The day we boosted a Byron Bay bank account.
We arrived and managed to nab a parking space right on the beach at Byron Bay – beautiful weather, beautiful surf and no plans whatsoever. We got changed into swim stuff, smeared some sun cream on and since we were only yards from the beach we took nothing with us except our boards. We spent a good hour and a half in the water; being smashed around, riding the odd wave but being dragged through the majority of them – not very elegant, especially when my bikini really didn’t want to stay put. Disaster struck when I was forced back to the shallow surf to cough up yet more saltwater and wait whilst it came streaming out my nose. I decided to try and tighten up my bikini top at the same time, something I now wish I had gone back to the beach to do. Moments later, Ant came wading back through the water having also consumed too much of the pacific than is healthy and we decided to return to the van for a break. That’s when realisation hit home, (not that I had been flashing my mangoes to the entire beach after every wave), but that during my readjustments, I had dropped the keys to the van (which were clipped onto my bikini top) into the surf! The tide was coming in, the force of the waves was immense and despite 20 minutes of wading up and down the area we agreed it was pretty pointless.
Everything we needed to sort it out was locked in the van; mobile phone, money, towels and even flip-flops (my feet were burning on the tarmac!). We borrowed the lifeguards phone to call the number on the back of the van... they were completely useless. We asked neighbouring car owners for wire and tried to break in.... useless, all the locks were caged. We started to burn in the sun – we had no clothes, no water and no money on us (not even to get another car park ticket since ours had now run out!). Eventually a kind Kiwi a couple of cars down gave us some water and managed to get hold of a local locksmith for us who said he could come out and sort it straight away.... for $300!!!!!!! $150 to get the van open and another $150 to make a new key. Despite the pain of the money involved, the time with which he managed it all was pretty impressive I have to say.
Sun burnt and hot, we decided we’d had enough of Byron Bay and left mid afternoon. Our day didn’t get much better, as we then spent the afternoon endlessly trawling from one campsite to another only to be told they were fully booked and to top it all, every lay-by or car park we passed carried a $300 fine for anyone caught sleeping in their vehicle overnight! Grrrr. This was not something we had factored in at all.
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins