Waiben and Back

As I mentioned in my last post I had to pop over to T.I (Thursday Island or Waiben), for work. Here's a quick spiel on the trip ...

As you may know, T.I is Melbourne's northern most suburb ... I kid. T.I is one of a group of Islands making up the Islands of the Torres Strait. It has a population of around 3,500 people and is roughly 3.5 square kms in size and 104 metres at it's highest point (Milman Hill).


On the foreshore of TI. It's safe to assume that others had been 'navigating' the Strait for quite some time before Luis showed up though eh?.




Probably the most striking thing that a newcomer to the Island experiences is a shift in the space–time continuum. This is called 'TI time', and is much the same as the Spanish 'MaƱana'. Things happen at their own pace on the Island so if you're used to a certain amount of punctuality or time management, I would suggest you take a decent supply of valium with you should you visit.

There is no passenger airstrip on the Island - you land on nearby Horn (using what was during WWII, a U.S airbase). Then it's a confused jumble of buses or taxis to the ferry (again, a bit more confusion), but lots of laughter and warm smiles from the locals making you feel welcome and at ease almost immediately. So after a short, but pleasurable boat ride it's on to TI.

I've been to most of the Islands in the Strait and TI is by far the most 'urban'. It's got all the mod-cons and is easy to get around, safe and clean. Like I said, for the most part people are friendly and you won't feel too out of place (the same cannot be said for some of the other Islands where visitors are viewed with a somewhat jaundiced eye). However, it's been my experience that if you make the effort, show a little cultural sensitivity and respect even the most circumspect 'local' will share a laugh and a beer with you.

In fact, I've been lucky enough to spend time on Mer Island (pronounced Mare), where I met some absolutely brilliant people who I count as real friends and have bumped into during my travels in the Strait from time to time. I was even invited to an Island 'Disco' (it's like a great big party, but there's etiquette to be observed), fortunately people took the time to point out what's what - and what's not - they also quickly forgave my blunders and ignorance.

To this day, it has a special place in my heart ...

Anyway, back to TI.


Sculpture on TI - I really, really dig it. If you take the time there's much to see ...


As I said, I was on the Island for work, not to cruise as a tourist and after six days slog in the tropical sun it was bags packed and a mad dash for the plane (via two buses and a boat) ... of course, we needn't have worried - the plane was delayed by over five hours (app the battery wasn't charged, or a wire was broken, or something ...) - even Qantas runs to TI time on the Islands ...

However, all was not lost as I ended up chatting with a couple of entomologists (who were also experiencing the same peculiar time shift). The upshot being that I got an email address, which I was stoked about - however, the phone didn't store it right (I didn't store it on the phone correctly), so that's that - but never mind ... it was great to have the chat.

Eventually, I made it home.

And so here below are some of the critters that after a blissful sleep in my own bed I spotted today. Together with Jo, they make 'home' such a special place.


Yellow Bellied Sunbird (m)


It's brilliant to see another pair of Sunbirds around the joint, they are very timid (unusual for the species in our experience), but they may be quite young - certainly in beautiful condition. We watch with interest to see if they'll nest in the garden ...

As I also mentioned in the last post - spiders are abundant at the moment ... here's just a sampling from this morning ...


Green Jumping Spider (m) Mopsus mormom


Decorative Silver Orb L. decorata


Racing stripe Spider Miturga sp missing a lower leg


My favourite critter for today, and one that yet again deserves its own post is this fascinating little guy. It uses it's front legs adorned with white socks for communication (at least, that's what I've surmised). It waves those front legs all about the place - I don't know quite what these guys are saying - but they're quite emphatic about it ...

The other thing is that at first glance they resemble ants (or wasps, but of course wasps are just ants with perenial wings eh?). Actually, other than these observations, (which are observations, not facts) I know next to nothing about them - I'll do a bit of research and hopefully get a few more pics and do a post on 'em ... no, no - this time I mean it. I really will ... probably ... time permitting ... obviously ...

Sigh, here's the pic ...


Micropezidae sp


Finally, my first true love. A frog. This whitelipped tree frog has made a little home for himself in a hanging pot plant - in fact, as I write this, I can see the very top of one of his beautiful 'googly' eyes (there's a sentence I never thought I'd write ...). Seeing these frogs and their cousins always leaves me with a sense of peace and optimism - spying a couple this morning is my kind of homecoming :)


Litoria infrafrenata



If you intend travelling to the Torres Strait - do some research, but most importantly - leave your ideas about what constitutes a priority at home. Pack a sense of humour wrapped in a bundle of irony tied with a bow of patience ... you'll have a much better time if you do ...

Oh, and take money ... cold - hard - cash. If you think you have enough - double it and add $1000.00 - you'll have a ball ... trust me :)

Take Care


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