Surf's up dude!
Trip Start Sep 12, 2005
51Trip End Sep 11, 2006
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Oh yeah, left Brisbane Thurs (3rd) and got to Byron about 4 hours later (funny how these distances seem so small - 4hrs in the UK would easily take me to Liverpool) and checked into a really nice hostel with a great atmosphere that Emily was staying in for her last night. Another lazy day was spent on the beach and catching up with Emily, swapping stories etc, as we hadn't chatted properly since Airlie Beach. The higlight of that evening was going out for a meal for $2. Not bad at all.
So Fri (4th) Liz and I got up early in order to nab a couple of surfboards as they were free at our hostel and headed down to the beach. Hmm... firstly, we were cream crackered before we even reached the beach as these bloomin boards were soo heavy and large that our arms could barely reach round the things to carry them
That night the gaffer and I spent a rather dull evening at the cinema watching Elizabethtown with Orlando Bloom - a real take it or leave it kind of film.
Sat (5th) We tried again with these surfboards. This time unfortunately we couldn't blame our poor performance on the conditions - we were just plain crap. Having learnt on huge 9ft foam boards in Noosa, we just couldn't get up on these 7ft fibreglass ones, even though all other surfers would tell you they're a piece of cake. And I can officially verify that the damn things hurt like bugger when they hit you on the head during a wipeout! That evening we got chatting to our rather pikey English roommates and after playing some drinking games with them at the hostel with some rancid white wine we went off to the local bar and partied the night away (see photos)
Possibly not the wisest move as I had booked myself on a dive for the following morning Sun (6th). Somehow managed to drag myself out of bed at 6am and trudged off to the dive centre. Kitted up and waited for everyone else to arrive and then we all set out for the nearby Julian Rocks in a huge pupose built dingy. You had to cling on for dear life as you sat in it though as I felt like I was in a Jame Bond movie. On the short trip over we saw a pod of dolphins, maybe 20 or so of them about 50m away. We then mored up by the rocks and got in the water. Unfortunately for her, my buddy had a bit of a panick attack on the surface (perhaps it was the thought of going down with me?!) and so she ended up just going snorkelling. I was then teamed up with the oh-so gorgeous dive instructor. As soon as we'd descended to the bottom we saw a nurse shark. I couldn't beleive my luck. They had said that there would be a pretty good chance of spotting them, but I had been so unlucky on the Great Barrier Reef as far as spotting big fish went, that the most I was hoping for was a turtle. Little did I realise what an awesome dive this was set to be... Anyway, this shark was just so serene and completely indifferent to us being there that I was mesmerised. Must have been between 3 and 4 metres long. It just swam past really slowly checking us out. We swam around a little bit before one of the other two guys in our little group started to panic as well - not sure why - I think he was having trouble with his buoyancy - a problem not helped by the fact that he decided to drop his weight belt! Yup, so naturally he went racing up to the surface which is NOT a good thing, closely followed by a rather concerned dive instructor. So there was I with this other guy down at the bottom waiting for them to decend again. The guy is trying to retrieve his buddy's weight belt when I spot a second nurse shark
After the dive I joined Liz on the beach where we tried the surfing again. This time we hired out a huge foam board from a shop and had a much more successful time out, aided by two guys who we'd met the previous day who'd obviously realised we were in need of some coaching. Well, they had the patience of a saint, that all's I can say! Oh, and we managed somehow to scam a free night out of the hostel we stayed at, so that was even better.
Tried again Mon (7th) as although we were checking out that day, our bus didn't leave till 6:50pm. So had another day out practicing. Not really improving much though to be honest. Really felt like I could have stayed in Byron another couple of days - I certainly thought it was the best beach place I've been to on the East coast. A great atmosphere and a lot of fun.
Not looking forward to the 12hr coach journey to Sydney though. But sure I'll survive...