Another episode from travel writer Paul Burns' days in K’Gari
It’s 1am and I’m standing on the porch of our accommodation, a basic but comfortable cabin nestled in the islands (K’Gari) wild interior. Hovering between two worlds, our “real” waking world and the one we visit when we sleep. In my parasomnia state, I’ve got out of bed to wait for the other volunteer to join us in our remote location.
We’re in a truly remote location and there’s literally no way someone else is coming to join us. We drove over two hours north from the Sunshine Coast to Rainbow Beach before taking an open ferry across the narrow channel to the southern end of K’Gari. Travelling perhaps ten or fifteen miles up the island’s highway (Seventy Mile Beach) before turning deep into the interior through a network of sand tracks.
My middle of the night excursion, in itself wouldn’t be all that strange a story, a simple case of sleepwalking induced by a first night in an unfamiliar setting.
Things only really become strange in the morning over breakfast, when it soon became clear that I wasn’t the only person to have felt this Other person slipping into their dreams. My fellow travellers and volunteers, Jay, Jane and Bronwyn, had all felt the something similar, that someone was trying to join us. Our guide and project leader Robbo the only one of us immune to this presence.
Throughout the next four days as we travel all over this amazing island, we can never quite shake the feeling that someone else is there. It’s never an unsettling or threatening presence, he’s just there…but not quite there. In this Australian paradise (K’Gari means paradise) inhabited by the Aboriginal, Butchella people for at least 5000 years. It’s not difficult to imagine that something of the Dreamtime has reached out curious at what we’re doing in his land.
We talk of him frequently, much to the confusion of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services, rangers we’re working alongside. We even gave him a name – Greg.
Since leaving K’gari far too many years ago now, I never felt Greg’s presence again. But I think of him occasionally, wondering where he is now, if he’s still there on K’Gari or if he left, perhaps following someone to their home.
Main image, Greg on K'Gari