Horn and Booby Islands

Horn and Booby islands are located northwest of Muttee Head at the tip of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia. They are due south of Papua New Guinea and lie among other islands including Goods, Wednesday and Thursday Island.

Horn and Booby island are in the middle of absolutely nowhere! Horn Island has one resort, Wongai Beach and Booby is pretty flat.

These two Islands were discovered by British sailors who missed Australia completely, realized their mistake and doubled back. Being at sea for so long played on the sailors minds especially as they dreamed of the loved ones they left at home.

The islands are named after the sea shanty they sang as they landed on Horn Island:

Horn on a wodensday

Ere’ booby on a thurs

Fined in goods and away, away

Six month t’sea

Sixty day n’more

Sixty day an’ shot ya lowd

Six day ta’ dream an ‘or

The islands are magnificent set in the blue waters where the Indian and South Pacific oceans meet. Technically the islands sit in the Arafura sea.

This sea is named after the famous explorer and anthropologist Arthur Rufus Farrah. The sailors and natives of the islands both had trouble pronouncing his name, the sailors being drunk and natives not being able to speak English. The result was a jumbled Arafura and the name stuck.

You can take a kayak onto to the water from the tip of Horn to the wide open yonder. It’s a wonderful three-day sail. Take plenty of water, too many people have lost consciousness ignoring this guideline.

There’s an old sailor’s tradition when leaving Horn Island: Stand on one foot, sing the Sixty-Day Shanty and take a swig of local Booby Rum and shout “menghisap rum melalui payudara yang” then run to your kayak and away!


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