Day 4 ~ Byron Bay by kayak
The mornings always seem to arrive to quickly but in a good way. Up early and primed for a little sea kayaking, Visit www.goseakayakbyronbay.com.au. The six of us were picked up in a beat up old Land Rover and crammed in the back with a young lad and his grandfather on an East coast exhibition themselves. A little family bonding. At the site, which was on the side of the road with a satellite office set up, uh, waiting for the bi-law cops to come by asking for permits. This was not the case. We were fitted for all the necessary equipment and I slapped on the GoPro and we began the gruelling portage of the kayak through the park, down a sandy path, across the beach down by the bay! given a quick tutorial on how to take on the waves, and blah, blah, blah….I mean, I couldn’t hear an effen word he said. Laura kept asking…did you get that? uh huh. Did you get that? uh huh. What? I felt like Homer Simpson…really not paying any attention and just wing it once we got there.
Dougie would be the main drifter to take us out to sea. While walking by he’s hootin’ and howlerin’ trying to get us all riled up. How you guys feellin’? He’d yell, me and my big mouth yells out “WICKED”! “You guys, let’s go”! was his reply. Off to the crashing waves we would go.
Dougie’s just yelling at us to get into the kayak. waves are just smacking us around. Nothing really prepares you for the unexpected. You really just think you’re going for a lovely kayak ride in the calm sea but no! next thing you know you’re yelling at your GF, “keep paddling”! keep paddling”! with a vengeance, like you’re not coming back! and then the monster wave that all surfers dream of, the horizon disappears and then the sky disappears a sea kayakers worst nightmare. All you see is your GF stop paddling yelling “oh my god” and it’s not because your having a good time, you know what I mean. It’s because she’s about to be swallowed up by the biggest wave since Keanu Reeves chasing down Patrick Swayze in Point Break. No kidding this wave goes right through us. We go into it and I’m thinking we’re going to eat sand and we come out and I’ve swallowed enough salt to last me a month. the second I think Dougie has left us, he’s still steering us out to sea. Unbelievable!
We make it out into the Bay’s swells and are safe for the moment. All 22 of us make it out although there were a couple of early casualties. Paddling around we catch a couple of glimpses of some sea turtles and some dolphins. we eventually make it out to where the Bay meets the pacific ocean. Hundreds of thousands of years ago Byron Bay was created by a catastrophic volcano blast. our time at sea came to an end and we made our way back to the beach. After the experience we had going out I had a feeling that going in would be a battle. Again i could not here a word our guide was saying so we went in free willy. This would prove to be disastrous. First wave rolls up behind us and it cranks the front of the kayak right, I couldn’t hold it straight, both of flip off the boat and get tossed around like were, well caught in a wave hydraulic and flipping around head over heals. Managing to find the surface only to get pummelled by the following wave. Coming up gasping for air, Laura and I make deer in the headlights eye contact. A couple of locals help us out and Dougie shows up out of the blue gets us back on the kayak and we coast into the beach. Unbelievable that we actually got back on the thing.
Fully exhausted we wrap it up and get dropped off at the Bamboo Cottage. A quick shower and we were off to the Byron Bay markets which takes place first Sunday of every month. Looking for some leather I found Sean de Hora of www.skincraftleather.com. A leather crafter of buffalo and Italian leather made in Byron Bay. Found something I liked and walked away with something not made in China and supported the local economy. We also found another innovative artist making rings from broken skateboards….very cool and the girls picked up one each at 20$ a pop.