Stifling heat and dozens of police were on hand to greet more than 1000 school leavers who arrived at Rottnest Island today.
Sarah, from Armadale, said she had been waiting for the trip since she saw her older brother go to Rottnest when she was seven.
“It seems like a downer so far. Look at all the cops. But I guess it’s only early days yet,” the 17-year-old, who is staying at Longreach, said.
Police said that the leavers had been incredibly well behaved so far and there had been no problems - a trend they hope will continue.
By mid-afternoon, police sniffer dogs at the jetty had found no drugs, and no alcohol had been seized.
“Last year it was a sea of faces, but the numbers are way down,” Sgt Pete Bahen said.
About 1600 leavers arrived on the island today, but Sgt Bahen expected up to 3000, many more of whom would arrive on private boats.
Leavers had booked out all the unit accommodation on the island but Sgt Bahen said boats were his greatest cause for concern.
“My greatest fear is boats with people drinking too much and trying to come ashore, it’s always a recipe for disaster.”
Another concern for Sgt Bahen is toolies, older people looking to take advantage of young women, who he said would be removed if they were found on the island.
“Our message for toolies is you’ll be straight behind bars, and you’ll be off the island so fast your feet won’t even touch the ground,” Sgt Bahen said.