Monday, 17 October 2016

Road Test - Yamba

Yamba Lighthouse
Yamba is almost in our DNA. My wife was born on the same river and then lived here long enough to still call it one of the places which constitute home.

She has sacred sites dotted about the place to do with the first rites of passage or at least an introduction to what they were. There's the house where she used to eat devon sandwiches and tomato sauce; the shop where she worked her first job; the surf shed where she had her first pash. You get the picture.

She bought me here in our first year - me, a Cronulla boy who hates the beach. An original contradiction in terms.

Then twenty years ago, we started to bring our children and now, they bring theirs, so any visit to Yamba is courting the familiar. There's nothing new to do. Nothing new to report ...

... and that's just fine.

So this week: we've walked along the beach; watched whales from the Pacific Hotel in the last of the afternoon; caught the ferry to Iluka; browsed the shops (there's usually one new boutique each year); lost an hour in the second hand bookshop; had the best chocolate mocha at Latitude 29; had the best seafood basket at Watto's; slept in; went out to Angourie Point but the famous break was working in the strong northeaster; Sat beside the Green Pool at Angourie, which looked okay for swimming and beside the Blue Pool, which didn't; and walked to Lover's Point. Every one of them a highlight, even in repetition.

We had a few additional treats, catching up with lovely Cheryl of the Squeaky Gate Retreat over coffee at Botero in Maclean and some friends at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

Watching whales go past is something of a given in Yamba but we watched an awesome display at Pippi Beach as a whale was attacked by a Great White Shark. The shark leapt clear of the water several times, it's back arching and head shaking from side to side. We watched fifteen minutes of the savagery before cycling on.

Our collapsible bikes have been just the ticket for getting around and we have a well ridden path which gets us up to Clarence St and the top of the hill behind the beach at Yamba.

Surfing the Coldstream Festival
The Surfing the Coldstream Festival was on over the weekend, with its buskers in the main part of the village and the big marquee up in Flinders Park going all day Saturday and into the night with music acts ... well they said some of it was music but baton twirling and kids singing ditties didn't really cut it with me. The garage band from Grafton were only marginally better. These were the lowlights and I'm assuming the highlights happened when I wasn't there.

Earlier, we caught up with Roshani Priddis - yeah, yeah, star spotting again, but we knew her when - who was busking with Tim outside the Back Packers. To that soulful voice, she has added blues harmonica, which give the duo a very strong soul sound. Later in the day, we had a chance to chat about life and times etc. Happy to report that her voice was by several lengths of the Yamba Bay, the best played musical instrument I heard all day.

Sue revisited the surf life saving club, where she had been the mainstay of the nipperettes during the early 1970's. Hopes of bundying on for duty with one of the hunks who had trembled her prepubescence were dashed when there were only old guys operating the BBQ and allowing the public into the club on the open day which was held on Sunday. I don't think she had counted on the fact that those hunks would now be mid sixties and beyond. Still, all was not lost, a few clubbies were dotted about the beach with pecks on standby and their tans on high alerts.

I drank coffee and consoled myself with the unfortunate nature of my predicament while Sue chewed hard on her eye candy. I agreed to leave as soon as it was reasonably acceptable and was careful not to run at top pace to get up the hill.

Click to see today's photos
I still hate the beach, keeping my clothes on all week and not getting within toe wetting range of any cheeky wave which might sneak up the sand to grab me. I do, however, love the rock platforms at either end and had a good explore on the last afternoon walk we did from Convent Beach to the hotel.

For now, that's all. Not unusually, responsibilities have again called us home.