A Western Australian saga.

drron

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First thing after anchoring was to take the crayfish pots out
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Then lunch.I didn't take too many shots of meals.just think of crayfish.A salad of crayfish first then a penne carbonara plus a couple of other choices I have forgotten.
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Where we would snorkel in a couple of days time.
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And looking the other way you can see why they call the Wallabi islands the high islands.
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And the King diver returns from crayfish duty.
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drron

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After lunch the King Diver went out to pick up another 21 guests who flew in.They put the flight on the day before planned as no hotels were accepting bookings.Unfortunately another 4 couldn't make the afternoon flights so are coming as originally planned on Thursday morning.Unfortunately that means we stay anchored in Turtle Bay which is exposed so a rock and roll night.
The new guests arriving.
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And sunset.
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You may just see a little white smudge lower right just above the water.turns out this was the International space Station.We got a better view a couple of nights later.
 

JohnM

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It's starting to make more sense now. So how many pax went out from Gero with you on the boat - or did you get the royal treatment?

It couldn't have been many if 25 more came aboard at E Wallabi.
 

drron

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Yes we had the royal treatment on the way out.Just the 2 of us.
Dinner-crayfish and steak again.
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Tomorrow's activities
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So I was up with the sun for the first pot pull.
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And in they come.Only 46 keepers though more than Jay thought we would get.Many though were large.
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drron

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Our first landing was on Beacon Island previously known as Batavia's graveyard.
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And out there are the remains of the Batavia.
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And this is Long island or Seal island but back in the day traitor's island where several of the murderers were hung.some after having a hand or 2 chopped off using a chisel and mallet.
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drron

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We really lucked out with the weather.Lots of bird life.beautiful,clear,colouful water.Plenty of stone works though more likely from the times the cray fishers lived here.But this is the island that most of the murders occurred upon.once skeletons were found the fisherman's days were numbered.
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drron

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Onwards we trek.
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Some bones.definitely not human.possibly sea lion or a domestic animal.
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And the site of a major find with 9 skeletons.
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Then it was time for a snorkel.This young one was up for some fun.I was lucky and had 2 close encounters.someone swimming behind me says he had a little nibble at my fins.
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drron

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Jay was in charge of the King diver-ie the crayfish and fishing.His old mate Al was the skipper.Mainly a new crew as the regulars were mainly interstaters and went home when they could.But this crew were very good and couldn't complain about any of them.
 

drron

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So back to the ship for lunch.First a hearty soup.
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Then salads plus a whole lot of crayfish rolls.
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Some were known to go back for seconds maybe even thirds.
But there was fruit to finish.
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drron

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After lunch it was off to West Wallabi island which is home to an Australian first.
There was a lot of bird life and on landing we first inspected a sea eagle's nest.
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The landscape isn't impressive.
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And this is what we came to see.The Webbie Hayes fort.The first European constructed building in Australia.
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But the immature sea eagles were putting on a display.
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drron

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After the Batavia was wrecked Jeronimus Cornelisz became the leader after Pelseart took the long boat on a journey to Batavia on java to hopefully arrange rescue.Now Jeronimus was either a psychopath or had a medical condition such as tertiary syphilis as he unleashed a reign of terror on the survivors.There were soldiers on board and he dropped them off on East Wallabi island to find water and food.They did find food-wallabys hence the islands name.But there wasn't much water.however they were able to walk at low tide to west Wallabi where they found both and built the fort.The murders started soon after the soldiers were left on the Wallabi islands.A couple of survivors managed to swim to the Wallabis or come over on hastily constructed boats.So the soldiers knew what was happening and able to prepare for the inevitable attack.
Jeronimus had made the soldiers leave their weapons behind but they made improvised spears etc.They were also fortunate that the waters around West Wallabi Island were very shallow and so the island was easy to defend.

Our trip over demonstrated this well.
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There was the remains of a sperm whale on the reef surrounding West Wallabi.You can see how shallow the water is.
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You can see the spine stretching out in the water.
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Being downwind wasn't pleasant.
 

drron

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Although the tide was at it's high mark we had to transfer out of the tenders to a glass bottom boat and then negotiate these cliffs. DSC04825.JPG .
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You can see why it was easy to defend.looking back this is the view and beacon Island where an attack would come from is past that little island.So there would have been plenty of warning of the attacks that were mounted.
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Now back to Webbie Hayes fort.A little something unusual in this picture.
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A tail of the spiny tail skink.
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He would look like this if he came out.Cute.
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Further into the island another structure.
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It is not thought that this is related to the Batavia story as no artefacts from the time have been found here unlike the discoveries inside and around the fort.probably erected by guano miners over 100 years ago.
Near here the cyclone had filled a depression which was a magnet for the birds.
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And one of the smaller water sources found by Webbie Hayes's men.
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drron

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Then we went for a tender ride around the Island.On this cruise we were lucky to have Howard Gray a local historian and activist.Originally he was a school teacher and spent some time on this island.He also spent a year on Christmas Island and written a book of that time.He studied zoology at uni and his PHD was on the Western Rock lobster.

So to pics of our cicumnavigation of Pidgeon Island.
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The preschool and school.
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