Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Beauty and Solace of Solitude

Last night I watched a current affairs programme on television in which they told a story about the lighthouse keepers on Maatsuyker Island, situated at the most southern tip of Australia. Maatsuyker Island is 10km from the southern-most tip of the rugged Tasmanian coast, 50kms from the nearest town, Catamaran. Access to the lighthouse and island is by sea or air (helicopter), weather permitting.

The light was opened in 1891 by a party of dignitaries arriving by boat from Hobart, who were, from accounts, greeted by a placid sea...a rare event! Apparently, for hundreds of years Aborigines made this treacherous trip from the mainland in canoes made from tea-trees hunting for seals and mutton birds.

The original wick oil light was upgraded to kerosene and mantle in 1924. In 1976, 3 diesel generators and a 1000 watt electric light were installed. In 1996, the light was replaced with a fully automated, smaller, solar-powered light further up the hill with the intention of de-manning. This lighthouse on Maatsuyker Island has been manned much longer than lighthouses on the mainland. Since the mid-seventies, supplies have been flown into the island by helicopter. Before that, supplies came in by boat every three months.

The current caretakers are soon to leave the island. Parks and Wildlife are searching for a replacement couple. The only thing stopping me from applying is I'm not part of a 'couple'. I don't have a 'partner', unless, of course, you take into account my two cats...but, somehow, in the eyes of Parks and Wildlife, I don't think they would qualify!

This report regarding the search for new caretakers is so coincidental in light of my post of yesterday about my solitary time spent on an island in north Queensland. How I would love to be given the chance to face another challenge...a challenge like Maatsuyker Island. I have this ache inside of me...a burning desire to go there but I know it can't be so...and that saddens me!

The solitude doesn't phase me. I blossom in solitude. Back to dreaming......

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