This is about three men who might never have met and their stories untold.
Youth had endowed them with a passion for adventure and a love of wooden boats.
Deeper within than most men care to venture, they had in common the pull of the sea that certain men share, yet cannot explain. Men have the unique ability to be together, yet strangely alone, and it was in this manner that Peter, Christopher and Lief (pronounced “life”) set out in three small wooden cruising dinghies, to camp on an isolated beach on a nearby Island.
The receding tide had transformed the white sand on the shores of Fraser Island into ankle deep souffle. Meticulously swept and pristine, apart from a single set of paw prints.
A young male, Fraser Island Dingo had recently scoured this section of the beach for some morsel left behind as the water retreated from his domain.
Amber and Gray. A perfect camouflage, stretched taut over lean muscle and clearly defined ribs.
Present, but unseen. Millennia of ancient memory misting through his thoughts. He’d witnessed many boats dragged up on these shores, but never before had he seen ones like these. Cautious inspection of the craft revealed they were useless as far as achieving the primary objective to satisfy his unrelenting hunger.
Stalking the occupants invading his beach at a safe distance, he sensed no fear. Boundaries are tested and agreed with through circling, feinting attack and propping when confronted by the perceived threat of a hefty stick. No loud shouting, no giving up ground. No chink of fear to exploit.
He draws back, then makes another intimidating pass, before trotting off into the distance.
As the small group of men reaches the sand spit at the end of the beach and turns to return and set up their camp, they are acutely aware of being shadowed by the presence in the sub-tropical scrub bounding the beach.
Swags are rolled out just above the high tide line, boats pulled further up the beach and securely anchored. One camp chair between the three, a simple table and micro brazier - being tested for the first time.
Once settled, with a beer or two and a glass of wine, the presence once again manifests. This time with boundaries tested and agreed, there is a modicum of trust between man and the dingo who settles in an eyes half open resting position just trying to keep a lid on things from a safe distance. Perhaps they will, as some have done in the past, sling the odd scrap of food or two, but nothing is forthcoming.
The sun transitions through hues of amber, purple then gray and night settles. Pensive thoughts dissolve into deeper reflection over the small flame that ignites the atmosphere with smokey story-telling.
The presence slides away into the undergrowth. We are keenly aware of our now unseen companion.
Show respect, not fear. Be dominant if challenged. Above all don't feed them or encourage them.
If you would like to learn more about the behavior of the dingoes of Fraser Island, and how humans ought to share their territory safely, go to https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/fraser/fraser-island-dingoes.html
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