Saturday, 16 July 2011


A pink ocean doesn’t happen every day. The deck overlooking the beach was packed with oohing and aahing campers as the sky turned brilliant orange (see Maria’s last post) There were only five of us out. There was a pause between sets during which time we sat on our boards and did the round of superlatives to describe the scene of which we were a part. Great rolling mal waves. Still water. Extraordinary mountain and sky backdrop. We surfed until it got too dark and the pink ocean had become navy. It was Tony & Kim’s last surf before they left. Perfect.

Last night the sky wasn’t as brilliant but I was just as stoked. This time only three of us out including Johanna and our friend Jules. Johanna got some great rides, some of the best she’s got I reckon, especially seeing as she paddled onto all the waves herself, some that were quite big for her. I was so proud. And I got a few little rides too that left me fully chuffed. We couldn’t believe there was only the three of us out. We surfed until it was dark; again.

Being out there with friends feeling at one with the ocean is really cool. I think one of the special things about this time at this place is the amazing sense of community among people in this extraordinarily beautiful, most easterly bit of this land. It’s something that could not be orchestrated; but it is wonderful to be a part of. Iconic location, fantastic people, friendships that blossom despite only annual engagement, and for a small time we live a little slice of heaven on earth.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Ready for Home

It feels like a last day today. It is hard to put into words how it feels– slow, somewhat somber, a lot of lasts (last walk on the beach, last surf, last sunset on the deck), saying goodbyes as friends leave, a sense of loss at what will be left behind combined with a gradual building of desire to return home, thankfulness.

I feel ready to return now. Heidi is home sick and we want to get back to her, I have some training to begin for a new/second job (casual/relief position), we have Zac’s 21st to organize, a front yard to finish renovating, a weekend away with friends to plan, a visit to Tassie to see my family……so much to be done, I am fidgety to begin.

Colin and Johanna have headed out for a last surf (unless of course the conditions are great in the morning when no doubt Colin will fit just one more in) I am hoping for a repeat of yesterday’s brilliant sunset. We are having dinner tonight with Gavan and Julie (Moroccan curries) and then tomorrow will be a slow pack up and leave when we are ready. Having booked to stay til Saturday we have the luxury of a slower start tomorrow – no 10am deadline to be observed.

And of course before we leave we will rebook our spot for 3 weeks this time next year!

 A spectacular sunset

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

the reverse commute

Surf. Shower – shoes and shirt. Cup of tea and cheap fruitcake on the deck near the beach. Farewells. Lonely drive. Coolly airport. Soul-less busyness sprinkled with joyful greetings. Burger for dinner. Jetstar and unusually enjoyable conversation with author in 6B. Long cab queue in the chill. Home. With Heidi in Mario (her caravan). Read mail pile. With Rachel on her bed planning public transport route and Latitude interview prep. Food. Sleep on makeshift pillow – they’re all in Byron Bay. Heidi unwell in my bed. Early morning tram. Seven Seeds coffee and meeting. Workshop – scheming to change the world. Thinking about my girls. Engaging with my clients. Good people. Maxicab. Qantas Club. Soup and Pizza – OK. Emails and busywork. Bookshop – nothing new under the sun. Jetstar. Lucky Wonders loud in my ears, eyes closed. Peace. Hot Chocolate – not bad. Coolly airport. Late night, dark double lanes south. Starry sky. Lights on high beam. Windows and music up. Nearly ‘home’. Sleeping beauties. Sweet.

“I have lost interest in the world you assume I want to make it in.”

“Do you remember when you still believed in the possibility of something more, something more.” (Lucky Wonders)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Lonesome tonight

Johanna and I are feeling a bit lonesome tonight, in the space of 24 hours we have gone from 7 to 2. The kids left late last night for their flight back to Melbourne, it is always a bit of a flat day after they leave – we miss having them around. Then late this afternoon Colin caught a flight back to Melbourne for work tomorrow. He will fly back up tomorrow night. So it is just the two of us for a bit.

We sat down on the deck after Colin had gone and watched the sun set talking with one of our neighbors as the sky turned yellow and pink and other friends caught the last waves of the day. Some of our Queensland friends left this weekend also (the end of their holidays) so this week feels very different – sadness at those who have gone and thankfulness that we are still here. In fact we have extended our stay by a couple of days. Once we realized that Johanna did not start school until next Wednesday and Colin had no meetings scheduled for Monday we decided to stay the extra two days. It means that when Colin comes back tomorrow he still has a couple of days to surf rather than a day to pack up and the long drive back – much better!

The weather has been amazingly wonderful since the first four days of rain, blue skies and warm every day. We are making the most of it while it lasts. It does not feel like winter up here at the moment. The surf here at the Pass has picked up and at some point in the day the waves are ride-able. It is so much easier to walk down the path to the beach rather than pack up the car and drive somewhere else.

Johanna and I have just eaten some pasta, courtesy of Lattina, and have a couple of chick flicks to watch, chocolate to console us tonight and another day in ‘paradise’ to look forward to tomorrow…..

Saturday, 9 July 2011

happy days

It has been a truly fantastic week since Rachel, Heidi, Zac and Jan joined us. Last year our mid-year Byron Bay sojourn was defined by rain and clouds. It started ten days ago with a similar pattern. A week ago that changed and we’ve scarcely sighted a cloud since.

We make a big deal of breakfast, then we surf. Yesterday was perfect conditions for the beginners and if it wasn’t for my work commitments in the afternoon we would have stayed in the water at Broken Head for longer … our bodies gloriously exhausted.

Scott and Jenny’s bright orange gazebo is set up alongside our yurt. In the afternoon, after our salad rolls or cheese and dip lunches, the kids ritually lie in the sun as it comes in underneath. It is a happy sight.

Last night Scott initiated a dinner gathering of a bunch of our friends which spilled under the gazebo. We sat around, ate, drank, talked and laughed. The kids played Uno in a raucous circle on the ground. Maria and I made a rush to the local Woolies and picked up a 20 serve pav to celebrate a friends wedding anniversary. Good times. Happy days.

And now I think I’ve cleared the work decks for the morning so I can re-tire my shoulders in whatever waves we can find.

A Perfect Day

Pancakes, a steady stream of rolling, rideable waves, a chicken subway, a playground with fun and entertaining kids, a warm, cleansing shower, barramundi, corn salsa and potatoes, a card game, some junk food, and a long, contented sigh.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Taking it easy

The days are blurring into a repeat pattern;

Colin cooks breakfast (spinach, salmon, scrambled eggs and hollandaise sauce the other day),

we pack up and head to wherever the surf is (Broken Head these days),

we come back eat lunch and lounge in the sun,

the afternoons are relaxed – walking, shopping, snoozing, mucking about on the beach (Colin sometimes works),

we eat dinner and then play cards, watch movies or chat with the neighbours. Last night we headed to the local RSL club for dinner and to watch the State of Origin final.

A steady stream of action and inaction.

 Jan's first success at surfing





Tuesday, 5 July 2011

byron bay

The last few days a bloke from Sheffield in Tasmania has been walking his alpaca around the streets. The odd thing is that it does not seem odd.

Byron Bay does get to you. Like few other places you find yourself contemplating doing and being stuff that is ‘rainbow’ oriented. As we walked along the beach this afternoon a woman crossed ahead of us in a loose white top and white pants. She looked like she should have been in Noosa. Byron Bay has a way of moulding people and sorting people.

There are more metres of dreadlocks per metre of human hair than any other place I know, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Most people who come here and stay beyond a transient night or two find themselves seeking to ‘release their inner child’ … try some things that normally get dismissed. A few of our (50 something) friends went skateboarding today. Brad and his son take their bongo drums and guitar down to the beach as we sit on the deck. They wander too far along for the sound to carry to us, but I  can still hear the rhythms from last year. Every man and his dog, including us, wants to experience the surf from on a board.

So here we are in this iconic little town.

My shoulders are a bit sore. And I can feel the effects of the sun and salt on my face. Zac and Jan have just gone misere (500 bid) two hands in a row to collective groans around the table. Zac loves bidding misere and he usually get it. Junk food gets pushed around the table to avoid the cards. One packet of junk gets finished and on cue Johanna asks if there is more …

Maria and Johanna agree that next time they must be due for a decent hand. I try to crack a punny joke. No one gets it.

So here we are. Together, doing nothing much. And doing what matters most.

Here comes the Sun

Here comes the sun. After days of showers and grey skies, clear blue skies and warm sunny days are just beautiful. Just in time for the kids’ arrival.

Sunday was the turning point, the first day with no rain since we arrived. We made the most of our trip to the Byron Bay market, finding our usual honey stall and the place we buy a Peanut and Lime sauce for stir fry (which we ate tonight). Johanna had a doughnut from her favourite stall and we listened to Juzzie Smith entertain the crowd with some amazing harmonica playing (two harmonica’s and his nose were involved at one point) We set the kids tents up in the afternoon, went across to Brunswick Heads with friends for dinner (at our favourite pub there) and then drove up to Coolangatta to pick up the kids and Jan.

Although the weather was beautiful today the surf was not. We headed over to Broken Head to try our luck there – mixed results, some did OK and some did not! Later, we walked into town and partook of ice cream from our favourite gelati shop – In the Pink – you just can’t go past mars bar and sticky date, although the banana and cinnamon is divine as well.

We are all crowded into the van now, seven is a squash but cosy all the same. Rachel is snoozing beside me, Heidi listening to music, Zac, Jan and Johanna playing scrabble on the iPad and Colin has taken himself outside with his computer to do whatever it is he does.

500 has just started ……

Saturday, 2 July 2011


The rain doesn’t matter. Yesterday was sunny then clouds ahead of a shower. Back to sunshine, clouds and showers, all day.  We wandered around town, picked up supplies for our Mexican beef and chilli soup and poked around shops.

Left overs for lunch (paella from last night and a spot of salmon curry soup) and I did a couple of hours work while Maria and Johanna did their daily walk to the lighthouse out at Cape Byron. By then Johanna and I were feeling itchy for some waves so we headed down past the deck and had only got a couple when we spotted Maria on the beach with some other friends, board tucked under her arm after some successful persuasion from them. We surfed until the light faded. I was stoked to see the girls get some good rides.

What is it about exercise and being outdoors. Our urban living really deprives us doesn’t it? Add in some good food and some belly laughing with friends … can’t complain really. It a long drive up here … but worth every kilometre.

As I snuck out this morning made my way down here to the Café to catch-up on correspondence from yesterday, I stood in a sun-shower and marvelled at the vivid colours in a full rainbow and a few friends loaded boards onto the roof of the old valiant to have a look down the road.

A couple of weekends ago we had a nightmare with Tiger Airways when we bought the Ergo team and families up to the Gold Coast for the long weekend. Many hours on the phone and lots of dollars later we had a great weekend, no thanks to Tiger cancelling our flight with less than 12 hours notice. We are so looking forward to Rachel, Heidi, Zac and Jan coming up tomorrow evening. As I lay in bed reading the Age on the iPhone waiting for the Café to open this morning, I breathed a deep deep sigh of relief that the kids are on Jetstar as I read that CASA has grounded all Tiger flights for a week. PHEW!!


There are some moments in life when you just really appreciate everything you have, and feel like you don’t need anything else.

One of these moments is when you’re sitting on your surfboard, waiting for a good wave, the sun is setting, the water’s beautiful, the sky is beautiful.

Another is when you’re under a sturdy roof, surrounded by sturdy walls and the smells of a delicious cooked dinner fills your nostrils, the heater reliably blowing warm air into the caravan.

And when you’ve reached the end of a 2.5km walk with many hills, (which means steps and harder walking,) and you’re on the Point at Cape Byron, looking out into ocean on every side of you. And there’s that feeling of satisfaction flooding your system. (Then it vanishes when you think of the walk back J)

And when you drop down onto a perfect wave, the exhilaration of it taking you over. And then you’re riding the wave, surfboard gliding smoothly on top of the surface. Then the wave breaks and you plunge into the cold, frothing water, feeling the excitement of a great ride rush into your veins.

Friday, 1 July 2011


I was almost not going to go in but relented at the last moment. There was a group heading down to the beach to surf, I thought I should join in the Byron Spirit even though I was feeling cold at the time and the thought of bathers, water, wind and cold was not that appealing. I have to admit once I put my wet suit on I actually felt warmer than I had before.

Twenty minutes later I was trying to stand upright in the water thinking this is crazy. The wind was blowing, spray billowing from the waves rolling in, it was raining and the current was so strong it was difficult to remain upright let alone walk the fifty or so meters to where the waves were breaking. And, the rain and sun created a rainbow, my wetsuit kept me warm, I managed to catch a few waves in and actually stand on my board – crazy and exhilarating.

Johanna had a huge fish swim under her board and moments later Colin looked up and out to sea and saw a dolphin take a flying leap and propel itself up and out of the water.

The evening finds us warm and dry in our van safe from the wind and rain, our tummy’s full (Colin cooked paella in his pot) and we are about to watch a dvd.

What a strange existence it is, this life in a caravan by the sea and what strange people all around us who love to surf no matter what. Crazy.