Robin's Adventures

Tales of the South Pacific
A Tropical Island Adventure

Green Hill Fort

Green Hill Fort, built between 1891and 1893, sits atop Milman Hill which, at 341 feet above sea level, is the highest point on Thursday Island. The original purpose of the fort, with its three sunken artillery platforms, was to defend against a possible Russian invasion of Australia. Although the invasion never materialized, the fort did come in handy during World War II as a wireless station.

The site was also used as a weather station from 1954 to 1993.

Currently, the underground bunkers provide a home for the Torres Strait Historical Society museum.

Dili: So Near and Yet So Far

We arrived at Dili just in time for a beautiful tropical sunrise. Following an early breakfast, we loaded up on the ship's tender and headed for shore where we were scheduled to take an all day excursion of the island's scenic wonders.

Due to some unfortunate miscommunications between the port authority and our ship's crew, however, we spent about two hours floating around in the tender unable to find an appropriate place to dock. Finally, after our two hour "harbor cruise," we returned to the ship.

Things did not get sorted out until the afternoon, and by then it was too late for an all day excursion. We did manage to get ashore in the afternoon, however, for a look at the Cristo Rei statue.

Dili Highlights

Dili is the capital city of East Timor. East Timor was a Portuguese colony from 1520 until 1975. Nine days after declaring their independence from the Portuguese, the island was invaded by Indonesia and fighting continued until 1999 when, with UN supervision, the Democratic Republic of Timore-Leste was formed.

As we went through Dili, we saw the Government Palace, St. Anthony of Padua Church, and many small homes and shops built of corrugated sheet metal.

Cristo Rei Statue

The Cristo Rei statue, which is 89 feet tall, was a gift from Indonesia to the people of East Timor. The statue, which is at the top of a mountain overlooking the ocean, can be reached by hiking up a series of stairways with close to 600 steps. Along the way there are little grottoes with bronze statues representing the stations of the cross. The views from the top of the mountain are spectacular.

Memorial to the Santa Cruz Massacre

While fighting for their independence from the Indonesians, there was a massacre of about 250 East Timore pro-independence demonstrators in the Santa Cruz cemetery.

During the 1991 massacre, Indonesian troops open fired on a large gathering of unarmed civilians. A foreign journalist, who filmed the attack, smuggled the footage out of the country and it caused immediate outrage across the globe.

Tais Market

No visit to Dili would be complete without a visit to Tais Market. Tais is a traditional form of weaving cotton cloth that was developed by East Timorese women. This marketplace has many stores that specialize in tais cloth and there were a couple of people using looms who were demonstrating the process.

Snacking in the Galley while at Sea

On one of our "at sea" days, the lunch buffet was set up in the galley so everyone could walk through and get a look at how the food was actually prepared.

Fine Dining

The ship had three different restaurants and a menu that varied each day. One night we ate out on the deck under a beautiful star filled sky. The breeze from the movement of the ship kept us comfortable in spite of the humidity and the ambiance made for a very delightful experience.

Culinary Indulgences

There were many wonderful things to indulge in in the dining room, including wine with dinner, a delightful tea time in the afternoons and some decadent desserts at each meal.

A couple of times, after returning from a shore excursion just in time for tea, we decided to cool off with a refreshing float. We asked for a couple of scoops of ice cream in a tall glass and a cold can of diet Coke. It was a most excellent indulgence!

More Fine Dining

Steve enjoyed a variety of fish, beef, pork, and lamb dishes, all expertly prepared. Robin, with a more discriminating palate, found grilled chicken and steamed vegetables more to her liking.