Heaven only knows why we decided to visit Flinders Island. It's quite remote, and most Australians have never heard of it, let alone travelers from other parts of the world. This is where it is.
We set out from a small airport at Launceston, on the large island of Tasmania. The journey requires a small plane - the kind where you almost think the wings flap to get going and keep you in the air. There weren't too many people on it - maybe 8.
"Too many of you. I have to balance the load. I'll need one of you to sit in front with me," remarked the good-looking young pilot.
The load, I thought. Not very tactful.
Tact or no, my hand shot up instantly for the front seat, and he proceeded to pack my sparse luggage into a cavity within the wing of the plane. Then, gathering every ounce of athleticism I possessed in my somewhat mature body, I clambered awkwardly into my cockpit seat.
Young Jim provided me with a pair of earphones to dampen the noise. I looked with interest at the controls. He forestalled me quickly.
"Do not touch this, or this. But, you'll have a great view, mate. Just relax, and enjoy. Keep your feet right there."
Was there a touch of apprehension in his voice?
Paranoid about possible consequences, I resolutely kept my hands and feet where Jim had indicated would be most prudent. The scenery was indeed fantastic, and he pointed out the features of small islands below us. The water was emerald green -- the sky blue and cloudless.
We hit a few turbulent spots on the way and one of the passengers was being quietly airsick into the provided bags. He wasn't immediately behind me though, so it was muffled. Jim and I exchanged small grins. It was as though we were in first class, comfortably insulated from the hoi-polloi behind us.
Finally we landed.
"Ya know how ta drive, mate, don'cha?" We laughed.
Shortly we were on the way to our cottage right next to the beach. There were no other cars on the road.
Part II coming up in next week's edition!
And now, just a little reminder . . .
That's it for now folks!