Saturday, 31 December 2011

Saying Goodbye

Last Day (Wednesday)

We managed to find some decent surf at Scott’s Head so the kid’s got one last Beach Day.

Sad Day (Thursday)

We said goodbye to Zac, Heidi and Rachel at Coff’s airport and then went to the Plaza to drown our sorrows in some retail therapy. (and avoid going back to an empty van)

Distracting Day (Friday)

We felt the need to do something different today, not the usual things we did when we were all together. So we set off for the Hills, plenty of room in Pat now! Bellingen is a lovely town where yuppy meets hippie. We wandered the main street, browsed the shops and frequented a couple of cafes, pleasantly frittering away the day.

Friday, 30 December 2011


One of the songs I like has the line "I've come to know, that memories are the best things we ever had" Old Pine by Ben Howard.

I was thinking about memories, and I realized that memories aren't necessarily about what you were doing, but who you were with and what you were feeling at the time. Memories are about laughter and tears, family and friends, places you love and places you hate, sand between toes and buildings towering above.

There is always a reason why you remember it, it may have been a moment that you were so happy that you remember it always, it may be because it was one of the most heartbreaking, emotional moments so you will remember it always, sometimes you don't even know why you remember it, but you just do.

I think some of my most important and most preciously kept memories are from when I'm Yurting, because I'm doing three things I love, almost all of the time, being with my family, being at the beach, and relaxing and letting my life in Melbourne go, to just be who I am when I'm on holidays, I don't even have to think about school or anything.

Some things so far that I have in my memory from Yurting trips:

Our first trip to test out the yurt, Inverloch 2009, I remember squishing under an umbrella to get to the toilet blocks and not having the hang of the whole, public showers thing.

Our first proper excursion in the yurt, up to Brunswick Heads and Byron Bay 2009, I remember surfing down the sand banks on boogie boards.

Christmas 2009 in Emerald, I remember our little Christmas tree that sat on the table and a singing dog that I got for our family kk that I sat on a post outside so people could see it when they walked past. And when we went to Sandy Beach, and I had my first really good surf session.

End of 2010 when we spent the weekends at Ocean Grove, I remember riding my bike on the path by the river in the evenings, while the sun was setting, wind whipping through my hair.

Byron Bay, June/ July 2011, I remember boogie boarding on really steep close to shore waves with Ben, a friend from Byron Bay.

And all the nights when the whole family are together in the yurt, playing cards together, laughing, talking, and loving.

These are the moments that I will treasure forever and ever, the happy ones that light up my day thinking about them. This is what makes our trips so special, the memories that are made while on them.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Wild and Windy

The tarp is flapping with the wind gusts, there is squeaking and groaning as everything is blown about, a chair was just upended, ropes are taut and tested and the trees are swaying. And, the sun shines intermittently; the dark grey clouds racing across the sky. Despite the contrary conditions we still made the most of the day.

Colin and I watched from the rock wall this morning as some courageous jet ski enthusiasts revelled in the wild conditions, pitting themselves and their machines against mother nature.

We also had a welcome visit from some old friends who happen to be holidaying 30 minutes north of us.

After lunch we took Pat out for a spin on some off road tracks enjoying the rocking and rolling of dirt tracks and sandy paths.

At journeys end there was a short trek down to the beach (too far for me to hobble though) where Rachel and Colin had a quick dip. We came back via Main Beach where a lone surfer struggled with the breaking waves and a kite surfer nailed them.

Not tempted by the sea today, Colin and the kids took boards out on our local lagoon to muck around, having some fun on the pontoon out in the middle.

Tomorrow is the last full day for Zac, Heidi and Rachel, hopefully the wind will blow itself out by then. It is not looking good for any surfing though, Zac will have to console himself with the fact that he is coming back up to join us in a week and a half.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

too epic

Sometimes surf forecasts are unreliable. So when the sites suggested we were in for 12.5 ft clean swell you wait and see. And sometimes they get it right.

The bummer for us is that 12.5 ft swell, which translates to bigger wave faces, is way to big for us try hards. So we settle for watching those courageous enough to venture out, and using our iPhone apps to find beaches that remain open, so we cab frolic in the white water under the school master like gaze of the surf patrol.

This morning I got up and wandered along the breakwall walk behind our site and watched someone getting towed into 2.5 -3 times overhead breaks on the river  mouth. Saw him get one, then get absolutely smashed by a set, dragged back close to 1/2 kilometre before the jet ski spotted him and sped to collect him. Back out to try again.

Yesterday we ventured to Sawtell for a swim before we realised that life guards had closed most beaches. We watched the clean monsters break, hundred of metres out, it was awe inspiring. I asked some locals where to look for the fool hardy and we found ourselves sitting on a grassy knoll watching 7 or 8 blokes trying to get a ride to remember. Very few got even close but every now and again our hearts would be in our mouths and some daring soul sat on the precipice of a water mountain and took the drop.

It was Heidi's birthday (25th actually but usually celebrated on the Boxing Day), and she was keen for a swim, so we drove up to Coffs Park Beach when we learned it was open. So much fun.

I'd heard about beaches draining before a tsunami, but I've never felt the surge like this when on a summer excursion to the seaside! Unfortunately, Maria is still recovering from her dislocated toe so had to watch, but the rest of us had a ball. There we are, standing in waist deep water (any deeper is unsafe), and the whole beach gets drained so you're standing on the sand. We stay put, then comes the walls of white foam from the waves that have broken, sometimes hundreds of metres out, and next thing we're up to our chests as the water surges the other way. The last couple of days is the only time when we've all body surfed on white water and felt like it was worth the effort.

The downside of this is that we'd much rather be trying to catch smaller waves on our boards. By the time the swell dies to ridable size Zac, Heidi and Rachel will be on a flight back to Melbourne. Hopefully when Zac comes back to join us at Port Macquarie a week or so later we'll we good to go. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Humble Pie

Boxing Day morning, a beautiful sunny day with the promise of sun and warmth We are waiting for Heidi and Rachel to wake up. We are celebrating Heidi’s birthday today instead of yesterday – prolonging the celebrations. She has put in her order for a cooked breakfast, a trip to Coffs for some Boxing Day sale shopping and a swim in the huge swell – (chasing the fun and thrills from yesterday) We’ll stop at Sawtell on our way to Coffs, it has a great expanse of beautiful sandy beach, also lifeguards, necessary to be safe in such huge swell. They put the flags close together, stand in the water to watch the swimmers and you are only allowed in waist deep. Hopefully it won’t be too big and they close the beach.

Well after my going on about Colin always injuring himself I’ve had to eat some humble pie. I don’t know how, but I managed to dislocate my toe in an altercation with a shopping trolley. I knew it wasn't good when I looked down and the top half of my toe was at a curious angle to the bottom half. Though painful it was still a bit numb so I just moved it back to where it should be! I did at least do the right thing and ice it, rest it and try and take care of it (unlike some people who like to go on as if nothing is wrong and make things worse – not naming names or anything) It does mean however that at the moment I can’t put any weight on it – so no going in the surf for me – I have to watch from the beach – Boo Hoo. It also means Colin has to drive me up to the toilet block, it is quite a hike and I can’t hobble that far! The girls are making the most of the free rides too.

happy sigh

It's early evening Christmas day and everyone is starting to graze on left overs. Maria has had her Nikon out today so I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Christmas eve tradition for us is silly, I mean really silly KK, the worst you can find for $10. (Opened after ravioli with our 'Christmas' sauce.)

Then breakfast, always nice fruit and chocolate.

Followed by some Christmas tree action.

And lunch; seafood and salads, including one we invented for the occasion with cherries, feta and pine nuts.

Missing from the photos was an amazing swim in massive surf (10-12 foot waves), life guards rightly forbidding anyone out past waist deep but exhilarating none-the-less. Then home for desert, pavs with berries, brandy snaps and mousse.

Some exercise for the boys,

and Johanna mucked around in the lagoon.


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Whiling away the hours with family portraits and descriptive literature

Maria: It was Christmas but it wasn't jolly, for mum stubbed her toe on a shopping trolley.

Johanna: making decisions makes Johanna wail, so now she decides by a head or a tail.

Rachel: Rachel's back is scorching red, so she applies aloevera nude on the bed.

Colin: dad licked a fork and burned his tongue, but with the help of some ice, he still got the meat well done.

Zac: Zac is intent on getting the kitty, so he bids even if his cards are shitty.

Heidi: Heidi isn't the biggest beach commuter, so she makes faces on her computer.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Time moves differently out here,

Time isn’t measured by hours, but by activity.

At home, time is meticulously worshipped. There are deadlines for everything.

There is always a time to wake up, to meet a friend, to go to work, to get ready for work, to have lunch, to do my BSL, to do my insulin.

Having Diabetes means that time trumps almost every other aspect in life.

While we’re yurting, time waits for us to catch up to it.

It trickles by in drabs and silences while sunscreen is applied and Zac makes his signature toilet stop. Time sits back with a coffee while tired bodies prepare for the day. Time dissects itself, separating into different halves as it rushes by for the boys in the surf and dawdles along for the sun bakers on the sand. Time is lenient, it lets us command it, and it’s only when there are no deadlines that I realize how endless a day can seem.

It’s beautiful in the sun.

The last month has been a difficult one for me, and it feels like a different life out here, with the wind rushing in through open windows and all the time in the world.

Yesterday brought about the first proper beach session for us girls, with large waves and bodyboards and the kind of water that’s so clear that the ocean becomes as transparent as it is mysterious. There’s something about being in the ocean that makes a person feel insignificant. It’s so large and raw and unforgiving. The ocean is controlled by nothing and no one, except for time. One of my favorite Poets, Sarah Kay says “There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it is sent away”. Time rules the tides and commands its waters, and it humbles me to think that something I feel as if I’m escaping, has such a strong hold on another thing I have no hope of ever understanding.

The ocean gives me back the spark I felt I’d been missing, and gives me something to fight against, despite the fact that it’s inevitable I’ll never be able to tame the unruly waves.

A song to sing

The grey drizzly day yesterday saw us head back to Coffs, Heidi and Rachel were in the mood to shop! So the girls hit the shops and the boys found some waves at the local beach in Coffs – everyone happy. A late dinner (decided to put up the mega tarp to cover the tent and provide a bit more dry area) was followed by a late night of card playing; 500 won by Zac and Rachel and when we really should have gone to bed we started playing a rowdy game of Blow Fish – hopefully our neighbours are still speaking to us today.

Today was a more typical beach day. We headed to Valla Beach, about 10  minutes away, piled up with boards (surf and boogie), towels, wet suits, food and water and all the rest….. Heidi and Rachel had wetsuits on for 10 minutes and had to get out and take them off – far too hot. Us southerners are not used to warm water! The rest of us had rashi’s, hotskins etc.. which it turns out also provided us with some protection from the fierce sun. Rachel and Heidi got sun burnt despite wearing sunscreen, bummer of a way to start your holiday.

some memorable moments today:

Sweaty bodies slick with sunscreen

Wind whipping hair as it rushes through wide open car windows

Music blaring (I’m sexy and I know it), elbows out windows, laughter

Sand, salt and sea,

Fierce sun, warm water

Crashing waves and peaceful pools

Tired, heavy limbs

P.S Rachel and Heidi say to call this blog My sunburn is sexy and I know it, or the adventures of BBQ back,

They are also branching out to singing;

on the first day of sunburn my mother said to me, apply more sunscreen please

on the second day of sunburn my poor back said to me, more alovera, more moisturiser and a very very bad nights sleep

on the third day of sunburn my back starts to peel, sore, itchy shoulders, more alovera and a whole lot of com-plain-ing

More to come......

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Bling

Slow and relaxed sums up the last few days. I was wondering why it felt like that when often it is a flurry of activity – I think Colin being sidelined from the water makes all the difference. There is not the usual hurry each day to get to the beach to make the most of the mornings, or the wind direction, or the swell etc… His usual busyness in Melbourne is often replaced by the busyness of surfing. It often takes him a couple of weeks to be able to sit still for a bit. Much as he might be chaffing at the bit to get out there, I am quite enjoying the change of pace.

 We collected the kids from Coffs yesterday and within a short time the van was overflowing with bodies, phones, chargers, bags, books etc…. Outside towels seem to have multiplied, clothes randomly appearing in the most unlikely places (wherever they have been tossed off) and a mountain of thongs as an obstacle course to the caravan door– it all adds up to mess and chaos, but of the good kind, because it means we are all together.

We celebrated last night by putting on some crappy Christmas music and doing our best to make our van the most trashy in sight. Zac, being the newly graduated electrical engineer got the job of setting up the four light-up Santas at the front of the van. The girls did the Christmas tree proud with wonderful purple decorations along with some other random Christmas bling and a singing Santa.

Today the threatening showers of the last few days have arrived. It is grey and overcast, wet from the rain last night. The kids are asleep in the tent and will probably stay that way til lunch time or the smell of Colin cooking breakfast tempts them out, but not before ten I’m sure. (that will be an early start for them, midday is the usual time of waking up)
The surf conditions are poor today so we might take the opportunity to explore the coast a bit, checking out local beaches and finding the best spot so when the conditions are good, we’ll know exactly where we want to be. Colin, Zac and Johanna got their boards out yesterday and did some paddling practice on the lagoon here at the Caravan Park. There are also some nice walks around so perhaps we might even be able to venture somewhere other than a beach!