Introduction – Keswick Island – The Famous Five
Chapter 1 – Beware Dutch Men in Big Hats
Chapter 2 – Flight of Fancy
Chapter 3 – The Arrival
Chapter 4 – Feast & Famine
Chapter 5- Clams, Tides & Bare Hands
Chapter 7 – Blinded!
Chapter 8 – Shark Bait

I am recounting a holiday I had with my family to an uninhabited island when I was 10, please go to the links above for the Intro, Chapter 1 and 2, if you’d like to know more and catch the thread of the story.

…since I have to go out tomorrow I decided to post Chapter 6 a little earlier tonight….

…We visited Keswick Island on two separate occasions, and the following account involves another family as well, this time we had a motor boat ….

It was decided that Dad, myself, and my little brother and sister would go over to St Bees and explore a little sandy beach whilst there…the intention was, that Dad would climb the hilly slopes of St Bees, in search of goats and food to eat and just do a bit of exploring….while us kids stayed below and guarded the dinghy and have a little swim and explore.

Dad trusted me with the kids even tho I was only 10 as I was a good swimmer. I used to train at the Port Macquarie swimming pool, doing 32 laps (a mile) every morning before school…I loved to swim and swim and swim, although I was never a champion, I found the repetition of movement very soothing and loved to move through the water like a fish!

George, Dad’s mate….would take us over in the motor boat, towing the dinghy with oars behind for us just in case.

George was scheduled to go fishing in the channel for a couple of hours, as that’s all we could spare before the tide would come in and engulf us on the little sandy beach….above the beach it was very rocky and had a mountainous incline, too steep for the littlies and myself to manage an escape….

So, in effect were trapped there should the tides roll in before George came back to pick us up.

We had to be soooo careful playing there on the shore tho, as everywhere you looked there were stonefish, no exaggeration there! And they really do look just like stones, they are sooooo ugly and sluggish!!

Well, you know how time flies when you’re fishing…..George must’ve forgotten to keep a close eye on the time, and when Dad got back to us we waited a little, but the tide was coming in fast, and Dad started to panic. He must have realised he couldn’t get us up the slopes, and so he decided to put us all in the dingy (thinking George had forgotten us) and try to row across the channel from St Bees all the way over to Keswick Island, back to the hut.

I still get teary and breathless when I recall that day, because as brave as Dad was, I could hear the worry in his voice…. He was rowing and rowing and we were drifting down and down, past the hut and out further and further into the channel into the unknown, no radio, no food, no water, no lifejackets…no George!!!!!

After a while, Dad was getting really worn out, and I’ll never forget this….
He stopped rowing for a moment and said to me, “Love, if the boat overturns and we fall in, you have to swim for it,….I can’t take care of you and your brother and sister as well….you are a good swimmer, can you just do your best to swim for it, while I try and take care of them. I remembered nodding seriously, and feeling brave. He said to me, ‘Pray love, that’s all we can do now, is start to pray’…..

So bravely I bowed my head and prayed that God would help us, that God would save us.

Well, Dad somehow made it across, we were extremely lucky to reach the topmost tip of the island before we drifted right out into the open sea never to be seen or heard of again. It was a harrowing time. We had to drag the dinghy all the way back to the hut, navigating around the coral…

Not long after our arrival back at the hut, we could see George’s boat approaching, he’d lost track of the time, I don’t think he’ll ever realise how endangered we were that day, how terrified we were… close we came to death and dying….


© Karin Taylor

Joined February 2008

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