Twas a clear blue sky with fair and favouring breezes, as we hauled sail and ran down through the Family Isles, the only boat on a boundless ocean.. whilst Griegs Peer Gynt suite lent an edge of music to our minds.

Now “Uhuru 3” lies at anchor in the early evening of Missionary Bay, as we laze on the foredeck with a cigar and glass of wine, to savour the pleasure of sharing this mystical moment..and mystical it surely is..for the effect this expanse of forest, mountains and ocean has on us, who are alone in it, with mists and clouds draped along the jungle peaks, all floating in the timelessness of a tropical evening..combine to lead into our minds the notion we four souls are adrift in a vast primeval world where, through a split in the sky, the world of Tolkien, peeps through.

Puffy cumulus clouds and thin white fog drift by, sift, form scenes and faces, then re-form as our Creator unfolds miracles in the sky..while we, who wish this moment to last forever, shake hands with daylight, then together drift into night..suspended in eternity.


Morning walks with us through mangroves, then along Ramsey Beach, before introducing us to a friendly little path, who takes our group for a stroll through her forest home. Upon meeting another path, we scramble up to it’s mountain lair. A rugged sort of place with commanding views of mangroves and bays, then back down to rejoin the first path, who leads us through ti-trees and dappled sunshine for a swim and cup of billy tea.

After an easy walk upstream we veer north to clamber and scramble up to a rocky summit, Jen nearly falls, and rain sets in. When it clears a little, like good soldiers, over the top we go. What a magnificent scene : silver brown peaks wreathed in smoke; granite crags breathing fire; mists and distant thunder; forests and waterfalls all lend to this valley of pink and green tundra an ethereal and somewhat fairy tale quality.

 Finally we decide to change seats in this mighty outdoor theatre, swing over the side, and slide down through wet forest.

None of Tolkein’s’ giant spiders or Trolls live here .. in fact, it looks like no one has ever been here. There are blackboy trees 3m high which have not been burnt, (a long time between fires), plus tall, apparently solid canopy trees, that crash down at a mere touch We’re not quite sure where we are now, but the girls are in high spirits. They feel it’s the journey, not the end, which counts.

Their faith is justified, as Chris ,leads us to a beautiful little pool living in it’s own crystal clear creek. Here is space to pitch two tents, and a nice flat rock to lie on whilst listening to the music of gurgling streams. Tents go up, and fire appears beneath a rock ledge – ( Chris has found dry kindling in a cave ). It’s now swim time so Maggie and Chris float and play frogs as dusk eases in. We share noodles, soup and coffee, then a quiet chat pondering the philosophy of here and now.

A new morning clears away all rain, so we swim again, feast on yabbies, and play boats with drifting leaves and seed pods..time does not exist. I explore higher up the creek, and am soon leaping and scrambling from boulder to boulder, ever higher, until finally arriving in a dead end canyon. Tis quite a place, massive old trees on the floor, with tough little figs clinging to the sheer walls. A few rays of sunshine spill over the top, then filter down to sparkle in a hundred tiny waterfalls. I climb up the southern face, to stand all free and proud on top of a spur..with tremendous vistas away down the canyon to the bay where “Uhuru 3” is a distant speck.

Back in camp a holiday atmosphere prevails, so there’s more swimming in clear water, so fresh it actually seems to make you glow with vitality. Yet, eventually, it is with some reluctance that we finally pack camp and bend our steps downstream, boatward bound. There is more of course..walking along Ramsay Beach with our feet in the surf as sun sets o’er the mountains..a cold beer at Ted’s..sailing home through a dark and windy is all there, written in the book of life..

                   ..but didn’t we have a lovely time, the days we sailed to Tolkein.