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The Rock-itt : June 2011
Here we are again back on board Sirocco with Errol Flynn, Trelawney Adams, Rex Long-Innes and Charlie Burt as they reluctantly leave their little island paradise, Percy Island and move further into the Great Barrier Reef region. The Reef itself is one of the great wonders of the world, stretching for over a 1000 miles in length and 1500 miles wide at its furthest extremity. Created over the centuries from the skeletal remains of billions of dead fish and underwater plant life, the Great Barrier Reef has to be seen to be believed. Its protected subterranean wilderness has become the home for thousands of species of tropical fish and plant life which bring the reef alive with colour like a painting from the great master, Van Gough. Sirocco needed caution in this area as the reef, although majestically beautiful, could be a hazard to the hull of a boat with its razor sharp prongs quite capable of slicing a gash deep and wide as did the iceberg to the ill-fated giant luxury liner Titanic in 1912. It took all of Trelawney’s skills to navigate his way through the coral cays and reefs bristling with the dangerous barbs. To Errol and the crew of Sirocco, the wonders and splendour of this tropical wonderland well out-weighed the dangers and they were mesmerised by not only the unbelievable colours of the fish and plants but also the other inhabitants of the reef, for they rode on the backs of giant turtles and dove and swum amidst schools of sharks and groper which could have devoured them if not for the abundance of teeming schools of fish which seem ed to appease the predators’ hunger. Cruising leisurely along, they eventually came to Dent Island whose only inhabitants were two light-house keepers whose job it was to keep the light aglow for twenty four hours a day. There was no landing place available so Errol and Charlie rowed ashore in hope of acquiring some much needed tobacco. The first words from the keepers of the lighthouse as they greeted Errol and Charlie were, “Have you any tobacco, we ran out two weeks ago and are dying for a smoke.” The two light- house keepers had been on the island for two years and it appeared that they’d had enough of the sight of each other and in their company the strong feeling toward each other was one of contempt and resentment. So after sharing a bit of banter Errol and Charlie returned to Sirocco where they hauled anchor and once again moved further north. On this leg of the journey the waters were clear of coral reefs which made sailing more smooth and it wasn’t long before another rather long low lying Island appeared off their port bow. As they approached they could make out young white children standing on the beach watching. Dropping anchor, Errol and Rex rowed ashore but when they landed, the children had disappeared. There was a house further up the beach and as they made their way toward it a handsome looking woman appeared on the verandah and after some repartee invited Errol and Rex in for tea. The woman introduced herself as Mrs W ilson. Her husband was a shell fisherman and was away working and was sometimes away for months at a time. She had come to the island as a young seventeen year old bride and had not left since which was about twenty years previously Sirocco under full sail The lighthouse on Dent Island Errol and the crew had great pleasure riding on the backs of the giant turtles on the reef The lighthouse on Dent Island