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Introduction – Keswick Island
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 and Bare Hands
Chapter 6 – Drifting & Drowning
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, Chapters 1 to 6, if you’d like to know more and catch the thread of the story.

….woke up to some commotion this beautiful morning, to hear mum and dad murmering in the kitchen of the tin hut….making my way out of bed I could hear Dad’s distress….

He was asking Mum some weird questions, like….

Sal, can you see anything? and Is it still dark Sal? and What time is it?…something was terribly wrong…I could sense it…

Our lives just seemed to be one big drama, who needs ‘Days of Our Lives’ when we have our own drama playing out right here eh!

Mum asks Dad why he’s asking all these questions, and I can hear him choking up, he says ……

I can’t see a thing love, I can’t see anything….

It took us a a few minutes to digest that Dad had gone blind…oh no, our hunter gatherer guy, no longer able to hunt and gather…..but worse than that, our isolation makes it near impossible to get outside help. This was more terrifying for me than the ‘Drifting and Drowning’ episode.

Over the next three days, Dad continued to be blind, unable to see anything at all…
On the fourth day, the fog in his eyes began to clear, and we had explored many theories about why it happened.

Dad is absolutely mad about plants and wildlife, as you’ve guessed already…the day before he went blind, he had been exploring the bush along the shoreline of Keswick near the hut, and he was taking bits and pieces, cuttings if you like and bringing them back to the hut for further examination and scrutiny….

We understand that one of the plants he was examining had oozed a white milky caustic fluid, which he got on his hands and we think he later rubbed into his eyes, possibly during the night while sleeping……resulting in a temporary period of blindness over three days….!!!!

On the fourth day Dad began to see again, the fog began to lift from his eyes, what a relief! I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in all my life!!

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  • Keith Russell
    Keith Russellover 6 years ago

    now that’s truly Biblical – what a wonderful adventure!

  • Yes, on the third day…and all that jazz!! I’m sure we were praying for dad, but all i can recall is being very frightened…. my caregivers were always getting into trouble somehow, it’s sooooo scary for a little kid when their mums and dad’s are ill or indisposed…lucky i always had the feeling God was with me Keith :D

    – © Karin Taylor

  • pinkyjain
    pinkyjainover 6 years ago

    Wow, i would have been terrified and so sad, too. Thank God it was only tempoorary. i bet your Dad is very careful not to touch his eyes with strange plants anymore. i can’t even imagine what it would be like to go blind all of a sudden.

  • Yes, there was a feeling of sadness, because we thought Dad had really gone blind and that was the end of life as we knew it, he was a policeman and he would have to leave the job….it would have been disastrous… at the time, i wasn’t old enough to think through the conseqences, just felt scared. He still, to this day, touches things he shouldn’t……me too…it’s a terrible curiousity that gets us into lots of trouble…my sister also has this affliction……we all touched leaves on a Queensland Stinging Tree once, and boy oh boy, not something you want to do ever ever ever ever again!! lol

    – © Karin Taylor

  • pinkyjain
    pinkyjainover 6 years ago

    Yeah, i am not always as cautious as i should be. The Stinging Tree sounds painful, we have things called nettles, and they are Ouch!!!!!!!

  • Cate Townsend
    Cate Townsendover 6 years ago

    How scary that must have been for your dad and all of you. Glad it was only temporary for him. How amazing it must have been to see again, he would have been so relieved as all of you would. Shark bait sounds interesting… can’t wait.

  • Hi Cate, thanx for sticking with me, 2 more chapters to go i think…..
    twas very scary…and such a huge relief as his sight started to come back…he wasn’t sure for a few hours just how much it would return….
    but luckily for him, he got it all back…….hmmm ‘shark bait’ up next…..
    how someone almost became ‘shark bait’……… be continued……

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Cate Townsend
    Cate Townsendover 6 years ago

    How fun would it be now to go back to Keswick and have an adventure, but I’m sure It’s all comercialised and stuff now.

  • yes, sadly…i noticed a photo of a building which has been built smack bang on top of the mountain….what a view hey! you prob wouldn’t have the same feeling of absolute freedom and just you and nature…etc…but if I could go back and it was the way it used to be, yes, that would be wonderful…i would really love to :D

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Cate Townsend
    Cate Townsendover 6 years ago

    I went up to the whitsundays last year and stayed at a backpackers on the beach, Iwent over to south mole on a boat trip and met some lovely people. I will never forget the colour of the water, it’s so beautiful.

  • ah, yes, so you know just what I’m talking about!!! that sounds like the most lovely relaxing holiday…wow!!! nice to hear how friendly the people are, must be that idyllic lifestyle :D

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Lam Tran
    Lam Tranover 6 years ago

    Wow! What an adventure! Yeah, I saw one of those plants on Man VS Wild on Discovery channel. Their Milk are dangerous, they can kill you or blind you!

  • Oh wow Lam!! There you go…we still don’t know the name of the plant itself, but it’s from that family of plants !!! So glad you saw in TV…it makes what happened to my dad sound so much more credible and believable :D

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehover 6 years ago

    It’s a miracle he got his eyesight back! It’s scary for anyone to become blind; but for an artist it becomes even more tragic I think. Wow your life on Keswick has given you so much exposure of the wild that you gain a lot of background knowledge about it early in your life. It’s good that you survived through it all to be able to retell it.

  • yes, Mui-Ling….we always seem on the verge of something terrible happening, and then it was righted… should teach me not to be such a worry wart hey….but I remain an avid worrier still to this day…darnit.!

    Apart from Keswick Island, my father also caught foxes, snakes, goannas, birds, lobsters, and was an avid jew fisherman at Port Macquarie… He was a hero in the policeforce..he risked in own life to dive into shark infested waters trying to save people on in a yacht on the bar at Port Macquarie, where it capsized…the dog on board swam to safety, but the people drowned….just his job as a policeman and his call to duty, but he is a brave man, full of courage..and he would never consider that his own life was in danger before rushing to help others….. the sadness and loss of seeing many people and children die, has caused his so much heartache…..i cannot imagine….this is why I always stand up for police, even when everyone around is having a go at them, they will never know what policeman endure from day to day, and how it affects their hearts, their minds and as a consequence, their families. I am terribly proud of him.

    – © Karin Taylor

  • rain-dogs
    rain-dogsover 5 years ago

    dads can be such buggers at times………..I bet you were all very worried and relieved when he came good……..and shows just how dangerous our beautiful country can be………..your writing style is really enjoying your adventures

  • They can be …. He’s a real naughty bloke, still climbing trees, still inventing, still causing us to worry… If there’s a job to be done, he just gets in there without much thought for safety :). I can’t tell you thank you enough, for reading my keswick stories. We were terribly worried and he was pretty worried too. When dad was young his dad and mum took him on a holiday to the sea where he realised his love for the ocean…. The also lived long time in katoomba area where he explored every nook and cranny if the bush with his young mates.. His dad took him fishing but couldn’t cast, so dad taught himself how to do all this stuff, I guess it just came naturally. He even used to make his own sinkers pouring the hot metal into these moulds… It fascinated me to watch him ….

    – © Karin Taylor

  • rain-dogs
    rain-dogsover 5 years ago

    I know what you mean id have to hit gibber(dad) with a shovel to stop him digging trenches and my most loved memories are of climbing down cliffs to go rock fishing and exploring the bush with him he would get us kids to climb into wombat holes or penguin caves………We also poured our own lead sinkers out the back shed and made our own bamboo surf rods….so many parallels

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