Jen communicating with the locals (pic: Shane Mitchell)

Jen communicating with the locals (pic: Shane Mitchell)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Socks, Crocs and Savoury Shapes

For anyone who has been following me on facebook you would be aware of my current socks and sandals (or socks and crocs which even a blind camel would admit is a crime) issue which has plagued the island over the last two weeks (funny, we’ve only been here two weeks, I’m beginning to notice a pattern). With the absence of any sort of military rule or fashion police dictatorship it seems the socks and sandals will remain a part of the Island experience until…. Well until… lets say it’s a toss up between when the next boat gets here and well… Umm… Well…, if you’ve heard the story about the moose knuckle (and if you haven’t count yourself lucky), you’ll agree it could be …


So socks and sandals aside, the week has been full of strange and mystical occurrences. I watched the ultimate battle of the Hermits, complete with cage flight, flying chairs and tag team style group take downs (I’m exaggerating [*gasp*shock*horror*] WWF has been on Fox, how can one not be inspired)…But there was a crowd looking on (all shouting in unison “Fight! Fight! Fight!”). I was careful not to disturb!

I put my money on the one on the left, but I always seem to vote for the underdog!

Sometimes curiosity only leads to a fight

So along with the Hermit scuffles and the amazing nights of stars as far as the eye can see, I had my first encounter with a nesting turtle… Well, she was looking for a nest. Her name was Jemima. We had quite a long conversation about how Jemima was a puddle duck in a storybook and that come to think of it, the island has a distinct lack of puddles for a Jemima, noting ofcourse that this Jemima wasn’t a duck so therefore the problem wasn’t quite as pressing. Honestly, I found the conversation a little one sided, she was kind of distracted. Its hard work heaving a massive shell up an unstable gravel embankment. I left her to it.

This week also bought with it the discovery of the shapes. 14 boxes of Savoury flavoured Arnotts Shapes. For those of you who have just joined us, we bought out six months worth of food with us to the island, minus what the previous crew decided we didn’t need (?!!). Amongst that list was any other flavour of shapes, you know the “baked not fried” savoury crackers with the little chickens or Mexican men standing on them playing mariachi or enchilados or whatever it is they play “flavour you can see” style… but really, and be brutally honest with me here guys, WHO ACTUALLY EATS THE SAVOURY ONES?! I can understand an over abundance of Pizza or BBQ (yumm... and errr...noticeably missing) but SAVOURY?! No problems though. All fourteen packets went out of date in October. No shapes for Jenny…. (cue: “Awwww!”)

I did however have an amazing afternoon turfing (and eating) but mainly turfing 6 4L punnets of icecream to make room for the 13 new 4L tubs of icecream. No-one else eats icecream here. They are going to need a crane to get me off this island (if it doesn’t sink first).

The week has been pleasant and eventful. I finally cracked the sewing machine out of it’s pristine foam packaging, started and finished a 1000 pc jigsaw (Cue: raucous applause), made several expeditions around the island at sunrise, (and sunset) played some guitar, ate some lamb chops (I know right, riveting stuff) and chased some Boobies with Nick’s remote control ute… Bogans unite!

I hope this finds you all well and bracing yourself for the excessive consumption of the impending festive season. I look forward to hearing from those of you who remember those of us stranded in isolation, and for the rest of you…

Savoury Shapes??


Saturday, December 5, 2009

They forgot my Jellybeans....

So, its been a week since I left civilisation, and to be fair I have had plenty of time to update my blog but have been revelling in the whole "I've got so much time on my hands" idea that I haven't really achieved much since I got here. I have however, thoroughly scrubbed my bathroom and bedroom, fan, cupboards, and gym, and scrubbed the outside walls of our MASSIVE house (ok, so, not all the walls, just one or two)...

We may have a slight problem with mould....


So the boat- The Pacific Conquest boarded us all on Friday night (the four expeditioners, plus 16 contractors/ staff/ organisers and other crew who were trying to make the changeover as smooth as possible), at about 11pm and we sailed at 1am out of Townsville harbour. The wind dropped off for our entire 27 hour journey and I spent much of the trip sat playing guitar and watching the endless sprays of flying fish from the bow of the boat. The water was so smooth it was almost oily. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

We arrived on Sunday morning at about 5:30am, the "cast and crew" for the most part being awoked by the unmistakable anchor drop just off the coast of my new island home. The Conquest has an amphibious vehicle the "Lark" which was used to carry all our endless tonnes of crap and crew to shore, to be greeted by a surprised but friendly bunch of the local bird welcoming committee. A wide brim hat or some killer reflexes are always advisable when faced with the endless shower of welcoming "Guano" provided by the Willis Island Boobies....

The next three days were pretty hectic, what with unpacking 6 months worth of food and supplies whilst diligently trying to get in each and every one of the contractors way simultaneously... I started work as soon as we arrived and started to get a feel for the enormous house that is my new home. Our rooms are at one end of the house and there is a huge deck, gym, kitchen and bar in the middle, and the met office at the other end... The island itself is pretty small, but its so lovely to be able to look out every window and see the ocean!

That is the entire island. End to end. At 5am on a rare morning with no wind. Between where the photo was taken and the building is all coral reef, turtle breeding/hatching ground, booby habitat and a vast array of nature at its finest

It takes about half an hour to do a lap walking around the island, harrassing the Boobies and Noddies (birds also) and the Hermit Crabs the size of a large greek mans hairy fist along the way... The baby Boobies are my favourite. They are the size of a cat, and covered in fluffy white feathers, and are seriously the funniest looking, stupidest birds on the face of the planet. (who would imagine that an animal with a beak would have such priceless facial expressions including "Maybe if I sit on this rock no-one will notice I can't get back up into my tree" and "What? Why? Where did you come from?" and my favourite "Oh! You- my new perch- you MOVE?!")....

I think they are my favourite birds ever.

This one's name is Kevin. ("Kevin's a Giiirrl?!??": Up). They can't fly (the baby boobies), and when their parents come home from fishing or the wind has a bit of a blow they tend to struggle to stay put in their nests- and best of all, their entire diet as children consists of... Yep... Vomit!

I like!
I did manage a snorkel on the second day with Nick to check out the state of the reef, which isn't fantastic honestly. A lot of it has been bleached or taken over by algae, and the ubiquitous parrot fish which accompanies it. There were a couple of nice bommies still surviving, and a turtle or two to boot, I'm hoping that maybe a cyclone or two will mix things up a little and give the coral a chance to regenerate a little. Fingers crossed. The water was so crystal clear and warm and lovely, ahhh the joys of living in the tropics.

And then, on Wednesday, all of a sudden it was time for the contractors and co to leave, including the last Willis Crew. Hasty goodbyes were made, the Lark loaded up and off the guys went, leaving us waving at their departure and the birds staring blankly, heads cocked, but really no more confused than they normally are on a daily basis.

And so it began: Willis Island, Population: 4

Left to Right: David, Jenny, Felicity, Nick

So now, its just us. Myself and three others running a weather station on the far edge of the coral sea. The wind has picked up, the gym set up, the food is all sorted and packed away, and, for a change, everything seems to be running vaguely smoothly. Only one noticible and quite major hitch along the way,

They forgot my jellybeans....


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Island Bound

So the blog thing is up and running, finally, and will take a rather large step up as of the beginning of December to let you know all the happenings on the isolated coral cay that is my new home. Expect photos and juicy/ gory details of made up events that never really happened interspersed with the real and random Jungle Jen moments you know and love (or don't but read anyway).

Bookmark me! You know you wanna!

I leave at midnight on the 27th November (Friday Night) for the 30hr boat ride (good weather permitting) to the island, from there on in its only email contact for 6 months so get into it!

Alls well from Townsville