The life of a beach bum...
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Where I stayed
Ballina Central Caravan Park
After a quick spruce up in the excellent amenities, I headed into town for a quick cup of coffee (still haven't had the courage to turn on the LPG and use my stove - I have visions of making the local news with tales of exploding vans - the only consolation will be that the van is so old, it might be doing it a favour!) Ballina hadn't really got going yet, so picked up a map and headed up the coast towards Lennox Heads via Shelley Road
After all a while, eased back to Ballina and pulled into the car park across the road from the camp site. This was adjacent to the beach, so went on being careful not to kill myself on a few very slippery but wet (huh?) rocks. This area is a tidal coastal estuary and you could see where the sand banks and danger signs were. My experience of Ryde served me well here...I knew if I waited long enough there would be a reason to be proud of Ryde (of course I'm joking - very proud to have come from Ryde - aren't we?) This meant the sea was shallow in bits and deep in others (in my notes I'd put variable, but I thought I'd keep it easy!). The sea was absolutely freezing, although again I suspect I might not be factually correct here. It might possibly be that it was so hot, that the water seemed extra cold. Unfortunately I had chosen to enter the sea at its shallowist point and so after a little splashing around gave up and sat under a tree reading for a couple of hours. The tree I sat under had lots of supporting struts, bit like a tree in a mangrove swamp, seen them in the Amazon before. Anyway just happened to look up and saw spiders webs in the higher branches. After the initial shock calmed down and rationalized that they looked like quite old webs and the spider had probably gone by now
I then set off on another mission. For a duvet and cornflakes. An odd combination, but necessary. The cornflakes got from IGA in the shopping centre on the edge of town and the duvet got in the equivalent of Asda next door. I'd always planned to pick up a really cheap duvet as it would be easier and nicer (more homely than using a sleeping bag - especially one with fleas! Yak!). Then returned to the campsite to find it half empty! I learned my parking lesson and parked beside the slab (my electricity cable still reached easily), but it was nice to have a bit more space and privacy. I went to speak to the site again about wireless and he said that last night had been part of a promotion hence it had been really busy. A few more people turned up later but much quieter than I was expecting for a Saturday night.
A couple of things that I've been reminded of by Tim's comment about roadkill, whilst crossing the estuary bridge to east Ballina a sea eagle flew over with a bloody massive fish in its talons. The fish was still flapping around and the bird was really struggling with the weight and size of it. Not sure what happened in the end, but amazing to see. And at the shopping centre a green parrot was on the exit road (possibly a galllah, it looked like it had a broken wing. I swerved around it, but if I'd known about Tim's challenge I might have gone for a splatter!
In the evening went for a Thai meal just up the block. It was delicious, especially the red curry with just enough spice. They were training a new waitress, and she was very sweet, but not the brightest spark. She got a little confused when I asked for the bill, but hey still got a good tip for being young and blond!