Voyage to Montague Island

Off the coast of Narooma you can see an island with a lighthouse on it out to sea. That island is Montague Island and I’d always wanted to visit it. I decided one day that I would finally visit, booked my ticket online and showed up at the allocated time on the day to find the boat at the wharf.

I found the boat, the company and the other people day tripping to the beautiful island. We told the skipper our names and he marked us off his paper list. Soon we were off to sea. We powered past the breakwall and people fishing, past other people on boats and could soon see the island in view, gradually getting bigger as we got closer to our destination.

There were both scuba divers and snorkellers on the boat and people who didn’t want to do either. I opted for snorkelling and as the boat anchored a short distance off the island, near a local sea colony, I put on my wetsuit, googles, snorkel and flippers and walked off the metal ladder at the back of the boat.

Coming from Queensland the water was cold but the wetsuit kept me relatively warm. I looked at the depths beneath me and spotted large silver fish, corals and seals! I didn’t want to get too close to the seals but instead marvel them from a distance. They were splashing about in the water or lazing on the rocks at the edge of the island.

After some swimming near the boat we exited the water and made our way on the boat to the main jetty of the island. We docked there and got changed back into our everyday clothes. A New South Wales Parks and Wildlife man was there to greet us and accompany us on a guided tour of the island. He had a list of people who were to go with him as others had opted to scuba dive instead.

We exited the boat and made our way up the path of the island. The man spoke to us about the island and its significance to the local indigenous peoples who had inhabited it for many years. He reminded us to take our rubbish with us as there were no bins on the island. We followed him up the steep, winding path on the way to the towering white lighthouse which overlooked the surrounding coastline.

We reached the lighthouse keeper’s cottage-a beautiful white building with a blue roof looking out across the sparkling blue sea. All around us were seagulls and other sea birds screeching ferociously in the sea breeze. This was their island after all. We walked to the lighthouse which the man opened. We climbed up the winding spiral staircase past narrow windows overlooking the ocean. I was reminded of the children’s television show I’d watched growing up: Round the Twist. We soon reached the top and walked out to the verandah surrounding the top of the lighthouse.

This offered 360 degree views of the island and Mount Dromedary in the distance. Then we descended the lighthouse after taking many photos. The guide then took us on a walk on a grassy pathway which he mows around the island. We found a quaint bay for swimming enclosed by rocks which formed thrones for sea birds perched on them. We came across the family which was staying in the lighthouse keeper’s cottage-they were swimming in the sea. How peaceful it must be to have an island to yourself! Then it was back on the boat and back to the mainland at Narooma after a fantastic time on Montague Island.

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