There could be several reasons why visits ashore on Raine Island have been stopped, that is without a permit – which can’t be obtained anyway. The first that comes to mind are the dozens (hundreds?) of turtles that get trapped in crevices on the island and perish during the nesting season. A bonanza for would-be environmental film producers.
Another reason might be to stop visitor graffiti on walls inside the stone tower.
What makes the ban more curious is that the island does not appear clearly on Google Earth, anymore, while surrounding reef does. Same applies for other islands in The Coral Sea. Willis Island, Marion Reef, Herald Cays, Saumarez Reef, Chesterfield Reef etc. All have been blurred.
Raine Island is located at the top of the Great Barrier Reef, about one day of boat travel from the tip of Cape York.
The stone tower is an early navigational aid. Sailing ships heading for England used this as a marker when ‘turning left’ (to port) to sail around the tip of Cape York.
A few got stuck on Great Detached Reef – about 15 kilometers to the south. Such were the perils of ocean travel 150 years ago.
Pictured above is Barry May, November 1983