Tag Archives: Thursday island

5 Days before the Mast

The Dismal Swamp newspaper recently advertised “local’s rates” for a 5 day cruise up to some of the Torres Strait Islands. During the wet season (November to April), the weather can be unpredictable, so that’s when we locals are invited to take advantage of the special rate. 

Don’t get too excited, this was not on some luxury cruise ship, but rather the hard-working cargo ship MV Trinity Bay. Here is a recent photo from the company website, showing happy passengers on the lower deck, waving at a passing helicopter. Well, I assume they’re happy, and not signalling to the pilot their desire to be rescued!


The Trinity Bay is one of 27 vessels owned by the Sea Swift shipping company. The fleet delivers a variety of general and refrigerated cargoes to remote communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory. For many people, these ships represent the only way they can obtain needed goods and supplies. (Does that remind anyone of another city that many of  us like?)

The Trinity Bay can carry up to 48 passengers in 15 cabins. There were 26 of us on this trip, which left Cairns on 15 November.

We travelled inside the reef, this  sheltered us from any rough weather that might have been encountered in the Coral Sea. It’s about 1000 km (468 nautical miles) from Cairns to the tip of Cape York.

Our first destination was Horn Island off the tip of Cape York, and just north of Thursday Island, which was the second stop. (REEFVTS represents Reef Vessel Traffic Service.)

Image courtesy of AMSA

Image courtesy of AMSA

Here’s what we saw from the deck, as we waited for the ship to be loaded.


OK, that sets the scene. In my next post, I’ll tell you more about the northbound trip, and the history of Horn Island.


Filed under Australia