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A Wednesday on Thursday Island

Oct 1, 2008

Location: Thursday Island
Author: Kate Sundquist
I emailed my mom last week and told her that we were bound for Thursday Island. She promptly responded (as she always does) and wondered why it was thusly named. After some research, I discovered that it’s actually a pretty interesting little piece of history. Well, Mom, apparently it all goes back to Captain Bligh. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Bligh was the captain of the Bounty, which stopped in Tahiti to gather breadfruit. When it came time to leave, some of the crew decided they would rather stay in Tahiti for a bit longer than head for Manila immediately so Bligh left them behind. I suspect there may have been some unmentioned aggravating circumstances. In any case, this sparked a mutiny the result of which saw Bligh and any of his remaining supporters cast adrift in a seven meter boat. Bligh made his way through a narrow opening in the Great Barrier Reef and named the first island he spotted Restoration Island as its fruits helped to restore the spirits of his crew. As he headed north and then west over Cape York, he named each of the next islands by the calendar. This would explain the close proximity of the Tuesday Islets and Wednesday Island to the east, and of Friday Island to the west. Here on Argo, we are nowhere near mutiny and while each crew member has enjoyed time ashore seeking out the comforts of landlubbers, we are now ready to set sail again, this time to Melville Island. Tonight we are watching a video of Captain Irving Johnson rounding Cape Horn on the massive bark Peking, and tomorrow we too will venture back to the blue.