Rodd Island adventure
500 Words: First Memory
The salty sea breeze chilled my face as I leant over the side of the speeding boat.
With my mother’s arms holding me tightly around the waist I laughed into the splashes of ocean that flew up over the sides.
Our trip from Leichardt Wharf across Iron Cove to Rodd Island was so exciting. I’d been on a ferry to Taronga Zoo once before, but that vessel was slow and cumbersome compared to this one. And I didn’t have to share it with lots of other passengers and crew like you did on a ferry.
Our captain was a friend of my father’s. He was the caretaker of a small island in Iron Cove in Sydney.
This friend had invited us to the island for a day. As it was a Sunday, we would be the only visitors and he and his wife were going to show us around.
I was only about seven years old and I remember being both thrilled and a little nervous about this adventure to a place I’d never been and with people I’d never met.
“There it is,” the captain shouted over the roar of the engine, pointing ahead at a small rocky outcrop ringed by the greenest of trees and shrubs.
The island was all I could have imagined and more. Despite the fact that it lay in the middle of the Cove and was close to ‘civilisation’, it still had a wonderfully wild feeling about it. There were quite a few palm trees growing lush and strong and some kind of ancient fig tree that was so full of character and intrigue.
Rock walls and sandstone outcrops formed part of the island and we could see wild oysters clinging to the rocks on the island’s tiny beaches.
The captain and his wife lived in an old house with a large verandah that looked out to the Cove. On the verandah, they kept a pet cockatoo in a cage. My brother succumbed to the temptation of poking his finger through the wire and got a nasty bite from the sulphur-crested one for his troubles. I think my brother’s scream would have been heard all over the island.
We explored the island for most of the day, enjoying the sunshine and the thrill of being on land surrounded by water. As a small child, I found it hard to believe that we were actually on an island and still not that far from home. The feeling was one of total freedom!
The sounds of the island were enchanting. Birds and insects busy at work, the water lapping on the shore and the hum of the occasional vessel or fishing boat puttering by.
For a seven year old, visiting Rodd Island was a wonderfully sensory experience. The magic and happiness I felt on that day is something I will never forget.