Here’s a catch-up post because I’ve been so down and out with the dreaded “Aussie Flu.” Better now and in Melbourne with the my mom and the fam. More on that in a future post. For now, here’s some pix from Ginger and Ian’s first day of my flu (the day before his solo surf adventure which will be the next post). They had a fun outing to the town of Avalon with Jenna and the girls and friends. Seems the girls learn to skate good and early around here and have fun doing it. Also note a craze I’m sure would spread like wildfire back home among the under 3 set: Babycinos (that’s baby chinos), which are little bitty cups of steamed milk (soy or cow) with a dash of cocoa on top and a little spoon and saucer to boot. G LOVED this and I know your kids will too. Too much!
1. I brought the stroller with me when I drove G Rain in the Getz to get her to sleep cause I was “too sick to walk.”
2. All I did was pop a couple of tires and didn’t actually get in a head on collision on the wrong side of the road or anything
3. My body was strong enough to walk the hour back to Matt and Jenna’s even with the aches and fever
4. Ian did hold it over me that he’d been right that I shouldn’t drive in this country and I didn’t hold it over him that he took off on an all day surf adventure with me so sick
5. We got the rental car company to pay for the 2 new tires because they were bald and unsafe and never should have popped just because I BRIEFLY went up on the curb with one of them (the curb which everyone here says sticks out way too far anyhow)
ps- on a totally unrelated note, PLEASE please please check out the video to our new favorite song, heard on the fabulous local “Triple J” radio station here, you won’t be sorry: Mika’s “Big Girl You Are Beautiful” (and we couldn’t agree more)
Yesterday was a 2 boat day in more ways than one. In the morning, Jenna walked us down to her friends Guy and Pita’s place on the water where they keep their kayak. It was the Cadillac of ocean kayaks, with room enough for their whole family of 5 on it so there was plenty of room for me in the front, Ian in back and G (in life-vest, Grandmas) in the middle. Of course the first thing I did was accidentally splash her with the paddle so she started to cry and say she wanted to “get down.” Well we were in the middle of the bay by then and there was no “getting down”. But we started to sing the “Boy and a Girl in a Little Canoe” song and she cheered right up. Soon, she was leaning back against Ian’s legs and almost asleep from the gentle lolling of the boat by the time we got back. She loved it.
That aft we took a ferry/fairy ride from Palm Beach to Kuring-gai National Park’s Basin campgrounds. G’s been really into boats lately and she sure did get her fill cause the first boat we got on turned out to be the wrong one. I went and asked the driver and his first mate if we could just stay on and then get on the right one without paying extra, which they agreed to, but not without some good ol’ Aussie ribbing first: “Excuse me, I think we’re on the wrong boat.” “Where are you going?” “The Basin.” “You’re on the wrong boat! How’d you manage that one? Congratulations Darling, you’re on the wrong boat.” etc. When we boarded the next boat is was much of the same: “Umm do we need new tickets, we’re the ones who got on the wrong boat.” “Ooooh, so you’re the ones. CONGRATULATIONS!” “Yes, thank you.”
Anyhow, the whole 2 for the price of 1 thing was quite a good scam, as we’d covered the entire bay by the time we were done and it was really lovely. I recommend trying it if you’re ever in the area. The Basin was gorgeous, with emerald waters being fished by lazy campers on it’s sandy banks and a ranging grassy meadow dotted with grazing wallabies (like Kangaroos but smaller and don’t confuse them or else you’ll be teased in the above manner). G needed a nap by then so we once again put the McClaren to the test by walking her up a very steep trail to some Aboriginal carvings. She was still snoozing by the time we got back and so we got a quiet bite to eat together at the fabulous Swelter Cafe by the boat dock. I am pleased to report that the food here is SO much better than up north and actually worth the outrageous prices. Either that, or the sticker shock is just wearing off…
Northern Beaches Sydney has been small but fun. Offshore, 2-4 foot every day. No complaints. In lieu of any quality surf shotz here’s an ode to the making of two of my all-rounder boards that get me through the “everyday”waves such as these. Had fun in the weeks and days before departing SD with Steve on the Pendoflex asymmetrical and Jeff Mcallum 6-2 pintail quad. Both these guys are a pleasure to work with,Coltrane on the speakers makes it go down all the better; spazz jazz, catylist -supreme.
Over the last few days we’ve made our way down to Sydney (or rather Palm Beach just outside of Sydney) to visit our friends Matt and Jenna and their 3 lovely girls. It was a good adventure on the way down, if a bit challenging to keep the Little Bear happy in the car for longish spells over 3 days time. She did really well, all things considered actually.
Just before we left, we stopped in Lennox and G got to watch the girl’s paddle club practicing on a tea tree saturated lake. Those girls could really move across that burnt umbre water. What an inspiration they were to G Rain! Along the way south, we took a side trip to Dorrigo National Park’s skywalk and rainforest trails (yes, the surf got flat and I got my way– hurray!). It was lovely and G Rain did the whole walk by herself while we marveled from behind at what a big girl she’s become. At night, we stayed in one of Australia’s best kept secrets (at least as far as I was concerned), their Holiday Parks. There, we “camped” in incredible wooded settings on both a mossy creek as well as another gorgeous beach in cabins with kitchens, tvs, etc. The whole place was like a kiddie heaven, with playgrounds, a jumpy mat, merry-go-rounds and a campfire. They even give you marshmallows to roast when you check in! All in that incredible natural setting to boot. Too terrific!
Glad to finally have arrived at Matt and Jenna’s tree house. They are great old friends who we hardly ever get to see anymore and for Ginger, it means the playmate drought has finally come to an end. When we go here, the girls had their pet guinea pig out on the pool deck and I thought G would faint from pleasure. Palm Beach and its environs like Avalon and Mona Vale is one of the loveliest places I can ever imagine settling in. From the tree house, we look out onto a Meditteranean-like harbor with endless surfing beaches surrounded by gorgeous homes nestled into the woodlands. Sydney is just a short ferry ride (yes Ginger, Fairies!) away so we’ll have lots more to report back soon. Until then, we really are missing you all at home and are thrilled to hear you’re reading along.
5 Reasons this is the Good Land of Oz
1. People make a living wage without overworking one bit, they have healthcare and pensions and the dole for the dry spells and there is abundance everywhere you look.
2. The air is so clean you can almost choke on it (in a good way) and the water is glass-bottom-boat clear all the time, so far as I can tell.
3. The radio is exceptional, with news that actually informs you and many stations playing bands you’d want to go downtown to see every night if you could.
4. They have gobs of National Parks and set aside reserves for surfing with golden green points and rainbow lorakeet filled gums.
5. Did I mention how cute the koalas look on the yield sings?
Kinda nice to stay and play local today because we’re getting ready to hit the road again tomorrow for Sydney (a few days drive the way we’ll do it). Seems that most days we’ve had our hair on fire in the morning to get out and see and do before G Rain needs her nap. Often, of course, she ends up sleepign on the bumpy road or in the little Getz and for that, we often pay the rest of the day. But, such is life as a gypsy. Naptime is just one of the many things that make this trip different than those we took before becoming parents. We work it out though, and often that means that each of us does our thing while the other stays with G (not that there’s much staying in G – land). I like to hike and write and Ian, well, Ian surfs of course, and since we got here that’s been the thing to do around here, lucky boy!
So this morning we headed down a trail on Lennox Head, he to surf and me and G to walk the 2kms or so to the playground in Lennox Shire. It was a bumpy but lovely ride through the grasses with a sea eagle keeping pace below us on the beach (a big shout-out to Maclaren stroller for handling off-roading in the bush just as well as being pushed down the sidewalk one-handed with a veggie roll and chai latte fresh from the bakery.)
Almost to the beachside park for G to get her play on, we crossed a bridge over some tidepools with some big girls. They had a bucket that they kept exclaiming smelled bad and so of course, G wanted to follow them to the beach. I sat back and let her approach the girls at the shore and they included her in throwing crab shells to gigantic pelicans whose torsos were bigger than our little bear, never mind their fat necks and menacing beaks. She loved it! The park had a birthday party for a little guy we’ve come to know as Spidey cause he runs around Ballina in a Spiderman costume complete with fake pecs. There was, of course, a Spiderman cake with sparklers on it, something I’ve never seen before . Having seen the way the little tykes pulled back when the sparks started to fly, I don’t see the trend catching on anytime soon.
…now to pack….
The grom armies descended upon the three rivers area just before dawn. (See Rusty Gromfest –biggest grom contest in this hemisphere). They first seized the beachie at Lennox and quickly mobilized and spread to all surrounding points, reefs, slabs and crags. Their presense would not have been as warmly accepted had the fairy gods not smiled kindly upon the land and blessed us all with absolutely perfect waves and weather. If you cant beat em’-join em.
But after several mind blowing surfs with the “little people”, we decided to seek out Shires south not yet affected by the grom invasion. When we rolled up to the lookout at Angourie the scene was idyllic. Six guys out, perfect conditions and swell wrapping all the way down the point. It only got better when I paddled out and everyone decided it was time to go in. I surfed my trusty 6-2 Mc Callum pintail quad with pedigree to boot (tail of a Brewer/nose of a Frye) which Jeff and I had made just before departing. At one point after kicking out of yet another down the line screamer I looked up the little green hill on the tip of the point to see Abi and Ginger walking hand in hand and waving. It doesn’t get much better than this I thought. I’m a lucky guy in a lucky country. As we make way to leave tomorrow for Sydney I can honestly say we got a very good sampling of this coastline every single day.
Grateful list for the day:
1. that I didn’t walk into that huge (by non-Aussie standards) spider in the middle of the trail today while hiking around Broken Head
2. that the water was warm enough that Ginger and I could get our clothes totally soaked and still stay warm in the sun while Ian got shacked right in front of us
3. the mama and baby dolphin in the clear blue waves next to Ian and the cola colored sea sponge with a honeycomb patchwork of holes that G and I found on the beach
4. that nobody (like my husband) teased me that Jews Point is so close to Snapper Rocks on one of the trailhead signs. What are they trying to say, anyway?
Last night’s high pressure whispy dews in the sky gave way to an even “higher pressure” today. Super crisp, lip parching dry offshores blew all night. Felt like a snappy day at the Ranch in October with similar size and perfection to boot. Everywhere was a perfect 1-3+ depending on if you had some scale to measure it by. Lennox looked as ammazing as a “flat” point could look and the fact that it was still ridable on a longboard and still no-one was out (due to the cold) made it seem that much more pristine. Scale is a relative feature here as pictured in the large knight on the Pacific Hwy chasing Abi and Miss G. So when I paddled out at the local beachie tonight I was pleasantly surprised to find overhead, hyper -wedging double ups with a backdoor freindly attitude. The hard offshores making everything a possibility.