Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tim and Im go boating

Here's a trivia question for you: Where does Tuesday come after Wednesday? Well, we found out today - if you sail from Thursday Island, past Wednesday Island you come to Tuesday Island. And that's what Imogen and I have done today with some friends here. We sailed off the North of Thursday Island, round anticlockwise past Hammond Island, Goodes Island, Friday Island and Horn Island and out beyond Wednesday Island to Tuesday Island.

And it looked like one of those tropical paradises you see on postcards. And it was deserted (until we got there). No houses, no buildings, just native trees and a sand dune. Just off the island is a coral reef with beautiful fish - Imogen had her first go at snorkelling, and was thrilled to see fish swimming around.

She's not a confident swimmer, so I held her around her tummy, while she looked under water. I knew she'd seen something when I heard "oooh" noises coming up her snorkel tube! (I had a go, but without my glasses, all I could see was grey fish-like shadows flitting around - not as impressive as Finding Nemo!)

She played with Mimi (3), Reuben (4 - 1 month older than Imogen) and Gracie (6 (I think)) and had a wonderful time. We saw a sea eagle and something big and grey that could have been a dugong, but was probably a turtle (which I am reliably informed tastes like gamey beef - which sounds to me like kangaroo!)

It seems that a boat is essential for people here long term, as it's the only way off the island - you can feel quite cooped up here otherwise. And then I got to imagining the first Europeans here - after months and months on a boat, seein gnothing but sea, and then you see land - and it's not just one land, but these small islands, with beaches, trees, wildlife, virtually untouched - what an amazing feeling that must be. (I don't wish to glorify what the original European colonisers did here, as some of it amounts to genocide, but equally, I can't help admiring their sense of adventure in actually achieving sailing halfway around the world in uncharted (to them) waters with no means of communication)

All the children had a sleep on the way back, before meeting up for a sunset barbecue with the same family and other doctors from the hospital for a sunset barbecue by the beach. This was the view.

So today was one of those days that was the reason we came up here in the first place. I feel enormously priveleged to have a job that allows me to come to places like this that most people just would never get the opportunity to visit.

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