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Monday, August 17, 2009

Calling Victor Aung, Burmese Marine Biologist

Putting something on the internet is like launching a message in a bottle as one never knows where it may end up. I hope this one ends up with someone who knows the whereabouts of Victor Aung whom I met while living on Thursday Island in 1977. Victor, who is from Burma, worked on an oyster farm on nearby Friday Island implanting nuclei into the shells to produce cultured pearls. Being young and single, he had got tired of his monotonous work in an isloated location and left the Torres Strait soon afterwards. The last time I heard from him, he was sorting mail at the GPO in Sydney!

Victor AungI was reminded of all this when I read Eric Hansen's story "Life at the Grand Hotel" in which he describes his meeting with Kazuyoshi Takami, the owner of the cultured pearl farm on Friday Island. Kazuyoshi was brought up in Japan, but at the time of Eric's visit in 1992 he had already lived on the island for eighteen years. Once a month he flew down to Cairns to visit his wife and two children. The rest of the time he worked on the oyster farm, tending the 10,000 oysters placed in wire baskets and suspended from oil-drum rafts for the two or three years it takes to make a cultured pearl.

I've contacted Kazuyoshi on Friday Island to find out if he knows where Victor is now. If anybody else knows Victor's whereabouts, please email me at riverbend[AT]batemansbay.com

Here's a short clip of the Torres Strait, courtesy of Peddells Ferries:

And here's a GOOGLE Earth map of Thursday Island:

View Larger Map