There are some things that just stay with you, seep in through your pores at an early age and soak the soul. My love of Island “roughing it” must be one of them.
I grew up in Sydney but the family heart lay 1000 km to the north on South Stradbroke Island. This is where we made our annual pilgrimage for our long school holidays. Ten glorious weeks in a region aptly named The Gold Coast.
The land we owned included a couple of dilapidated shacks, and every toy known to man – speedboat, water skis, kayaks, catamaran, and a dune buggy.
Even a couple of old nags that we corralled at the beginning of the summer and rode bareback along the beach.
It may sound glamorous but what we lacked in purchasing power we made up for with imagination and everything had a decidedly “rustic” flavor. We lived on rain water that was collected in a huge metal drum, had an outhouse and an outdoor shower that was pumped by hand. There was no electricity except for a small generator so we lived by kerosene lamps.
There was even a bona fide patch of Rain Forest
Days were spent playing beach games, waterskiing, horse riding, tooling around on the dune buggy, setting crab pots and waiting for the daily haul. Evenings were spent building bonfires, cooking the daily catch, singing, playing cabin games or just sitting on the beach watching the spectacular sunsets over the still western waters. Mostly we amused ourselves playing pranks on the enemy: girls versus boys, boys versus girls – we would stop at nothing to get the last laugh.
The Broadwater – the stretch of water on the inland side of the Island was alive with fresh seafood including oyster reefs and giant mud crabs, the most delicious crab you will ever taste. This is where my passion for oysters began many moons ago.
Life was good growing up Margot.