Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Another day, another bay


North East beach on Palm Island - home to unexpected animals.
The last thing I expected to be confronted with on a beautiful tropical island is a pig.
But that's what happened when I wandered off to explore a small freshwater creek while Royden went looking for crayfish at North East Beach on Palm Island yesterday.
We'd seen signs of wallabies on the foreshore and when I heard a rustling in the bush I moved forward to investigate, hoping to see some wallabies.
A large black and pink pig trotted out in front of me. We faced off for a few seconds then I disregarded every rule and turned tail heading for the beach. Royden's first question was:``Did you get a photo?'' Answer: ''No.''

Further along North East beach.
Apart from the pig, North East Beach was (and remains) a beautiful stretch of beach, with crystal clear water and a sandy bottom to anchor.  
We walked the length of the beach between the rocky headlands and swam to cool off.
Prior to that we'd anchored overnight in Juno Bay off Fantome Island and explored the remnants of the old leprosarium which closed in the early 1970s and the buildings subsequently burnt. Unfortunately asbestos doesn’t burn very well and the island is littered with fragments of it. It’s a haunting place and such recent history. People with leprosy – mainly aboriginal people – were removed from their communities and brought out to this remote island to be cared for by Catholic nuns. There are hundreds of people buried there but only one memorial headstone. We also discovered what looked to be an altar and rock cairn deep in the rainforest where it was cool and breezy and figured this may have been where services were held.
All in all it left us feeling very sad.

Acknowledging the people who lived and died on Fantome Island. A plaque was added to this concrete pedestal in 2010.
We wondered if the residents of Fantome bathed here. There was a rock lined path leading to this side of the bay. Further along there were a couple of iron beds on concrete basis on the higher rocks. Talk about taking the sea air. 
It was such a contrast to our earlier visit to Yanks jetty which was the site of a World War 2 degaussing (demagnetising ships so they were less detectable) station. The jetty, which gives access to a beaut little beach and interesting reef, was rebuilt after Cyclone Yasi and it’s a popular spot for day trippers from the mainland. With the glassy weather conditions on the weekend there was no shortage of small boats and families enjoying the facilities. Of the degaussing station, little remains (except a circular stone tank and bits of asbestos) and it’s a rough walk to the top of the headland to find any remnants.

One of the few remnants of the degaussing station.

A swim at Yanks reminded us to always wear our stinger suits at this time of the year. There weren’t stingers, but the sea lice were there in numbers and made swimming very uncomfortable.

Hazard Bay and Yanks jetty - and Sea Piper
Who was it said that the more beautiful a place is, the more things it has to bite or eat you? Or give you a fright, ie Mr Piggly Wiggly.
The other side of Yanks jetty.
Hazards to shipping! (This photo's a bit pink cos I had the camera on an underwater setting.)

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