Four castaways take refuge on CQ island
FOUR castaways are riding out the coronavirus lockdown on Pumpkin Island, but they're doing it a little easier than Tom Hanks and Wilson.
Formerly based at Carnarvon Gorge in the rugged ranges of the Central Highlands, the Takarakka Bush Resort team of Anita Lord, Christine Guy and Phil and Amanda Porter, suddenly found themselves in need of emergency accommodation following the closure of the business due to COVID-19.
With no other fixed permanent addresses to return to, along with border closures and travel bans looming, anxiety spread through the camp.
That was when Takarakka Bush Resort manager Amanda Porter reached out for help to Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll.
Ms Carroll put out the call and local tourism operators came to the rescue.
Capricorn Enterprise coordinated the quartet's first night of emergency accommodation at Salt Yeppoon with its general manager Dani Dunne going out of her way to ensure the guests were comfortable.
Ms Dunne also kindly provided secure parking for their vehicles and belongings for a month.
The following day, managers of Pumpkin Island Wayne and Laureth Rumble, fired up the Pumpkin Xpress Ferry and set ashore to retrieve the bushland castaways, offering them a welcome haven to shelter the coronavirus storm.
With the pristine, eco-friendly island left somewhat abandoned after restrictions forced current visitors to return home and bookings cancelled for the foreseeable future, it was the perfect opportunity to offer some isolation indulgence for the Taka crew.
Mrs Porter said her team was incredibly thankful for the kindness shown by their tourism industry colleagues.
"Despite the current crisis impacting the world, this has been social distancing at its best," she said.
"We feel so blessed to escape to this stunning place and happy for the opportunity to repay Wayne and Laureth's generosity."
During their stay on Pumpkin Island, the former Taka tourism professionals have been helping preserve the island by keeping the gardens in order and assisting with maintenance tasks.
They have also been working on marketing projects, ensuring the island is ready to roll out the "welcome mat" once restrictions are lifted.
Mrs Rumble said it had been an absolute pleasure to welcome their new friends and show a better side to the global pandemic.
"It's a win-win for both of us and we certainly appreciate the help in keeping the island up to scratch," she said.
"And working with like-minded operators on marketing strategies and activities has been truly valuable."
Ms Carroll said she was in awe of local operators who had banded together and developed a heightened sense of community throughout the crisis.
"Seeing our members connecting with and supporting each other through these tough times is a powerful thing.
"When we feel out of control, as I am sure many of our businesses are, the one thing we can control is how we react to each other.
"Staying connected and kind to each other during this time is crucial."