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It Rains Even in Yamba, an Australian Surfing Hotspot

25 January 2012 No Comment

Tuesday 15th February 2011 – Yamba, Australia

I awoke to the familiar sound of rain this morning. I don’t know why, but I was under the impression it rained less in Australia to that of the UK, but certainly so far, I had experienced my fair share of the wet stuff. Rain has that annoying way of stopping you from doing the things you want to do, but I wouldn’t let it beat me, not today.

I had planned to go surfing again today with the two German girls I met yesterday, but I was sore and achey as I made my way to the reception to meet them. As it turned out, they were nowhere to be seen. They hadn’t shown, but to be honest, I was glad of this, as I don’t feel I could have managed another morning surfing the big waves in the rain. Not after yesterday anyway. Instead, I opted for another walk about town.

I have noticed that there is a big surfing community here in Yamba, and in this hostel as well. It seems evident that the surfers like to keep to themselves, and don’t often talk to those that don’t surf. It is like a surfing bubble that is hard to burst. It must be cool to be in the crowd, but I often feel left out, as do others I have spoken to around the hostel. I don’t mind, but I had originally thought the surfers would be a chilled out, friendly bunch. It wasn’t the case in this hostel. Maybe it didn’t help that all the surfers were from countries outside Australia, and find it hard to communicate in English. I don’t know.

Having resigned myself to the reality that I didn’t belong in this elite club, I took to doing what I do best; exploring. There was a spell of dry weather opening up around Yamba, so I took the risk and set out, camera in hand. I had my waterproofs, so I had options if I get stuck.

A Yamba BeachTurner’s Beach was the first stop along my walk. This is the scene of yesterday’s surfing lesson, and the moment I generally feared for my life, but it was a lovely beach, even in the rain that had lightly started to fall. I went next to Hickey Island, which by now was mostly waterlogged. The ground was soft and muddy beneath my feet, but I wanted to use the opportunity between the rain fall to see the Island, and whatever it had to offer. This turned out to be a big mistake, as all roads eventually became impassable due to the level of water, and the rain that began to fall again.

Rain Soaked Pippi IslandI got off the island without getting too wet, and the rain ceased just long enough to convince me to try my luck at walking a fair distance to Marina Wharf. This is exactly what I did, and it wasn’t as I had anticipated. It was just a small boat yard with nothing of any interest to see. It had been a waste of time, but a nice walk nonetheless. I was a distance away from the hostel now, and naturally the heavens chose this moment to dump more rain upon me.

There was a distinct lack of any kind of shelter around me, and I found myself huddled under a small tree whilst the angry clouds released their fury onto Yamba. The tree did little to protect me, but was enough so that I didn’t get soaked. Even my waterproofs were of little help against the relentless rain. I had to wait a fair while before the rain lightened, and I chose my moment to leap out from under the tree and hastily make my way back to the hostel.

The rain bucketed down once again, and I was left out in the open once again, defenceless against the elements. I ran from tree to tree, using what little shelter they offered, and eventually made my way to the ferry crossing where a seating area offered a small shelter for me. The roof of the shelter bore the brunt of the weather, and the rain cascaded off all sides and spilled onto the floor, splashing my legs and feet, but at least I was safe from the worst of it. It was here I waited for some time.

A lovely couple from Brisbane arrived not long after me, as they were due to cross on the ferry, and we chatted about the weather, and the recent storms up and down the coast. Apparently, they haven’t had this much rain since they can remember, but that it was hot and dry up north. I knew I needed to head north as soon as possible. I wondered if I had brought the rain over from England, but I know Australia has been hit hard with stormy weather and flooding in recent months. After a while, the couple boarded their ferry and they were on their way. I decided to chance getting back.

Having darted in and out of shops and doorways all the way back to the hostel, I somehow made it back, but was soaked to the bone. I was confined to the boredom of the hostel for the rest of the day. I, myself, have never seen so much rain before, and I live in the UK where rain is a part of everyday life!

In the hostel, I chatted to a French girl who informed me of the kangaroos that lived on the golf course. Apparently, if I go there after six when the golf stops, I can enter the golf course and see the kangaroos for myself. I wondered if I could chance it this evening. As luck would have it, the rain stopped by the evening, and I was able to venture out in search of the animals.

Kangaroos on the Golf CourseI couldn’t help but feel as though I were trespassing on the course, as it felt like I shouldn’t be there, but I carried on regardless, and surely enough, there they were, all happily feeding on the lush green grass. That is, until I arrived and spooked them all, then they were still, eyes fixed upon me. I tried as best I could to get good photos, but as soon as I made any move toward them, they scurried off. It was sweet to see the young in their mothers’ pouches. Signs all around me warned of getting too close to the animals, and that the owners couldn’t be held responsible for damage or loss. This made me feel safe!

After the brief encounter, I wandered off, and found Pippi Beach, the very first place we surfed. It looked better than the other beach, and I wished we could have stayed here yesterday. Nevermind, this would not be my last surfing experience this trip, that is for sure. By now it was getting dark, so I began my walk back.

On the way home, two guys approached me. I felt vulnerable, and kept my witts about me, just in case, but as they passed, they both said hi, and I returned the greeting. I guess people are more friendly here than back home, even at night. But my opinion soon changed, as further down the same road I was met by a drunk on his bike. He confronted me and asked for a light. I didn’t have one, yet he didn’t believe me, and attempted to block any attempt I made to walk away. I hated the smell of alcohol emenating from him, and wanted to get away, but he followed closely on his bike, calling me every obscene word I have ever heard, plus some I hadn’t. He made several attempts to block my way and demanded a light from me, but I got away in the end. I was a fair distance away from him after a while, yet I could still hear his slurred insults shouted in my direction on this otherwise peaceful evening.

The remainder of the walk calmed me down and returned me to a state of content as I strolled down the quiet lanes, no cars to disrupt the silence, and no drunks to poison the air. I like Yamba and all the beaches it boasts.

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Written by Daniel Stevens,
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