Day 16 continued
NSW border > Byron Bay
Next stop Byron Bay! When we arrived in this cool, hippy, laid-back town we were excited to get started. We checked into our chalets and as it was already late afternoon we had a few drinks while we got ready for dinner.
Tonight was the first of our 2 night stay at Byron so we mainly just got our bearings. We headed into town for dinner, then headed to “Beachies” for live music and drinks. I really loved the laid back surfer vibe this town had. I couldn’t wait to see more.
As today was a free day (apart from the activities we booked) everyone met up for breakfast to swap plans for the day. A few people were heading for a skydive and others were doing water sports. As for Nat, Charlotte and myself, we were booked for a surf lesson this afternoon at Black Dog Surf School.
To make the most of our day we decided to walk up to the lighthouse at Cape Byron which would take a couple of hours. We walked into town and from there would walk along the cost uphill to the lighthouse.
The Bay itself was calm and stretched out in all directions. As we walked along the bay we could see where we’d be surfing later. A well known spot on the bay called “The Pass”.
We headed further up the cost and after a step climb up some 300+ stairs we made it to Cape Byron, which is the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.
A short rest for some photos and to get some feeling back in our legs then we continued up more steps to finally reach the lighthouse.
Despite the fact it was a good deal of effort to get there, the views were worth it. Pretty mucg a 360° view ofthe Bay and the ocean around it. You could even spot whales in the distance!
We grabbed some food and headed downhill back to town. The walk back was a lot easier ad it was downhill and all gradual slopes – no steps. Having competed the lighthouse loop we found ourselves back in town with time to kill so we checked out the local shops and got ourselves a few souvenirs.
After a quick drink in a café we made our way to Black Dog Surf School for our lesson. After getting into our wetsuits we were taken to The Pass where we were shown how to “pop-up” on the beach before we attempted the real thing in the water.
Let me just state, that when it comes to water – or more specifically the ocean and the creatures in it – I’m the biggest scaredy cat there is. I had visions of Jaws coming after me, or I’d fall off and get swept away in the riptide or I’d break some part of my body and spend the rest of my trip in a plaster cast. And you know what? As soon as I got on the board I forgot my fears and was excited to learn how to surf.
Brody our instructor informed us of the basic health and safety procedures and had sensible and effective solutions for any hypothetical problems we threw his way. I was in good hands.
So after practising our pop-ups we headed into the water about waist deep and one by one Brody would ask us to mount our boards. When it was my turn, I layed on my board and waited for Brody to pick me a suitable wave so when the time came, all I would have to concentrate on would be popping up, and then staying up.
Bobbing around in the water, Brody steadying my board and the beach in front of me, I waited for him to pick his target and give me a push. Wave selected, countdown finished and board released I went through my step by step instructions that I’d drilled into my brain. Chest up, bum up, back foot, front foot, bent knees and eyes on the beach. Sounds simple doesn’t it? My first attempt started with chest up, bum up, back foot… and falling backward off my board and getting a face full of sea.
I waded back to where we were bobbing waiting our turns and I was determined for another go. I wasn’t leaving this beach until I popped up and stayed up, if only for a couple of seconds. It was strange how the more goes you had, the more determined you were to go again. It became addictive. I wanted to surf and I wasn’t going to be beaten by a wave. When I finally popped up successfully not only did I stay up, but I made it all the way to the beach! I was so pleased with myself. All that persevering and it finally paid off. I was even more pleased when I managed to surf another couple of times before our time was up.
Final score for my first surf lesson: waves 20+ : Em 3… I can live with that.
After our surf lesson we all swapped surf stories at how well we did. We all really enjoyed it despite how nervous we were. We’d worked up an appetite so we grabbed a bite to eat on the way back to our chalets so we could shower before our big night out. Tonight we were to meet the rest of the gang in the chalet, then we were heading to a bar called Cheeky Monkeys. We had a few drinks at our chalets and swapped stories with the rest of the gang, then we were ready to party.
Cheeky Monkeys was a cool bar and they had face-paints for those brave enough to get dirty. To top it off, Lee had found his way to Byron and met us in Cheeky Monkeys for a reunion. Ok we we’ve all only been without Lee for a day but we were excited. More drinks, more shocking dancing and a groovy night was had by all.
Byron Bay > Crescent Head
Up early to catch the coach and head further south to tonight’s destination, Surf Camp.. To kill some time on the coach we watched Point Break (great film) to get us in the mood for surfing. As it turns out, the guys who were going skydiving yesterday didn’t get to go as the wind was too dangerous, so us 3 girls were the only ones who’d surfed. Surf Camp is a family-run hostel that specialise in surfing trips and although we had a lesson yesterday, I was still a beginner.
We finally arrived at Surf Camp for lunch (yum!) and after feasting we checked into our rooms. When we were ready, we met on the green to get into our wetsuits, and were then taken to Crescent Head Beach.
Lessons similar to yesterday, about how to spot a riptide, what to do in you need assistance etc then we were out in the water. Us girls were doing great, until my leg rope got caught round the instructors arm as he pushed me, and yank!
My ankle was in agony. It probably didn’t help that I’d come off by board less than 10 mins before and had already injured my toe on the same foot. I couldn’t put any more pressure on it and as it was starting to bruise I called it a day on the surf lesson. It’s a shame really as I thought I’d do quite well.
After hobbling back to the bus we were taken back to Surf Camp wet and sandy. It was great to be able to say I’d surfed. Back at camp we de-beached and chilled out on the green in the sunshine, before heading off to shower for dinner.
After another great meal, Leigh told us he was putting the pictures together on a slideshow in the common room so we headed off to grab a beer and a seat by the fire and we watched our trip back. There were some pretty hilarious photo’s so we all basically spent the evening laughing at each other’s misfortunes.