We are currently in Coffs Harbour, Emerald Beach to be exact. We had a great time at our last spot at One Mile Beach. The weather was beautiful everyday and our morning walks on the beach were the highlight of each day and set the scene for the hours ahead. Maggie's friendship with Kirra drew stronger each day and they were inseparable through their remaining days. Cam and Amanda were a great couple and we spent time each day with them either on the beach or at the park or ofcourse by the pool. On our second to last night Indy was preparing the schnitzels for dinner, Bec, Mags and Gus were just heading down for evening nibbles and drinks with our friends and everything was very relaxing, or at least so I thought. Just as I was sitting taking in the ambience with Indy I heard Bec yelling to me to grab a cloth, Mags was screaming that Gus had hurt himself. As I walked around the camper I saw Bec running to the camper with blood dripping down her shirt with Gus in her arms screaming. As it turned out Gus had been playing on one of his bumps around a corner when all the kids went flying around it on their bikes. Just as Bec yelled out to them to watch out for Gus one of the kids ran straight into him and he went flying through the air. The handle bar hit Gus in the head and split his head open and he was in a state of shock by the time he got to me. Long story short, he was and is fine aside from the small but nasty gash on his head. It was just on sunset and Bec and I had the difficult decision of do we or don't we go to the hospital to get him checked out. We decided not to on the basis that it was going to traumatise the little man more and between the three families on our street we put together all of the first aid materials we needed and with our triage nurse on hand we dealt with the injury in house. We put on some steri strips which seemed to be doing the job and tried to calm Gussie down, he was quite traumatised and just needed to get himself together. Ofcourse every one in the street, including all of the kids needed to come and check in on Gus which whilst very caring did upset him more. After some cuddle time Gus composed himself and was ready to face the world again. Off he went down the street and back into his playtime like nothing had happened. After a little playtime we went back to cammie for dinner and an early night. Unfortunately Gus is a very sweaty little man, on his head, so each time he sweated his steri strips would come off. The mixing of blood and sweat was not helpful and it took some creative first aid from Bec to get it all under control. The next morning Gus woke up giving us a rendition of the event yelling out "Watch out for Gus" "Watch out for Gus" and then followed up with a "bang!" This ofcourse went on and on for some time as he relived the experience to us. When we went out that morning he went up to the bike and went through the whole thing again. No need to worry though as he has bounced back very quickly and aside from what will end up probably to be a fairly decent scar he goes on relatively unscathed.
Whilst at One Mile Beach we had a great morning in the surf with Indy and Maggie taking turns on the Mal to show off their surfing skills. Even Big Mama returned to the surf to show off her old moves, just like riding a bike, she was up and away on her first wave and proceeded to ride the waves like a pro. We had a rotation policy with Gus as I took Nicko's surf school with each of my students. The wave at the point of One Mile Beach provided a perfect little one foot breaking wave for the crew. After surfing we were off to the pool and the small water slide provided endless entertainment for the kids followed by a quick dip in the spa (or bath as Gus called it) to warm up before heading back to the camper. One Mile Beach provided experiences with kookaburras, lorikeets and large goannas or iguanas (I am never sure which is which). It was a great stop and we all had a fantastic time. As always though the time to pack up and move on comes around and we were heading to Crescent Head. We packed the cammie, said goodbye to our new friends and off we went. As we were driving we reviewed the map and decided that we would push on to Coffs Harbour and bypass the stop at crescent Head for a little more time with our friends at Coffs. We decided to stay at Emerald Beach, very near to our old friends Joe and Kellie Woods and their three boys Tom, Noah and Levi. We were also not far from Mick and Trish, another of our old Adelaide friends that have moved up to warmer pastures. Upon arriving Joe walked up from the beach with the boys and we made some plans for the days ahead. Next morning Joe and I headed off for a surf around the corner and then we all caught up for dinner at the Woods house. Whilst we were there we skyped Kerry Gask an old friend of Bec and Kells and it was a full reunion for the old girls who not only had a great friendship in Goolwa but also relived their girls trip together to Coffs several years earlier. The next morning Joe and I decided to get up for the dawn service (with Indy) which we attended at the Woolgoolga RSL, not quite the Auburn service we are used to in SA but glad we made the effort to go and show our respect. As it turned out the surf had dropped away so after the service Joe prepared his boat and he and I went out looking for lunch. Kellie organised my fishing license online that morning and we launched at Emerald Beach and headed out off shore being careful not to drift into the protected sanctuary zone, which proved problematic without a GPS on board. Joe used his best nautical skills to keep us in the right spot, or so we thought!
Anyway the fish were biting and we proceeded to catch a mix of red rock cod (throw backs) and beautiful snapper. All in all we caught about 40 rock cod, all thrown back and 9 snapper. We also each caught a wobigong shark. For me this was the highlight of the session. It took quite a while to pull the shark up and for the most part ofcourse I had no idea what I had on the line but it kept pulling down and put up a huge fight. As it turns out as I was pulling the shark up to the surface to let it go it just opened its mouth and took off. It had actually tried to eat the rock cod that I had caught and actually wasn't hooked, it was just trying to get a feed. As Joe said he will think twice before taking on another rock cod! We had just about finished when we saw a large police boat approaching our position. This boat would have been at home on Sea Patrol, it was massive and pulled up alongside Joe and I in our tinny. They cautioned us about the sanctuary zone and said we were right on the edge, which was fortunate as we had been fishing further out just minutes before. They checked our licenses which again was lucky as I had organised mine that morning. They checked our catch and cautioned Joe on changing his rego over from SA to NSW. All in all it was a major brush up against the law and Joe and I came out unscathed. We packed up shortly after and headed in with our catch much to the surprise of Bec who was used to me coming home empty handed. We headed over to Joe's parents house and had our freshly caught snapper on the bbq with some butter and lemon cooked whole in foil. It was beautiful. Joe very generously gave us the remaining fish which we ended up filleting the next night and cooked in the pan with butter and lemon which again was just beautiful eating. We had a great long weekend with the Woodsys surfing, fishing, playing at the park amongst other things. The kids all got along really well and Bec loved her time catching up with Kellie. We enjoyed seeing the new home of the Woodsys which is a beautiful 2 acres just behind Emerald Beach with an incredible vista and a property which they have put a lot of effort into and is showing some real potential. They have bought well and have a great home for many years to come.
This morning I had a surf out the front at Emerald Beach with my old mate Mick and the kids had a good morning of home school. After our morning coffee we decided to go for a walk around the headlands here which was just beautiful. It was quite a stroll and at the end of the headland we just sat for quite a while and watched a pod of dolphins frolic in the water. There was about 20 of them and they are such graceful creatures. Gussy ofcourse loved to watch the Dolphs! We have made our way home for a swim, Gus is in bed with Indy having his arvo nap, Maggie and Bec are doing some reading and activities and I am finishing my blog. Emerald Beach is a great park and we are right behind the dunes only a short stroll to the beach, constantly visited by the native birds, kangaroos, and large lizards. The 6 nights here have gone very quickly as we prepare to set sail again tomorrow and head up to Ballina in Northern NSW. In Ballina we are spending a few nights with our friends the Westys before heading out to Stradbroke Island which we hear is going to be absolutely beautiful. Life on the road is going fantastically well as we make our way north toward the equator.