Category Archives: Video

Nanny and Nath at Mangrove Bay at low tide

Day 361: Kurrajong

Thursday, 29 May 2014                                                                                               53.1kms

It was very windy this morning so no boating. We all, except Poppy, went for a walk down the beach to where Gordon had caught his barracuda to retrieve the teeth for Hendrix. Gordon had done a great job of marking it for Nath, putting a stick in it and drawing a rectangle around it. Unfortunately no crabs had even touched it as Nath had hoped for, so he dug up a really stinky fish carcass. Then the next job was trying to detach the stinky head from the rest of the body, as he wanted to take back as little as possible to camp. Ideally we would have liked just the jaw bones, but that was impossible, especially without a knife or hammer. I found Nath a piece of strong, sharp shell to cut the mankie fish with so he ended up with just the head. And boy did it stink! None of us would walk with him and stayed up wind to avoid the smell.

I found Nath on the beach next to our boat, knife in hand trying to detach as much flesh as possible before taking what was left back to camp to boil. Boiling it in our camp oven in camp probably made us the least popular camp for anyone downwind of us. It was rotten. Nath decided that it was a BAD idea to wait a couple of days and next time he does something like this, he will do it with a fresh carcass. After boiling the head for about an hour and letting it cool, he took it to the beach and emptied the camp oven into a hole above the high tide mark. Boiling it had done the trick and the skull was in pieces. Nath then had the fun job of trying to remove the teeth from the bone without damaging them. Some came out easily, while others needed a whole bunch of convincing. The size of the teeth was impressive. Hendrix was very proud of his barracuda teeth and showed them off to Oscar and Ethan, as they had come to see what was happening around our boat.

With all of the excitement of the teeth over and the bones buried, low tide was almost upon us. We had planned to go to Mangrove Bay before sunset at low tide so Nath could try to find the really big mud crabs to video and show the kids. So the 5 of us set off, again leaving Poppy in camp to read his book. We arrived in time to walk out on the mudflats with the sun getting low on the horizon. The only down side to this nice picture is the masses of sandflies buzzing around our heads and under our hats. Elokin was getting absolutely mauled so I decided to take her back to the car and spray her with aeroguard. Nath and Hendrix went the furthest and were out the longest, with Nanny choosing to follow us back to the car also. Hendrix has a very sharp eye, spotting the huge mud crab for his dad. He was an angry muddy too, chomping his claws at the GoPro.

 

We girls went to the bird hide, free from bitey bugs, but there wasn’t a great deal of birds to see this evening. The colour of the sunset was really nice over the water in the billabong. It was a lovely way to end the day.

 

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.

Nath touching the Zebra shark

Day 343: 9 Mile

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mother’s Day! Bacon and eggs were cooked for me for breakfast this morning, and I received the most beautiful driftwood mobile hand made by my family. We had a chat with Jen and Pete on the way to the boat and left shore around 11am.

Within a few hundred metres Hendrix stopped a Dugong cruising along. He was moving too quick to get in with so we left him to continue on his way. A couple hundred metres later and Nath spotted a big Tiger Shark and then not far after him I spotted a big turtle. So much life in such a small space.

We then crossed the channel and almost immediately saw an eagle ray. At first we thought it may have been a Manta, but upon closer inspection, we saw in was an eagle. Nath jumped in with it and struggled to keep up. Only when he rode the swell was he able to get close to it. When he got back in the boat we cast lures at it as he had seen a cobia swimming with it. Nath managed to hook a small cobia, but it wasn’t legal so it was returned. After that we found 3 bull rays swimming together close to the bottom. Nath got in with them and before he had even reached them, promptly turned around and headed back to the boat. I instantly asked what was wrong. This is stupid was the reply I got as he had 5 Cobia swim towards him and thought it better to throw a lure at them. So we both started casting. I hooked one, but the bugger got off. Nath had one follow the lure but not take it. That was the end of that.

We then headed over towards the coral of the reef. On the way we spotted on the surface a bright yellow shark. At first we thought a Leopard shark, but as it turns out, it was a Zebra shark. It swam down to the bottom, so we left it alone and continued to the reef.

We trolled over the coral for a while, but it got too shallow and we kept getting snagged. We decided it best to not lose a lure and headed for deeper water. We were on our way to a bombie that Darrell had given us co-ordinates for when we saw 2 Zebra sharks together on the surface. I GoPro’d them from the boat but it was a bit too choppy for me to keep it in the water. One was biting onto the tail of the other one, in what we believe to be a mating act. Nath figured they were pre-occupied, and given that we were only in about 2 metres of water, got in with them for a snorkel. After a bit, Hendrix decided he too wanted to get in with them. I was still dubious, and El was happy to stay with me in the boat. The next thing I know, Mr Touchy Feely had touched the tail of the rear one, followed by his side kick. At this point both boys had been in with the sharks for ages, and the sharks were still happily doing their thing on the bottom. I decided that I too wanted to get in and swim with them. Elokin willing followed me, not to be out-done by her Ma. Nath gave me the GoPro to capture him touch it again, as he was unsure if Hendrix had done a good enough job. After he did it, I said I wouldn’t touch it, but I would dive down and swim alongside them. Well, as soon as I dived down, I have no idea what possessed me, but I instantly touched its tail and then swim up them to get a good view. As I came up for a breath I looked back and saw that Elokin had followed me down and touched its tail too. Nath hadn’t realised she was doing it, so we thought he hadn’t caught it on video, so of course, we made her do it again! When we had all finished touching them, and incidentally they feel like sand paper, we hung back to watch them. At this point the female had either had enough or they had finished their mating act, but for whatever reason, she managed to slip out of his mouth and start to swim away. First she had to deal with the remorer that was suctioned onto her head so she hit the ground to grind him off. While this is going on, the male is still trying to find her again as he obviously wasn’t finished and wanted to suck/bite on her tail some more. She headed straight for us and circled away with him hot on her tail. By now we are huddled together with the kids in the middle of us trying to stay out of the way. In the confusion, and with their terrible eyesight, the male bumped into Nath’s leg and then chased my flippers thinking I was the female. My brain was telling me feet to stop flippering as I knew he was wanting to latch on, but my feet were replying with faster movements to shoo it away. This wasn’t working for me, so I added some vocals screaming: ARRRGHHHHH!!!!!! through my snorkel at it. This must have done the trick as it left me alone and started to head away. I grabbed Elokin’s arm and kicked with all my might to get us back to the boat, only to be stopped by the damn shark circling back around again. We huddled again and when it took off for the second time, before Nath could even say “back to the boat” I had already grabbed Elokin’s arm and was off again. We made our speedy exit into the boat. Nath and Hendrix had waited to make sure that it was gone for good and then followed us to the boat. Nath said afterwards that Zebra sharks have downward pointing mouths like the Tawny Nurse shark, so he would have a hard time taking a good bite out of us. So really I hadn’t needed to freak out like I had. I advised him that he could have told me that sooner and I probably wouldn’t have freaked as much as I did. All in all, it was great fun and a terrific story to tell. Even though we were only 20 or so metres away from the boat, this situation drives home how vulnerable we are in the water if something was to attempt to eat us, i.e. White pointer.

After our excitement, and we were all pumped, we made our way to the bombie. We cast on it, and although we could see the fish, nothing took a bite. We then called it a day, and headed home after 3pm to watch our movies. We then ate an early dinner and headed to Tonia and Darrell’s camp to share our movies and experience from today. While we were chatting and watching we discovered a rather interesting fact. It started with: Nath is a Leo. Tonia is a Leo….. I am a Scorpio. Darrell is also a Scorpio. No way, this is amazing….. Nath’s birthday is 8 August. Tonia’s birthday is 7 August! I then asked the question. “When is your birthday Darrell”. Out he comes with: Halloween. NO WAY!!!! I am All Saints Day. (For those that don’t know, Halloween is October 31 and All Saints is 1 November). So that means that Tonia and Darrell’s birthdays are both the day before Nath and mine! How freaky is that!!!!

We headed home after 8pm and I made pikelets as we were all hungry by then.

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.

Manta Ray

Day 338: 9 Mile

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

We woke to the perfect morning and enjoyed the sunrise from bed with not a breath of wind. Today was going to be a good day. After breakfast and a bit of cleaning up, we headed out in the tinny. Yvonne and Phil had left a few minutes before us, so we motored over to them at the edge of the channel. They had found some bombies that we didn’t know were there. Phil said that they used to be in the deep water, but now we were looking at them on the edge. We saw some chopping up a bit further south so Phil trolled towards it and then came back to us. By then the chopping up had come towards us, so we both started casting. I had a popper on and I saw something really big come up and have a go. On the second go I realised what was chasing my popper, a huge grey shark! I quickly retrieved it so that I wouldn’t lose my popper. We saw a shovel nose shark on the bottom below the boat, but that wasn’t what had a go at my popper.

We left Phil and Yvonne then and headed south, across the channel and towards the outer reef. It was calm today that we could move fairly fast, although there was a swell pushing through. We headed down to what we thought would be the Manta Ray cleaning station and circled over it looking for Manta’s. Well, it didn’t take long and we knew we had located the right spot. We found two Manta Rays having a clean. I lowered the anchor down and the four of us put on the rest of our snorkelling gear and quietly entered the water. We swam back over to the spot where we had seen them from above and out of the distance appeared the two Manta’s with their mouths open and little fish cleaning them. It was so very cool! These huge majestic creatures glide so effortlessly and with such grace. We followed them for ages and a couple of times we didn’t have to move as they circled below us. Then they separated and we stuck with one. Nath swam down with the GoPro and it swam towards him so he could see its face close up. It was unreal. I dived down to one and swam along with it for a while so I could see it close up and really get a feel for just how big they are. On average they were probably 5 – 8 metres below us. We then headed back to the boat to try to find more, but the spotter plane flew over the top of us and we looked towards Coral Bay and could see 2 Manta Tour boats on approach. We decided to have a quick look while they were on their way, but when they got close, we moved away to let the paying customers have their time alone.

We were very surprised how quickly one of the tours left. When the other tour left a while after them, we headed back to the cleaning station. It didn’t take us long again to find another Manta Ray by itself. As I lowered the anchor down, I hit the side of the boat with the chain and it made a loud noise. This brought the Manta up almost to the surface. Nath was the first in and I handed him to GoPro and said that we would catch up. It stayed near the surface and he had a fantastic interaction with it. He really pushed himself to make a great video, but when he came to the surface and the Manta went down, he realised that it had stopped recording as it tends to do. Highly frustrating I might add. Well, Nath was more than frustrated, let’s put it that way! By now Elokin, Hendrix and I were ready so we headed over to Nath and the Manta. It was now a long way down, but we swam above it and followed it around. It took us a fair way from the boat too. Eventually we decided to leave it alone and headed back to the tinny, looking for more Manta’s as we went. There was no more to be found, but we felt very happy with what we had already experienced.

Once back on board, we headed north and found a dugong. He was cruising along and we noticed that he had fish under him. We cast poppers near it but caught nothing. We then drifted over a broken weedy section and I caught a 45cm Spango on a popper. We decided to keep it as we were out of fish. We continued to drift and I could see the fish come up to attach my popper. It was really cool. I cast again and didn’t even get to pop it as a huge fish had smashed it. I hauled it in and found myself looking at a 60cm Spangled Emperor. Oh Yeah! How stoked was I. This fish put up a good fight but it was no match for me and my Daiwa. We let the 45cm one go and kept this big beauty as we could get more feeds out of him and still only take one fish home. After the successful release of the smaller fish, I cast again and hooked another Spango. This one was smaller than the previous 2 fish and was released. On another cast I again hooked a Spango, this one was another good size at 55cm and put up another good fight, but we released him as well as we already had our fish for the day. I then thought I would go for something a bit different and threw out a squid jig. After a while I managed to catch one squid, so we kept him as well. Nath was fishing for a spango now and hooked one that took him under a bombie. We thought he was going to lose the lot, but after some careful manoeuvring of the boat his lure was released and floated to the surface. We have no idea where the fish went, but he got off either way. After that he hooked something big but it busted him off pretty quickly. Elokin and Hendrix were paddling around the boat in the water having fun, while we were fishing. We did keep an eye out for sharks.

We arrived back at camp at 5 minutes to 4pm. Phil and Yvonne had seen a (Mako they think) Shark launch out of the water after we left them this morning. They had then promptly left that spot. The had a good day of fishing, catching a 90cm Spanish mackerel, a big Cobia, a big Spangled Emperor and 11 squid. What a great day!

Tonight Nath cut Hendrix’s hair as it was getting too long and scruffy, then he cut mine as it needed it. We sat out under the stars after the kids were in bed. Does it get any better than this!

 

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.

Dolphins Nath and the kids swam with

Day 83: 9 Mile

Saturday, 24 August 2013                                                                                              45kms

It was a great day for boating today. We all got up early and headed out on the water. From camp we headed west. It is a big stretch of sandy barren ground only 2-3 metres deep before you reach a 10-14 metre deep channel which in places can be only a few metres wide and in others hundreds, depending on where you cross it, followed by more sandy barren 2-3 metre deep before finally reaching the reef, which is about 5kms out from shore. We decided to troll across the channel. Now to be honest I was a bit apprehensive about crossing the channel, purely because for so long I could see the bottom in this beautiful aqua coloured water, to now having this dark blue ominous looking water in comparison stretched out before me. Anyway we did cross it and caught nothing. So then Nath thought we should try trolling along it. Still nothing, so we decided to head for the reef. Yay, back over the nice clear aqua coloured water.

We found lots of weed beds, huge weed beds. We had a dolphin come to check us out, plus saw lots of turtles. We did lots of squidding, but caught nothing. The other guys came over and we saw a manta ray, so Nath jumped in with it, but it got spooked by all the boats so he only got to see if for a second and then it was gone. Al had caught a squid by this stage which was fantastic.

While we were running around after the ray, 2 dolphins came right up to the bow of our boat. Nath was sitting up there with his full snorkel gear on, GoPro in hand, ready to jump on the manta while I drove the boat. These dolphins looked very inquisitive and friendly so I threw it in neutral and Nath slid quietly in off the bow. What unfolded next was spectacular! Nath got to swim with the dolphins for over 2 minutes. Now, Nath was rather slow in comparison to how fast a dolphin can swim, but these 2 waited for him to catch up. Holly got in further up, so when the dolphins saw her splashing around, they swam off after her. Perhaps they were hoping she could swim faster than Nath. Ryleigh and Lochi got in as well, so the 3 kids were swimming with the 2 dolphins as well. It was a magical experience for all of them.

After that we found another ray, that we thought was a manta, so I jumped in with this one. Turns out not. After swimming after it for a while, I noticed the really long tail and a totally different shape head. It was an eagle ray. It was still a majestic ray to swim with.

We then headed back over the weed beds and finally caught 5 squid. Yay!!! We also saw a shark, a small reefy we think, but it was too quick. Back to camp, again across that eerie channel. For some reason it just gives me the creeps.

We cleaned the squid and then headed to Coral Bay via the coast track. We joined Ken and Anne in the caravan park where they are staying for happy hour before heading off to dinner at the Resort restaurant. Dinner was absolutely delicious. Both Nath and I had a beef roulade with crispy sweet potato curls. It was divine and well-priced considering where we are. We also had dessert, sundaes. The kids meals came with them, but after our meal we decided we wanted one too, and the kids another so we went back and ordered another 11 sundaes, after the 5 the kids had already eaten. They were cheap as at only $2.50 each. Nath ended up finishing off most of them, including the one that I was still eating! We did have a great night with fantastic company.

We drove home on the coast track in the dark, and watched the moon rise. It looked awesome.

 

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.

The sailfish

Day 80: Winderabandi Point

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The rising sun upon the Winderabandi Point of Ningaloo Station gave birth to a cracking Western Australian August day. The men within the camp had decided to take on the hunt many other men have dreams about. Catching their first Billfish and seen as the wind was not trying to blow WA to QLD it was a good day to take on the challenge.

After a quick run into Exmouth Tackle World the day before to purchase a $30 marlin lure “and a few less important items like food and water” as I had seen one Bill Fish jump in front of the tinny the same morning and Peter hooking up on a hard bodied lure the day before. The powerful fish Peter hooked screamed the line from the TLD only to be lost due to a faulty real.

Setting off through the northern reef exit off of Winderabandi Point the two 12 foot tinnies set out for the mammoth task and possibility of the boats being out sized by our ambitious challenge. The gap through the reef was riddled with bombies and we had to keep an eagle eye out to avoid hitting the large coral mounds. The sea was mounded by the swell and fortunately not windblown leaving the hills smooth for the smaller boats to rollover. After passing the Green Zone boundaries and the depth sounder saying 40 Meters of water below, the lures went in the water to trail out the back. Showy and I started to spread our boats apart, Peter and I taking the lead and Showy and Al trailing behind and moving to the north.

Ten minutes in, Peter and my lures tangled, so we set to the task of winding in and untangle the lines. Fortunately the two lines untangled 3 to 4 meters off the back of the boat and not a second too soon. Bang! Up from the depths below shot the sailfish right before our eyes. It took me all of one millisecond to hammer down the free spool leaver on the Shimano Tyrnos 50 II speed. Pandemonium would be the best way to describe what happened in our tinnie at this moment and then Pete and I had locked in for the fight. It is the small things that you take for granted in a bigger boat that make this challenge harder in a small tinnie… As it happened; Holy molly the fish is up on its tail dancing across the shiny ocean surface like a wrap dancer after a case of Red Bull. 2.8 meters of solid fish completely out of the water flipping along in revers on its tail, under, back up, under and up again. Now it is time to get a little concerned about the amount of line being pulled off the reel and one of the moments you take for granted in a bigger boat….. “Pete, take the driver’s seat so we can pull a bit of line back on this fish”. Ever tried walking from one end of a tinnie loaded up with all the sea going gear, tackle box’s fuel etc while old matey has a leverage bar attached to you trying to yank you out of the boat? That is pretty much how I felt and it was far from a gracious walk, more like a three legged blob making its way across a rope bridge. The fight was long and tiring, I have no idea how long, felt like 1 or 2 minutes but I know it was a hell of a lot longer in real time once you remove the adrenaline and excitement of the moment. The fight is nearing the end and I am pumping the rod up and winding down the boat moving closer or the fish coming closer each wind is a question I can ponder now but at the time any ground was well earned and took its toll on my arms and hands. Another one of them moments when the bigger boat and the ability to move around are taken for granted. It’s time to land this fish and Pete is seated up the other end near the tail and I have the bill, I lift the head and go to grab the leader myself while managing the rod and reel. The hook pops from the Saily’s mouth and the fish drops into the water, my reaction to this was swift. DROP EVERYTHING and lunge over the side grab the bill of the fish and pull like Hercules in a tug-of-war game. WOO HOO I had landed the biggest fish I have ever caught right on top of myself, the hoots of excitement and comradely within the 2 boats was fantastic and to experience this with 3 good friends out in our tinnies was nothing short of speechless.

A quick photo moment and the fish was back in the water being swum to revive the big fella. The fish was more exhausted than me and took a good 10 minutes to bring back to a state for releasing without being drowned or eaten by sharks. The time I spent swimming the fish for release was insane, to see this fish in its prime in its environment took my breath away and I will hold that image in my mind for many years to come.

We spent another hour or two trolling for fish to no avail and returned back to camp to share the story, as is the trend I did my victory circle to tell all at camp we had caught a fish only this time I was on and off the accelerator to get the boat jumping like a sailfish in my excitement. What a day what a place.

Day 68: Pilgramunna

Friday, 9 August 2013

We woke up this morning to wind and decided not to get up. After having such a fantastic full-on time for the past week, we were in need of a lay-day. Elokin had to do some school work, which we struggled with. She did not want to do it. We also started to pack up as today is our last day at Pilgramunna. The boat is now back on the roof and the boat trailer stowed on the van.

For lunch we had Spanish Mackerel wraps and they were delicious. Les and Maree came by just after noon. Maree took Elokin and Hendrix for a paddle in the water which they enjoyed and was a great break for Elokin.

Nath went up the range with Trish, Al, Ken and Anne for phone reception to check emails and make phone calls for his birthday yesterday. They were gone a long time and as it turns out it was a good 4wd track.

We schooled Elokin some more and because she refused to do and fluffed around so much it was after 9pm before she completed her work. She did seem to work better in the evening and night after dinner. I guess that is just a good time for her.

 

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.

4. Mako shark that came to visit Nathan

Day 67: Pilgramunna

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Nathan’s Birthday!

We started the morning with Elokin and Hendrix giving their dad the cards they had made for him. Call me the worst wife in the world, but I completely forgot that his birthday was going to be while we were here, and so forgot to buy him a present in Exmouth. Oops! How slack do I feel?!

The boys all went out fishing to get the day going. While they were out, to start with I schooled Elokin. Then the ladies and I got organised for the surprise tonight. I made a cake and Anne baked it in her oven for me. Then the men started arriving back.

Al and Ken were the first, with 2 victory laps! That must be good. So we all made our way down to the water. Ken had caught a big fish! We then got to watch a rather dramatic re-enactment from Al as he was still pumping full of adrenalin, which had us all in stitches laughing.

They were trolling along when all of a sudden Al’s line gets smashed. He cuts the motor and promptly gets busted off. Ken didn’t even have time to retrieve his line. So Al starts the motor again, and they continue on. Almost instantly Ken’s reel starts going bzzzzzz, with the line screaming off it. Pandemonium in Dolly (aptly named as she is an inflatable boat). The line is coming off that quick that within seconds 50 metres of line is gone.  Al with his quick thinking starts Dolly’s motor and turns her around to start chasing it down. By the time this has happened, Ken has lost all of his braid and is onto backing line. As they chase after it Ken starts to retrieve some of his line. At this stage he can’t put any tension on the line as he doesn’t have any braid back on the spool. Minutes later Ken gets his braid back but still has to fight the fish. Eventually he winds the fish over to the edge of the boat. Al holding the net takes one look at the monster fish Ken has reeled in, decides that is never going to work, the net is way too small and chucks it away. Indecisive about what to do next as he didn’t really want to use a gaff in an inflatable boat, it is not usually wise. Just ask Alby Mangels! Having no other choice, Al grabs the gaff and prays that it goes in the fish and not the boat. He leans out and gaffs it away from the boat. As he pulls it over to the boat, the lure, a Bobby Dazzler F18, hooks into the rope on the side of the boat. So now he has a massive fish flapping around, gaffed and now hooked onto the boat. All Al can think of is an even bigger shark coming to take a chomp at the fish and getting Dolly. Al is now working frantically to cut the rope to free the fish and haul it into the boat. As the moments tick on, Al is getting more concerned about the potential of sharks. But then, the rope is cut and the fish is wrestled into Dolly. Success! Ken had always dreamed of catching a huge Mackerel, and now his dream had come true. Sitting in the boat, taking almost the entire boat is a 140cm Spanish Mackerel! Both were pumped when they arrived back at shore with grins from ear to ear.

Nath and the other guys arrived back then. Nath caught a bonito which he kept for bait, but it was dwarfed by the monster Spanish Mack. Nath then relayed what he had seen out on the deep blue.

“The ocean was smooth as a river, there were whales everywhere and many of them came by to see what I was up to and bust out some moves like the tail wacken fin slap and a few breaching, obviously having nearly as much fun as me. After trolling around a large school of bait fish getting smashed up from below by the bigger tuna, I spotted a large fin protruding from the water and moved in for a closer look. As I neared the fin a curious Mako Shark came straight up to the side of the boat and cruised around the outboard and back around again, I followed it as it slowly moved off in search of something more interesting than me and my tinny. What a fantastic creature and experience.”

While we were hanging out in camp, Whaleshark boats arrived just out through the opening. We could tell they were dropping their groups onto a Whaleshark or two. We were tossing up whether or not to go out and try to find it as they were leaving or not. In the end we decided it would be foolish to give up such an awesome opportunity, so we got Elokin and Hendrix into their life jackets and headed off out of the opening. Jo and Show joined us, along with Trish and Al in their boats. As we were heading out we could see the Whaleshark boats leaving. Bugger, we delayed too long. We all headed north separated by about 30 metres to try and see as much as possible. We stood up to get a bit more height, but it was useless, we couldn’t find one. Oh well. We turned and started heading south to find Humpback Whales not too far away. They ended up coming right up to us and cruised under the boats. I put the GoPro in the water and later when watching it we had 2 big ones and a baby go under the front of the boat. It was awesome, scary, but awesome. I just have to keep telling myself that they know exactly where we are and are not going to hit the boat. After that high, complete with shrills of joy from us ladies, we headed back into the lagoon. The swell was huge coming back in and all of us grown-ups had to put life jackets on. It was terrifying actually. Nath went first, while Show and Al watched to see where he went as he was using the GPS to see the opening and where we had come out. Just after a huge wave went passed he gunned it and rode the back of it. We were moving pretty bloody quick. I looked over my shoulder and saw another huge wave coming up behind us so I indicated with my head for Nath to have a look and upon doing so, he went full throttle to keep in front of it. It was a tense few moments, which seem to take forever, and I think I may have even said some prayers for my children’s safety. Once we were safely through the passage, we turned to watch the others. Nath was so pumped full of adrenalin that he was shaking. It was at that moment that he admitted even he was concerned for our safety. He said that there was something about having his family on board that made the situation seem worse than probably what it was. Show and Jo came through next, and to be honest I was worried. They were sitting differently on the waves to us so I thought they were going to get wiped out. Nath assured me that Showy knew what he was doing and that their boat had to sit differently in the waves to ours as it was a flat bottom boat with a small v so he couldn’t ride the waves like we did. I think I held my breath either way. They too made it through safely, and then it was Al and Trish’s turn. I think they might have actually sat the best out of the three of us in their inflatable, but it didn’t have as much stick as us. Again I found myself holding my breath as I watched them brave the passage. Then after more tense moments, we were all safely back in the lagoon and I could breathe again.

In the afternoon all the kids blew up balloons and hid them in Show and Jo’s camper. We all sat down at Trish and Al’s van and enjoyed nibblies to celebrate Nath turning another year older. Pete and Karen presented Nath with a present (even they remembered, feeling double awful now), a brand new straw wide brim hat. He was chuffed. By now Nath was convinced that we were having sausages for dinner as at least then Elokin and Hendrix would actually want to eat dinner with us and we wouldn’t have any arguments on his birthday. I then left him to enjoy relaxing and went off to cook the sausages. Meanwhile, everyone else was preparing their dinner too. We put the tables together out of eye sight of Nathan and Karen found some old clam shells lying around to put candles in and place on the tables. Then everyone started to sneak their food over to the tables before I called Nath over for dinner. He came around the car and “Surprise”. We were having a curry night, as Nath loves curry but our children are not fans, so I had in fact cooked sausages for all the kids and everyone else had make Nath a special dinner. He was surprised which is awesome because I can never usually keep things a secret from him, I am usually too excited and just have to share. Dumb, I know. Anyway, we all enjoyed our dinner, Nath especially. For dessert we had the birthday cake, plus Anne had made lemon cheesecake and Holly and Annalea had made brownies. After we had finished our meal and were feeling rather full, the kids went off and played while we partied on, including Al and I up on the table dancing. It was a fantastic night!

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.