A Weekend at Goat Island / by Steven Johnson

Mandy and I spent the recent long weekend at Goat Island, which is an island in the Clayton Bay area of the lower Lake Alexandrina / Coorong region. Our friends actually own the entire island and the only way to get there is by boat so it feels quite remote, even if it is only a 10 minute boat ride back to 'civilisation'. The island is entirely self sufficient which adds to the remote feeling - the house runs off generator (which is generally only turned on at night), water is from rainwater tanks, a septic tank treats the sewerage, the fridge runs off gas, and heating is from a wood-fuelled pot belly heater.

We always enjoy heading there and spending time relaxing, helping with the odd jobs around the island and enjoying the company of good friends. As it was winter this time the pot belly heater was going most of the weekend and it was nice and cosy sitting around the heater drinking a nice wine or port.

The island usually comes alive at sunset and it's a bit of a tradition to head to the top of the main hill on the island with a beer or wine in hand and watch the sun set. We were lucky this time to have some nice cloud formations on one of the nights even though most of the weekend was quite overcast.

If I can pull myself out of bed in the morning (i.e. depending on how much wine we have drunk the night before) sunrise is a beautiful time to experience the island. It's very serene as usually everyone else is sleeping in a little, and if we have our dog with us she enjoys a morning walk/run around the island.

Speaking of our dog, Layla (who is a Hungarian Vizsla) absolutely loves this place. She is right in her element as she can run around the grassy fields, smelling all the different scents and pointing out the birds and other wildlife. The times that we have brought her to the island with us she just doesn't stop to rest and runs and plays all day.

Usually our friend's dog, Ollie, is there also, and the two dogs have a great time together whether it is chasing a ball, playing with a stick, or kissing each other! When we have visited the island over Summer we haven't brought the dogs as there can be quite a few snakes around however as it was Winter this time we weren't too worried about snakes and were comfortable bringing Layla. One day while the guys were working in the shed doing 'manly' stuff the girls thought they would go for a walk (it takes about 15 minutes to walk to the other side of the island) and of course the dogs wanted to go with them, however, on their walk they actually stumbled across a large red bellied black snake. The snake must have been hibernating or something as apparently the dogs were basically touching the snake, and sniffing it wondering what it was, before the girls realised and called the dogs away and quickly retreated back to the house!

It was a fantastic weekend as usual at Goat Island, and unfortunately we had to leave and return to civilisation, working life etc. , that is until the next trip over to the island!