So this morning I woke up about 6am, and had fortunately managed to avoid the Rangers as expected. I went through the usual routine of packing up as quietly as possible, and went to check the surf at 'The Pass'. As expected it's now day 1,000,000 without any real swell, so The Pass was unrideable to anyone without a 10ft Mal. Having spoken to a bloke in the carpark there was some sort of a wave at Tallows (the furthest most easterly beach on the Australian Mainland, and easterly facing. So it there wasn't sue there it really would be nowhere).
Due to having no other option I just kitted up and went out. There were heaps of VW Transports, Vans and Wagons in the carpark so I assumed the surf must be half reasonable.. How mistaken could I have been?
There was a 3ft stormy wind swell, which was breaking as square barrels over about 3ft of water all over the place. If you managed to luck into one, you were lucky if you could do a turn before being slammed into the sand. The crossshore current was also unreal, not matter how hard you paddled, it was virtually impossible to even maintain position. In the end, just like everyone else, I had been swept down the the rocks at the headland, so just took the white wash to the beach, and went and got changed again. All in all about 45 minutes!
The sun was up now it was about 8:30am and warming up quickly. I drove down to Byron main beach, as you can park for free, and read my book until I had finished it (about 11ish). I don't know if I have ever read a book so quickly, but a combination of lots free time and Chris Ryan's 'The Watchman' meant I just couldn't put it down! Only problem now being that I don't have anything to read anymore..
After a bit of a walk around Byron and having had some lunch, I decided to head off south again. The next stop, about 45 minutes drive away, was 'Lennox Head' home to yet another famous Australian Pointbreak. Unfortunately the same old story applies, like with many of the other famous waves I have been to - there is no swell so there is no chance of being able to surf it. Again a shame, but its cool to see it and maybe when I head back North I will be lucky enough to pass through as a swell hits..
When I got there I spent about 2 hours just walking around the headlands taking photos, then down to Lennox town from where I had parked up on the hill. I must have done a good 6-7 miles walk about which is all good exercise I guess. The walk round the headland actually really reminded me of home - it was very similar scenery to Pembrokshire with headlands covered in Hearher like bushes, and beaches in the bays in between. However one of the big difference aside from the weather, was that again I was wagcheing Whales messed around not too far out to sea. I'm sure I have seen more Whales here than Seals at home!
At the car park there was a guy doing tandem Para Glyding (pretty sure that's spelt incorrectly) experiences, for those who had the money to do it. Anyway he had a helper, a really nice middle aged bloke, who was helping him land on what was a very small area of grass, on a steep slope, in 30km/h winds. While someone was up in the sky I sat talking to him for about 20 minutes, about anything and everything, and crickey did he have a few stories.
He was into Para Glyding too, and often did it off Byron Bay headland. A couple of the stories he told me, and they were clearly the truth as he looked scared telling them, were the following;
- on one occasion he was above the main beach, when he saw a Shark (about 8ft long he guesses) swimming in the bay close to sure, to which everyone including the lifeguards were obviously oblivious. The shark proceed to swim to within 1/2ft of 4 people treading water just off the beach, 'smell around their legs and feet' and just swim away again! Mental!!
- the second slightly less life threatening story was.. Again one day he was over Byron Bay headland/main beach, and there was a ginormous feeding frenzy going on. The lifeguards had stopped anyone going in the sea on any of the beach, because 'as far as it was possible to see into the water', for miles around, were thousands of sharks feeding on bait fish, even chasing them virtually onto the sand.
Now he did say he had been flying over there for about 20 years, so I guess yoj would see some sights from up in the sky like that. However he thinks that most of the days when he had flown and the water is clear enough to see, he has seen Sharks at the northern end of Tallows Beach.. Next to the rocks where I got out of the water today..
One of the other things that he said, while discussing crash landing Para Glyders, was the follow saying (excuse the standard Australian language) - 'Everyone f***s up, you just have to learn to spread them out'. Fundamentally a very good saying I thought..
Anyway. Having said goodbye to 'Craig' I drove down into Lennox town and parked behind the beach. Unable to surf as it was too stormy, I decided to go for a run..for the first time since the Spot X Academy, about 5 months ago.. The wind was a killer, but I must have done about 4 miles or maybe a little more, just down the beach and back. When I got back I swam around in the sea for a while to cool down, got out, showered, sorted the car out for tonight and had dinner.
After dinner as usual I wrote this blog, which took forever, and went off to find a quiet side street to sleep in for the night.
(Photo - This evening on '7 Mile Beach', Lennox's main town beach.)