Its hard to believe the sacrifices that the EXCISED team has had to make on this journey. Paddling in the Whitsundays might sound to the unaware as an undisguised jaunt. Actually, it was all hard work….or nearly all…..or some….or maybe a little bit.
The Whitsundays are, of course, holiday and cultural icons for Australians needing a break from hectic lives and the cold winters of the south. The pure white beach at Whitehaven which seems to stretch on and on has an international reputation as a tropical paradise. The irony for us is that the Whitsundays are excised from Australia’s migration zone. Although no asylum seeker has landed in this area, the excision zone continues to just south of this island group. Pity all those yacheties, those hip young things on boisterous party cruises, those grey nomads who have stepped away, briefly, from their ‘vans….pity them all if they need to apply for protection from within the Whitsundays.
We have just returned from our brief trip to the Whitsundays. Our time here was great. Lots of fun and lots of beauty. We paddled around Whitehaven and South and North Molle. We then paddled from North Molle back to the mainland. We have exited the excised zone for the last time. The conclusion of this part of the journey reinforces that we are on the final leg of our trip. There is a heaviness to this realisation because the trip has been such a fantastic experience. I don’t want it to end, but it feels like the end is drawing nearer.
From here we travel to Mackay where Simon must leave the project briefly – he has a talk to do in Melbourne so he will fly there and back for a couple of days.