Guesthouse on Keswick

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 7 – Blinded!

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 7, if you’d like to know more and catch the thread of the story.

….Dad was sooo determined to catch a shark and some big fish….but so far he just wasn’t having much luck. A great fisherman, in a fishing paradise…yet the fish here seemed tuned out….being determined and an inventor of sorts….Dad started thinking…a LOT!!

He was daydreaming all the time into far off places, where he was landing sharks, marlin and big fish…in his element!

….So one day, he approaches us for a family meeting….

Dad informs us all, that he has dreamt up a scheme to catch a shark…and that we all have to be part of the action…. It was going to be a night time catch, he would have a rod and reel set up, and we were to listen out for any noises and the line going off (while we were sleeping mind you) and alert dad…..if we heard the reel screaming….!!!

Now I’ve mentioned before that the beach directly in front of our tin hut, was actually made up of dead white coral….very sharp on the feet to say the least!

Well, the first night of trying to catch himself a shark I woke up to a lot of commotion!!…cussing and yelling and excitement….and ran to the door of the hut to see shadows in the dark and a lot of carrying on and frantic movement……

There was my Dad was literally skiing down the coral incline in his bare feet….while his fishing rod was bent over in a u-shape trying to bear the weight and tension of whatever had taken his bait…

The line snapped of course, and I was relieved he didn’t end up in the water himself as more SHARK BAIT!!!

Dad realised he needed to do a bit more work on his idea to catch a shark in the dead of night, by torchlight….. and after much thinking on his part, we are brought in on the plan yet again….

This time Dad makes certain his thongs (flipflops) are at the door so his feet don’t get cut up again by the coral, and then he has a brilliant idea for an alarm system to let us all know when he has a shark on the line………

He spends all day joining a bunch of beer cans together and planning his next move….the idea is that the beer cans will make a helluva noise if something takes the bait, he has the beer cans attached somehow to the rod and reel …….

That night, there’s an even bigger commotion and oh so much more excitement….as the beer cans go off, not once, but twice…..but sharks are smart…no luck this time….

The next night, feeling a little deflated but more determined than ever, Dad resets the rig, using ropes and whatever else he can find……the torch and thongs are at the ready, and we are all primed ……

CRASH, BANG, BASH!!!! The rig goes off in the dead of night….Mum’s there with the torch, Dad’s yelling his lungs out, I’m half asleep trying to do anything I can to help,….he’s screaming for his thongs… I run half way down the coral and try to slip them on his sliding feet… was sooooo funny and comical……you just had to be there! He is still skiing down the slope and manages one thong, but not the other!!

Tonight Dad lands his first shark, and a couple more on subsequent nights, just out the front of our tin hut where we had gone swimming in the deep channel on our first day there….and where someone else had seen a huge tiger shark wriggle up onto the land to take a decaying carcass of another shark….folks this place was brimming with shark life!!!

It was really really sad after we caught the sharks and hung them from the tree, they were about 5 foot in length, I think they were bronze whalers. Their stomachs coming out of their mouths….too scared to touch them just in case they were still alive and snapped a stray hand off….Dad has changed a lot since those days…he went right off catching big fish, and became someone who loves them instead, and respects them…..he will no longer catch and keep a marlin, he sees them as creatures of much beauty and would release one if he caught it….

Dad is an artist too, and he has a soft side too, despite being a hunter gatherer type…
That’s what I love about artists…the soft heart…

Stay tuned for


© Karin Taylor

Lennox Head, Australia

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