A Travellerspoint blog

Rush Hour

Osaka eye opener

semi-overcast 25 °C

With an emergency exit seat, two friendly young business men next to me and a whole catalogue of movies at my viewing pleasure, my Changi Airport bound flight was set to be a comfortable experience. Several hours later with several new releases ticked off the film list, the plane touched down in Singapore, my second time ever, on foreign soil. It was lucky I had no Singaporean currency, as my hours in transit could easily have been spent participating Singapore`s vast retail experience. Instead I chose the comfy, blue, velvet couch to curl up on with the latest Tracks magazine. Next thing I knew I was fast alseep on the midnight horror flight to Kansai International Airport in Osaka.

Collecting my bags and walking into the main terminal was a curious sensation as I had never been in this situation before. The surrounding peoples faces and voices faded into an unfamiliar blur as my head began to ache with the stress and excitement of this new experience. I found a seat, hoping to overcome this sensory overload then finally proceeded to the tourist information counter. The lady behind the counter was incredibly friendly and helpful, and to my luck spoke fluent English. With half a tree worth of useful pamphlets and an X marking the youth hostel on my map, I gathered the confidence to tackle the Osaka rail system, Navigating my way across the largest metropolis I have ever seen. The rail system in Japan is great as the trains go everywhere and generally have some English signeage. But wandering the city streets can be frustrating as most buildings look the same. The hostel was situated on the 8th floor of a Central Shin-Osaka office block with views out over the city, reaching towards the distant harbour and mountains in the opposite direction. With a massive sense of relief that I was no longer carrying twenty four kilos of luggage I set of to explore the hidden wonders in this vast city.

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Having being born in Exmouth, a sleepy coastal town emmersed in the amazingly beautiful Marine paradise of the Ningaloo Marine Park, you could say I am passionate about the wonders of the ocean and the extraordinary creatures that inhabit it. Therefore when I skimmed the brochures to find out that Osaka has a world class aquarium, my curiosity got the better of me. Strolling through the massive maze like complex was all part of the fun as it became an adventure discovering new passages filled with exotic species. I was led in a spiral, sampling the different zones and regions which border the great Pacific Ocean, from the tropical mangroves of Panama with its tiny monkeys and giant freshwater fish, to the deep Giant Spider Crab filled trenches off Japan's coast, to the Dolphins of the icy waters surrounding New Zealand.

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However the most exciting exhibit was the enormous tank in the centre of the whole building, from the first floor to the roof of the fourth, filled with the majestic creatures from the heart of the Pacific. The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling around its circumference gazing at the Whale Shark, Manta Ray, Bluefin Tuna, Mackerel, Trevally, Reef Sharks, enormous Cod and every other pelagic species imaginable.

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Located on Osaka Harbour, Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium will bring out the marine biologist in anyone.

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However as a result of communication barriers and my shyness, I had not eaten since the flight the previous night. My grumbling stomach was beckoning to figure out a way to purchase food, as it is very difficult if you are unable to conversate with anyone. This moment sparked my dependence on 'Convenies,' a fabulous creation similiar to a corner deli, situated on virtually every city block. All I had to do was skim the shelves taking a lucky dip on the various ridiculously overpackaged foods, then have a big smile as I handed over the cash corresponding to the screen on the till. "Foolproof!" Beverages were even simpler as there were more streetside vending machines than I'd care to mention. With these essential necessities readily available, I became confident to face the rest of Japan.

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A peak hour train journey back to the hostel saw me packed into a carriage like a sardine. With my hunger quashed my next goal was to make some new friends. The Hostel common room seemed the obvious place to start. Strumming away the evening on the communal guitar I watched the room fill, then ambushed two pretty Taiwanese girls sitting at the next table. To my surprise and relief they both replied to my basic Japanese, in English allowing me to easily gatecrash their plans for the following day. My first night in a crowded hostel dormitory, full of snoring men was tiring however I woke bright and early ready to commute across to the next city, Kyoto.

Lin and Li were fluent in English, Taiwanese, Chinese and Japanese so it was a breeze to follow their lead as they translated all information, guiding me through the city. The first stop was the amazing, solid gold Kinkakuji Temple, nestled amongst traditional gardens and overlooking a vast pond.

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It was definitely impressive, however after seeing one temple, I began to feel I'd seen them all. So instead of temple hopping through Kyoto's streets we headed back into Osaka. Situated in the middle of the city is Osaka-jo, a huge feudal fortress, surrounded by expansive gardens, courtyards and a septic moat, coated with toxic algae and drifting rubbish.

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With very little money left in our pocket we avoided entering the castle, to instead laze away the afternoon looking out over the city from the central courtyard.

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Once again the common room was filled with new faces and people separated into their degree of Japanese fluency, sipping tea and discussing their adventures. It didn't take long to realise that my smooth guitar riffs weren't attracting potential friends, forcing me to meander over to the main congregation. I figured my best bet would be the two guys speaking German, as Europeans generally can speak a couple of languages. Chris and Ben both spoke English resulting in joint plans to explore some more of the city the next day.

Standing on the roof of the Osaka Sky Tower was amazing as we had a bird's eye view of the massive metropolis stretching to the horizon in every direction.

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However with a book full of discounted sights to see we had no time to smell the roses, or the thick smog which chokes the city. Next stop was the Kaiyukan Aquarium, where I once again stood staring in awe at the whale shark, manta ray and other species peacefully cruising past within arms reach.

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After being inspired by the majesty of this planets sea creatures we decided it would be great to check out The their land based relatives. Braving the heat and resulting dehydration we crossed the city to the Tennoji Zoo to find a sickening, derelict centre filled with a vast range of animals, sitting almost lifeless, staring out from their tiny, dirty concrete cages. It was depressing to see, however we continued wandering the paths, excited to find the monkey and ape enclosures. Repulsed by the sight of our closest living relatives trapped in tiny concrete boxes, we ran for the gates and the hustle and bustle of our own concrete jungle.

There was no time to lose if I was to catch the evening ferry to Miyazaki. A quick goodbye to Chris and I was set to be perfectly on schedule to collect my gear then navigate my way to the Osaka Ferry Terminal. Eveything was going swell as I rushed through the train station to find a massive crowd of people standing infront of the gate I wanted to enter. The train was delayed! Panic began to set in as I watched the minutes tick by on my watch, hoping that my knees would't buckle under the weight of my bags. Finally after half an hour the gate opened. Stressed out and drenched in sweat I leaped onto the train following the rest of Osaka's rush hour traffic, doing my best to keep my surfboard and other bulky luggage out of everybodys way. At 7:00pm the train rolled up to the Osaka Port train station, with the ferry scheduled to leave at 7:30pm and a boarding time of 6:30pm. Glancing at the dot on my map, while beaming out into the night sky I could make out the faint lights of what could be a ferry in the distance. I was finding it hard to believe that my plan was crumbling as so far eveything had fallen magically into place.

I began to sprint, braving the ache of my pack, my trembling knees and sweat pouring off my body, with a ticking clock and the slight glimmer of hope to push myself to keep running. Doubt quickly began to set in along with the welling tears and overall weak body. The thought of missing the ferry, wasting the hundred dollar ticket and having to camp out somewhere in the dirty industrial port didn't amuse me. So as the Ferry finally came into my line of sight, just over a kilometre up the road with five minutes until its departure I pushed on. At last stumbling into the terminal thrusting my passport and ticket at the receptionist, glancing at the 7:29pm on the clock behind him. To my total relief he smiled, lifting the radio transmitter to his mouth, giving the green light for the crew to reattach the bridge allowing me to stumble onto the colossal ship. In a state of euphoria I collapsed in a sweaty, burned out heap on a futon in the substantial communal cattle class room. Still overwhelmed by the past three hours I summoned the energy to change my dripping shirt and devour an ice cream before drifting into a deep sleep. Lullabyed by the typhoon swells rolling across the open ocean.

Posted by JTales 06:15 Archived in Japan Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Blue Mountain Beauty

triathlon canyon adventure

semi-overcast 25 °C

Once again i found myself at Sydney Domestic Airport, hastily jumping onto the next train bound for the outskirts of the city. I managed to wedge myself into the corner of the standing carriage, straddling my backpack and surfboard, desperately trying to avoid any interaction with the steady line of smartly attired businessmen hustling past, as well as the intimidating Wu Tang clad males who confidently paced the carriage. Finally as the train rattled its way further from the city centre, the constant stream of business men dwindled and the mob of Sydney bogans migrated further into the carriage to begin tagging the windows with sharp objects. I was now alone with two giggling Japanese girls glancing in my direction. Unsure of their English speaking capabilities and therefore, how to spark up a conversation I gave them my biggest, cheesy, friendly grin. All of a sudden i was caught up in a blue steel posing, photo taking, email swapping frenzy, leaving me with some handy contacts for my upcoming month in Japan.

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Coining a few classic Aussie phrases helped relieve any awkward silences before I stepped off the train to be greeted by Julia's comforting, familiar smile. Finally I could kick back with my feet up, in air conditioned comfort, ready to delve into the aesthetic pleasures of Hollywood Action, by continuing my Bourne trilogy experience with 'The Bourne Supremacy.' Later heading out to the local sushi bar before lounging in the cinema for the final instalment, 'The Bourne Ultimatum.'

The sun was rising carrying with it the noise of an awakening city. We were escaping the dawn chorus winding our way out of the raucous of the suburbs into the harmonious, serenity of the Blue Mountains National Park. Julia parked the Wrangler at a quiet mountain top truck stop and after a quick introduction to Brigita, Gemma, Karen and Steve, her Windsor District Hospital mates and hardcore canyoning fanatics, the convoy advanced. Julia reluctantly let me take the wheel as we followed the wise Steve who supposedly knew this neck of the woods like the back of his hands. My lack of 4WDriving experience became obvious after the first few mud holes and steep rocky inclines, however we pushed on faithly following our leader around a massive unnecessary long cut.
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With our mountain bikes assembled everyone was ready to hit the trail, racing through the Eucalypts, negotiating an undulating, rocky roo track towards the sheer cliffs of the canyon, reaching a dead end atleast a kilometre from the entry site. We proceeded on foot following the rocky escarpment and its dense low level thicket. I was stoked Julia had convinced me to wear long sleeved clothes as I often threw myself over impenetrable swordgrass, reminiscing on my 'OutwardBound' days. A crevice in the overhanging rockface became a ladder and we descended into the depths of the gorge, dropping into lush virgin forest and a scene similar to Conan Doyle`s 'Lost World.
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'I`m sure this area was also John Marsden`s inspiration for 'Hell' in the 'Tomorrow When The War Began' series, as it felt far from civilisation and communication with the outside world, despite the hustle and bustle of Sydney`s centre lying less than one hundred kilometres away.

After pushing further through dense bush towards the heart of the canyon, we dropped down into an icy cold creek, free from vegetation it became our path for the rest of the expedition.
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We weaved our way through forest, wading through pools, ducking under fallen trees and clambering down waterfalls.
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I went out of my way to present myself as the Tarzan of the group, often coming to grief when branches snapped or by missing branches altogether. Further down the creek Steve came across a cluster of white pebbles, standing amazed that some of these pebbles were floating away downstream. I`m not sure who made the louder "shriek!" but I assume that it was the Lyer Bird chick nibbling on his ear. Everyone rushed ahead to check out the fuss and to marvel at the fluffy grey ball of feathers perched in its hollow in the tangled reeds, two metres directly above the creek.
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Finally we arrived at the designated lunch spot in the junction of three canyons. It was getting close to two o`clock in the arvo and Julia and I had managed to stay relatively dry, hoping to save ourselves for the rock jumps and abseiling that lay ahead. Since we had only completed one third of the total distance there was an obvious risk of having to navigate our way back to the bicycles in the dark. It became an unanimous decision to exit through the next side canyon, forfeiting all chances of abseiling. This hurt me the most as I had carried the bulky rope for the whole journey and couldn`t see myself back at this spot in the future. After wading through some deep pools and slipping down rapids we reached our exit site. A steep overgrown gully which showed no resemblance to a canyon. Trusting Steve`s orienteering experience we began scaling the slope reaching the cave which granted the canyon it`s name, 'Hailstorm Retreat.' It proved to be a pleasant surprise as the low vegetation thinned leading into a tight gorge lined with ferns and trickling waterfalls.
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It looked more like a crack in the Earth than an eroded canyon and was an efficient exit point back to the ridge where our bikes were waiting.
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Another ride along the roo track led us back to the carpark and the end of the expedition. With the gear loaded we hit the road, swerving to miss dingoes and stopping to check out a roadside cave used by the early horseback settlers.
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Finally we blew the froth off a couple of Strongbow's finest at the Apple Bar. Sharing fresh wedges and gazing out at the sun setting over the coastal plain and its suburban sprawl, content with the days achievement.

A morning excursion to Manly for some shopping and views out over Sydney Harbour gave me a chance to farewell the Australia I have grown to love.
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The freedom, the low population, the clean air, the wide open spaces, the beaches, the sunshine and my friends and family. All aspects of my life which I take for granted and will hold dearly as I leave the comfort of this great country. A late check in at Sydney International Airport brought my itinerary to life as I was sent into the unknown by my tearful sister.

Posted by JTales 06:21 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Byron Bay the easy way

Byron with my cousin

semi-overcast 28 °C

It was an early start on Monday the 27th and my first taste of trying to navigate a big city rail system. Julia dropped me off at her local station in Quakers Hill and much to my relief, i managed to somehow arrive at the Sydney domestic airport an hour later. The flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast was a massive let down, as once the plane finished ascending the seat belt sign flicked off for about 2 minutes then straight away it began descending, giving me no chance to get engrossed in my book. The feeling of stepping off the plane into summerish sunshine and humidity quickly cheered me up, and my cousin Alice and her housemate Bree were kind enough to greet me at the airport.

A short drive to Snapper Rocks revealed that the swell was up, and half of the Australian surf community was out for a paddle.

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The waves were spectacular, peeling for hundreds of metres along the beach infront of me.
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So after much hesitation and peer pressure, I paddled out to join the other 300 hundred punters keen for a reeling superbank righthander. One hour and five waves later I came running back up the beach with a massive grin from ear to ear, begging my cousin to let me hit it one more time. A straight NO! was her answer, as they had some serious shopping planned. To get between a girl and a gold coast boutique was not a smart idea, especially if your hoping to bludge free accomodation for the next week, so I did the noble thing and carried there shopping bags as we toured the town. Finally we were on our way speeding south along the freeway crossing from Queensland into New South Wales bound for Byron Bay.

I had great expectations of Byron bay, I had imagined it to be something like Nannup on the sea, a really communal, layed back, surf town with a slightly hippieish vibe. As we rolled into town to be greeted by supermarkets, ticket parking and thousands of tourists, I realised that I was twenty years too late. However my cousin gave me a quick tour of the local sights and Byron regained some points as there was still some potential for some epic waves. Back at Alice`s rainforest treehouse retreat I met up with the rest of the crew, her boyfriend Darren and other housemate Surraya, and after unpacking, setting up a makeshift bedroom in the loungerooom corner and ironing my boardies, we headed back down to the foreshore. Eager to get wet I hit the waves,
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leaving the crew to their kumbuyah singalong jam on the grass overlooking the bay.
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First wave of the evening I shamefully dropped in on an aggressive surfer chick, but after I sheepishly paddled out to find it was Andrea Hough a mate from Cowaramup, I decided against apologising. She was coincidently passing through Byron Bay with Nicola, another South West girl, at the same time as me. And after chatting to Andrea and Nicola about their plans for a while I began to surf my way down the beach to the wreck of an old steam ship, where a peak broke over its submersed bow.
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I watched the locals catch perfect wave after wave, I was feeling pretty confident myself, paddling for a wave and quickly realising that I had to dodge big chunks of rusted iron as it peeled towards the beach. The prospect of losing my leg didn`t excite me and I couldn`t remember when I had my last Tetanus immunisation, so I called it a day strolling back along the beach to the symphony of bongos and a setting sun.
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I woke late on tuesday the 28th and set off to check out the town to begin my Byron Bay tourist experience. After wandering the streets pigging out on free Italian ice cream from Alice`s shop, checking out the local shopping scene, then checking out Elle Macpherson as her legs walked by, I headed out to the point and its surrounding tropical rainforest on a little pink ladies bike. The sun was setting over the bay as ripples rolled through the famous `Pass`surfbreak,
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and dolphins played around in the surf below me as i ventured out to the Eastern most tip of Australia,
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I was overwhelmed by the serenity and satisfaction of such a soulful experience as I hiked up the winding path towards the lighthouse, suddenly a big, crusty, old goat stepped out on the path infront of me, stopping me in my tracks to share a confused gaze. It only lasted less than a minute, as he disappeared back down the 80m high sheer cliffs above the open Indian Ocean and out of sight.
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It was late by the time my stomach beckoned for more ice cream, so pushing the granny bike to the limit I raced down the steep lighthouse road with no light, no brakes, dodging flying foxes, bush turkeys and potholes all the way back into town.
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Bloated with mango sorbet, I dropped by the local youth hostel to catch up with Andrea and Nicola hoping to entice them to join me for a kebab on the foreshore. Instead, to my delight they cooked me up the meanest looking tuna and capsicum panini a hostel kitchen could handle, and invited me to join Andrea`s dawn birthday celebration the next day.

It was a great feeling watching the sun creep over the ocean horizon, something I never see in WA. The colours were vibrant, the dolphins frolicking, whales breaching, it was warm and not a cloud in sight.
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With a satisfying sunrise under the belt I could hardly be disappointed to rock up at Lennox Head, celebrated for its long perfect righthand barrels, to find small onshore mush. As always I was keen to get wet and left the gang with my guitar under the shade of the palms, being circled overhead by paragliders and sea eagles,
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while I played around in the surf.
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A Quick bite of sushi in Lennox town then back up the coast to Broken Head, to find similiar conditions. Disappointed by the poor form of Northern New South Wales` famous pointbreaks and at the risk of Alice`s skin melting off from her sunbaking addiction, we cruised back to scrub up for a night on the town. After emptying our bank accounts we strolled into offshore, an upmarket touristy restaurant which dished up very overpriced, overrated steak. With our wallets significantly lighter and my belly still grumbling we called it a night.
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My big plan was to thank the crew for their generous hospitality, with the scent of fresh banana pancakes as an alarm bell. However the secret somehow got out and I was awoken by Alice, half an hour earlier than planned, shaking me as eagerly as a ten year old on christmas morning. A couple of massive banana pancakes in the belly and everyone was smiling. So with my stomach full to the brim and Bree as my guide, I was invited to join a `day in the life of a Byron local` experience. It began with retail therapy, both of us on too tight a budget to afford anything, some fresh juice, some more shopping, sunbaking, a quick dip, a sushi snack carbo boost for our trek back home along the derilict old railway. Dodging viscious snakes and crusty, makeshift, hobo campsites as we strolled, concluding with an afternoon kip back at the shack. With my Byron Bay episode quickly drawing to an end, and with very few decent waves to speak of, I became motivated to brave the afternoon heat for a refreshing paddle at Tallows beach. Tagged as `the most dangerous beach in Australia,`it is the site of the most deaths at any beach in the country, probably the result of the many rips, big waves, sharks and the number of tourists who frequent this part of the coast. With an empty beach of squeeky white sand curving into the distance in both directions, no rips in sight, shallow crystal clear water and a very tame and cruisy little wave breaking over a sandbar just off shore, I courageously paddled out.

After saying my farewells to the crew, stocking up on free cookies `n` cream and panacotta, then calling via the hostel to say goodbye and goodluck to Andrea and Nicola, it was time to depart. A quick drive down to Ballina left Byron Bay in the past and a plane flight to Sydney ahead.

Posted by JTales 13:39 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

The Adventure Begins in Oz

Sydney with my sister

semi-overcast 24 °C

The trip began on Wednesday the 23rd of August at Pavarottis Restaurant in Nedlands. At the table sat some close Perth friends such as the Stokes family and Andrew Denholm, as well as my brother Nick and my parents. All keen to catch up over some sweet Italian food. After a delicious seafood lasagne, a couple of ales and a bunch of handy advice we said our last goodbyes and i left for the airport, where my parents both wrapped their arms around me, wished me well, then sent me through the gate. It was the first time Id been sent into the unkown by myself and my mind was open to what could lay ahead. I still couldn`t believe the moment had finally arrived, so i proudly sat in the boarding lounge reminiscing on 8 months of what i thought was hard work, looking back at my graduation from year twelve at BCGS which seemed an age ago. Finally the call came to board the midnight horror flight DJ346 to Sydney.
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The previous week had been filled with fine tuning of my plans, new ideas, repacking my gear numerous times and a chance to say goodbye to some great family friends over a BBQ, some laughter, some beers and some quality conversation. But here I was landing in Sydney, stumbling out of the plane after achieving about an hour of uncomfortable sleep, curled up on my tray table. My sister Julia had been kind enough to meet me and came running up with a beaming smile. But there was no time to rest as Julia had some major plans. We met Zebedee Packard Hair for a quick breaky, dropped him off at the airport then got into some serious shopping. Finally after too many camping and adventure stores, some good sushi and a moments shut eye on a department store couch, we made our way back to Julia`s pad in the outer suburbs of Sydney. After packing for the weekends adventures and catching up on the latest DVD releases, i was allowed to fall into a deep sleep.

The next morning saw us up bright and early, racing along the freeway up the coast to Port Stevens.
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We arrived well before check in time at the local caravan park, so passed the time by checking out the local shopping scene. It was a pleasant day and it seemed obvious to explore some of the local scenery, so we embarked on a short stroll up Tomaree Head. juliawalking_jpeg.jpg
The only footwear I hadn`t forgotten were my double pluggers, so it was a great chance to give the old `Japanese safety boots` a test run, on what turned out to be a fair hike to the summit. We scanned the horizon for any migrating whales, looked out over the inlet and the surrounding countryside eyeing off all the headlands and little bays which could be promising for a late arvo wave, then ran for cover as a squall rolled in.
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Tomaree Head had once been the position of a heavy gun turret and a radar in the second world war, and as we descended we ambled past some war time relics and the old military base which had been disguised as a fishing village. After setting up camp and getting stuck into our BBQ feast of snags, onions, wedges and beers, Julia introduced me to the competitive side of Trivial Pursuit. Hours passed to reveal that it was getting late and that Jeremy was up six pie to two. We woke to the dawn chorus the next morning and found our way to one mile beach. I left Julia to paddle in the kiddies corner

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while i wandered up the beach to a nice looking bank and some classic conditions. 1mile_jpeg.jpg
After spending all morning and most of the arvo in the surf its was time to relax over a couple of chapters of `A Long Way Gone,` before hitting the local pub that evening, and once again some intense trivial pursuit. Julia gaining revenge with her 6 pie to my 4 pie.

Once again we found our way back at 1 mile beach for an early surf the next morning. Julia had had an unfriendly run in with the locals the previous day so wasnt as keen to get wet, so she left me to surf while she returned to the campsite to pack up (I`ve trained her well). That arvo saw us winding our way down the coastal route back towards Sydney. We passed through Newcastle and Lake Haven to meet Sonya who was one of Julia`s old school mates. She led us to the local beach and another sweet righthander, which kept me occupied for most of the arvo.
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The time came to once again return to sleepy old Kellyville Ridge on Sydney`s outskirts, Begin my Bourne Identity marathon and prepare for the next stage of my trip.

Posted by JTales 00:53 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Hello Coco!

Tropical Ocean Swim/Surf Trip

overcast 38 °C

It all began midway through year 12 at BCGS, when a teacher exposed a somewhat fantasised idea of competing in an ocean swim on an exotic island, called the Cocos(Keeling) Islands, sometime in the distant future. It seemed too good to be true and I never believed it would ever take place.
But there I was about 5 months later standing in the queue at Perth international airport with 3 good mates, ready to board the next flight out to the Cocos(Keeling) Islands. I was stoked as my fantasy had come to reality and next thing I knew I was stepping off the plane and slapped in the face by the heat and humidity

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Watching the tropical storms roll across the lagoon
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After emptying our gear onto our motel room floor and makeshift beer carton cupboards, we boarded the coaster and set off for a guided exploration of the 11km long sand cay. Mikes local wisdom and running commentary helped us appreciate the unfamiliar senery, however we were all eager to get our feet wet and atleast get a glimpse of the break which would be our local for the next week. After finally influencing the rest of the touring party to speed up the tour in the interest of their safety as a result of our decreasing sanity, we finally found our way to the "Shack". The surf at the "Shack" is epic! A set of long lefthand reef breaks which join on the right swell, named after the little surf shack nestled amongst the palm trees right infront of the break. The island experiences very minimal crime and only recently recieved a cop, therefore everybody happily leaves their boards at this shack. It is pretty much always offshore on this side of the island as a result of the south east trade winds and it breaks on any tide or swell. This was great for my surf hungry mates and me as we lapped up every second of it.

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The perfect chillout spot after an intense surf
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Sweet Coco sunrise
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racing across glassy Coco wall

We spent the rest of the trip trying not to waste a minute of surfable time. Dodging the hundreds of land crabs, coconuts and tree roots in the dark as we hurried along the rugged dirt track on our pushies, keen to get there for Dawn each day. We did clock up a fairly large number of hours at the "Shack", however we also tried to sample many of the other treasures the Cocos Islands has to offer. This included snorkelling the tropical coral reefs, hermit crab races, chicken hypnotising, beach combing, boat jumping, climbing coconut trees, eating coconuts, mingling with the locals, experiencing the Malay Cocos culture, sneaking into heritage listed buildings led by the 70 year old mike, more exploring and finally the main reason for the trip, The Cocos Islands Lagoon Swim 2007! Out of the 10 entered teams we dominated and everybody had an absolute ball.

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8 kilometres and a pink shower
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Checkin' the swell
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Monkeying around
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Coco Hermits on Direction Island

The Cocos islands are a place that i previously knew very little about. They are located about half way between the tip of India and Exmouth in the middle of the indian ocean, so are fairly isolated, however they have a long and exciting history. They have the second highest drinking average per capita for anywhere in Australia, even though 600 of the 700 inhabitants are non drinking muslims. Which means that pretty much every activity revolves around beer. The Coco Club is THE place to be at night, The people on Cocos are awesome! They all carry that typical small community aussie vibe and everyone is exceptionally hospitable, The exception was the infamous "Shovel", a spoilt grumpy old man who has as much charm and character as a dead fish, but thats another story. I'd like to send out a big thankyou to everyone who made the trip so bloody beautiful and cheers to the very hospitable locals!

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good times

Posted by JTales 08:56 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

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