Just came back from this weekend getaway, and it is such a bittersweet moment. My heart aches whenever I think about the precious moments there, the things we did, the sights we saw, the sounds we heard…and yet, if given the chance, I would most definitely without hesitation sign up for this tour and go through it all over again. This trip fulfilled some of my dreams that I had ever since I was a child, and being able to do it feels so bloody amazing so unbelievable so surreal….without further ado, let’s rewind back to 3 days ago, to the very beginning of this wonderful experience.
Walked over to Registry building on campus alone because Michelle was rushing to do her morning laundry and told me to go ahead first. I remember strolling through the path, as the sun came out and it was beautiful. Hues of pink and blue and purple swirled together. At that moment, I still wasn’t that hyped up about this trip yet, because school just ended the day before and I had just submitted my MMED assignment. It felt like I was in a dream, like all of that wasn’t actually happening.
Reached registry, and was wondering if I should text the person because there seemed to be no one in sight. And then one moment it was empty, the next it was not. Michelle’s shuttle drove up and right in front of it was the bus/trailer!!!! Got onto the trailer with Mich and this japanese guy called Tatsuya and it was just the 3 of us from flinders. Headed off towards North Terrace to pick up the rest of the crowd from the city universities!
First stop we made after everyone got on would be this pit stop where the bus had to refuel. I decided to buy a spinach and cheese pastry while there, and it was also while there that I realised..my period JUST started!!!! But not feeling too bad about it, because Michelle was going through the same thing too. Because of this unexpected surprise, we were both the last ones to get back on the bus ooopsie. Next stop was at this rustic old small town bakery, where we stopped to get some bread for our meals over the next few days. Also had lunch there, which was another pastry (got the mushroom and beef pastry). Crust was buttery and crumbly and delicious, meat fillng was hearty with thick gravy but a lil salty in my opinion. Still, it felt good to eat hot pies fresh out of the oven!
One particular moment I remembered from here, would be where Mich and I wanted to go to the toilet, which was across the road. And for some reason, we were running across the roads, laughing and oh it was drizzling slightly!!! Felt like we were dancing in the rain:)
After lunch, we headed right straight to berry bay for our very first surfing lesson!!! First time stripping down to my bathers by the side of the vehicle HAHA. And also first time getting into a wetsuit, which was tight, body clinging, and it feels like a suit that squeezes all your fats away HAHAH. Snapped some pictures of the beach area from the top where we were at; weather was cloudy with not much sun about, waves were relatively smaller and gentler – all which were perfect for amateurs like us with zero knowledge about surfing!!!
A memory suddenly popped into my head: we were getting ‘fitted’ for our wetsuits, and I was the first one since I stood the closest to her. She takes out a size 4 and puts it against my body, and I thought that the fit seems to be ok for my build. But then she was like nah, this one is not for you and proceeds to try and give the size 4 away to someone else. Then after giving out a couple of size 4s out to the girls and Mich, she asked Max (cute surfing coach) to take out a size 2 for me (and at that moment I was like oh there’s a smaller size no wonder she didn’t want to give the size 4 to me). So then Max comes over with my diving suit, and as he’s passing me my wetsuit, the lady coach said something along the lines of: ‘size 2 for her! She’s a tiny lil thing isn’t she!’ HAHHAH.
Rambling over, now back to story. So basically we each took a surfboard (initially got this hot pink one which was smaller than the rest) and we had to carry it down to the coast, down a few flights of wooden steps. By the coast, we were given a safety briefing where the lady coach explained to us about RIPS and how to look out for them, what to do if we were caught in one (swim out from the RIP which is in the horizontal line axis kind of and then once out swim back to the shore). She also explained to us the 3 different methods to stand up on the surf board and the tips we should keep in mind. And ofc Max was demonstrating while she was speaking so wow it was a bit of eye candy time because he has SUCH a good body like he’s lean and toned and he has a really nice arse HAHA. We tried a bit of paddling on the sand and also standing up based on the techniques they thought. My favorite has got to be technique 2, which starts with my right foot bent, and then using it as a base point to push myself up with my left leg in front. Some tips that I remembered (for future reference if i ever go surfing again) are:
- Starting position: toes should hook against the back of the surfboard. Leg strap should be on the back leg, with the line coming out from the back of the ankles.
- Arms after paddling, right when about to push up, should go beside the chest in a push-up manner.
- Vision should always be at the front of the surfboard where the logo is. Always keep gaze focused there.
- When standing up, knees should be slightly bent but body upright. Left leg toes should be pointing 45 degrees to the right, while right leg is perpendicular at the back. Use arms to steer (so means left arm straight out north while right hand is bent in a 90 deg manner).
- To surge forward, shift weight forward onto left knee.
As we were trying out in the sand, the coaches were going around, and Max came to look at us so I felt a bit self conscious while doing it AHHHH and SHY. Gahhh i really need to stop being so self conscious about myself and everything that I do and just be confident.
So after trying out in the sand we headed out into the water!!!!! First round, I didn’t ride the wave alone. Max stood in front of my board and helped me propel forward. Was still unsure about how to ride the wave so I just laid on the board as I sped towards shore propelled by the currents. Subsequent times, when the lady coach helped me with the initial propulsion, I tried standing up. There were numerous times of trial and error; sometimes I’d stand up too early, sometimes too late and the waves would have ended and other times I’ll just slip off completely. BUT there were also a few times where I would be able to actually stand on the board for a quick few moments and those made my entire day. Especially after I changed my pink board for the red one that was longer and larger, it was so much better to surf with!! That was also the day I realised how tiring surfing could be. Doing countless of those push ups were not easy and after a while i lost the strength to push myself up on the board and had to take short breaks. And perhaps, what would be the most tiring? Dragging the board out to the deep after being flung out the previous round. Going against the current, bobbing up and down, being slapped by the waves over and over again HAHAH…
Also, this was the day that I stepped on the sharp flat rocks that were hidden by the water. PAINFUL and I have cuts on my feet as a result of that. Spent 2 hours in the ocean frolicking about, trying again and again to surf before it was time to pack up and go. Remembered to pick up a rock from the beach as a memento (I want to collect pebbles and shells from all the beaches I visit as a memory and store them in a jar). Climbed up those long flights of stairs with the board again and wow felt like weight lifting because really tiring especially after the surf lesson. And we were all silly geese, because we walked barefoot up, and the entire path was filled with pebbles and stones and edgy things basically so that was a double whammy for my cut feet.
Changed and then drove back to shower and dinner!!!! Before dinner we had time to explore, so we walked over to the cliff area where the ocean view was and strolled around. Me and Mich stayed the longest because we walked pretty far along the trek. As we were on the way back, probably took a wrong turn somewhere or we turned too early so the result was that we had to go traipsing in the middle of bushes (prob dangerous given that there are wild animals) and through our meandering, we stumbled upon 3 wild kangaroos! At first I just saw the bum and I thought it was an elephant’s head sculpture and was quite creeped out till Mich said they were kangaroos and i was like OHHHH. So basically they stopped moving and stared at us and we got scared so we moved off. And thankfully managed to get back to our cabin without any other mishaps. Lesson learnt: always pay attention to the path you take so you know how to get back. At least we were lucky this time round to be able to get back without encountering anything nasty and instead we got kangas.
First dinner of the night was home made cheesy lasagne, creamy gnocchi, coleslaw and garlice bread mmmm….after dinner, we headed out for a late night walk to explore the abandoned settlement. Apparently, Yorke’s peninsular used to have more people living there but then after a while everyone just left so the structures remained, empty. It was pitch black almost so we carried those huge powerful torches while strolling, and tried to spot some wildlife like wallabies and kangaroos 🙂 And there was this moment where we spotted a herd of kangaroos and it was like we were having a face-off because all the kangas were standing stiff and still facing us as we faced them HAHAH.
On our way back at this little clearing, we switched off all the torches and had a moment of silence where we just closed our eyes and felt the land with our soul. Truly magical and calming and peaceful.
Headed back to the cabin for sleep!!!! Also here’s a little description of the cabin – it’s like those wooden style one in the middle of the wildlife park (what I’d always imagined cabins to be like) and ours was the nearest to the top of the cliff which was facing the vast horizon and ocean….truly beautiful…
Woke up at the crack of dawn (5:30am) because we wanted to catch the sunrise and someone said it was at about 6:10am though Google said 6:45am. So out we go early in the morning. Was slightly cloudy so it was dark and we had to take a torch out as we walked. Was beautiful watching the skies lighten, the waves rolling as we sat on the rocks by the coast playing music. At about 6:50am as we were climbing up to the top to get back, right when Mich and I reached the top, we turned back to look and have a last view and what do you know – the first golden rays started to glimmer!!!! Initially it was just cloudy and the skies changing colour with no hint of the sun but then…it finally started to show itself! The whole sunrise process was really quick, within a few minutes the full golden glory of the sun was out and showing its presence…amazing truly so glad we stayed till the end to catch the view. Headed back for breakfast of cereal and strawberries and cheese toast and boiled eggs…
8:25AM – 20 minutes ahead of schedule, we got into the bus and drove back down to berry bay. Changed into our suits back at the cabin so all we had to do was wait for the coaches to come. Carried our boards down and had a photoshoot HAHA. Practised the techniques for a short while on the sand again before going back into the waters!!!
AND WOW i think my surfing improved on the second day!!!! Didn’t get the coaches’ help as much as before (max did help me with one hehe) but majority of the time was me trying to catch whatever waves I could. Stood up on the board more times than yesterday, and there were a few particularly good ones. There was this moment when I caught the wave at the middle portion of the surfing area, and I managed to stand, ride the waves all the way till the shore area when the current ended!!! And there were these 2 young boys (we saw them the day before too) and the younger small boy saw that surf because as I made eye contact with him while pulling my board back out, he gave me a thumbs up and was like ‘GOOD JOB!’ so I smiled widely and said THANKS back hehe.
Got flung off my surfboard countless times also though like I’ll just slip right off to the side HAHA. Am happy because managed to stand up and balance for a while before slipping off while the lady coach and max were looking. And there was this once where the other coach with the moustache helped me with the initial propelling, and I managed to stand and when I turned, he was like GOOD JOB to me too ahhh!!!!
And as usual, was really tiring dragging out the board out to the deeper end, walking against the current was a good workout for my thighs. BUT the waves were big and beautiful and perfect for surfing and the sun was out the skies were clear – just perfect for a 2nd day of surfing and pictures…
So after the class ended and we we back on shore, we gathered to take pictures. Supposed to stand our board in the sand, so as I was doing that and trying to balance the board (I was facing the board towards the ocean), and I felt someone come behind me as the person also used his arms to help me steady the board. I turned around, half because I wanted to know who came up from behind me so unexpectedly and half because that was what we were supposed to do, and VOILA it was MAX HAHAH. He still had his arms around my board, so I was caged in between the board and him. A few seconds like that, and he helped michelle hold her board too while his left hand still continued to support mine. And as I was using my hands to support the board, he came back over to me and helped me adjust my board again so the caging moment was back. Ok end of fangirl moment.
Carried our boards back up and then after changing out, we had to put the suits into the back of the vehicle and at the side of the vehicle Max was changing into his pants HAHA but then he came over and was like ‘just place those suits at the back in the boxes’ and then he was like ‘thank you’ and we were all thanking him for the lessons too. Got back on the bus and they were handing out apples so i was munching on them, max was outside and I think he was looking because he waved so I waved back too with my apple half in my mouth. Saw the lady coach and max, they were outside our bus so I tried to take a video and as the bus was pulling out, Max was there and he saw me with my camera so he started waving again hehe…
Went back for a lunch of home grilled patties served hamburger style with a side of cold salad. After lunch, we headed back onto the bus and drove around the peninsular, visting the different landmarks like the lighthouse, shipwreck by the beach coast…everything was so amazing, we watched ocean waves build up high and crash down towards the shore where we got our feet wet …
Headed back to prepare dinner – helped to make the coleslaw salad. Then dinner was served: beef steak tonight with potato and dill salad, and coleslaw as well. After dinner, we decided to go out for a late night walk to see the stars. TRULY MAGICAL. Thanks to the clear sky, we were able to see the stars so clearly. After a lot of confusion, managed to identify the southern cross and the 2 guiding stars. Learnt that the intersection between the long end of the southern cross and an imaginary horizontal line between the 2 guiding stars point towards the south direction. Used the skyviewer app to see the horoscopes in the sky as well, and no surprise cancer was right where the moon was.
Went back to the cabin and we settled in the lounge area for a while where Doug was sharing about his adventures, how he was saving this girl from a humongous wave, and we talked about insects and snakes and spiders and magpies (didn’t know they attacked people until now)
Decided to wake up to catch the sunrise again and SO GLAD I did that… because on this morning, the skies were clear, so even as we were half running towards the beach, reddish pink orange rays were already leaking and spilling over in the horizon. Climbed down to the coast once more, and danced to Can I Have This Dance and it was like a dream come true. To be bare and free in front of the ocean, playing music and letting free? I LOVE IT was so SO SO SO HAPPY that morning. Stayed to see the sun rise fully once more and attempted to take a time-lapse.
Went back for breakfast (same as previous day) and after that, we headed out to the pier to attempt some fishing. Didn’t manage to catch any squid but it’s ok. Headed to the surf museum after and some of the art pieces were amazing, they capture the intensity and the strength of the waves so well. One of my favourite was a mixed media painting of the woods and as I stare at it, it’s almost as if I’m sucked right in. I can just imagine myself walking into the path drawn, going deeper in…Bought a pair of earrings for $15 not sure if it was meant to be $50 initially but oh well hehe
Went back to the cabin where we did our stretching session!! Stood at the clearing outside our cabin in a circle, and did some exercises to relieve the muscle ache. Also had a minute of silence where once again we closed our eyes and listened to the sounds around us (birds chirping, rain falling, oceans rolling, clothes rustling). Not long after we started, we could see rain falling on other areas of the peninsular, and about 5mins later, it started to rain (slightly at first, then HEAVILY) so we all ran into the bbq shelter, laughing. And in true Aussie fashion, after 5 minutes the rain passed so we went back out into the clearing to do more stretches. It was so good doing that in the clearing with the beautiful ocean view facing us, truly something I want to remember for life. The whole group of us in a circle like a tribe, facing the ocean ….
Then, we had our last lunch there – grilled chicken steak which was so GOOD served with salad and that yummy cashew nut in asian style dressing. Cleaned the cabin up and packed up and that was the end of our few days of adventure…am glad at the end of the long car ride, managed to hug both Doug and Ricko (who did that kiss on cheek thing too). They both are so lovely, for sharing their stories and experiences with us, making us laugh and helping us have a good time.
So so thankful and grateful to have been able to go on this trip. Because of this, I can tick off some things off my checklist:
- Surfing in AUS!
- Staying in a wood cabin surrounded by nature complete with bunk beds style
- Night walks, looking at the star filled skies
- Catching sunrises early in the morning
- Dancing by the beach, surrounded by the waves, the sunrise, the birds and good music
Thank you yorke, for the memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you for giving me one heck of an adventure, for giving a city girl like me the chance to experience what it’s like to live amidst and get back in touch with the very land that supports us, to embrace the beautiful nature that we almost miss amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.