Moreton Bay brings many sights and sounds to the eyes and ears of a sailor. During my time on the olive green liquid in the middle bay I saw turtles, dugong, dolphins and such on a regular basis. I have fond memories of everything I did on the water but the one thing that has stayed with me is a sound – the sound of dry, lonely wind wailing through a she-oak tree.
|She-oaks in Sandgate.|
They line the coast everywhere. In a light wind they softly pine. At night they whimper from the darkness. When you’re alone and anchored near an island covered with them, they whisper their despair openly and endlessley. Only the sounds of cold water lapping on the hull accompany their tears, your tears, my tears.
Setting sail out of Manly for the first time was scary. I’d never sailed before. I raised the sail and air quickly filled it, tipping the boat, making the water whoosh around one side of the hull. It lurched forward, leaning further and I thought the boat would tip over. It didn’t. Within an hour I was sailing around St Helena into a world of open space and near-silence. Should I have told someone where I was going?
This journey marked the beginning of many. Laps of St Helena became a standard thing. Twice a week I’d circumnavigate the tiny island, becoming intrigued with it each time. I saw the transmission masts on the northern end. I knew about the ruins of the old penal settlement. Sailing was one thing but what about anchoring and exploring the worlds I could sail to? I needed to explore more. My land-based world had fallen apart. Looking back there wasn’t an option. The only thing I could do was move forward and find myself within myself.
St Helena had become a friend, a companion I could count on out there. It’s logical that my first sleepover on Last Laugh would be in the safe watery home of this friend. I explored the island in the day and felt proud of my small but growing achievements.
|Ruins of St Helena.|
|Passengers arrive from a charter boat.|
The sun set over the mainland in the distance and night isolated my floating home even more. Only the tiny white mast light marked the place of my existence. You’d never see it from anywhere that mattered… I kind of liked it.
The island’s she-oaks wailed and cried all night long. A chorus of the dead and dying sung their special song of sadness long after the sun had risen. I agreed. My life was sad. This is where I had to be right now, for so many reasons.
When we moved into the new Mandurah property I heard that sound again and smiled. We owned she-oaks! I had to keep them at all costs, no matter what we built on the available space!
Now when the wind picks up I have my lonely, whispering she-oak trees to remind me of how far I’ve come. It’s poetic but in no way poetry, don’t you think?
(More writing of mine here)