new short story collection. Out now!

Monday, March 31, 2014

A is for Ashmore Grief

A is for Ashmore Grief

‘Bloody birdwatchers, eh?’

Mark nodded and made some noise which he hoped would satisfy his companion on deck, Able Seaman van DeKlyf. The Kimberly Birdwatching tour groups were a familiar site on Ashmore Reef.  They visited this National Nature Reserve which comprised three islands bi annually in a luxury catamaran in pursuit of birds. To see them, hear them, photograph them and tick them off a list.

‘Bobbys, Petrells, Shearwaters. Thirty two species.’

Van DeKlyf shook his head. ‘Birds are birds mate. Not that interesting. Not the feathered kind anyway.’

‘You’ve obviously never seen a Masked Bobby then, have you?’

‘You’re full of it, Muddy.’   -excerpt from chapter 3

The title of my novel, Ashmore Grief, refers to the three islands comprising Ashmore Reef which together with Cartier Island and the 12 nautical mile sea between them form a distinct territory of Australia. Located 320 km off Australia’s northwest coast, they are uninhabited, mostly covered with coral and sand, and to all extents and purposes is quite insignificant.

Apart from the fact that it gets regular mentions in the news because of the fact that it has becme a popular target for people smuggling boats transporting asylum seekers to Australia. Once arrived, the illegal arrivals would claim that they were now in Australian territory and request asylum. Lives have been lost in the pursuit of freedom by desperate people. Boats sink. People drown. They die of illness. This is the human tragedy beneath the political rhetoric. This is the grief to which I refer in the title of my novel.

Other less notorious visitors to these islands include birdwatchers who travel there with special permission on organized tours. The birds are protected by law, and some may argue that more care is shown for their welfare than for the welfare of asylum seekers and refugees.

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7 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great place for your novel's setting. Happy "A" Day!

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    1. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. Most of the action actually takes place in Darwin, Northern Territory.

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  2. Yay for another good book, David. The Ashmore reef locale is a perfect setting. I want to read it!
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. Thanks Sharon. Do you realize that we have been blog buddies for a year now, since last year's challenge. That's cool. My dream is that many, many people will also say about my books, I want to read it! Thanks for the encouragement.

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  3. Fascinating juxtaposition, the two groups of "visitors."

    (I notice you survived 2013. The fact that you came back gives me confidence about signing up.)

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    1. Hello, coolest new blog buddy of mine. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. the challenge isn't that hard if you do a bit of planning, and keep the posts relatively short. It helps if you love writing too, as I do.

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  4. Ashmore Grief sounds like an interesting place! I'd love to go for the bird watching, and any place with water is the best place to be ever!

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