|Papou Point on the SE of TI|
We arrived in Seisia at 1200 and anchored behind the sandbank off Red Island, across the sandbar from the crowded 'harbour'. A beautiful spot.
|main street of Seisia|
It is the most northern community in Australia and had the greatest sunsets.
On day 2 we took the dinghy to the jetty as it seemed the place to be! We unfortunately met up with a Quarantine Officer who requested our 'papers'. Even though we checked with the young officer at Thursday Island many times that we had all we needed, it seemed Ruby was entitled to return to the mainland, buy Marg and I weren't. A squabble between offices ensued, with us caught in the middle. The mainland officer realised that as Ruby had papers we obviously would have cleared quarantine as well. After considering fining us he decided that slagging off the TI officers was the best course of action. He requested that we tie Manatee up at the jetty the next day so he could inspect. We dutifully did that and he didn't turn up! We were finally given an apology and I suspect our papers were found behind the fax machine! It was very frustrating and upsetting and we tried to not let the incident colour our opinion of the islanders. A lot of yachties won't go to the islands, not only because of the tricky sailing but because the quarantine aspect is so unclear. It is worth it.
We spent many days exploring Seisia, visiting the Friday night markets (4 stalls), talking with the locals, sitting on the jetty and walking the amazing beaches.
jetty in the distance
We hitched into Bamaga to do some provisioning ( a charming ute full of Injinoo lads stopping to check that we were OK and apologising that they had no room for us),and to have lunch at the only pub, which had frozen packaged fish! We played lots of very bad pool. We met up with a fisherman who knew us from Port Douglas, who fished for mackerel in the Gulf and couldn't get the pub to stock fresh fish - go figure.
There was a petrol station in Seisia where you could purchase diesel and jerry - can it to boats, which is a bit beyond us these days when we require hundreds of litres. Our fisher mate advised that we could re-fuel via a barge in the channel but he recommended against it as it's a bit scary due to the chop. I spent hours on the phone to businesses in Weipa attempting to source diesel facilities for yachts and at one point we considered returning to Horn Island!. I finally got a lead where we might get fuel, booked via Cairns of all places, so we set off to the Gulf of Carpentaria.