Desert Islands I Have Known Part 1
Isn’t it amazing how thoughts can wander, starting in one place and ending up somewhere completely different? I was thinking about desert islands yesterday – not because I was going stir-crazy and wanted a change of scenery – I was actually quite content where I was – but because I spotted a weed. I was actually in my garden, where, during lockdown I’ve been taking my exercise each morning. It’s been such a pleasure to look at the plants every day and to watch them as the flowers open and then gradually fade. And of course, it’s helping me to keep fit as well!
But yesterday, I spotted a weed where a weed shouldn’t have been – in a tiny gap between the path and the wall and I marvelled at its tenacity and cheek before yanking it out of its stronghold! Isn’t it strange that whatever weed-proofing methods you use there is always one hardy specimen which manages to push through the tiniest crack into the sunlight? It was that single weed which reminded me of the time I was cast away on one particular deserted shore.
But it wasn’t the usual sort of desert island with dazzling white beaches fringed with beautiful palms, – it was more like a barren piece of rock which jutted out of the Red Sea.
When I say ‘cast away’, that’s definitely an overstatement because I was only there on my own for a few hours before I was rescued. Oh, okay, you’ve got me again – I was picked up as arranged, not exactly ‘rescued’!
It was about ten years ago and my husband and I were on a liveaboard boat with other divers in the Red Sea and one afternoon while they were all diving, the crew dropped me off on the desert island.
When someone suggested that I go to my own island for a few hours, I was rather excited but it wasn’t quite what I’d expected because other than the two structures which you can see in the photos and one seabird which might or might not be an Osprey, (I’m not very good at identifying birds), there was nothing else there. And when I say ‘nothing’, there really was nothing there. It was astonishingly barren and stark with not one tree, bush, blade of grass or even one of those ubiquitous weeds which usually manage to grow everywhere else. And that’s why the wayward weed in my garden prompted me to remember the time when I simply couldn’t believe that not one single seedling was sprouting.
I wandered around the shore and meandered over the hills, then spent the rest of my time taking photographs of the bird of prey. As I walked around its perch trying to take photos from different angles, it eyed me warily or perhaps hungrily and I wondered if I was too large to be considered prey and how desperate it was for a meal, until the crew brought the others who’d finished their dive to join me on my arid island so they could explore. Then, there were safety in numbers! There are some more photos here, if you’d like to see.
And as my mind is in the habit of doing during my lockdown walks, it wandered to another desert island on which I’ve been cast away, but I’ll post about that another day.
Have you ever been cast away on a desert island? Can you identify my bird? Why no let me know!