Leaving the Boat
Cairns Travel Blog› entry 6 of 206 › view all entries
We woke at , packed and headed down to breakfast. Today 6 of us would be returning to
Our divemaster Karen took us, and any other ramblers from the remaining group on a walk around the island. It is remote, and very private; you can only stay on the island in one of 3 ways. The first is to spend 3000 AUS dollars a night to stay on the tiny private resort; the second is to work for one of the research stations on the opposite side of the island; and the third is to camp, but you have to bring ALL your supplies, including fresh water, as there is no supply here.
The aborigine name for the island is Stingray, because it looks like one, though how they should know that we don't know and it was sacred to them. Captain Cook wrecked the Endeavour nearby (now named Endeavour Reef) as he couldn't work out how to get out of the reefs.
Later some Europeans settled on the island with some Chinese servants to hunt sea cucumbers and the aborigines arrived to find them on their sacred island. There was a scuffle and in the confusion one of the Chinese servants shot one of the aborigines. They returned with a party and attacked. One of the other servants was killed but Mary Watson and the others escaped, hence the name Watson’s Bay.
The Eucalpytus trees are numerous and subject to controlled burning. The oil inside is very volatile and in the heat of summer can spontaneously combust so they burn the trees periodically. The bark on the Eucalyptus has evolved to burn and peel and leave the tree unharmed beneath.
At the airstrip we waited for the tiny plane to arrive to take us on a low-level flight to
Getting into the 10 seater plane meant walking bent double through a narrow gap 20cm wide between seats. We sat immediatley behind the pilot and watched all his gauges, while he chatted up our dive hostess all the way back showing each other their holiday snaps on their cameras! So much for 'autopilot'....
The flight was amazing and a lovely way to say goodbye to the reefs.
Arriving again in
We got dropped by the dive bus to a hotel in the centre in the hope of finding a suit for Andy for the wedding.
We had reserved 2 crabs and a table on the waterfront at a restaurant called Pescis on the recommendation of one of the dive group. After a glass of champagne we had a couple of bottles of a nice white wine called Mad Dog or something like that while we waited for our 2 mud crabs and a seafood platter to arrive. I was slightly apprehensive as I am squeamish about 'dismantling' things and had to overcome the aversion to run screaming from the table in order to grasp the clicky orange crab legs and scoop out all the good stuff.
Andy's seafood was wonderful, the best scallops and mussels I've ever tasted, and even the calamari was beautiful. We treated ourselves to dessert (orange and Grand Marnier parfait and lemon vodka tiramisu), had a couple of Ports and Benedictine and then wandered to the casino. Personally I don't understand gambling - the compulsion to hand over hard earned cash with the likely outcome that you won't get it back, but it was fun to get better acquainted with Blackjack and Roulette, and in fact Clay left the table 25 dollars up on 100 so that was pretty good going.