Monday, 27 July 2015

Byron Bay

The following few days after Fraser Island I hopped from Rainbow Beach to Noosa for some relaxation time and then onto Brisbane to experience city life. Noosa has a calm peaceful atmosphere where expensive-looking condos overlook a family orientated beach which is lined with restaurants wafting delicious smells out into the sea breeze. Brisbane whilst one of the bigger cities on the coast has a friendly vibe to it and is a place that is easily explored with the all the offerings in the city centre in close proximity with each other. Soon enough I was in Byron Bay, a world famous surfing spot. 

Having taken a surf lesson on a family holiday years ago, I decided it would be too much like hard work to try and learn again so booked myself into a sea kayaking session. I have kayaked and canoed several times in different types of water but never on the sea so was excited for a different experience. That excitement soon turned to nerves as only two days before the water in the bay was evacuated as a Great White Shark had been spotted in the exact location where I would take to the sea! Putting it to the back of my mind myself and the others in the group got kitted out in wetsuits and life jackets before hauling the two man kayak down to the beachfront. The water looked deceptively calm but on our way out the wind was against us the entire way making it a real struggle to make any headway, and that was after we had fought against the incoming waves that threatened to tip us over. 

On the way out to the sea we made several stops to learn about the reef and the surrounding geography of the area. Because the bay is sheltered and the waters a balmy temperature year round, it is a perfect habitat for dolphins who we desperately scanned the horizon for. Unfortunately we didn't have the pleasure of seeing any but I loved just knowing that they were there all around us. At the furthest point from the beach we were in close proximity to the 'whale highway' as they made their way north to warmer waters; we even saw a few breaking the water to come up for air, with the fountain of water shooting up from their blowholes. 

I had expected the journey back in land to be a little easier going with the tide but the wind and current had other ideas so again our biceps got a good workout! In kayaks it is possible to 'surf' where the two people paddling work on different aspects of keeping the kayak from being swept sideways and rolling over in the swell. 

Being at the back, I acted as the rudder to steer the kayak in the right direction and thankfully, we glided on to the golden sand with no problems!! By the time we had got back on dry land and de-robed, we greedily wolfed down biscuits to feed our well earned appetite. I would have relished seeing more wildlife during the jaunt but it was a fun, natural way of harmlessly experiencing why Byron Bay is so famous.