Saturday, 25 July 2009

Elcho Island, Galiwinku

We arrived at Elcho Saturday afternoon only a few days late for Peter Garret’s visit to the island. We set of early the next morning to explore with plans of looking up some family of a colleague in Sydney who lived on the island. While the town was crowded we felt quite out of place, couldn’t find the people we were trying to catch up with, there was rubbish everywhere, all the locals stared at us and the art center was closed. We were returning to the boat feeling a little bit lost.

Before we could get to the boat we were stopped by a couple, Aida and Charlie and asked if we had any materials aboard to help them fix their aluminium fishing boat. Si loves a project and instantly offered to help, planning on using fibreglass to repair the many holes they had previously tried to fix with liquid nails of all things. We returned armed with all the materials required and Simon busied himself that afternoon working on their dinghy, followed by another dinghy belonging to a family member. I meanwhile was dragged up the sand dunes in search for bush tucker. The children were shoving little white berries at me from their hands encouraging me to eat and talking to me in their language. We returned to the boat satisfied that the trip to Elcho was worthwhile and planned on leaving the following morning.

We were just opening a beer (quietly downstairs as Elcho is a dry community) when a dinghy appeared alongside. A young couple with a small girl came aboard to visit. When they mentioned they lived on the island we replied, “Great! You’ll know some people we’re looking for, Do you know the Youngs?” Turns out they were the people we had been looking for all day! We chatted away over sunset and enjoyed their company so much when they invited us for dinner the next evening we were glad to postpone our departure.

The following day we visited the art center and were amazed at the quality of the art, with the weavings being a big favourite – unfortunately out of my budget though. I did get a great painting with birds and barramundi on it that I will save for our house one day. That afternoon we had the local children visit aboard – what a whirlwind. We baked cookies and sticky date pudding, painted nails, played snap, games on the computer and waterpainting. They left when their family returned from fishing excited over their newly repaired dinghy. Looks like tropical snapper is back on the menu.

We enjoyed a lovely night with Kel, Glenn and Indy. We enjoyed a roast cooked on the outdoor fire overlooking the bay and sunset. The company was great and I hope we catch up somewhere along the way as they are planning on cruising shortly too. Thanks Youngie for the cherry tomato plant – it’s going great guns and is the pride of the boat garden!

After a hesitant start to our visit we left with fond memories of Elcho Island.


Amanda said...

I can just imagine Simon's delight in finding a dinghy to fix. Sounds like the dinghy at Conjola, eh - fixed with liquid nails and all sorts of whatnot.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like everyone had fun. And was useful too. They will remember you.