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Day 20 Coffs Harbour to Woolgoolga

The Coffs Harbour departure was fairly relaxed, plenty of jokes and sarcasm as usual to begin the day. I paddled out from Park beach due to the major convenience factor of staying in the Lifeguard headquarters there!

The currents, swell and winds were all in my favour and for the first day in what feels like forever i was smashing the days paddle. Full of energy and enthusiasm Fish and i chatted all things life, fears and travel.

In terms of marine life today that was visible we saw nothing…

The ocean is sometimes like an aquatic desert, such a vast open expanse yet so isolating and unforgiving.

Part way across the open stretch of water i used the banana plantations on the hills of Coffs as a marker to judge my progress, as well as the beautiful rocky islands that jut up out of the ocean on this stretch of coast line.

About 3 hours in to the days paddle my right shoulder started locking up again, after so much time at sea with an incredibly repetitious motion this pain started playing on my mind. The more i tried to push on and change my focus and awareness the worse it became until it was unbearable to lift my arm yet i knew i hadn’t pushed hard enough to really damage myself. I had more in the tank for sure but i wasn’t comfortable to damage my shoulder over it for this day’s paddle. If i was going to get shoulder dramas then what i time to get them… its only taken 500km for the pain to truly stop me!

Fish got me on the jet ski despite my semi unwillingness and around to Woolgoolga we raced. I could tell he was concerned about what was going on  for me through his body language and urgency of hustle to get off the water.

Meanwhile the surf and wind had been building so the swell was getting pretty big so getting to shore had the potential to be technical. Fish got me kind of close but as we scooted in i noticed a little right hander wave rolling in across the beach, i couldn’t help myself. I demanded to be dropped off so i could get a few waves in, and that was the exact buzz i needed! Sore shoulder… what sore shoulder i didn’t feel it at all within those brief fun moments!

As i dragged my soggy feet up the sandy beach of Woolgoolga i was greeted by some lovely familiar faces. There have been a group of travellers driving up the east coast of Australia from Tasmania that have met me at quite a few of my locations now! Its great to check in with them on their travels as well as update them on my adventures too!

After recovering from a mild case of hypothermia i sat in the sunshine and thawed out, to experience warm sunshine without wind and water was an absolute luxury! Moments later Jo one of the traveler from Tassie who is a school teacher /massage therapist offered me a treatment. I jumped on that opportunity and literally fell asleep on the front deck of the surf club as she worked her magic. The state of relaxation she was able to create for me was fantastic, it also helped alleviate the stress i was holding onto in my thoughts of my shoulder.

After the massage it was all stations go to get this shoulder seen to, there were no available appointments to see a Dr for weeks but somehow this mermaid miraculously got an appointment within an hour, as well as a referral for an MRI scan on my shoulder. The Dr left us with the feedback that getting a scan would take weeks… Fish wasn’t going to swallow her words and got on the phone right away. I’m not sure with if its the way her words things or his manner of absolute professionalism but within the hour i was booked in for an MRI in Coffs. They kept the medical facility open just for us which was crazy and i was ushered away for the scan right away. Anyone who has had an MRI knows they are loud and not so fun, especially when you have to go head first into the tiny space of white circular walls. I closed my eyes before i was slid inside the machine as i didn’t want to see any of the inside. With the walls so close and practically on you its enough to make anyone claustrophobic. I lay and waited for the awkward orchestra of jackhammers to begin. Despite the noise being incredibly loud i managed to fall asleep, as  long as there was some kind of rhythmic rhythm i was all snores and smiles.

The second the scan was complete yet again it was all stations go, I had the Regent Street Physiotherapy team on the phone sorting me out with prognosis, diagnosis and treatment options. Craig the owner of my Newcastle based physiotherapy is a shoulder specialist so my every confidence was with his call of what to do next. Within a matter of moments i had physio appointments pre booked for my in Byron Bay and one tomorrow in Coffs with Matt at Coffs Coast Physiotherapy. My support networks are seriously above and beyond efficient!

Getting back to the Woolgoolga surf club a little exhausted and frazzled it was lovely to chat with the friendly natured and generous locals! The community spirit in so many of these small surf towns is incredible! All our beds were made and i had a little basket of skin care goodies waiting for me. Later Mark dropped in with a food delivery for dinner for the Mermaid Team, i was so grateful to have such a yummy home cooked meal and i think Nick was happy to have a night off the stress of preparing me something i’ll enjoy thats meatless!

As a wide down we all watched the movie Patch Adams, its the first bit of tv I’ve seen on the trip and a bit of a luxury too as i don’t have a tv at home anyway! I totally rate this movie, however having something to absorb the tears is a must. Did realise I’m quite the emotional viewer!




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