Treasure Island

Stephen Loomes


A Walk To Mutton Bird Island, Coffs Harbour

Today I walked with my favourite woman, my wife
To the seat half-way up the climb to Mutton Bird Island sanctuary
I had to stop to save my breath for fear of losing my equanimity
Sitting there breathless, I quietly smiled as aging women pounded past
In Australia, we have an expression for older women, who vulgarly
Are referred to as “mutton dressed up as lamb” as they dress and exercise and fast
To defeat the ravages of aging and the ballooning of their thighs and other parts
And so I often think the name Mutton Bird Island so aptly applies.
The island is an isthmus rising many metres over Pacific’s deep blue waters
You walk along a concrete breakwater past the marina and its trawlers
To climb a path between the burrows of the wedge-tailed shearwaters
Which spend their autumn at this most magnificent Coffs Harbour
Where their young are born in burrows with their parents as incubators
Later fledged around the isle before they migrate north to Asia
If you are in good shape and walk past me to the top of this nursery “island”
You can see the beaches north and south and the Great Dividing Range
The blue jagged hills crouching close to the coast right down to the crystal sand
When up the top you look north to Split Solitary Island as the yachts around it sail
Between June and November on the sea you might spy the “blow” of a humpback whale
Now safe to swim in their majesty free from the previous slaughter
Splashing and breaching and cruising as they migrate north to the warmer waters
Where as of old and free from harm they will give birth to their sons and daughters.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
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