Monday 18 August 2014

We the People Smugglers

Huge barge on Flying Foam Passage mooring.

Other side of Dolphin Island, after exiting Flying Foam.

After flying through Flying Foam, a passage heartily recommended when the tide is running the right direction. Tip, go with Dampier flood if heading North. We carved along to windward the other side of Dolphin Island to make anchorage at Dixon Island, near Anketel Mtn, the place our state premier wants to build yet another iron ore port.

Dixon Island

We dropped anchor 1-1/2 miles off the mainland behind the island, not far from a camping ground on the coast called Cleaverville (Sounds like a town of axe murderers…). 

Suspicious craft, crew carrying side arms. We were the suspicious ones, apparently..
The next morning in our anchorage was a small power boat with four armed men onboard sitting 300m from Ashiki. 

Eventually we could read the writing on the hull “Customs and Border Protection”. A camper at Cleaverville thought Ashiki was a refugee boat from Indonesia with a load of Afghan asylum seekers. They dobbed us in!  (We know this because later, someone ashore inadvertently admitted as much.)


The Customs guys were quite polite, I think they knew the call was a dud as soon as they saw the boat, maybe even recognised it as they were from Dampier, where we had spent 11 days at anchor, near another of their customs boats. I even remember waving to them while dinghying ashore. I recognised one of the “men”, a blonde woman with hair pulled back. A few minutes of standard questioning and they were gone. I’m sure they had a report to write, as obviously they had “kitted up” with side arms expecting something big, another controversial landing of asylum seekers, like the landing in Geraldton last year.

Maybe the reason why Border Protection wanted our itinerary was to field any more dud “reporting”. Its the cross we bare sailing a Badger, not even painting it white…

Dixon Island anchorage

Dixon Island itself was good, excellent hiking. We climbed the highest peak where someone had already built a cairn.

View from Dixon Island peak.
Industry never far away in the Pilbara, Port Walcott (Rio Tinto port), looking East from Dixon Island. We'll be rounding that cape, not looking forward to it, wind on the nose..

Pelicans, thinner than their southern counterparts, Dixon Island.

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