Vansittart Bay and Jar Island


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April 26th 2015
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Geo: -14.1417, 126.25

Today we went ashore at Vansittart Bay and had a short hike to a crashed DC 3 aircraft. Later in the morning we motored a short distance across the bay to Jar Island where we had a look at some rock painting "galleries".

In the afternoon we commenced our 8 hour trip around Cape Voltare to Swift Bay. The wind was up and the seas were quite rough. Some of the passengers were sea sick and all of us were pleased to round the shelter of the Cape and return to calmer waters.


Additional photos below
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Crashed DC3Crashed DC3
Crashed DC3

This plane ran out of fuel and crash landed in Feb 42. The five people on board were all rescued safely. One engine was recovered and the rest of the plane has remained remarkably preserved over the ensuing 70+ years.
Jar IslandJar Island
Jar Island

Jar island was so named by the explorer Phillip Parker King for the Macassan pottery shards he found there. We were told this pile of rocks is an aboriginal grave site where the bodies were buried for 18 months or so while the spirit finds its way. Then the bones are removed and incarcerated in a manner appropriate to the totem of the individual.
Gwion (Bradshaw) artGwion (Bradshaw) art
Gwion (Bradshaw) art

A pastoralist named Bradshaw discovered many of these painting sites in the late 19th© and speculated on their origins. They were of a different style to the known rock paintings and there is some controversy as to who painted them. This has become a native title issue because claimant tribes think it important to demonstrate their unbroken connection to the land.
More paintingsMore paintings
More paintings

For me these are interesting as pointers to the cultures that created them, but I do not appreciate their 'artistic value'. There are several rock painting galleries on the island and we visited three of the most accessible. In many cases one has to squat or even lie down to view the paintings.
Unidentified animalUnidentified animal
Unidentified animal

Experts cannot agree on what animal is represented here. I said it looks like a tapir, which could make sense if the paintings were done in truly ancient times by African visitors (one of the more fanciful theories). I don't think the guides took my suggestion seriously - ah well.


27th April 2015

So much for weather forecast of tropical low off NW of WA
1st May 2015

Yep, they are certainly not Rembrandts, but still have to be seen and interesting as I recall being told of two styles of Aboriginal paintings, the stick figures and another, which doesnt come readily to mind to quote.
1st May 2015

You're a stirrer. Do you find the crew are knowledgable in all facets, or just quoting from cheat sheets? In our Kimberley Quest all the crew were involved in our excursions rotating the outings and seemed to be quite versed in their indivi
dual areas of expertise.
2nd May 2015

We have an "Expedition Leader" and two guest lecturers who do all the guiding. They know their stuff!

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