Sharon invited me over to her island on Thursday. Instead of making our usual Lines in the Sand on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island), she encouraged us to explore Mudlines in the Mangroves of Russell Island. Also known by the Aboriginal name of Canaipa (rhymes with sniper, which is apt as it means land of the pointed spear), it is a fifteen minute sojourn on a cat from the mainland. Six of us have shirked our usual routine to find artful meaning in the littoral.
When we get to the site and wander down to the shoreline I can see across the Canaipa Passage to the western shore of Minjerribah. I have never seen this side of the island, a line of trees descends into small sandstone cliffs that descend into the sea. The mangroves are alive with bird-call - small honey eaters dart through the branches while ibises honk in the sky. We wander round stumbling as we get used to the suck of the mud as we walk. Abandoned boats are being reclaimed by nature, exposing old copper nails greened by the elements.
I settle away from the group under the spreading boughs of a mangrove, it's soothing looking up into the branches. I settle to sketch the scene, tucked into the curving trunk. When returning to base-camp I find Sharon experimenting with the idea of scale. Using the grassy marshland as a canvas, she is arranging fallen branches which to my eye looks to be a dragon rising from the ground.
Island time ends I'm dropped back to the jetty to catch my boat back to my usual regime. This seven hour adventure has given me the fabulous illusion of a much longer break. The winter sunshine, the listening to juicy art-talk, the travelling across the bay and the sanctuary of the natural environment have nourished my being. Days later, idly scratching at my midge bites I'm remind that I'm itching to get back out into nature - littoral or literal.
relating to or situated on the shore of the sea or a lake: the littoral states of the Indian Ocean.
• Ecology relating to or denoting the zone of the seashore between high- and low-water marks, or the zone near a lake shore with rooted vegetation: limpets and other littoral molluscs.
a region lying along a shore: irrigated regions of the Mediterranean littoral.
• Ecology the littoral zone.