Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Paper Nautilus

Some years ago my friend Rob Thompson and I were flying my glider from Tasmania to mainland Australia when the weather closed in as we were approaching Flinders Island. We were forced to land on tiny Cape Baren Island (population about 250) at an airstrip which has a very short cross strip in case there are strong winds. By now it was blowing hard, and it was a very difficult landing.

We stayed overnight with the postmaster and his wife. Their son was in the RAAF (The Royal Australian Air Force) so they were very pleased to host a couple of fellow pilots. The postmaster's wife was a Tasmanian aborigine. The history of the Tasmanian aborigines is a very sad one indeed - the race was almost wiped out by the impact of the Europeans.

The postmaster collects paper nautilus shells which are from a type of squid which sometimes wash up on the beaches of the Bass Strait islands in the thousands after storms. Very few of the delicate shells survive as they are pecked and eaten by birds. I brought several of the rare and beautiful shells back to Sydney in the back of the glider, very carefully packed.

I made a present of one of those shells to Emile for his 18th birthday.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, those are beautiful! What a neat gift.

    Just catching up on your posts after a blogging hiatus. Glad to see you're still posting away!