Tag Archives: yacht

Lugubrious Dark Gully, Sydney.

Yesterday, we levitated out of our post-Christmas slumber to go sailing with my Dad. His yacht is moored at a mysterious location known locally as: “Dark Gully”. Before you start thinking he’s a pirate or smuggler of sorts, Dark Gully is in Palm Beach, a place made famous overseas by the hit drama series: Home & Away.

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Map of Palm Beach, Sydney. The Left or Western side is Pittwater with still water and the right or Eastern coast has waves.

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Mind you, just because Dark Gully gets its name from being sheltered from the sun, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its mysteries. Top of the list, is a sandstone cave which has a window and a door. Of course, it doesn’t take much imagination to view this mysterious hide-out as an Aladdin’s Cave. A treasure trove overflowing with some kind of stash more interesting than broken boat parts, tangled fishing lines and last year’s empties. Unfortunately, despite extensive surveillance while we were living in the area, I’ve never witnessed even the twitch of a twig outside that place. I swear they come and go by moonlight and yes, the moon is on that side of the hill.

By the way, speaking of not seeing things in the area, the late George Michael lived just over that hill and I didn’t see him coming or going either. Not that I was operating some kind of amateur surveillance or stalking operation down there. As far as I was concerned, the water was always an empty, black ink. Of course, I sort of knew there were flying mullet, stingrays and sharks lurking beneath the depths, but I never saw much action on top of the water. There was just the huge yacht which moored a few metres away from our boat ramp  every Christmas. Humph… there could well have been activity there. However, I was too busy photographing the moon to notice. Yes, that’s right I was stalking sunsets and moon rises with my camera, not celebrities I didn’t know were there.

Next up…sailing at Dark Gully and you can also read about exploring Dark Gully and Palm Beach in this previous post: Exploring Palm Beach…Our Borrowed Backyard.

xx Rowena

Why I’m Not Sailing!

Today, when our sailing trip with my Dad was cancelled due to strong winds, I discovered that even when you have a yacht, going sailing isn’t guaranteed and smooth sailing isn’t as easy as I thought.

Apparently, one of the first things you need to learn about sailing, is that just because you have a yacht or access to one and you’ve made plans, that there’s no guarantee that you’ll get out on the water as planned.

Indeed, it turns out that having a yacht is only a very elementary part of going sailing. Unfortunately, sailing is at the mercy of that greatest of vagaries…the weather.  Of course, you don’t want to take unnecessary risks. However, when you’ve been counting down the days and you can already feel the wind in your hair, it’s only natural to feel upset. Want to fight back.  Ignore the weather report. After all, where there’s a will there’s a way.

It’s good my Dad knows when to call it quits. Moreover, quite aside from risking lives, taking the kids out in rough conditions is counterproductive. We need each and every sailing experience to be a good one when they’re starting out. So, I had to be sensible and find an alternative to lessen the disappointment.

Today, we’d arranged to go sailing with my Dad. I had a routine appointment with my lung specialist in Sydney and sailing fitted in well afterwards. So, I’m sure you’ll understand that while I’m coughing away having lung function tests, that I was picturing being out on the water enjoying some smooth sailing and my disappointment when it didn’t happen. As we were driving back from the hospital, the wind was whipping through the trees and although my knowledge of sailing is pretty basic, it was looking like we wouldn’t get out.

Yet, I’m a pretty determined person and live that old adage: “where there’s a will there’s a way”.

However, you also need to be responsible and know when it’s time to think laterally and find something else to do…especially when the weather bureau is reporting 30 knot winds and making special, additional reports.

Clearly, it wasn’t the day to go out.

Yet, Geoff has the week off work and the kids are on school holidays and I didn’t feel like simply going home. We decided to stop off at Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River on the way home.

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In the meantime, Dad was taking a few photos of the garden  and I decided  to retrieve the camera from the boot and go hunting. We’re just edging into Spring in Sydney. Lush green leaves are budding on deciduous trees, flowers are blooming and inspiration was everywhere.

My parents have a very established garden, which was initially developed by an avid gardener with then exotic plants. There’s a jungle of azaleas front and back and numerous camellias including the ginormous reticulatas, which Dad planted and more dainty sasanquas. Their garden also has quite a range of Japanese maples and there’s a stunning Crab Apple flowering by the front door at the moment.

If you are also seriously into photography, you’ll know what I mean when I say that I was walking through the garden looking through the lens, trying to pluck things out of the under and overgrowth, which would take on a life of their own in 6 x 4.

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A Twisted Fork in the Road.

I spotted bare branches with a maze of dark sticks silhouetted against the azure sky. I saw that proverbial fork in the road as the branches split and branched out but then as you moved out toward the twiggy ends, there was such a maze of sticks. This reminded me of what it’s like to get lost and how your plans can get so badly scrambled, that you get lost in the maze..where am I? Do I even know who I am?

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When your path becomes a jumbled maze…

Fueled by the strong wings, clouds were sprinting across the sky, whisking me out of myself and into their arms. Senses overloaded, I lay down on the grass using my camera bag as a pillow, opening the eyes of my heart up to the sky. White, flossy cloud streaked across the intense blue sky like trails of cotton wool. The leaves were rustling and chattering in the wind and various birds flew by.

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Scrumptious Clouds!

Indeed, while I was lying there I heard a “Scratch! Scratch!” in the undergrowth and a brush turkey was wandering by.

Despite all these “distractions”, I could feel myself melting into the grass and the full weight of life’s burdens being lifted from my shoulders. I can’t remember the last time I lay down on the grass and looked at the sky and stopped. Completely stopped…my heart rate slowing right down to R for rest.

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So, although we didn’t get out on the water today, I was able to experience the same sense of deep relaxation on land.

This is an important skill for a sailor to learn. After all, just like you don’t catch a fish every time, you can’t always get a sail. So, instead of succumbing to the disappointment, you’re better off keeping an open mind and finding other ways to carpe diem seize the day.

That is, instead of dwelling on the yacht which got away.

Have you ever been sailing? Please let your stories flow!

xx Rowena

Sailing to the Soul- Quotes Day 2.

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.
Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. was an American Catholic writer and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion. Wikipedia
Born: January 31, 1915, Prades, France
Died: December 10, 1968, Bangkok, Thailand
Today, we are going sailing so I thought I’d find a good sailing quote to share with you.
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When it comes to sailing, I must confess that I’m much better at photographing sailing and being ballast than actually sailing the boat. Steering isn’t exactly my strength and I have no sense of direction and when it comes to reading maps, I’m better at turning them into origami masterpieces…paper aeroplanes, flapping birds and the like.
All the same, I love sailing with the wind rushing through my hair and that sense of absolute freedom. It’s fantastic!

I would like to thank Olive Ole from https://travelmuch.net/  for nominating for the 3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge.

Olive lives in Denmark and produces a stunning travel blog with some very striking images. Being Australian, I really appreciate being able to explore other parts of the world with her.  So don’t hang around here – go check her out!Let me talk you through the rules of the challenge:

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

On Day 2, I am nominating three people who are into sailing or water sports:

Destination Everywhere: https://mrssuvi.com/
I hope your week is smooth sailing.
xx Rowena
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Sailing…We Are Sailing!

“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way”.”
― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Yesterday, we went out sailing with my Dad over at Pittwater. Pittwater is part of the Hawkesbury River estuary on the Northern edge of Sydney. We started out at the Palm Beach Marina, motoring up to Newport for petrol and then sailed back down via Scotland Island.

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Mister heading to the boat.

The royal “we” in this instance being Geoff, Mister and myself. Miss spent the day with Grandma. She is still developing her sea legs and is best going at her own pace. We, on the other hand,  longed to feel the wind in the sails, the gunnels in the water and feel ourselves suspended off the edge of the known universe.

Well, that’s my idea of sailing but to be fair, we’re sailing around Pittwater. We’re not out at sea and it’s something akin to sailing in a bathtub…not a lot of risk but you certainly get a taste of something sensational.

While I’ve experienced these thrills a few times, we’ve probably had more experience with a lack of wind. What sailors call: “the doldrums”. Of course, this is quite a different wrestling with the elements.Not only is it extremely frustrating when you’re going nowhere and longing for that thrilling breeze. It can also make for a long row home and brings home  emphasise the beauty of petrol power as well.

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Diesel…A sailor’s insurance!

Indeed, we did use quite a bit of petrol power yesterday.

We started out from the Palm Beach Marina and then motored down to Newport for petrol. It seemed funny having a petrol stop while “sailing” but motoring can be your salvation.

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Wild Oats X.

 

 

While at Newport, we spotted Wild Oats X. Not quite the same as seeing the mighty Wild Oats XI winner of eight Sydney-Hobarts 2005–2014 (eight) but still a thrill.

 

As much as I was there to enjoy the sailing, or indeed motoring, naturally I was also there to soak up the view with my eye. Feel transformed, rejuvenated, inspired in some way. For me, this is as much about photography, writing and just having what I’d call something of a spiritual relationship with the sea, the sun and just being out in the vast outdoors. I had a really overwhelming sense of space and even emptiness out there. When we set out, we were the only boat out on the vastness of Pittwater. At least, it seemed that way. Yet, Pittwater is part of Sydney, a world class city with over 4 million people. Whenever I’m out there, I think of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and that rustic river experience. I’m definitely not in a big city.

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Optimus on Pittwater.

Leaving Newport, we spot a group of kids learning to sail on a small boat called the Optimus or Opti. The kids are learning to sail on these at sea scouts. They look like bathtubs with sails attached but they’re great to learn on.

Up until this point, Dad or Geoff have been steering and we’ve been under motor but now it ‘s time to unfurl the mainsail and Mister is at the helm steering the boat. He’s doing a great job, although he’s more used to using a tiller where you have to reverse your directions to reach your destination. He seems to adapt automatically. Dad starts talking to him about ” and “starboard” “red light”, “green light” and while I joke about having difficulty knowing my left and right, I realise I need to master this lingo myself today and I’ll be having a steer too. Or, what Dad calls “a sail”.

Indeed, it’s now my turn.

I am actually the least experienced “sailor” on board. Knowing that I don’t have great fine-motor skills and navigation has never been my strength, I am a bit cautious but this is like learning to drive in the back paddock. There’s barely anyone out here and it’s a great opportunity to get started. Indeed, it reminds me of my first driving lesson in a way. Although the yacht isn’t bunny-hopping through the water, I’m definitely over-steering and we’re swinging  backwards and forwards towards my marker. I’m also so focused on trying to keep the bow on course, that I don’t have the mental energy to lookout for other boats. I am 100% focused on that spot. You know what it’s like when you’re learning to drive. That’s why you have an instructor!

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The yacht we were on yesterday was a Catalina and quite a different experience to being on a laser or even a smaller yacht. It’s much more substantial and a much more “civilized” affair. Even under sail, you weren’t constantly ducking and weaving to avoid the boom as you went about. Indeed, almost the entire trip I was poised up in my princess chair truly living the life.

Well, I was until my hat blew into the water. Being more aerodynamic that a sail, the wind ran off with my hat and was unceremonious dumped near a decrepit hulk. Of course, with  view towards rescue and recovery, being close to another vessel wasn’t good. Fortunately we were under motor when the hat went but even still maneuvering ale yacht around to retrieve a flimsy bit of cloth which may well be sinking, wasn’t going to be easy.

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Rescuing one very naughty hat.

Meanwhile, the sea gulls which had made the hulk home, took an instant dislike to my invading hat. To them, no doubt it was perceived as a potentially dangerous UFO. They started swooping at it with plover-like agro as it floated helplessly by. While Dad has his doubts, Geoff plucked the hat back to safety and I was given another “I told you so”. Yes, Geoff had told me that you can’t go sailing without a cord on your hat but like a resistant teenage girl, I didn’t want a cord on my hat. It’s my everyday hat and when you’re not sailing, a cord looks a bit dicky on your hat once you’re out of pre-school.

So after a perfect day, we headed back home. Grateful for how all those magic ingredients miraculous came together. Or, indeed, thankful that my Dad had researched the weather and the wind to boost the odds.

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Palm Beach Marina.

Watching the sun sparkle across that magic diamond carpet, such a deep and brilliant blue against the golden sand bathing in glorious golden sun, we headed home.

We are sailing, we are sailing
Home again
‘Cross the sea
We are sailing
Stormy waters
To be near you,
To be free

Sailing, Rod Stewart

Have you ever been sailing? Where did you go? Any tales of the high seas?

xx Rowena

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Selfie.

An Aussie Boxing Day.

I am starting to wonder whether chocolate, cheese and crackers could possibly equal dinner? How about if I throw in a bottle of wine?

Surely, Boxing Day must be a day off cooking for this exhausted kitchen slave?

After all, it’s Boxing Day. A day when traditionally speaking, (i.e before the Boxing Day sales took off), we lock the doors and bar the windows. Dig out that long lost novel or park ourselves in front of the box watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race dispersed with the cricket.

Humph! When it comes to not cooking, it’s not looking good. Although the kids aren’t home, even I’m feeling peckish.As much as I love chocolate, even this chocoholic can’t quite consider it a meal.

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Map Showing the Route of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race.

However, before I head off scrounge around in the kitchen, let’s get back to the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

The Sydney to Hobart, which started in 1945, is the pinnacle of the Australian sailing calendar and is a notoriously difficult race. While you do hear of yachts dropping out along the Australian East Coast, the real challenge comes when the race crosses Bass Strait, which is located between Tasmania and the Australian mainland.

Bass strait was named after George Bass, after he and Matthew Flinders passed through it while circumnavigating Van Diemen’s Land (now named Tasmania) in the Norfolk in 1798–99. At Flinders’ recommendation, the Governor of New South Wales, named the stretch of water between the mainland and Van Diemen’s Land “Bass’s Straits”…Later Bass Strait.

Personally, I’ve never even dipped my toe in Bass Strait, let alone sailed across those treacherous waters. Indeed, I’ve only ever flown over Bass Strait.

However, my intrepid husband who is something like a 5th generation Tasmanian whose roots date back to the 1830s, has sailed and kayaked in Bass Strait, albeit on the edges: “You don’t play silly games in Bass Strait”.  He has even crossed Bass Strait in a storm on board the ferry, The Abel Tasman, the precursor to the Spirit of Tasmania. He told me how the bow of the boat was punching into a wave and the spray was landing on the observation deck eight decks up. The waves were absolutely ginormous! Geoff says: “Bass Strait can be some of the roughest water in the world. I’ve heard it described as being as rough as the North Sea.”It’s apparently twice as wide and twice as strong as the English Channel.

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Can you imagine the spray from the waves hitting the top deck of this huge ferry? That’s some wave!

If you’re interested in reading about sailing across Bass Strait:http://www.mysailing.com.au/news/satori-in-the-strait-reflections-on-a-summer-bass-strait-cruise

However, while the Sydney to Hobart provided background entertainment, I’ve actually been working hard today. Instead of doing absolutely nothing, the house started moaning, groaning and complaining about months of accumulated neglect… AKA: “The Dump and Run”.

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Just to add to the pressure, as I’ve mentioned before, both our kids are starting at new schools next year. So, we need to get organised. We can’t do our usual trick of arriving back from holidays the night before school goes back and bluffing our way through on auto-pilot. No! I’ll be needing to have my long-suffering brain well and truly switched on and I’m sure some extra caffeine won’t go astray either…artificial intelligence!

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So, today I’ve sorted through numerous in-trays and filed and chucked mountains of paperwork. I’ve updated the 2016 diary. This new wave of organisation could inflict severe shock, especially on my daughter’s dance teacher. Let’s just say she’s been very understanding! Well, that was until the end of year concert was rapidly approaching and there were several stern discussions. Thankfully, all went well on the day. While we can’t comment on her technical prowess, Grandma and I both thought Miss looked like English ballerina, Dame Margot Fonteyn, in her snow white tutu. Even if she couldn’t dance a step, she still looks like a ballerina.

Rewinding just a little, how did your Christmas go? I know some of you are probably still enjoying Christmas Day.

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Mister received “Ollie”, a robot, for Christmas.

We opened presents at home and then drove down to my aunt’s place in Sydney. While nobody includes references to the heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic when they talk about Christmas, that’s as much a part of the celebrations here as the turkey and plum pudding. It wasn’t too hot yesterday and a much more comfortable 26 degrees Celsius. We had the usual hot Christmas turkey and baked ham along with Plum Pudding, which we set alight with brandy and dished up with custard and brandy sauce. Traditionally, I take loads of photos on Christmas Day but I was more focused on people and conversation yesterday and only took one of two possums which had been spotted in my aunt’s garden. I must be seriously ill! My camera never rests.

Vintage Ettalong Santa Truck 2008 Pearl Beach

An Australian Christmas, Pearl Beach, New South Wales.

On a more serious note, in previous posts you’ll see pictures of Santa travelling locally on a fire engine and I’ve mentioned how nasty bush fires have caused devastating damage at this time of year in the past. News has come through that 116 homes have been lost on the Great Ocean Road near Lorne in Victoria. The fire was apparently started by a lightening strike. We’ve had many bush fires around here and a few have been quite serious. Even though those fires weren’t on our doorstep, the place still felt like a blazing inferno and it was terrifying and it was heartbreaking seeing the extensive damage to our local National park.

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The ghosts of Christmas past…

 

Well, now that Christmas Day is done and dusted, we’re now heading towards that night of unmentionable mutterings…New Year’s Eve…when even those of us who vow never to make a New Year’s Resolution again, still manage to fall victim!

With all of my New Year’s Resolutions past brutally smashed like a multi-car pile-up, I’m very reluctant to consider any more. And yet…just because a resolution didn’t succeed and reach it’s desired destination, some change or forward movement is better than none at all. Or, horror of horrors, going backwards instead.

So, I have a few more days to reflect on resolutions and goals for the New Year while I still try to plow a pathway through the carnage of the past.

How are things going over at your place? How was Christmas?

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Look What I Caught!…Yacht at Sunset Palm Beach, Sydney.

Photography is like fishing.

Sometimes, everything goes your way and it’s like the heavens are twisting and turning, metamorphosing into the most magical images right before your eyes and you just can’t believe your incredible good luck!

Conversely, there are those incredible disappointments when you return home empty handed, hopes dashed against the proverbial rocks.

Of course, this pain is much more intense when you’re traveling and can’t wait, go back or replay. It is what it is.

Or, if you’ve experienced some kind of technical “blip” and screwed up. This is far worse because instead of thinking about what might have been, it was and it was your own stupid ineptitude which killed the moment…just like flushing a tropical fish down the proverbial toilet. You could see and almost taste perfection and then all you had left was the ashes. Ouch! Such pain! Of course, images of Munch’s “The Scream” come to mind here and almost do it justice.

Anyway, today was my lucky day! While we were catching the ferry home, it was like a miracle. The entire sky was lit up with incredibly photogenic sunburnt orange. Indeed, it was so intensely beautiful, that it almost didn’t look real. I mean, you’d have to think the sky had been photoshopped if it wasn’t there right in front of your very own eyes. I took a swag of shots including this slumbering yacht parked at Sydney’s Palm Beach. It was all completely unplanned and pure luck…or perhaps, serendipity.

Needless to say that my trigger finger is suffering from extreme over-use. I just couldn’t stop carpe diem seizing the moment.

Surely, I must’ve died and gone to heaven only now I’m back home and tomorrow will be a very rude shock…

Monday morning!!

Oh! The cruelty of it all!

Think I might just close my eyes and “Play it again, Sam”. After all, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”! (John Keats)

xx Rowena

Palm Beach Perspectives, Sydney, Australia.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

-Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor (161-180 CE)

Known as Summer Bay to lovers of the TV Drama series Home & Away and “Palmy” to those in the know, generation after generation have made the long drive up to Palm Beach often returning with sand-encrusted butts, sunburn and shocking tempers in a stinking hot car full of flies. Of course, that’s turning the clock back to the inimitable 70s when going to Palm Beach for us, meant piling into the family’s beloved HG Holden which had painfully hot upholstery and no air-conditioning. Ouch!

Palm Beach is located 41 kilometres North of Sydney’s CBD. However, I can assure you that if you’re catching the legendary L90 bus, welcome to eternity. Indeed, the journey takes around 2 hours. If you were traveling in Europe, you could well have traversed a few countries in that time. Moreover, bus is the only form of public transport. At least historically speaking, trains have been resisted.

On the other hand, if you are coming from the Central Coast, Palm Beach is only a stone’s throw away. You can catch the Palm Beach Ferry from either Ettalong or Wagstaff, which is an absolutely stunning 30 minute trip. When that gorgeous Australian sun is illuminating the ocean like a magical diamond carpet and the wind isn’t too strong, you’re in absolute paradise. On the other hand, when there’s heavy rain, strong winds, the ferry is heaving up and down through what feels like treacherous surf and you’re about to throw up; you feel like you deserve a bravery award once you reach the other side. Yes, at times like that, you even wonder if you’re about to become a modern version of the Swiss Family Robinson or remake Gilligan’s Island. Melodrama aside, the crew are very adept and the ferry is cancelled during particularly rough weather.

Palm Beach is an absolute kaleidoscope of perspectives, like any place, once you scratch beneath the surface. Obviously, creating that sort of mosaic, isn’t possible here so I’ll stick to the bigger picture, providing more of a broad-sweeping overview which a few “local” insights.

Geographically-speaking, Palm Beach has two quite opposite perspectives: the surf beach and Pittwater. The beach equals waves and swimming while Pittwater is “flat” and better suited for sailing, kayaking and other water sports.

Palm Beach- surf side

Palm Beach- surf side

Starting off with the surf beach, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that the sand is deep gold in colour. The next thing, is the surf. At the Southern end, the waves are relatively gentle and you have “kiddies’ corner”  where families with young kids hang out. There’s also an ocean pool where you can swim laps. The beach then stretches around towards the Northern end with it’s famous surfing breaks and culminates with the Palm Beach Lighthouse, which lies perched on top of the headland like a crown. If you are fit and energetic, you can walk up to the Lighthouse. I haven’t been up there for years and I’ve heard the path has improved but it used to be more of a climb than a walk.

The majority of swimmers are clustered “in between the flags”. The red and yellow flags mark where it’s safest to swim and is patrolled by the Surf Lifesavers. So, if you find yourself getting into difficulty, you can easily be spotted and rescued. I can assure you that as a teenager, my friends and I did consider needing a bit of CPR but never actually implemented these plans. We were all “talk”. That is, except when it came to talking to the lifesavers. These Adonises were in a league all of their own.

In a scene reminiscent of hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top of bread and butter (fairy bread),the crowds pour into Palmy from Christmas through to the Australia Day weekend at the end of January, which signals the return to school and the end of the precious Summer holidays. Then, the masses jostle for a precious rectangle of sand to park their towel on the hot,hot sand under the scorchingly hot Australian sun.

Although people living overseas have asked me about the hole in the ozone over Australia, it doesn’t look like all the sunbakers roasting themselves into early-onset melanoma have heard anything about it. When we were young, we used to to cover ourselves in baby oil or get sprayed on the beach by coconut oil, which was the height of sophistication back in the 70s and 80s. There was no such thing as a “fake tan” back then. Just sunburn, peeling skin, freckles and the odd genetic mutant who could actually pull off a tan.

Many years ago now, I used to hang out on the beach where designer sunnies were de rigeur and it certainly wasn’t the sort of place you’d turn up with hairy legs and arm pits which could fuel a forest fire. You didn’t just practice “the strut” at Palmy either. You had to have that down pat beforehand so Palm Beach could be your catwalk. Even better, if you also had the fingernails to eliminate your competition!

Geoff arriving home from a sail.

Geoff arriving home from a sail.

While the beachfront is renowned for flashing incredible wealth in a subtle, understated way and very much being “a scene”, the Pittwater side of Palm Beach is like it’s alter ego and incredibly down to earth  Understandably, there generally isn’t that fashion element you get over at the surf beach. Getting covered in sand and mud, we save our good clothes for back home or dining out and only wear our glad rags out there. It’s water shoes, wet suits, swimmers, grungy t-shirts and thick smears of sunscreen and broad-brimmed hats.

Although my tour of Palm Beach is rapidly drawing to a close, there are still two places I’d like you to visit.

Here I am enjoying a deep-fried prawn from the Fisherman's Basket.

Here I am enjoying a deep-fried prawn from the Fisherman’s Basket.

Firstly, there’s the infamous Palm Beach fish and chips shop, which has gone by various names over the years. It’s located on the Pittwater side, just across from the ferry wharf. People come from all around Sydney and the Central Coast to feast on these fish and chips, which surely must be among Sydney’s best?!! You can either eat-in or take them across the road and eat them in the park while checking out the sailing.

Secondly, there’s Alf’s Bait Shop in “Summer Bay”. Personally, there’s such an incredible cringe factor and like Neighbours, Home & Away is best exported but the show has been a fabulous ambassador and no doubt sold Australia to thousands of tourists. Palm Beach really does look incredible. That said, they usually present a glamorized, postcard perspective. After all, it does rain in Palm Beach and it isn’t always sun and blue skies!

However, while so far I’ve given you what pretty much reads as the glamour tour of Palm Beach, I can’t help feeling that Palm Beach is a little over-rated, especially given the cost of real estate. Even though it is part of Sydney, Palm Beach is actually very isolated and lacks most of what I would class “essential services”. There are no proper supermarkets and you have a ten minute drive into Avalon, which can extend to 20 in traffic. It is impossible to find a parking spot, which has meant that we’ve gone down for fish and chips and have driven off. I don’t want to knock down paradise and put up a parking lot. However, you do need to eat and get out of the house. That is also made difficult by the very narrow, twisting roads which lack adequate footpaths/ Indeed, in spots being a pedestrian is almost asking to get run over. As I was walking back from the bus stop the other day, I really felt like I needed to breathe in to distance myself from passing traffic.

Consequently, you can feel a little trapped and claustrophobic on the “insular peninsula”…especially when we have stunning beaches back home which are close to the shops, train and bus at such a fraction of the cost of real estate here.

Actually, thinking about Palm Beach’s location, it’s almost like someone was playing pin-the-tail on the donkey and stuck the pin almost off the side of the map. Even though it’s located in Sydney and not in the outback, it does feel strangely isolated both from services and people. So many of the houses are empty.

I am a bit down on Palm Beach at the moment because my Dad has sold the house here and we’re moving on, which is a serious wrench.

So rather than writing home about all the things I love about the place, I am also trying to remind myself of all the other equally beautiful places elsewhere and think about the flip side of the travel experience. For the last few years, we’ve immersed ourselves here but perhaps now it’s time to explore further afield and explore with a broader brush. When it comes to the Pittwater side of Palm Beach,it feels like we’ve explored each and every single hair on its head…especially when I’ve photographed it in such incredibly, minute detail and it feels like I know each single hair on its head, even though we’re still finding new critters.

So, soon I will be seeing our time in Palm Beach from another perspective…the past. I don’t need to leave it behind completely. After all, it’s only a short 30 minute ferry ride away but we planted roots here even if they’re uprooted and not severed completely, it still hurts and I feel a bit lost and disorientated. That said, once school goes back next week and we’re back to the grind at home, it will be a different story.

We’ll be home.

This has been P for Palm Beach Perspectives for the Blogging from A-Z April Challenge. How are you going with the challenge? Thank goodness, it is Sunday tomorrow and we have a break!

xx Rowena