We have had two day trips out to the Turtle Island group over the last few days. The group of either substantial coral cays or islands, lie about 14 nautical miles east of the Starke bush camp. On our first visit we landed on one of the outer islands. As we approached an Osprey came over and circled the boat. On later walks on the island we found a huge nest for the pair of Ospreys. Below is an image of the nest: figured by the mass of twigs and angled away from the prevailing trade winds. You can make out the ground of most of the island, which is largely made up of broken up pieces of coral.
Anchoring the Pelican can be a riveting moment for project participants. The catamaran has to be maneuvered to maintain exactly the right position and the outer island provided a shelted spot (free of reef) to weigh anchor and go ashore.
The island has extensive mangroves (I think three varieties) and a dried hardy inland grass, threaded through with dodder -laurel; like a giant weaving.
On the eastern side of the island there were some stands of caurinas and on both sides evidence that this island cops a lot more weather than Pethebridge as it is further out from the mainland. The kids and Chris from Balkanu collected lots of tropical seeds as the island also picks up flotsom from further South. There was also heaps of pumice, from volcanic blasts in the Pacific and perhaps even dating from Krakatoa exploding!
We gathered lots of the shells and flotsom to undersatnd the story of the island and the sea country around it.
And listened to the stories the sea was whispering.
Pelican1 safely anchored offshore.
Mark and Sebastian with their show bag from the day
Sean, from Balkanu- found a bottle on the island with a message inside. Once we got on the boat we opened the bottle of jack daniels and unfolded the paper inside. I wonder if anyone can tell us who this is and why someone would put it in a bottle to be cast onto a remote Cape York island?
After a full day exploring we made the two hour sail back to the Starke camp and ferried our tired participants to shore.