Chronicle of a voyage around the world

Torres Strait? Adieu to the Pacific, and onwards to the maze of islands in the strait…

Published on 23 november 2017 at 0h00

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For the moment, more prosaically, we are in what I call elegantly the exit of the Pacific.  This region, all the way to the west of that great ocean, forming a funnel between the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in the north, and Queensland in Australia to the south, has repeatedly shown us in recent weeks that clouds are concentrated here, with winds, thunderstorms and rains.  To continue the metaphor, let's say that our sailboat could be temporarily compared to a small pearl in the Pacific which had been inadvertently swallowed by the huge ocean and which then gets spat out again on the way out... at the Torres Strait, and into the Indian Ocean!

Back to the light, the blue sky, the sun of the tropics, on the sea side of Arafura. Our plan now is to move from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean.  To do this, you have to cross a complex marine region in terms of cartography, a region that so preoccupied the great navigators of history that they sometimes had trouble sleeping weeks before they reached the area.  We know that one of the reasons that contributed to the mutiny on board the Bounty in Tonga was Captain Bligh's growing nervousness at the approach of the Torres Strait, in the face of what he saw as increasing complacency among the crew on board the ship during the months when they were stopped over in Tahiti. A situation he had difficulty in managing as the crossing of the strait approached, and was the last but also the most serious obstacle to the ...

This article appeared in issue 157. To read the article in full, buy this issue individually

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