Sharing a rat’s nest – part 2*
The yabby must have felt the noose and was starting a little dance to the left and right. David followed the creature knowing that only his need for oxygen would shorten this battle. He backed it into a shallow side of a crack and placed one hand in their path while gently nudging it over with the loop. Then he grabbed it as it run right into his waiting hand. David pushed himself of the ground needing to get up now quickly to catch his breath.
The yabby was not impressed to be pulled out of his cave and splashed around on the surface. David held the lobster tight thankful for his thick gloves and pushed it through the slots of the lid into the mash bag. “A nice catch,” David thought looking at the yabby’s size. He’d be allowed to catch five more, but he’d probably only have the strength for two or three more dives today.
With his bag full David had returning to shore satisfied and tired. He’d found four more yabbies, but could only get three of them noosed and had to let go of the last one. The pain in his lungs had forced him to turn around and have a rest at the beach. The crustacean’s claws were scratching on the inside of the bucket. David had filled it with a bit of water and tied it back onto his penny-rack.
With the midday sun burning down it was time to find some shade. Mostly brushwood and thornbushes were covering the island that provided no shelter from the sun at all. There was one place, apart from the little settlement where the ferries landed, where David knew he’d find cover and have his lunch. That’s where he headed next. Squeaking up the hills past the lighthouse David was looking forward to the quick descend on the other side that would give him a cool breeze.
Here at the bottom of the lighthouse were a few remaining trees. David climbed off his bike and carefully leaned it against one of the trees; his cargo was too precious to let the bike tip. Sitting down he was already awaited by three little hungry fellows that hopped towards him. These little marsupials, called quokka, were native to the island and David knew they were expecting him to drop one or two crumbs of his sandwich.
Another group was stopping to find shelter under the trees. They looked terribly overheated and struggled to climb off their bicycles. It wasn’t until one of them almost stumbled over one of the quokkas that they noticed the creatures. “Oh what’s that! It looks like a giant rat,” one of them said. Eyes turned to David who was eating his sandwich and had tried to ignore the quokkas and tourists alike. “They’re called quokka,” David said. “When a Dutch fleet landed here during the seventeenth century and found these marsupials the Dutch also mistook them for rats,” David said shooing a curious quokka away that was sniffing out his sandwich. “The Dutch then gave this island the name ‘rat’s nest’ and obviously people cottoned onto it and still call this place Rottnest Island.” David’s explanation was taken in with nodding and approval, but he had enough of sharing the shade and continued his trip back to the ferry.
He passed the salt lakes that were the last reminder of the island’s agrarian history where once salt was harvested and shipped to the mainland. Back at the settlement’s shops were now filled with tourists trying to find a place to rest and eat. On the way home on the ferry, with his bucket of yabbies between his legs and his hands folded in his lap, David already imagined how he’d cook the brown creatures at home, peel off their buck tails and dunk them into a nice tartar sauce.
*this story is a figment of my imagination
For your own visit of Rottnest Island:
- Ferries to Rottnest leave from Hillarys, Perth or Fremantle
- Bicycles are available for hire on the island as well as snorkel gear and surfboards
- Site-seeing tours and accommodation can be booked here