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Newcastle Beach and the Rapidly Approaching Storm
Saturday 5th February 2011 – Newcastle, Australia
It had been a great night sleep last night, the first in a very long time, and it set me up nicely for the day ahead. I had planned to go to the beach in the morning, much like any other, and the sun was shining as it always does here.
It was Saturday, and therefore the beach was already filling up with people, all eager to soak up the sun’s rays. Additionally, there was a body boarding competition in its early stages, with youngsters battling it out for top spot. A crowd of bronzed bodies looked on and cheered for their selected contestant. I was just looking to see someone ride a good wave, but it never really came.
I used this morning to get some more photos of Newcastle and the surrounding sights, and was busy enjoying myself. I hadn’t realised just how much fun I was having until I checked the time, only to realise I had left Katie waiting at the hostel. She had finished work some time ago. I hastily made it back to the hostel full of excuses, but Katie had been looking around for me for a while. I had my wrists slapped, and then we returned to the beach with a few other guys from the hostel.
We had so much fun in the sea, splashing and laughing, and attempting to out-do each other on the body surfing. The time flew by, and we eventually called it a day and came back to the hostel. After a short trip to the nearby supermarket, we ate and played games for the remainder of the day.
Sunday morning was upon me, and I awoke in much the same way as always, except today I decided to do something different. Who am I kidding? It was another morning down at the beach, but this morning the sky was a little angry. The wind had picked up quite considerably by the afternoon, and it was evident in the distance that a storm was fast approaching. Katie and the guys from the hostel had joined me at the beach, and we were enjoying the swell that the storm was producing.
The waves were big and powerful, and the current was strong under the feet, dragging you back into the ocean with each wave passing. Body surfing was a bit extreme today, and a lot of sea water was swallowed by each of us, but when a wave was caught properly, you were taken all the way to the shoreline. The beach at Newcastle is such that you have to walk a long way out before the depth changes. You seem to be waist height for a fair distance out to sea. Today it appeared to be more so.
The impending doom was literally upon us as the waves were at their most ferocious. This prompted the life guards to be on full alert. They were dotted about in the sea, keeping one eye on the people, the other on the storm clouds. I found this quite clever as I am unable to move my eyes independently of each other.
It was a lot cooler now, and people were vacating the beach rapidly. We followed suit and were glad to be back at the hostel. The heavens opened and the rain lashed down, pouring out of the gutters on every building. I love to watch storms, and was able to sit on the sheltered balcony watching as the storm continued to build in pressure. Thunder echoed through the sky, and the lightning sent shudders down my spine. I have not seen rain like this for some time, yet 30 minutes later it had all stopped.
For the remainder of the day it rained on and off, never really heavy, but enough to stop you going anywhere. This soon became boring, though, and Katie and I decided to make use of our rain coats and brave the elements. We had wanted to go on a walk around Newcastle today, and didn’t want the weather to spoil this. I think we were a little crazy at the time as the wind was still unrelenting. A little way into the walk we both looked at each other in a way that suggested we had both had enough, so we returned to the hostel wet, and somewhat wind-swept.
It was another evening playing games, watching movies and having a mini table tennis competition. We also played a lot of card games, and my incredible streak of coming last in every card game I had ever played, continued. I came last in every game apart from one. I don’t know how I manage this, but it certainly amuses every else I play. It’s not down to judgement, but just the luck of the draw. I guess I am just a very unlucky card player, which is good news for anyone who wants to play me. Nonetheless, I will persevere until my luck changes.
It was quite late by the time we all got to bed, and the storm had passed, leaving the air a little cooler at least. It had been an interesting weekend.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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