Great Palm Island

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 30 Sep 2013 07:48
Position: 18 44.38 S 146 34.24 E
At anchor Casement Bay, Great Palm Island
Wind East F3-4 gentle to moderate breeze
Sea: slight, Swell: negligible
Weather: partly cloudy warm
Day’s run: 35 Nm

I woke up to a calm morning, the ensign hung limply on the backstay, so I knew there was no hurry to get away. However it didn’t take long for a light but useful breeze to start showing itself, and it was likely to be a few knots fresher outside of the marina’s shelter. So, having passed a leisurely breakfast, and with crew now to be considered, the plan for the day was discussed and agreed to, which basically consisted of sailing north, see how far we got, and aim for somewhere to anchor shortly before sunset. With initially a light breeze, once clear of Magnetic Island’s wind shadow, it freshened a little and had Sylph jogging along on a beam reach at five to six knots. It was soon clear that at five or so knots the Palm Island Group would be a good spot to aim for.

And here we are, anchored off the small township that services the aboriginal community that lives on the island. The history of Great Palm Island, as is perhaps well known, is a place that does Australia little credit. Many aboriginal people were forcibly moved here from 1896 until the 1960s, ostensibly to protect them from catching white people’s diseases, but also conveniently removing any obstacle from us white fellahs taking their lands. Apart from that, I know very little about the place. I have sailed past on many occasions, and even stopped here once while serving on a guided missile destroyer, though again I did not go ashore on that occasion. I figure it might be time to correct this squeamishness on my part, for I think this is the main reason I have not been prepared to confront the consequences of the sins of our fathers.

We will now have a quiet night at anchor, then tomorrow perhaps get the dinghy in the water and pay the locals a visit. I have made a courtesy phone call to the deputy CEO of the island, so first up we will need to pay him a visit.

All is well.