Torres Strait Island “Hop” between Mer and Erub

The short hop between Mer and Erub (Murray and Darnley Islands) takes only about 10 -15 minutes even in the slow Britten Norman Islanders used extensively for air transport between the various Torres Strait Islands. Mer’s airstrip is only 500 metres long and Erub’s is 470 with a very noticeable slope downhill to the South East, the predominant landing direction.

Both Islands originated from volcanic action eons ago but are located among extensive beautiful pristine reef systems near the northern end of Australia’s Great Barrier reef. Both island’s “nobbly” shapes produce strong wind shear in the strong prevailing south east trade winds that blow here for most of the year.

Island pilots develop strong forearms and quick reactions to counter these wind effects when making approaches to these often trying short airstrips in the lumbering solid heavy feeling though relatively small Islander aircraft. The view from the pilot’s “office window” despite often squally weather is also often like I found it today in the images I took above. Mer is not in this lot but is quite spectacular and is actually part of a small group of three islands. I will get shots of Mer over the next few weeks here.


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