So last time I wrote I was in Byron Bay and had just been on my second surfing lesson and come out of it feeling awesome like I could actually surf. I had one more day to spend in Byron Bay and had organised a trip out again onto the water in a Sea Kayak to see if we could see dolphins out in the bay. I have seen dolphins in the zoo but for me there really is nothing like seeing an animal in it’s natural habitat doing what it would do every day without training or interference from humans. I was going to go on the trip with a German girl called Caroline who is easily 13 or so years younger than me and had been working as an au pair in Sydney but now before her visa ran out she was cruising up the East Coast on an adventure of her own. We met the night before as if by chance, I was wandering through the communal room when she caught my attention and asked if I could help fix her rucksack which the zip had broken on it. The zip was beyond repair but luckily it was an Eastpack bag and they have a lifetime guarantee on the bag so I loaned her my computer so she could go to their website and drop them an e-mail on how to go about getting a replacement.
A van picked up us up and we headed into town to pick up other people for the trip, the guy (Who I think was called Rob?) was a typical Aussie guide, using very typical Australian humour to play on the fear of tourists which I have come to expect from tour guides. He told us it was going to be a bit challenging out there for people who don’t Kayak daily but we all were wearing life vests and were probably in safe hands. Once into wet suits Caroline sat at the font with all the weight and power at the back (me) and we entered the water paddling furiously to get over the breaking waves and out into the sea. It only took a few hits from a wave before Caroline and I were no longer in the boat as it turned us out. Lucky we were not that far out so we turned it back over and re-attacked, this time with encouragement from me at the back telling Caroline to keep paddling through the waves and shouting instructions in German (her preference) we got out on the water and waited for the other boats to join us.
Once out in the open water things were a little easier even if the swell at some points was a little scary due to it’s size. My arms ached anyway from paddling the surfboard out in the sea the day before but I told my body that its the most upper body work out it has done in a long time and to stop complaining. We paddled out a fair way towards the lighthouse where a nursery pod of dolphins usually hang around. Before we got into the boat I told Caroline to be posit about seeing dolphins, she was sure we would and she was right. As we bobbed about on the waves a pod of about 10 dolphins were floating around in the waves. We got a little closer and so did the dolphins. I can’t tell you exactly what I felt at this moment, it was a mixture of fear and joy. My brain flipping constantly between being amazed by the fact they were so close, in fear because they could try to jump over our boat perhaps and trying to think where the next wave was coming from to try and ensure it did not tip us over. The guides had a waterproof camera, I’m not sure what pictures they took with it but as soon as I get hold of them I will edit this and post a few up.
We got back, disgracefully tipped over near the shore by a wave that we was not prepared for but tired and elated Caroline still had a smile on her face and so did I. We were both tired from the paddling but we had shared something beautiful between two complete strangers. We had battled the waves and won (sort of) and got what we came out for an experience I’m sure neither of us will ever forget, being so close to something so graceful and beautiful in it’s natural habitat. I spent the rest of the day in the hostel waiting around between awake and sleep, my bus out of town was at 22:00 out to Port Macquarie, my last stop before Sydney.
Using busses that run overnight is never a comfortable experience but it does (in general) save you money so is my preference. I arrived in Port Macquarie around 5am, the hostel I had booked didn’t open until 9:30 so I had a few hours to kill. The air was chilly for a change and putting some more layers on I headed down to the dock to watch the sun come up which was a beautiful and peaceful experience, it gave me more time to reflect on what had happened the day before. A piece of advise for anyone is if you have seen a hundred sunsets in your life try to see at least half as many sunrises. They can be equally if not more beautiful and you take the emotion it brings with you for the rest of the day. I did not do much in Port Macquarie I had to do some washing and was tired from lack of sleep but I did spend a little time in the CBD and time on the beach. It feels like it’s a long way from the punishment that used to happen here for criminals that reoffended in Sydney.
So that is the east coast done and dusted as much as I can. A few days in Sydney with a few more in the Blue Mountains before the next big flight.