way from Brisbane to London. It sank within 3 minutes at night. 133 lives were lost out of 293 passengers. The dead were buried here. The flag is at half mast as an important Island elder died.

 There was Quetta memorabilia in the church and a portrait of an islander leader in traditional dress.


 I had to snap the "Royal Hotel"  for my blogging friend Joan who is collecting pics of all the Royals in Oz. See her blog here:


Dinner at the motel was delicious Reef and Beef. The next day we had to go to Horn Island to catch a plane back to Cairns.

29 comments:

  1. so is there a Wed or Friday Island? Just kidding, it is a strange name for a beautiful island.. i love that beach, fantastic... and my hubby can sleep like that man on the ferry, he can fall asleep on any surface.. i can't, i have to have a bed and a pillow...

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    1. No kidding, there is a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday Is.

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  2. It all looks so wonderful, and then I remember the heat and humidity. Fortunately you have showed us and I won't have to go.

    Sandra, after Diane's last post I looked at a map and there are more islands named after weekdays, but it seems not the full set.

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  3. I'm enjoying all your 'adventures' and your wonderful travelogue.

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  4. Wow, Diane, I just devoured every word and image of this post (as usual!) We also have many Royal Hotels in South Africa. I'm fascinated by the smallest cathedral in the world. I love the colors of the water. Great memories for you! Thanks for another wonderful look at your country. Jo

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  5. Your beach and water pictures are fantastic.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  6. Wow, Diane, The water is a gorgeous color, the views are breathtaking, the cathedral is lovely and the people so colorful and interesting! I bet it did remind you of New Guinea. Have you been back there for a visit?

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    1. No, I haven't been back. I worked there in the 60's when it was governed by Australia. After they got independence in 1975 the country has been in a slide into corruption and crime. It is the most unsafe country to live in, work in and to visit. In some provinces the infra structure has not been maintained and the people are very poor.Our Government pours millions of dollars a year into the country but I'm sceptical at what happens to the money because some of the politicians are corrupt too. Timber companies are ruining the beautiful rainforest and where does the money go???? The poor natives in the villages where the timber is being removed don't get any or very little. But Australia needs to keep them as friends and allies as their country is so close to ours but also closer to muslim Indonesia.
      It is such a shame. P/NG is one of the most beautiful countries for scenery that I have ever seen. Fabulous mountains and gorgeous tropical coastlines. They could make so much money from tourism if only they could clean up crime, corruption and infrastructure.
      Now I will get off my soap box. It is just so heartbreaking after how I remember it. We have P/NG friends and they have come to live in Australia and wish Australia was still governing their country but world pressure wont allow that any more.

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  7. Such a nice tour and in the end almost to New Guinea. Funny to collect all the Royal hotels, I can't remember we have any Royal hotels in our country. It is not a common name here. Differences between the anglicans and we I think.

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  8. I think you are so lucky to have been able to travel to the tip of the country, is somewhere I would love to go to myself and I think hubby would love it also.

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  9. What an amazing place to visit, and it looks just gorgeous! How fun to get a chance to visit this place.

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  10. Wonderful! And the ocean is so blue. Also looks like a fun-lovin' group.

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  11. Your photos of the island and strait above the tip of Australia are beautiful. The color of water is gorgeous. I enjoyed your pictures of the laid-back islanders.

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  12. Wow---love the color of the water... Awesome!!!!! Interested in that 'cathedral'... How special is that.. SO--I assume that all of the people in all of the islands come to worship together there... That is so neat.. What an interesting life it must be to live in those areas, especially during certain times of the year when the weather is different... Wow!!! Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  13. I love your photo of the water with the grass in front .. captures the vibrant tropical colours so well. Wish I was there right now ... we are not quite home but sitting at the beach in the rain ... such a difference in the colour of the water on a sunny day vs a cool wet one.

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  14. And yes, thank sooo much for getting that Royal. I know I will never get there to collect it myself.

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  15. That island does look good, and the water is so clear...shame about the graves going to ruin, and those little children are so sweet.

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  16. Diane, what a lovely end to your tour. The island and water color are gorgeous. Love the views and the photos. Have a great day!

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  17. Another series of outstanding photos Diane, what a beautiful area. Enjoyed everything from the maps to the interesting history. Also the food and the term reef and beef. I think it's what we would call surf and turf on our menu :) Have a good one!

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  18. Wonderful photos - the sea really is a spectacular colour. But I'm with Andrew, the heat and humidity would be a killer for me.
    Dinner looks extremely yummy.

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  19. I love your two photos of the amazing water, what color! Especially the second one, with the orange grasses in the foreground. It would make a great poster. Wow, that gun is huge and looks like it is pointing straight at you!

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  20. great adventures you had; enjoyed seeing these photos too, so far up. How do you top this? Have you your next travel itinerary in place? I'm sure it becomes addictive. I enjoyed the colour of the water so much too

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    1. No, we haven't planned another trip yet other than I am flying to LA in September for my daughter's birthday and to see my little grandsons.

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  21. I have enjoyed reading your blog as this is a similar trip to what friends and I did 4 years ago. The trip is wonderful and your posts have been fantastic.
    Love the photos as well.

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  22. What a great tour ! and so interesting ! Didn't know that so many of japanese pearl divers died there ! Actually I didn't even know that Japanese had been divers in Australia !

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  23. Colors are amazing and the history so interesting. What a country! It is quite something to say you have hiked to the tip of it.

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    1. It was not a long hike from the bus about a mile, that's all but it was a bit rocky and rugged.

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  24. Your journeys are always so fascinating, Diane! The trip looks so exotic to me. I love the bright blue waters and the tropical feel to the islands. The Spainish explorers certainly got around back in the day :)

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