Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Yamba Day 11

We had our best sleep in, not rising until 9:30am and then a lazy breakfast put us on the beach an hour later. Sue went through her usual routine of walking the length of the beach several times in about knee depth of water. Her back injury makes body surfing too risky and since I opted out of swimming a few years back, she usually has to swim by herself which she doesn't enjoy that much. Meanwhile, I took photos and enjoyed Mandy, Jack and Ava's company.

Jack and I went looking in the ocean pool for fish which had been trapped there by the last high tide. His keen eyes soon spotted them. Sister Ava joined us, followed quickly by Mandy and Sue, who was snapping photos by now. The twins are such photogenic subjects that its hard not to catch them in a handsome pose. More family chit chat followed after Joel, Lance and Cheryl arrived.

One o'clock came around fast, so we retreated to our unit for lunch, via a cup of coffee at Pippi's - well everyone except me that is, as Sue forgot to order anything for me!

After lunch, Sue and I walked to the Story House Museum, which holds an interesting collection of local history, including many photographs and simple, easy to read information boards. We visit there every few years and catch up on the latest displays as they have far more information than room to display it.

We walked into town for another coffee break - we are in cafe heaven in Yamba - and from there out to the break wall for sunset. A family of dolphins spent some playful time beside us as we walked. On one side the fishing boats throbbed out to sea pushed along by their powerful diesel engines and on the other, surfers caught high tide waves at Turner's beach on waves lit by the last golden rays before sunset. The beach which has been formed in what was once the mouth of the Clarence is named after Turner Turner, who drowned there. You would have thought his naming was the great unluck of his life but apparently not. At the same place ten or more years ago, we saw the wreck of a fishing boat and the attempt to salvage it from its resting place on the sand in the shallow water on the wrong side of the break wall. I know no details beyond the wildness of the night on which it happened.

We climbed the Rotary Walk, a set of steps from Turner's Beach up to the old Pilot's House on what is variously called Inner South Head, Pilot Hill or sometimes Yamba Head. It was here the first marine light was set up in 1854 ... a kerosene light on a tall pole and it from here a light has shone ever since. The first pilot, Francis Freeburn, set up tents here for his wife and small child and the four whale boat operators under his leadership. He is credited with being the first white settler in what was to become Yamba.

Its a short walk to the Pacific Hotel from Pilot Hill but then, at that time of the day, its a short walk from anywhere. Its a good place to close the day and look out the window in order to watch the fishing boats go out into what was Shoal Bay and the Pacific beyond and set their nets. You can also use the growing darkness to count your lucky stars which do every time we sit here at the close of yet another beautiful collection of Yamba moments with gather up into a day.

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