Introduction – Keswick Island – The Famous Five
Chapter 1 – Beware Dutch Men in Big Hats
Chapter 3 – The Arrival
Chapter 4 – Feast & Famine
Chapter 5 – Clams, Tides & Bare Hands
Chapter 6 – Drifting & Drowning
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 and Chapter 1 if you’d like to know more and catch the thread of the story.

…..with cautious looks and pumping hearts we board the vessel BIG HAT…she looks to be in fine form, but we know there is some uncertainty in the minds of the men who’ve been working on her as to whether she’ll make the distance.

Then there’s that sick feeling growing stronger and stronger in my stomach by the minute, like a million butterflies beating down the door…. wishing to God that someone would just have the courage to stand up and say “NO!….let’s wait, stay in the motel again tonight, and we’ll leave at first light tomorrow”…. later I was told this wouldn’t be an option because the ’Dutchman" was otherwised engaged on the morrow..

But no-one says anything, just a few side-ways glances between the three of us ‘older ones who share the uncertainty of a possible early demise. My brother and sister remain unaware of any such possibilities, being much younger (3 and 5) and feeling snug and secure in the folds of my parents strong arms and reassuring smiles…but I did notice a distinct lack of sibling fighting….in fact, apart from the lapping water and heavier than usual breathing….you could have heard a pin drop….i guess that’s what it’s like when you’re heart drops a beat…you think, this may be the last time I ever stand on dry land again….time stands momentarily still.

RIP RIP rat-ta-tat-ttttt-ttttt—broooooom!!!

Smelly, oily rags,and touristy bags are loaded onto BIG HAT as we step aboard and take our places in the drama yet to be played out. The big black motor upon which our lives depend, rips into action and off we go on our big adventure…..smiles all ‘round ….feeling a little stay of confidence now, because the motor roared first go!

Eyebrows raised, big deep breaths, smiles exchanged…and all is well…for the moment anyway….and I guess that’s all we ever really have right, this moment?

Half an hour into the ride of our lives, the sun decides she’ll say goodnight and starts going down, down, down

Those old negative niggling feelings begin to rise, rise, rise !

We are ‘packing death’ and ‘freaking out’ again….. we exchange a few more uncertain sideways glances, just preceding the ride from hell, it’s all too obvious we’re not going to make it to Keswick Island before nightfall and the sickening returns.

At this point on dusk, something strange comes over the ‘Dutch Man’ and this is where I’ll change his name to give you some idea of what ensues. He will now forever be known to me as ‘The Flying Dutch Man’ and a helluva cowboy…..

The Flying Dutchman cranks up the speed as he sees the sun going down!

Has he only just realised what we all suspected, that there was no way we were going to make it to Keswick Island before nightfall…….!!!

The boat suddenly goes from ‘supine’ to ‘sheer vertical’ (only a slight exaggeration) with one pull of a lever, the rest of us (who didn’t have the benefit of hanging on to a steering wheel or any device for that matter) nearly flew fair out the back of the vessel…..

”The Flying Dutchman” never once looked back to see how we were doing…. as we crouched and huddled deep into the bottom of BIG HAT, white knuckled and terrified.

As the monotony of hanging on for your life wore on – oh yes, it can become monotonous hanging on for life – the night dipped blacker until we were more and more invisible on the inky sea.

It’s times like this you begin to think over your life (even if you are only 10 years old) and wonder whether you’re ready to move into the next one.

Amidst the dark night and dark thoughts though, something magic happened! It’s strange, I’ve noticed magic does tend happen after the darkest of nights, dreams, thoughts.

Peeking over the edge of the railing with just my eyes visible, I was to see something wonderful….the sea was sparkling with tiny lights, it was just fascinating….(many years later I was to discover this was phosphorescence) and to see such wonder calmed my heart while being out there on the wild sea… all fear was gone, and I just felt excited…..and if I were to have met my Maker right then and there, I would have gone peacefully and contentedly, having seen this sight…..

Stay Tuned for Chapter 3 tomorrow!!!!
The Arrival
Same Kaz Time!!!!!
(just for you rory )


© Karin Taylor

Lennox Head, Australia

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