The Torres Straits tropical skies can be very changeable very quickly as with weather everywhere. Quickly formed tropical storms burst up into the atmosphere but usually contain so much moisture that they virtually collapse on themselves at a certain point into wind squalls and torrential rain then dissipate quite quickly. Usually before they get to the really huge stage. For the indigenous “mariners” of The Straits, well they read sky and sea like a book and don’t seem to get to perturbed by the storms and squalls.
I tend to photograph the “Skyscapes” , water and reef patterns as much as I photograph the islands themselves. It makes a terrific backdrop to the vista before me when working up there as a “bush” pilot flying around the islands. Mostly, like the indigenous mariners, I can find a way around them zig zagging about at times though to find a way to the next island on whatever run I’m on.
After Poruma (also known as Coconut Island) in the previous post I flew over to Saibai Island just off the Papua New Guinea coast as part of the casual bush flying work I am doing for a week or two in the Torres Strait north of Australia at the moment. We were all on board about to start engines for the flight back to Horn Island when we saw this bloke, Jimmy Jimmy. Jimmy Jimmy was walking home past the airstrip with a fish he had just caught, a 20+ kilogram (at least 45 pounds) Barramundi caught on a light handline from the shore. Jimmy Jimmy is over 6 feet tall to give you an idea of the size of the Barra. No wonder he’s smiling! A catch like that deserves acknowledgement. It was “switches off, doors open” …my passengers, six of them, and myself off loaded to admire the effort and potential feast in awe. Five minutes later we were on our way. No barramundi on board but I did bring back a large juicy mud crab, another specialty of the island.
Poruma, or Coconut Island in the Torres Strait is one of those idyllic places of which the Torres Straits has a few. It is a coral atoll so low to sea level that the highest part of the island is no more than about 2 metres above sea level. They are very concerned about potential sea level rises and even now erosion by the sea id a real worry for the community there.
It is still very much monsoon (“The Wet”) season here in the Torres Strait. We do still get some clear weather though. Iama (pronounced ee-arm-a) or Yam Island appeared to be basking in the late afternoon sun yesterday just looking great with no clouds or rain in sight.
The North West Monsoon Season is well and truly here in the Torres Strait. It has continued on South though with cyclone Oswald. Cyclone Oswald, now over land has become a serious and heavy rain depression inundating and flooding Queensland as it heads down the coast. As often happens with this type of weather pattern it has left the North temporarily high and dry in its wake as it literally “sucks” the monsoon rain along with it. Two days ago we were flying around in very tropical rain with poor visibility and roaring winds. We’re now left with only the North West winds leaving the jewels of the Torres Strait, these beautiful coral atolls and reefs, exposed to the sun for a few days. Also giving a very pleasant view from my “office” window today as I flew between the various islands on todays runs.
I’ve been asked to do a few weeks work again in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea. The “Wet” season has started which makes for “green” islands instead of brown “Dry” season ones. On that basis I couldn’t resist the chance to get some more images of the area.
On arrival I needed to go over to “T.I.”, (Thursday Island) from Horn Island for some supplies and couldn’t resist this typical shot of a T.I. parking lot. Dinghies (Tinnies) are the Islander’s “cars”. Usually nothing less than 50 H.P on the back and they think nothing of going a across vast expanses of The Strait’s tropical waters in them.