Monday, April 19, 2010

In the Swing of it…..

I was just reading my last blog and couldn't believe it was from a week ago. The days at the moment are just blending together and we are pretty much oblivious to what day of the week or month it is, a very nice feeling to endure. Last time I wrote we were in Bendelong and since then we had a couple of nights at Huskisson and then one night in Wollongong before landing now for a 5 night stretch at one mile beach. So we left Bendelong, the surf was dropping out and the girls were ready to move on, so we drove into a town called Huskisson in or near Jervis Bay. We stayed in the local caravan park which in the main was a bit disappointing given our last couple of stops but the town itself and surrounding areas were absolutely beautiful. A short drive from where we were staying was the Jervis Bay national park and we had a day trip out there. Initially we just drove around and weren't really all that inspired until we decided to stop at one of several beach spots in the park. We decided to visit Green Patch. We pulled off the main road and into the car park, jumped out and went for a walk to the beach. You kind of walk down this path with the beach view protected by the large native trees. As we walked through the trees on to the beach we walked onto this beautiful white sand stretched out to amazing beach, clear water and small rocky outcrop. After a short walk along the beach it was decided to grab our bathers, dig in for a while for some scuba diving and beach time. The day before we had noticed a very fishy smell coming from the car and had noticed we had left a bag of shells in the car that we probably shouldn't have. Having removed the shells I was worried to find that the smell had not disappeared and I couldn't work out why. I was worried that the car might have taken on the smell and we would be stuck with it for the rest of the trip. As I ran back to the car to get our bathers I opened the bather box in the car and found the cause of the stink. A couple of the shells we grabbed at depot beach must have had something inside that was now coming out and making its presence felt. The box stank, but fortunately after removing the culprits the smell was gone from the car. Anyway I took all the bathers I could find down to the beach and the snorkel gear. Indy was first to meet me on the beach so she and I went out for a snorkel. Then Bec decided she was up for another round except for the fact that she didn't have much in the way of bathers apart from her rashy top. This ofcourse wasn't going to stop Big Mama and she proceeded to head around the rocks strip down to her undies and her rashy top and in she dove off the rocks. It was ofcourse worth it with hundreds of fish swimming all around us and the water was beautiful. You know though you never quite think these things right through and when we exited the water Bec realised she now no longer had underwear and her bra was wet from swimming. So Big Mama was putting on a bit of a show with Maggie taking photos the whole time, none of these are likely to find their way to the blog though!

At Green Patch we noticed there was camping available in the park which in hindsight probably would have been a preferred choice with the caravan park in the town full of school holiday revellers. Anyway a note for next time that this would be an option for us. We headed back to town for Maggie and Bec to meet up with our friends that we made in depot beach, Lisa and Maddie. Maggie and Maddie are like two peas in a pod and enjoyed playing together. Bec also connected straight away with Lisa and they were like two old friends getting reacquainted. Lisa and her husband Matt run the dolphin and whale watching business in Huskissons and are a lovely family. Lisa and Maddie came over for a Friday night drink and we had some very nice Haloumi with our cold drinks. The kids just ran wild together for ages and all slept well again that night. The next day we pushed on again and headed for a surf leisure resort at Wollongong chasing the promise of a few waves. On the way we drove through 7 mile beach and Gerroa amongst other very nice small towns and in hindsight should have stopped and explored these towns further. We are likely to stop in here on the way home! We drove into Kiama and had a quick look around before pushing on for what I was hoping was going to be a great stop. We arrived in Wollongong after about a 2 hour drive and found our park again a little disappointing. It was on the beach but protected by what Bec called the prison wire all around and there were a few interesting characters walking around the park. We went for a swim and hired some bikes and went for a nice beach ride. Pizza for dinner from crust, very nice and decided one night would do us. Next morning I had a quick surf out the front of the park before we packed up and pushed on for our longest leg yet.

On the way Bec had the laptop on her lap and we were looking to find a good stop to settle in for a few days. We had considered Umina Beach and Norah Heads but pushed on to find a little spot near Nelson Bay called One Mile Beach. It was a real find, Bec did very well. In the end we drove for about 5 hours all up non-stop, the kids did incredibly well. The drove took us right through Sydney inner suburbs which was an experience in itself. The car did a fantastic job and for a driver who had never towed anything more than a trailer up until last year I think I did pretty well navigating the Sydney streets, camper in tow without incident. The whole driving and towing process has so far been without any trouble, touch wood! I think back to when we first picked up the camper and drove for our first stop at Point Leo, just a short drive from home. The park was basically empty and we could have any site we wanted. Bec and I spent at least 45 minutes trying to back in to the site, we couldn't get the camper off the towbar, couldn't set up the annexe, broke the door, couldn't set up the fly bed ends and basically just survived our first night. The Jayco induction undertaken by our young female salesperson went for about 30 minutes and consisted of her very quickly setting everything up and saying okay a lot of times and us just nodding and hoping that we would recall the instructions we had just received. Slowly but surely we picked things up from others in campsites and practice certainly helps. Now driving is very comfortable, the wider mirrors are a great help, backing works very well and we have got ourselves into some very tight sites several times now without a problem. The secret really is as always just take your time, a few deep breaths and don't rush. I have to say I still get nervous towing through heavy city traffic and my heart always jumps a few beats each time we get to a new camp site but we are now much more confident and all works well. Bec and I work like a great team and we pretty much have our routine together now for set up and pack up with now very little stress or bother. Each pack up and set up each takes about 90 minutes so it is a bit of work but we just steadily do what needs to be done and it all works very well. A far cry from our first trip to Point Leo!

It was great to leave Sydney and to keep moving. Now at One Mile Beach we have found a quiet little campground, surf only metres away, a great pool for the kids and a lovely young family a few sites down. The kids have made more friends, both the girls and also Gus has found a little buddy too, another 2 year old boy who loves trucks and bikes and the two of them are pretty much like twins. Bec and I have enjoyed meeting the kids Parents Cam and Amanda and we are really enjoying their company. Always nice when your kids meet up with nice kids with nice parents and we have been so lucky on the trip with the wonderful people we have been meeting along the way. The mornings here are brilliant and Bec and I start each day taking Gus to the beach with our cuppas while the girls slowly gather themselves out of bed. Gus runs free on the beach, dude out running through the waves blonde locks waving in the light morning breeze while Bec and I walk along enjoying yet another beautiful sunrise and share our gratitude for how lucky we feel to be doing this together. Nice to be so in love and being able to share these experiences together. Sorry for the little bit of sentiment but we really are just loving our time together so much and Bec and I are just in such a great space to be doing this trip. She really is a beautiful woman, my wife and I am reminded of this every day when I see her interact with others and see how easily they warm to Bec's personality. I am very lucky to be able to share my life with Bec and we are loving every minute of our time together. We are now really in the swing of the trip and each day life just gets better and better! We are all getting a bit of time doing what we enjoy, the kids are doing well with their homeschool and everyone is sleeping well and loving life in the camper.

I went out for a surf this morning and had a nice 1-2 foot clean wave on the point here with my Mal board. I had it to myself for over an hour before being joined by a few locals. One of them was a nice old guy who has a surf museum in his house here with over 150 boards and memorabilia, he was a very nice guy. Whilst I was enjoying a wave Bec decided to do some washing while the kids were busy homeschooling. Actually Maggie was joined by her friend Kirra and it is the best Maggie has worked the whole trip. I think we have signed Kirra up as study pal for Maggie for the rest of the week. Anyway as Bec was putting the washing in the machine she noticed something moving in the bag. She emptied out the contents of the bag on the lawn and there was nothing in the bag, next thing a pair of my boxer shorts started hopping away along the grass. Sure enough Bec grabbed the shorts and a mouse darted away in to the bushes. Not sure what attracted the mouse to my shorts! After the mouse saga we all headed down to the pool for a long swim. All the kids hanging out together, enjoying the pool slide they have here and running around madly. Gus and his new buddy trying to outdo each other with their dives and slides. Gus at one point was walking over the bridge, under which Indy was swimming. It was an arch bridge so was a few metres above the pool. I instantly could tell what was on his mind and as I ran to grab him he leapt off the bridge and into the pool, fortunately Indy was there to catch him as he popped up out of the water, our little daredevil! Ofcourse this became his favourite trick and was repeated several times before his lips started to turn blue and he had to spend some time in the spa defrosting.

Having heard from friends and family in Adelaide and the early start to Winter we feel doubly blessed by the very mild Autumn days we are enjoying here. Each day is a replica of the last with weather around the mid 20's, up to 27 in the next couple of days. Clear starry nights, calm mornings and cool afternoon breezes, very spoilt. We have decided to take up the offer of pay for 3 stay for 5 here and just rest up for a few days after a few short stops in recent days. The kids are having a great time with their new friends and we are too. This certainly is a beautiful country we live in and we are experiencing some very special places together. As I write, Jack Johnson is playing on the CD, the kids have gone for a swim with their friends, Bec is chatting with Amanda and Gus is running around with his new friend, life is good. From here we will head to Crescent Head or nearby to this before heading up to Coffs Harbour. Love to all our friends and family out there, Nick, Bec, Indy, Mags and Gus.

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