Waking up in a blacked out cabin room and feeling rested beyond belief had me all smiles, having Nick bring me a breakfast smoothy in bed was just taking things to the next level!
Im sure its difficult to imagine but i was truly looking forward to getting back on the ocean and paddling for the day. All i want to do is paddle but before that can be done each and every day there are a million behind the scene decisions, logistics and plans that must be in place before go time (maybe at some point i will expand on behind the scenes logistics).
Nick and Kim were already at the beach launching point as i wandered down with my board from the cabin. It was a super short walk but i had a great little Aussie crowd there to watch me walk on by. About 100m from the cabin we stayed in was a bunch of Kangaroo’s, they stopped munching on the grass to gaze up at me. They didn’t flinch, they didn’t blink they weren’t phased at all. I totally believe the majority of our Aussie animals are have some of the most chilled out attitudes on the planet. I had a chuckle as i embarked down the staircase to the beach, this is the exact image so many tourists imagine about our home, and today it 100% delivered.
Once on the waters edge Steve the local free lance photographer was there to meet the crew and get some pics for the local paper. I made the decision not to turn on the shark shield for the paddle out as to me the risk of getting electrocuted by that thing seems far more dire than an incident with a shark.
Paddling out through the break i was greeted by a little turtle catching its breath! You know your getting sub tropical when you see those guys, and when you stop wearing a wind vest and winter surfing hood.
Conditions were in my favour with a southerly swell and super light winds, the ocean surface was glassy and untouched. Moments later a fin broke the surface of the water, followed by quite a few more; a large pod of dolphins swam right past me.
I was so happy to be on the water i had an overwhelming feeling of absolute freedom and clarity. I smiled to myself thinking that the ocean was gifting me all its glory as a thanks for returning and pushing on. Im sure this sounds loopy but spending that much time on the water you do feel a strong connection with it!
Things were motoring along really well… until they weren’t. Kim was checking out the ski as he drove and i just thought he was being thorough looking over everything and getting a feel for how it moved. I thought this until i saw smoke coming out from the back of the ski and dancing across the top of the smooth ocean surface. From this moment on it was all stations go, Kim gave Nick a radio call (unfortunately interrupting his Tinder time) and he raced down to the beach to salvage the ski. Meanwhile i wanted so badly to just turn and paddle away into the distance, but with no food water, or knife on me that wasn’t really an option. So to shore i paddled, right into a westerly which acted as a head wind. So the shoulders got a good testing on the way in. I haven’t even mentioned how good they were feeling today, to put it into perspective. My shoulders feel better now than they did the day i paddled out of Newcastle Harbour! So the exercises and extra time spent is all totally worthwhile! After a 1.5km paddle directly back to shore i managed to catch a wave in which was a bonus, but i was freaking out about getting zapped by the shark shield device. I almost made it to shore safely, as my feet hit the sand i went to pick up my board to move it out of the water and bang there it was a solid electric shock. I dropped my board as the screams poured out of me.
Seeing the Hilux drive down the beach towards me was bitter sweet, i had no reason to not paddle, had no reason to be driven anywhere so for the remainder of the day i tried to shake off a mood of utter frustration.
We checked into Angourie Rainforest Resort and instead of checking out the place as the usual Jules would i went straight to be for the next 3 hours. After waking Kim gave me the grand tour of Yamba with his local knowledge and surf experience. It was great to check out the coast line and get a feel for the area. It was also cool to pin point the shark satellite detection bouy located at Yamba Main Beach. I have discovered on this trip that sharks are fantastic communicators, I’m getting more texts from them than people, it may or may not be a good thing to know where and when there are in certain places but i guess i can just say I’m looking forward to spending some time with the great white who keeps trying to get in touch!