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The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

‘THE large, tat­tered Bri­tish blue en­sign, flap­ping wildly in the strong breeze, was fly­ing upside-down for good rea­son. It was the in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised sig­nal for dis­tress. The scene around the sal­vaged top­sail yard that car­ried the flag said it all. Eighty un­kempt, sun­burned and bearded men were scat­tered around the small, low­ly­ing and tree­less sand cay where the flag flew. Some were tak­ing shel­ter from the strong south­east­erly trade wind and the blis­ter­ing trop­i­cal sun un­der makeshift tents formed by sails, while oth­ers were labour­ing on the con­struc­tion of two some­what crude-look­ing boats. There was an­other sur­pris­ing od­dity in the set­ting, too: a cu­ri­ous and in­trepid black cat.’

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