We awoke to a spectacular red sunrise over tiny (1.4 square miles) Thursday Island and realized that it was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Known by locals as “T.I.,” Thursday Island is one of the smallest of the Torres Strait Islands. TI was once home to a thriving pearl diving industry, but that has declined steadily over the years. To say that TI is “laid back” is an understatement! Many local residents live by a no-footwear policy out of respect for the spirits believed to live on the island. And although there are beaches all around, we were advised to refrain from swimming because of the current and marine life in the incredibly beautiful blue waters. Although we didn’t see any crocodiles, we did catch a very large turtle swimming around the ship in hopes of snapping up some of last night’s leftovers. And Doug found some “safe” turtles for a quick pic.
Denise found a charming little Catholic church along the main street. The priest had left a small dish of ashes near the altar, so she did a DIY and got her ashes.
We also saw a sign advertising “Australia’s Top Pub,” a reference to the location of TI at Australia’s northern most tip, but it was early morning so the pub was closed. And the Customs House makes an impressive statement near the tiny port.
There really isn’t much more to say about Thursday Island. It’s tiny, very quiet, and situated among some of the prettiest islands we’ve seen. From our first glimpse to our last, we certainly didn’t feel like we did any penance on this Ash Wednesday on Thursday Island…although it was hotter than Hell!