|Can you make out 3 ships in the front and 3 behind? No? They are there!|
The other ships were moored in different locations that I could not get close to.
This year China is taking part, which is a tiny bit controversial. Other countries involved include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, United Arab Emirates, USA, and Vietnam.
What usually happens for activities like this is that for the first few times a country sends observers to check if they really want to be involved. Next, they send a ship and some personnel. If this is a success, then they become more involved. The Tongan navy is new this year; they have been observers in the past.
Kakadu repeats every couple of years. It is Australia's largest maritime exercise and the goal is to strengthen partnerships across the Indo-Pacific region. All the countries involved have to face not only defence issues but also natural disasters, piracy, people smuggling, and drug trafficking.
One of my brothers-in-law and one of my nephews were in the Australian Navy in years past. It is a difficult life and requires lots of courage. When I stand on my verandah and see these ships in the harbour, I am reminded to be thankful for the skill and effort of all those involved in keeping our part of the world peaceful.