Life on the Reef - Wednesday morning

Probably the busiest day of the week, certainly the one that started earliest!!!!

Cape York, Thursday Island and weather permitting, one of the most scenic parts of the trip....

The phrase every Tuesday evening in the bar of the Queen of the Isles would be 'better get an early night....' Didn't always work out that way but the plan was always made with the best of intentions!

The reason was simple, for Wednesday dawned to one of the key stops on the trip, champagne at sunrise at the northern most tip of Australia! Yes, it sounds glamorous, doesn't it? In reality it was dragging ourselves out of bed before 5am, waking the passengers, and running a shore excursion to an old oil drum and a big sign, all before the sun had come up!

It was actually quite fun and you could see people really enjoyed doing it so away we went, week in, week out! The actual tip of Australia is basically just a rocky bay with really not much at all to see, but it was all about being there! So there we went. Launching and loading lifeboats in the dark with sleep weary passengers was always an ordeal, but thankfully never a dangerous one.

Once arrived on this rocky outcrop, we would watch the sun come up with a glass of Champagne, well ok, cheap fizzy white wine. Then once the day was with us and people had had just about as much of walking round an oil drum they could take, and of course everybody had a picture taken, it was back of to the Queen for breakfast, and for the smart ones, back off to bed for an hour.

This was a trip that had the odd moment of drama, my first stop at the tip had a bit of pain and high farce mixed in. An older lady passenger was with us, not ancient, but moving on in years and like all the eager beavers, she went off on a wander. Poor old dear managed to slip on a rock and fracture her ankle! So there I am, first trip out and Senior Officer on the shore party and with a wounded passenger on my watch! I think I handled the situation with some aplomb, at least initially. I radioed in, explained the situation to the Captain and we carried the limping old dear back to the lifeboat and after seating her safely, despatched her back to the Queen for initial treatment. Just as I was explaining to the passengers that there was nothing to be alarmed about and feeling quite smug with myself for keeping it all together, the radio squawked:

(crackle of radio) “Queen of the Isles, Queen of the Isles, Andy, you there, over?”
(Andy presses button) “Hey there, all under control that side? Think we did a good job there.... err.. over?

At this point, it should be pointed out that amongst other things, the Purser is the keeper of the keys, for cabins, stores, First Aid Cabinet....

“You've got the keys to First Aid you daft Pommie f*uckwit..... ”

So a very sheepish and no longer smug purser met the approaching life boat, wading waist deep in cold water to pass the keys over, not wishing to add insult to injury by throwing the keys into the Torres Straight!

More often than not though, it was a fun way to start the day, followed by a fry up and hopefully a few hours kip afterwards!


The awsome scenery of the Cape York peninsula....
Very dark and very early at the tip
Crew photo call at the tip of Australia

Pages to view:




Wednesday afternoon



Life on the Reef pictures

All Rights Reserved. Copyright ©