My original plan was to travel down to Surfers Paradise with Nicole for a spot of surfing before heading to Sydney to change my ticket and fly home.
Nicole was booked onto the 05:55 bus out of Hervey Bay and that just seemed way too early for me so I decided to take a later bus and see her there.
In the morning I got talking to Maud, Alex and Diarmuid and they offered me a lift down to Noosa in Maud’s camper Van. This would be cheaper than the bus, more comfortable and quicker. I would also get to have a short experience of an Aussie road trip. They could also take me on to Brisbane after a couple of days which would be perfect for getting to Sydney.
The guys were booked onto a 3 day Kayaking trip in Noosa which left the day after we arrived. They suggested I book on with them, or try to sneak onto the kayak for free! I thought about it but declined the offer as I spotted an opportunity to have a couple of days/nights to myself to detox and rest before going home. I have been quite tired lately.
I think it is to do with being ready to come home, and I also really wanted to try surfing… That was one of my big things for Australia; learn to surf.
We left the next day and it was only a 3 or 4 hour drive, so we went straight to Sunshine Beach when we arrived at lunch and caught a few rays.
The guys were planning on sleeping in the van that night, but I fancied a dorm room, especially since I was staying for a couple of nights.
After a quick shower I went out to book my surf lesson for the following day then we met up for a beer, a Chinese dinner and then went to see a movie; Death At A Funeral. This was funny, but weird!
The Rays (Raymond and Rayanna, a Dutch couple with us) also wanted to stay in the hostel, but since it was late they were wondering if I could sneak them in. I didn’t have a problem with it so they sneaked into one of the spare beds, of which there were 3.
After they got in 3 others turned up and we were a bed short. As it turned out the 3 Italian guys were also sneaking back into the room for a free night! So it turned out there were 3 of us paid in the room and 5 people scoring a free night! And they bloody snored, the Italians, that is!!
I was up for my surf lesson at 9:30 and we headed straight down the beach. There was just a French Canadian girl from Quebec and myself on the lesson, so lots of time with the instructor. The Canadian girl had had a couple of lessons already so he just sent her straight out to catch a few waves while he went over the basics with me. First of all was lying on the board with my toes just over the end and hands by my arm pits chicken wing style. I went out and just got used to catching a couple of waves whilst lying on the board, not trying to stand up yet. This was pretty easy and I got it straight away so he pulled me back out the water to show me how to stand.
The main way of standing is to paddle a couple of times till you catch the wave, then jump up into the right stance then let go of the rails with your hands and stand up. I did this fine on the beach, so instead of showing me the slightly easier way to get up (which is the same, but in slow motion) I went out to try that method.
I managed to get up on my first attempt which I was very happy with. I was on a 9′ board which felt like a boat. I felt so stable that I felt safe to move around a bit on it. Turning was very slow though. I caught a few more waves, only missing a couple, and then we swapped me down to an 8’6″ board.
With even this small drop in size I could feel it was a little less stable, but quite a bit more manoeuvrable. In fact, I felt that it was easier on the shorter board because I had more control.
After this I just spent the rest of the lesson catching waves and practicing.
I had so much fun, it lived up to my expectations. The only thing I did notice was that I didn’t spend long riding a wave in. There was quite a bit of waiting for the right wave getting up and only a few seconds riding before being at the shore. I am hoping this is just a beginner thing and as I get better it will feel like I have a “little” more time on the wave. Of course I don’t expect it to be like snowboarding or wakeboarding with 30 or so minutes riding, just a bit more time to think about what I am doing.
I enjoyed it so much I hired a board and went back out for the afternoon. This was quite a bit harder as the conditions had changed quite dramatically. The wind had picked up and the sea was a lot choppier, the waves were also a lot closer together and many of the best waves were doubled up behind smaller ones. I still managed to get up a bunch of times, but it was much more work and I fell off or missed a lot more waves. I also tried going a bit further out to try getting some of the larger greens. I took a battering and kept falling off the board, so I went back in to the smaller waves!
When I got back to my room in the afternoon I had some new roomies, a couple of Swedish guys and a couple of Norwegian girls. The Swedish guys recognised me from the live-aboard boat I was diving off in Cairns. I am embarrassed to say I totally didn’t recognise them! I guess I never spoke to them on the boat. They were both very quiet though!
The Norwegian girls were very nice, and friendly and I got on with them straight away, even though it did take me a while to remember their names; Inger and Ida. They asked if I was heading to the Beach Party at the hostel that night. I wasn’t planning to as per my detox/chill out plans, but when two hot, blonde, Scandinavians are talking you into going out, well, it just isn’t British to say no!
We all hung around the room for a bit drinking (I stole the Norwegian’s wine… It wasn’t even Goon!) and then made our way up to the bar. There was a few of us; Me, the girls, the Swedish guys and Eduardo. Now, Eduardo (I am sure I spelt his name wrong) was a simple classic. A short Italian with the charm of a gnat… But that didn’t stop him trying and his camp laugh had me in stitches every time. What a legend!
After a few jugs of Carlton Draught and Sex on the Beach, a limbo contest, Ryan the South African hanger on, a load of photos and god knows what else it was midnight and time to move on to a club. I think this is the first actual nightclub I have been to since Whistler, or America. Since then it has been all bars or beach bars! Very weird to be in this kind of club and it made me realise how little character these cheesy clubs have.
You could be anywhere in the world in here. Everyone else seemed to have left us so it was just Inger, Ida and me left. Although I did also bump into Team Canada who I met on Fraser Island and who I expect to come see me in Whistler next season if you’re reading TC!
We had a bit of a dance and decided to walk back. Thank god for a nice Australian guy who told us we were walking in the wrong direction!
The next morning I woke up with quite a hangover, so the morning wasn’t vey productive!
In fact, I don’t think I really did anything all day. I can’t actually remember now!! Oh yeah, I am pretty sure it was raining, so I just stayed in and did all my internet stuff, updating my journal, uploading photos, that kind of thing. I also bought my plane ticket for Sunshine Coast airport to Sydney. I decided not to carry on to Brisbane but to get to Sydney ASAP so that I could get home a few days earlier. I am dying to get home to see everyone now, especially my niece, family friends and other great people I have met whilst travelling… one in particular!!
That night we all went to the cinema again. The Swedish guys saw 30 days of Night, a special advanced preview for Halloween, Inger and Ida watched Death at a Funeral and I saw A Mighty Heart, with the lovely Angelina Jolie. It was quite bizarre as there was just myself and one other guy in the cinema! When I left, Noosa town was like a ghost town.
The next morning I headed down to the beach with Inger and Ida and just chilled. It was very hot, but the sea was gorgeous. At last a beach in Australia that wasn’t riddled with Sharks or Stingers! I even managed to get a little bit burnt!
We left the beach shortly after lunch and I got a call from Maud and the guys. They were on their way back, so I me them around the shops and got a lift back to the hostel with them.
They had a quick shower whilst I burnt them a DVD of the Fraser Island pictures, then they headed off down the coast to Brisbane and I went back to my room.
Another chilled night in the room with my roomies and that was about it.
The next morning I said my goodbyes to Inger and Ida, got my shuttle bus to the airport and flew to Sydney for my last few days in Australia, and indeed, of my whole trip…. Scary thought.