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Day 42 Coolum to Sunshine

Sleep ins don’t happen, I’m not sure I even know what they are anymore.

I think I was awake with anticipation and excitement, today my ex lifeguard supervisor was my water support crew. Its been absolute years since I’ve seen Kingy yet not a thing had changed he was still just as cool, funny and charismatic as I remember. This guy is a serious waterman, he charges (surfs) some of the biggest and heaviest waves on the planet and his jet ski skills are second to none.

It was great to launch off the beach at Mudjimba this morning, I was greeted by one of my favourite people/mentor Andy. With his camera in hand Andy grabbed some great pics of myself with the local clubbies and lifeguard Rowan (an old working colleague).

Kingy zipped me out the back on the ski and we strapped the board on and took off north to Coolum. It wasn’t long before we arrived there and Kingy asked where I’d like to start paddling from. Due to the east in the wind and swell direction I asked to be taken further out to sea, which happened to be just where some shark drum lines were floating (giant hooks on chains with meat to encourage sharks to take this and not people – DPI Fisheries products).

Paddling in this side swell was still super fun, it was even better with the encouragement and enthusiasm of Kingy “conditions are perfect for paddling”. I was holding 6.5km/hour which was pretty good considering the side angle of the swell.

All I could see up ahead was the foggy outline of the water tower at Perigian, so for the morning this was my target point. Mid way across this stretch of water a boat appeared behind us, it was the Sea Shepherd vessel with their jolly roger flag flying. The crew were amazing they filmed, cheered and stuck by me to offer further support and encouragement.

As the morning went on and the Sunshine point became oh so close Sea Shepherd said their goodbyes and headed back to Maroochydore. When I finally arrived at Sunshine the feeling was surreal, the entire day I knew exactly where I was al all times. This coastline is one of the most familiar places I know so to even be able to point out certain land marks to show Kingy where we were was pretty cool! I stopped the GPS just off the most northern point at Sunshine, it was a headland I used to frequently run up and around as well as find quiet moments to just sit and observe the ocean. I guess all those years of ocean and headland exploration have done me the world of good towards this paddle.

The surf at Sunshine was too big to get through safely so I again jumped on the jet ski and we raced around to the Noosa River. It was fun to be a ‘local’ backseat driver as Kingy had never been to the boat ramp before despite living on the Sunshine Coast so I enjoyed giving him the tour!

We packed up quickly and dropped Kingy back at his car down the coast at Marcoola. While we were in the area and I knew which guard would be on duty I raced down to the beach to see Smitty! I have worked with Smitty for years and he is one of those beautiful people that took me under his wing and taught me the fanatical side to lifeguarding. The flag height, distances apart, safety equipment placement and distances from flags, general public perception and public communication. Mid conversation Kim and Tony, the water safety crew from earlier in the paddle happened to stroll down to the beach to see Smitty also. It was like a huge family reunion! I couldn’t believe they all just arrived and at the exact moment and location where I was! We had a good catch up before leaving the boys and heading back north to the Noosa area.

Arriving at our accommodation in Noosa was so exciting, while I know the area incredibly well I had never seemed to notice the hidden gem amongst a sea of trees right on Hastings Street! The Hastings Beach Houses Noosa Heads (http://www.hastingsnoosa.com.au)

was our place of rest for the next few nights which was great knowing I didn’t have to continue to pack up and move each day! The idea of living in a tree house has always fascinated me and I’d just about say I got to experience it here in Noosa! The house we were in was 3 stories tall, it was so space efficient and beautiful amongst all the trees. As usual I searched for the ‘princess’ room and claimed the stunning main room with adjoining bathroom with a spa bath!

After settling in and having some down time we all headed out for dinner at Café LeMonde on Hastings Street. One of my favourite café/restaurants in the area. Dinner was one heck of an eventful table conversation. We were lucky enough to have the company of Paul, Aaron and Jon from Sea Shepherd one of my favourite ocean and animal conservation groups, as well as Jacky, Nic and my Mum. I was absolutely fascinated by the stories and facts that were being thrown across the table! The conversations fueled me with energy, ideas and compassion, it was hard to leave and have an early night when my head was buzzing with excitement!



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