Spectacular Keppel islands captured and bound in new book
MIKE Middleton grew up sailing boats and racing on Sydney Harbour from the age of five - but it doesn't compare to our Keppels.
A few years ago, Mr Middleton sailed around the Keppel islands and fell in love with the white sandy beaches and crystal clear oceans and decided to write a book.
He first visited the Capricorn Coast in the 1970s and 80s, during the "Get Wrecked" tourism campaign, then more recently he took a six month stint and another seven month stint sailing around the islands, taking in their spectacular beauty and collecting photographs.
A visit to the Whitsundays last year convinced him the Keppels were "more natural and easily accessible".
"I found there wasn't a lot of information that boaties and yachties wanted to know," Mr Middleton said.
Diving into the archives, he spent countless hours researching the islands' history and talking to locals.
"It kept giving me more incentive to finish the book... the more I dug, the more I wanted to find out and tell the stories," he said.
The Keppel Isles is the fourth publication for the master cinematographer with more than 30 years experience in television cinematography and stills photography, working for hundreds of television networks around the world, including more than 10 years at the ABC.
The Keppel Isles focuses on the islands' history from the early beginnings of the traditional owners, the Woppaburra, through to the peak tourism era of the 70s and 80s as well as the more recent, controversial journey.
Mr Middleton said that an important part of the book was working with the Woppaburra, seeking their permission and learning their stories.
The first run of 100 books sold out in three days.
"It has been really well received by the yachting community and the locals," Mr Middleton said.
"People have been buying two copies, one for them and one to give to someone."
He now says the book will help the Capricorn Coast tourism sector, particularly Great Keppel Island, which has been "sitting idle for too long".
"It is a golden opportunity for anyone to get moving with it," Mr Middleton said.
"I think an eco-tourism development, because it suits the island and seems to be what the locals want."
And local is what Mr Middleton hopes to become.
"I really like it up here... it suits me," he said.
"It is very friendly, so easily accessible and it's is affordable.
"What a great part of the world Capricorn Coast is."
The Keppel Isles is available from Keppel Bay Marina, Rosslyn Bay Information Centre, Emu Park Newsagency and Post Office. It can also be purchased online through www.keppelisles.com