A Dog of a Day
15 August 2014 | Lady Musgrave Island
A Dog of a Day
You meet some characters out here among the islands. There are people from all walks of life, both living on and visiting islands of the Great Barrier Reef. It wasn't until we reached the Percy Islands that we met someone really special. She was young and pretty and she lived out there in absolute island bliss doing what she loved and what she was good at. The family lived on the homestead at the peak of Percy Island overlooking the bay in which we arrived. They were self reliant (or isolated) city folk would say. It was a place where you harvested your own chemical free fruits and vegetables. It was place where chickens roamed around your ankles and the washing machine was out in the sunshine doing its thing. There were goats and kids in a paddock, so warm milk on tap and there were goats in the rough for eating. I suspected fresh meat was more of an ordeal to plate up, however and invitation was extended to us for a beach BBQ, anytime! We just had to give them enough time to hunt a goat down in the wild and "prepare" it.
On day one we had trekked up the Northern path of their island that was alive with aqua butterflies that led us uphill to the homestead. Not long after our arrival we were invited in for chilled homemade lemonade (the best we had ever tasted).
On day two we followed their "just follow the creek bed" instructions to trek to the homestead from White's bay, the Southern anchorage.Our expected one hour walk turned into two hours with some serious rock climbing added. Eventually we were back in the internet zone of the homestead and after many stories, laughs and more chilled lemonade had we were handed a bag of fresh passion fruit. Our day had gotten away with the wrong turn we took coming up. So as soon as we were refreshed enough we decided to tackle the return trip. The lease holders of the island insisted that someone could lead us (the right way) back to White's Bay. We felt bad, as it was a good hour trek back (if you didn't get lost that is) and the walk was not a garden path, it was mountainous. Young Bronte was loitering and eager to be asked she pleaded with her big brown eyes until she was given the nod to go. The only instructions given was that she was to holler as soon as she returned so they knew she was home. We were so grateful we thanked Bronte, as clearly we needed the local knowledge. The mother in me would not have let her go, knowing she had to come back up the mountain alone at dusk. However, we headed off through the two gates that kept the menagerie of goats, cooks and dogs separate and followed our young and happy guide. She set off with a good steady pace and she wove her way into the woods. I didn't complain but the thick wild scrub scratched my legs yet it didn't seem to bother her, she skipped happily over and around the worst of the stumps and shrubs. When she sensed we were lagging she would stop. We noticed the markers that discretely hung in the trees but you needed to know where to look and turn in order to spot them. She smiled at us each time we stopped to admire the different hand painted faces as if she knew we were stalling to catch our breath. She knew there was no time to beat around the bush and so kept us on track ducking and weaving through the typical Australian bush land. She knew it like the back of her hand and was on her merry way taking turns without markers that I felt were wrong as we stumbled to keep her in sight. Then she came to a halt at the top of the clearing where we could see our bay and boat below. She had been such awesome help we then asked her to point us to the safest way down. Before we knew it she was over the edge and half way down to the beach. She waded in the shallows to cool off while we tended to our dingy that was high and dry.
We thanked Bronte profusely for her help as we hung on the beach to enjoy some biscuits and a cool drink. She was so sweet; she barely looked our way as she stood to drip off in the last of the afternoon sun. She timidly accepted the sweet biscuits offered like it was the right thing to do. She refused my bottle of boat water; probably their tank water was more pure. A part of me wished she could have come with us. She sensed my emotion and turned away.
She started her walk up the beach as soon as we said "Well! Your job is done Bronte Goodbye". She headed for the dry creek bed and didn't look back once. We waited and watched and hoped she would be alright. Soon she was nothing but small brown spec alone in the hills. We had fallen in love with that brown Labrador - What a great mutt; she came all that way not expecting a thing except a swim. It only took one bark at the garden gate to get her back into the confines of homestead where she would join "Diamond" (part dingo) for a meal of fresh roo. I wondered what tomorrow would bring, probably more of the same, fresh air and sunshine, swimming, trekking and more new friends.