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You won't find penguins on Australia's other Phillip Island

Friday, April 12, 2019

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What's on this week at Anglicare

Friday, April 12, 2019

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Unwanted Serpents Enter Hawaii, Snakeless Island Fights Onslaught

Thursday, April 11, 2019

By William Claiborne
The Washington Post

Shortly after a huge transport plane unloaded its cargo at Hickam Air Force Base one day earlier this month, Airman John Herist happened to spot a brownish, three-foot-long snake slither into a nearby canal and disappear.

An unremarkable event by almost any measure, except that Hawaii does not have snakes and the cargo plane was from Guam, a combination of circumstances that had state and federal wildlife officials scurrying to set traps and turn loose snake-sniffing Jack Russell terriers in a frantic round-the-clock hunt for the elusive reptile, which still has not been found.

Brown tree snakes are an aggressive, venomous predator that grows to lengths of eight feet and has spread throughout Guam like a plague since arriving aboard U.S. military cargo ships from the Solomon Islands shortly after World War II. They now number 12,000 per square mile in some forested areas of the Pacific island and are eating into extinction its native bird species and most of the nonnative birds as well.

Now officials here are worried that the brown tree snake, hiding in aircraft cargo holds and wheel wells, may be invading Hawaii, threatening its wildlife habitat and tourism-dependent economy. More than a third of all the threatened and endangered birds in the United States are found in Hawaii.

A nocturnal reptile with a large head and bulging eyes, the brown tree snake prefers birds over other prey, but it has been known to eat small pets such as cats and has even been found curled around babies sleeping in their cribs. It is particularly adept at climbing trees and raiding nests. It also crawls along electrical lines and causes an average of one power outage every four days on Guam.

Hawaiian wildlife officials say that while there have been only seven confirmed cases of brown tree snakes being killed or found dead on Hawaii's Oahu Island since 1981, the Hickam Air Base incident was the sixth snake sighting in two months.

They also warn that even one pregnant female slipping through could begin a colonization far more costly than Guam's.

"It's an enormous threat to Hawaii, and while we always look for the "silver bullet' to kill these things off, we haven't found one yet," said Robert Smith, Pacific islands manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We've got to apply resources to this effort that match the cost of this threat."

Because of its isolation, Hawaii is particularly vulnerable to invasive species like the brown tree snake, wildlife experts say. Animals here evolved with few diseases and natural predators, and therefore have few natural defenses. There are no effective predators with which the brown tree snake would have to contend while it multiplied.

But the threat is not only to Hawaii, according to U.S. Agriculture Department officials. One brown tree snake was found in a cargo in Texas, and experts predict that the reptile could easily thrive in Southern California, Florida and other warm climate states.

Because Hawaii ostensibly has no snakes - other than two reptiles on display in the public zoo here and those illegally imported by residents who like to have them as pets - state and federal officials take their snake control efforts seriously. Anyone caught with a snake faces as much as a year in jail and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Researched: J Quintal


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Life on the West Island - A six-week budget

Friday, April 05, 2019

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Life on the West Island You say tom-ayto and I say tom-ahto

Friday, March 29, 2019

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Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service – Update

Friday, March 29, 2019

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Life on the West Island - Men behaving badly

Friday, January 25, 2019

Here are a few names which have hit the headlines in recent times on the West Island - can you work out what they have in common?: Alexander Zverev, Cameron Bancroft, Grant Schultz, Alan Stajic, Nick Kyrgios, David Warner, Gareth Ward and David Gallop.

Well, these are just a representative few of what could be a much longer list of men behaving badly in public, besmirching our values and bringing dishonour to our country’s reputation. It is highly significant that all of them are men. Women in similar or identical circumstances have shown poise and composure when in the glare of the media spotlight.

Let’s start with tennis. Coverage of the Australian Open has been dominated by words and images of male players smashing racquets, disputing umpiring calls, kicking and throwing equipment and indulging in public brawling like spoiled brats. Alexander Zverev put on what has been called the worst tennis tantrum in recent times on his way to defeat by Milos Raonic. reported:

Cleary filthy at his series of errors and failures to find his way into the match, Zverev finally snapped when he went down 5-1 in the second set. The German star smashed his racquet into the ground nine times during a change of ends, an outburst that’s already being labelled one of the ugliest in recent years. A furious Zverev was unrepentant in his post-match press conference.

In another outburst, Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain abused an umpire, kicked his equipment, threw his racquet bag and refused to shake hands with his opponent or the umpire after losing a vital point and the match.

Then there was the bizarre public slanging match between talented but erratic bad boy Nick Kyrgios and Australian Davis Cup coach Lleyton Hewitt. Apart from exchanging insults, the pair threw around allegations of favouritism, blackmail and even threats of physical harm to Hewitt’s family. Reports of this childish but nasty dispute have swept aside the much better news of brilliant performances by women players, who have continued to behave courteously to opponents, praising their victories and consoling them in defeat.

And so to cricket, where the stench of “sandpapergate” hangs over the West Island men’s team, which continues to struggle against mediocre opponents in the absence of suspended cheats Smith, Warner and Bancroft. The men’s team sits at 5th in world test rankings, 7th in ODIs and 4th in T20. The women’s’ Southern Stars are top in all three formats, having won high praise for their sporting conduct and professionalism around the world.

Then we come to soccer, where the men’s political faction fights within the Football Federation Australia (FFA) hierarchy threaten to derail the sport on the West Island. Currently the men’s team (Socceroos) are ranked the 41st best team in the world. Meanwhile, the Matildas (women) are at a high world ranking of 6th. So what do the bright men at FFA decide to do with the women’s team – the CEO and male-dominated Board have sacked the women’s coach, just five months out from the World Cup!

They based their decision on a secret internal report apparently identified a “toxic culture” within the Matildas’ support staff and players. Many women players dispute this, but regardless coach Alan Stajic was given a minute’s notice and the team is now desperately seeking a new coach – possibly by poaching one from the Southern Stars! The games men play (and mostly lose)!

But men behaving badly are not confined to sports. This week saw an unseemly political faction brawl in the federal Liberal Party, with the seat of Gilmore as the “prize.” A few months ago, female sitting member Ann Sudmalis pulled out of preselection due what she said was branch stacking and bullying from the men in the right-wing faction including the local state MP (Gareth Ward).

This resulted in factional favourite Grant Schultz winning an overwhelming majority of local party members to be preselected as candidate. But this week, the “faceless men” of the party’s state executive gave Schultz the boot and “parachuted” the Prime Minister’s “good mate” Warren Mundine into the role as candidate. A large number of local party members then resigned, and now Schultz will go up against Mundine as an independent. As a result, most political pundits now predict that Labor’s female candidate Fiona Phillips will take the marginal seat at this year’s federal election.

Faced with a growing “woman problem,” the West Island coalition’s preferred course is to continue to dump preselected women and to falsely claim that they have “done more for women” over the past 20 years than any other party. Kelly O’Dwyer, Julia Banks, Ann Sudmalis and other departing female members may beg to differ… Ms O’Dwyer told the cabinet that the Liberals are widely regarded by voters as "homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers". Perhaps she has a point, as men continue to behave badly in sports and politics across the West Island.

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Life on the West Island - Dear Santa

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dear Santa

It was great to see you at our local shops before Christmas. Thank you so much for bringing me the Slime kit that I asked for. It is really cool the way the slime sets and stays gluggy without sticking to everything. I also liked the maths exercise book, because that is my favourite subject in Grade 1 and the book is full of fun maths games and puzzles.

My little sister Frida loves the three storey Barbie house you brought. She has been playing with it every day and especially likes the lift and the swimming pool.

We hope that you liked the food we left for you at our house and at Grandma and Grandpa’s place. There were lots of carrots for the reindeer, who only left a few munched tops so it looks as if they enjoyed them. Mummy said that there were only a few crumbs left from the home-made fruit mince pies. We helped Grandma to make the Santa’s hats with big strawberries, melted white chocolate, coconut and a little marshmallow on top. I tried one and it was really yummy.

On Christmas Day, we followed your travels on the Santa Tracker on Grandpa’s computer and saw that you delivered presents all over the world, including to Auntie Zab and Uncle Karl in Baltimore and to Nanna and Pa in Toronto. Thank you very much for looking after our family so well.

We had a fairly interesting Christmas. As you know, it is very hot here on the West Island so we need to use refrigerators to keep everything cold. Unfortunately, our fridge broke down at 11p.m. on Christmas Eve and things began to melt. Mummy tried to get an electrician and said that she had to “pay a motza” to get one to come out that night. Unfortunately, he said that the fridge was dead and nothing could be done until after the Christmas holidays. Luckily, Grandma and Grandpa came over and took some of the important things like the prawns, ham and ice cream back to their place. They also brought some bags of ice so that we could fill the laundry tub with ice and put drinks in there.

We moved Christmas lunch from our place to Grandma and Grandpa’s and had a really great time with all of the fancy food and opening all of the presents you brought. Dad loved his socks and jocks and Grandpa got some more pyjamas. Then we all went for a swim in the pool at their apartment. It was super cool.

At midnight on Christmas night, Uncle Fritz phoned from where they are staying with Auntie Jen’s family, about 300km away. Their neighbours had phoned to say that their burglar alarm at home had gone off and was keeping the whole neighbourhood awake. They had called the police, but also asked Grandma and Grandpa to go down there (it is about a half hour’s drive away). They got there and managed to disconnect the alarm but had to turn off the power to do it. Uncle Fritz drove up with the keys and did not arrive until 3.30 am. They and the police all went inside and found everything okay, so Uncle Fritz reset the alarm and drove back to pick up Auntie Jen and their two little babies. Grandma and Grandpa only got to bed around 4.30 am and were too tired to play with us very much on Boxing Day!

I am sure that you and the reindeer would have been very tired that day as well. The Santa Tracker said that you travelled over 300,000km and delivered over seven billion presents. If you need to rest and want some help with making the presents for next year, I would be happy to come to the North Pole to help out. Please let me know your street address there so that I can find you. I will probably bring Charlie Rabbit and Sheila the First Hippo on the Moon with me, because they are very good helpers. Thank you again for everything,


With lots of love

Freya (and my little sister Frida)

x x x x x x x x x x x x x

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Fishing with Greenwoods Fishing Adventures

Friday, October 05, 2018

This week on Norfolk Island the fishing has been reasonable with catches of sweetlip and chinaman cod from the reefs. In closer and the boys have been finding a few silver trevally and kingfish off the rocks with the odd yellowfin still hanging around. 

In the deep water bar cod have been thick, these fish are delicious and greatly underrated on the Island. The sea birds are now here in huge numbers so we can expect an influx of baitfish in the coming weeks with the warmer currents. Whales are still being seen regularly but they should be all past us soon on their journey North. The week ahead should see some better catches coming up to the new moon.

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Fishing with Greenwoods Fishing Adventures

Friday, August 10, 2018

It’s now mid August and the water temperature has only just in the past week dropped to 19 degrees. 

With the rich colder water we are seeing a range of different species that aren’t always that common here. 

This week alone we’ve seen Amberjack, Samson Fish, Diamond Trevally, Rainbow Runner and a large Yellow Tail Fusilier caught in our waters. We’ve also seen a big increase in whales this week, humpbacks and false killer whales. 

Rock fishing has been good with a few quality Trevally being landed and some better Kings. Out wide the Bar Cod and Kingfish are loving the cooler water and feeding hard. One fish that’s worth a mention was the 21kg Samson Fish caught spearfishing by Jamie Ryves. Great fish and very unusual for Norfolk. 

The week ahead looks windier than we’d like but there’s still a couple of fishing days for us to wet a line. 

Catch you all next week.

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