by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
The Rock-itt : October 2011
Hi ho shipmates, welcome back aboard the naughty ship Sirocco which has just supplied a Chinese drug supplier with a haul of the illegal drug Opium. I expect that after their dastardly deed, Errol and the lads were starting to feel a little disappointed with themselves and rightly so. Knowing that they had broken the law in Australia and having dealings with a drug supplier, although in 1930 the ramifications of the drug trade were nowhere near as large as today’s drug problems. But still and al,l the deed had been done and a black mark would forever be upon the once immaculate name of Sirocco and written into history wherever Errol’s name was mentioned or his life written about. So now Sirocco and crew had fled Cairns and were scarpering up the east coast to the port of Cook Town, which would be her last port of call in Australia before turning eastward to Papua New Guinea. Cook Town in 1930 was virtually the last frontier on the east coast and although it was a tiny settlement, it boasted 59 licensed drinking houses to cater for a population of some 300 inhabitants. Errol and the crew were a little apprehensive when first entering the port as they suspected that Alchun, the Chinaman might have contacted the constabulary about the loss of his tender. But their suspicions were unfounded and they soon made friends with the local law enforcer who was also the mayor and Harbour Master. He turned out to be a great drinking buddy by joining Errol and the lads for a few steady days of serious drinking. Cook Town was once a thriving mining town but once the mines had taken their plunder and closed down, the town began to dwindle and die. The major brick buildings such as the banks and m ansions built by the wealthy were deserted and had fallen into disrepair as their rooves rotted and their walls gradually began to crumble. According to Errol, the population seem ed to be in the same declining groove. After wandering around taking in what still remained of Cook Town, Errol, Rex, Charlie and Trelawney set about the task of preparing Sirocco for the major part of the journey which was their trip east across the coral sea to Papua New Guinea. The deck had to be re-caulked in places and some of the running gear needed work as well as sea anchors prepared and anything that could give problems at sea was addressed. Their main worry, however, was cyclones which were quite prevalent in this area of open sea. Sirocco had been built as a racing vessel and not a heavy seas going boat so would not stand up to a cyclone’s ferocity. However, they would prepare her in every way possible for seaworthiness, and then leave the rest in the lap of the Gods. They left Cook Town at four in the morning with a stiff south-easterly blowing across their starboard beam and manoeuvred Sirocco until it was aft of her beam, and her bow was headed in the direction of Cooks Passage some sixty miles further on and the opening to the Great Barrier Reef. Captain James Cook had named the passage when he sailed through it 200 years previously. Cook had come to some grief when he Sirocco under full sail One of the 59 licensed drinking houses in Cooktown Cook Town shops