Skip to content

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Dunk is a piece of the continent cut off by a strip of sea

“The next couple of hundred miles will be pretty sad country,” I said. “Let’s go in to Dunk Island and look at something beautiful.”

Like the Cumberland Islands, Dunk is a piece of the continent cut off by a strip of sea. Unlike them, it lies in Queensland’s high rainfall belt. Therefore Dunk is truly tropical and richly clad in the elaborate vegetation of rain forest. Vines climb, ferns spread, strangler figs strangle lesser trees, and everywhere a canopy of richest green shades the fecund humus of the for­est floor. It worth visiting this amazing place. Payments are never been easier with the options provided at

Dunk Island ResortDunk was for many years the home of an admirable English gentleman named E. J. Banfield, who referred to himself—more romantically than accurately—as the Beachcomber. He observed with the professional Victorian’s enthusiasm and immunity to boredom each smallest detail of his enchanting home. Now visitors come to spend a week or two at the resort that has replaced his simple dwelling. We walked into their recreation room well after dark, fresh from the sea and the sad spectacle of ruined reefs, to find the assem­bled guests seated in silence, staring fixedly at the tables before them. Not a sound was to be heard except for the hypnotic chant of a young man mumbling numbers. Oc­casionally a guest would voice a short hysterical scream.

I wonder what old Banfield would have thought of bingo.

HE TAYLORS left us at Dunk. At dawn Dolphin headed out again, bound for Cairns, the northernmost city of Queensland. Like most of the coast­al communities, its attention focuses west­ward toward the farms, mines, and cattle behind it, rather than to the beautiful but not overly productive sea at its doorstep. Still, Cairns has two special areas of ocean interest: a coral cay called Green Island, for decades a busy tourist resort; and big-game fishing, a sport that brings mil­lionaire sportsmen from around the world.Dunk Island

The fishermen were happy. I talked to skippers as they docked that evening, and learned that big black marlin were being taken. One had weighed in at 1,273 pounds.

We sampled the reefs around Green Island. Hard corals had grown back in places, though this previously star-infested area was thick with the dull-hued rubber-tough colonies of the alcyonarians, or soft corals. Off nearby Michaelmas Cay, a dreary sand strip made marvelous by thousands of nesting terns, regeneration was even farther along, suggesting that the reefs of these latitudes might return to the condition of the magnificent crea­tions in the Swains.