Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Middle Percy Island hospitality

As I mentioned in the previous post, we still have more to tell you about our stay at Middle Percy Island (fair warning...this post has a bazillion pictures!!).

We stayed at Middle Percy Island for five lovely, warm and sunny days. When we arrived at West Bay on Friday 12th August the anchor had barely touched the sand when Ryan and I jumped overboard and swam ashore.  Dad stayed aboard Lucey Blue to ensure we weren't dragging, but I couldn't resist the almost 25 degree, bright blue water and lovely clean sandy beach that beckoned. West Bay looked like a little tropical oasis!

The sun, sand and scenery of beautiful West Bay beckon!

However, it was the hospitably of the island’s resident caretakers - Cate, John, Ernst and Steve - that really made our stay. Cate and John hold a 20-year lease over some of the best parts of the island with the rest forming a national park. They have set about repairing the old homestead and other historic infrastructure as well as heartily welcoming visitors to the island. Andy Martin (Cate’s cousin) established a welcoming island culture over his three plus decades on Middle Percy and it is great to see it coming back to life.

The A-frame....a place packed full of visitor's memorabilia

The treehouse...the place with the telephone!

On our first night at Middle Percy Island Ernst and Steve came down to the A-Frame on the beach to cook goat stew for everyone, with the yachties providing the vegetables, snacks and drinks. After collecting the firewood and getting the stew going Ernst, Steve and Cate chatted with us about the island's history and life on a remote island. There were about nineteen yachties ashore that night, from 6 separate boats – some on their way to the Hamilton Island Race Week and others just cruising north like us – and the conversation was fast and lively.

Ernst cooking goat stew on the BBQ behind the A-frame hut

Sunset over Pine Island and West Bay

Feeding the littlest Post as the sun sets (and the sandflies descend ;-)

Ryan enjoying a hearty bowl of stew with Steve in the background. The kids and I all went back for seconds...that's how good Percy island goat stew is!

Steve, an ex-park ranger who also happened to grow up on the neighbouring Pine Island with his lighthouse-keeping parents, brought a bevy of animals down to the beach for the kids to feed and play with. There was: Diamond the dog, Ginger the goat (6 weeks old), Jack the goat (2 weeks old) and Winnie the Wallaroo joey (3 months old). I am not sure who had more fun – Emily, Ryan or Sam.

Sam and Ryan feeding Jack the goat

Emily feeding Ginger...who was quite a messy eater

Ernst with Ryan cuddling Jack

Emily and Winnie the Wallaroo joey

We spent the next few days exploring the island, visiting Cate at the homestead and having lunch with Steve at the Rondarval...

The long walk up to the homestead is punctuated by various motivational poems and fun sayings scattered along the track, these were especially useful in encouraging the kids to keep going on the long slog uphill!

This one comes just before you turn a corner and are greeted with a gorgeous, sweeping view out towards South Percy and beyond.

Another beautiful poem is found in a tree on the side of the track, and Emily read it out for all of us...

We also had the good fortune to meet and make friends with another cruising family on the catamaran Roar Ege. Angus, Mel, Michael and Fiona promptly put to rest any notion we had that fish were getting scarce in Queensland waters. They caught two large Mackerel right off the back of their cat in West Bay!!! We couldn't have been happier for them, especially as they shared both with us...thanks again guys, the fish was delicious and your company much appreciated.

Eric’s top two front teeth also made their first appearance at Middle Percy, but despite a few sleepless nights (for which we were given some unusual 'proven' teething solutions)...

...the bottle was empty before it was offered to Eric...promise!

...our time on the island has been one of the highlights of the trip thus far. It looks like the warm and welcoming culture of Middle Percy is alive and well, and our thanks go to everyone who helped make our stay so special.


Patrice said...

Terrific post Sam. Love the stories and pics to go with it all. Emily and Ryan are getting the best 'hands on' education on this trip. Love the little animals too, very sweet.


Middle Percy Island said...

So glad you liked the visit and that Percy Is is part of your kids education. Regards Cate