I was surprised at how emotional I felt leaving Middle Percy Island just as dawn broke on Thursday 4 June.
The previous day, like many hundreds of yachties before us, we had hung a sign in the A-frame structure, bearing the name of our boats and the dates we had visited the Island.
We first hung our sign in 1986 when we sailed to Middle Percy on our original cruising boat Rondo, a 28 foot timber yacht, designed, built and sailed round the world by the late Doug Brown.
Our sign had been painted on a beautiful piece of mahogany that Doug had left on the boat and which fortunately for us, was still there when we purchased her in 1986.
When we revisited the Island in November 2014, on our way to Brisbane after taking possession of Bali Hai at Hamilton Island, we discovered the piece of mahogany still looking good but the passage of years had not been so kind to the paint which had completely peeled off.
We felt sad about this particularly as just a few weeks previously we had heard that Doug Brown had died.
Unfortunately, we hadn’t been able to attend his funeral as that day we were heading north to pick up Bali Hai. With a borrowed truck loaded with all our gear and a flight booked to the UK just weeks ahead, we were on a very tight time schedule.
One of the last tasks we ticked off our list before leaving Scarborough Marina was to pick up our newly engraved sign on the original piece of mahogany.
When we arrived at Middle Percy we headed straight to the A-frame, built by upper crust Englishman Andy Martin, who had lived on the Island from 1964 until the 1990s, as a resource for passing yachties.
Armed with a drill, screwdrivers, and stainless steel screws that had also come from Rondo, we found a spot in the eaves of the A-frame.
As Jonathan screwed on the sign we felt that it was our goodbye to dear Doug.
Our sign is simple but we think, very fitting.
“Dot and Jonathan King
Bali Hai 2014
Bali Hai 2015”
Vale Doug Brown
Vale Andy Martin