21 April 2002
We had a light breakfast and then headed into to downtown Byron Bay. When we arrived we rang Dick Cornish to wish him happy 70th birthday, and we purchased some supplies. Then we headed to the main beach. There was a surf patrol which inspired confidence, but as it turned out, the surf was pretty tame. There was a strong current pulling to the north, but it was mild compared to the rip at Broken Head. I tried to teach Ruby how to body surf. She is beginning to get the idea, but she is still weak at over-arm, which holds her back. I also had fun with Clare in the shallows.
Susan enquired about the Japanese surfer they were trying to resuscitate on the beach yesterday. Apparently he died.
There’s a lovely grove of she-oaks behind the beach. We sat there and devoured a pre-cooked chicken with unleavened bread. Our lunch was dominated by the chatter of a local who apparently knew almost everything. He informed us that the “vibes” at Broken Head were not good, and that he was the highest ranking Chinese Buddhist in Australia. He didn’t appear to be Chinese, and I was unaware that Buddhists here were ranked.
In the afternoon we returned to Broken Head and went on a walk around the headland and through the rainforest, back up over the ridge that runs seaward to the south of the caravan park. It was very beautiful and well looked-after. There were nude bathers on the next beach around, and lots of Bangalow palms, vines, and lush rainforest growth.
Ruby has frequent mood swings, and shuns our company. I’m not quite sure how to deal with this yet. I suppose we’ll just roll with it.
The gas lantern was not working this evening, but I managed to clear the blockage with some petrol. It’s quieter here tonight than it was last night. It’s going to be hard to drag ourselves away from the East Coast, but Cape Byron is the most easterly part of the Australian mainland, and it seems an appropriate place to start our long journey west.
Once again, I’m totally stuffed. I can hardly drag the pen across the paper. All the swimming, walking and sun make me weary indeed. Tomorrow we pack up and head to Toowoomba.
Good-bye to our beloved Eastern coastline.