Sunday, November 19, 2006

Going to Horn Island

This morning we skipped church. (You'll remember the pastor has a slight issue with this!) We went on the ferry to Horn Island, which is just across the Ellis Channel. We met someone Jo works with (who took this photo) who was doing what Jo called "Church Hopping" in preference to "Church Crawling". She was going over to one of the HI churches. The pastor (not ours) was on the same boat.

We were given bad directions which meant that we had to walk about four times as far to our destination- the Gateway resort for a tour of the Island. The resort was a funny place run by a Chinese family who have lived in the Torres Strait for decades. The parents run the hotel, one son runs the tour and another son runs a shop on TI. They have notices forbidding almost anything that could happen dotted around the hotel, and an interesting, old fashioned museum about Horn Islands (including a sign which seemed to be saying in essence "prepare to be invaded by hoardes of people from PNG or Indonesia...")

The tour itself was mainly about the Islands in the first and second world wars. A very active history this, told my a man my age with obvious relish. He loved showing us bits of crashed plane, the places where they used to hide planes in the scrub, narrow trenches, even broken beer bottles from 1943 still in the place where they were broken (assuming I'm not being naive in thinking he hadn't gone out and placed them there the night before). I'm not really into military history, but told by an enthusiast, it's very interesting. It actually reminded me of Catch 22, about US air force soldiers going mad on a hot Island in wartime.

Imogen really enjoyed it, but it's pretty hard to explain war to a four year old: "Were those men being naughty, having guns here?"
"Err...umm, yes and no" was the best I could manage.

The morning ended with a quick dip in the hotel pool - our first chlorinated water since arriving here.

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