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Thursday, September 23, 2010

lennox head surfing

well, we hit a bump in the road with the falcon. between our worn tires and our radiator leak, the wagon has kept us in lennox head for a week and a half more than initially planned. the good thing is that the waves have continued and the weather turned for the worse with us having a roof over our head as opposed to the tent as originally planned. we have 2 more videos from here, the first showing more of our initial week and a half, surfing the point and the surrounding beaches. the second shows the big south swell from last weekend as well as a few waves from behind the house during the 4 day rain deluge. the big swell was an event in itself and i will have more details on that later. hope everyone is well, bye for now.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mt. Warning

Mt Warning
We did the most amazing hike of the trip, Mt Warning. It was a 5 1/2 mile, 5 hr round trip. This peak is the first part of mainland Australia to be touched by the sun every morning. It is a very distinct looking peak that we have been eyeing from all directions and could not wait to visit. Mt Warning is 1156 meters tall and is only half the size since it erupted thousands of years ago.
We woke early and packed peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and bananas. They advise that you start the hike early, especially in winter since it can get dark around 4. We arrived at the bottom at 9:30am ready for our adventure!
The first part of the hike is beautiful with massive trees everywhere. We were already stopping to take pictures 2 minutes in! The trail was great with stones and wood planks to help on the more difficult parts of the trail. The air was brisk and fresh. We had the trail to ourselves most of the time which was peaceful. We were out of breath only a third of the way up, we clearly needed this!
There were signs along the way that warn you if you are passing certain points past 1pm to not go to the top. We realized that this is the real deal and can be dangerous if you are caught in the dark or bad weather. We were fine on time since we left early and we had made sure that the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky, so we could see the view at the top.
About 2 hours in there were people coming down telling us that we are almost there! Excitement was in the air. We could tell we were getting close. And then to our amazement we come to the path to the top and it is straight up at about a 75 degree angle. There are rocks to climb and a thick metal chain on the right side to hold on to and pull yourself up the mountain. I felt for the first time I was rock climbing, just without the harness!! You have to imagine we are 2 1/2 hours into the hike and our legs are tired. I also realized the arm strength you had to have to pull yourself up the rocks. It was AWESOME! I felt so alive. This went on for probably 20 minutes around 200 feet to the lookout of all lookouts!
And boy was it worth it! The panoramic view was breathtaking. We had our lunch as we looked out over the east coast of Australia. We could see from Surfer's Paradise on the Gold Coast where we started our adventure all the way to the Lighthouse in Byron Bay New South Wales where we are now staying. It was our entire journey right in front of our eyes. There were several decks you could walk around to and get different views.
After a while we decided we better start our hike down. Going down was not quite as difficult though at times I found myself almost running being pulled by gravity because of the steepness. We made it down in about 2 hours.
What a day!! We got home and fell into the couches unable to move. I was sore for about 4 days after!! I was looking forward to a nice relaxing beach day.
We had blast and look forward to our future hikes.
Love Kristen and Jenny

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

a great week in lennox

Seriously great week of surfing in lennox. we surfed some tallows, boulder beach, lennox beachie.. what more could you ask for!!! we got a serious south swell on the way due to hit on saturday... could be 20 foot!! the reports are claiming, "largest south swell event of the winter and possibly some time!" keeping ya posted!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

More Market Memories

More Market Memories

As Jenny mentioned below the markets have been something we have really enjoyed doing. They are a great way to get involved with the community and get some exercise. The Byron Bay Market is one of the biggest and most festive with live music from several booths, 5 long lanes of tents, and about 20 tents of food along the perimeter.

Clothes and jewelry are the most common items. Speaking of jewelry, Mikey finally found a wedding band that he could wear while we are over here. It is a 3$ coconut shell band and he claims he likes it better than his real one back home because it is lighter. I told him that he can forget the idea that this would be his ring forever! (nice try though ) This ring is much better than the Mood ring he tried the first week we were in Australia that turned his finger black. We figured that cannot be good for the skin.

Mikey also came across a Byron Bay Holistic Chiropractic tent that looked interesting since his back has been bothering him with all the surfing he has been doing. The chiropractor ended up being from Cocoa Beach Florida, small world! We have found that Byron Bay has had the most Americans we have seen on the trip so far. Anyways, so after some discussion with the man, Mikey decides he is going to get an adjustment and that we would walk around and come back in about 15 minutes. When we returned he looked to be in deep conversation with the man. Mikey comes out and has all these reading materials on a bion pendant and a pearl. The chiropractor did tests on Mikey and confirmed that a pearl inside the Bion pendant around a chain would help keep him balanced and keep stress away from him. He got more than his money worth!! He told the man he was not going to buy that today but that he would think about it. I guess I will have to invest in this pearl necklace for him sometime in our life!

So Mikey had quite the successful day at the market and we all had a great time browsing the booths. The most interesting booth had to be this guy carving out coins. He took a hand saw and was carving out the inside of coins to make different shapes and animals inside of them. Pretty tedious task and an interesting character. See the picture below.

A 2$ bag of tangerines was our only food purchase though the crepes,garlic bbq prawns with corn on the cob, seafood paella, sugar cane juice, and more looked and smelled so enticing. We practiced self control and went home to our ham sandwiches and array of chips!

The Lennox Market was this past Sunday in Lennox Head where we now reside. Jenny and I cased this one out as the boys surfed. This market was set up along Lake Ainsworth which made for a beautiful scenic walk. This lake is surrounded by tea tree leaves which give the lake is tea color. Swimming in this lake is good for the skin! We will have to take the guys back and all give it a go(australian lingo:) ) Some of the vendors from last weeks Byron market were here along with some new faces. We ended up getting an organic doughnut which was AMAZING!!! The guys were happy with this purchase as well.

We are enjoying our stay here in Lennox. We hiked Lennox Head and Mt Warning, the tallest peak in the east, so all of our legs are killing us! We will post more details about the these adventures soon!



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bye to Byron & Our First Snake Encounter

We really enjoyed our 2 weeks in Byron Bay and the luxuries of having beds, tv, couch, fridge and our own bathroom!  There is always something to do there and people watching opportunities down every street.  We saw a drum circle, lots of dreads and people living in campervans. 

Kristen and I went to the farmer's market and we all went to the Byron Bay monthly market.  All of the produce is organic and almost all of the people are barefoot.  We exercised up and around the lighthouse several times and saw lots of whales & dolphins. 

Lennox is just a little south and we have already experienced a lot here (which we will definitely tell you about and put pictures up).  We walked up the beach on our second day to see the view from Lennox Head.

As we're walking through a trail Kristen heard a slithering and we both looked down and saw a yellow and black snake through the grass.  Literally inches away from our feet.  Mikey and Tommy ran over and caught a glimpse as it moved past.  We were all in flip flops and looked the snake up when we got home and it's venomous!  Here are the guys looking at it.

Info on the snake:

The Eastern tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus, is an elapid from South Eastern Australia. It has a highly toxic venom and until recently held the record for most Australian snakebite fatalities (now overtaken by the Eastern Brown Snake, Pseudonaja textilis).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tallows has been good to us. We have been surfing the pristine beach on the southside of the Byron Bay headland for the last 2 weeks straight. We surfed the punchy beachbreak everyday except for 2, one in which i took Kristen longboarding at "the pass" and the other where we surfed the Main Beach beachbreak between "the wreck" and "the pass." We have had a healthy run of south swell and northeast windswell combinations. It has been great to be back in the water in such a beautiful place. Water temps remain around 68 degrees with perfect clarity. There is a ton of marine life at Tallows beach, which is in the heart of the Cape Byron Marine Park. We have daily sightings of schools of dolphin and migrating humpback whales from the line up. There are also rumors of a large great white that has been patrolling the headland recently. Tommy talked to a friend of the snorkel tour guide who says they have been seeing "Gary" regularly on the daily tours. Anyways, the whole 2 weeks has been great but the last 4 days have been exceptional, ranging from 2-4 ft clean wedging lefts to 4-6 ft clean a- frame barrels. This last week has been the most consistent run of quality surf we have had on the trip so far. Of course, in true surf trip fashion we have failed to film any of the best waves or the best sessions, only some film from the mediocre days. I wish we had some footage of Kristen's surf at the pass. It was a perfect knee to waist high right point break peelers and she rode 15-20 of the longest rides of her life. The board I rented took on so much water that I could not carry it home. I had to paddle it from the point back to our house at Main Beach, which was around 3/4 of a mile. It is nice to be somewhat in shape as there is always somewhere to surf here. Also, coming from the gold coast, Tallows has been a great place to get our wave count up. The line up is not nearly as aggressive as Duranbah and Tommy and I have had much success out-paddling german beginners, splashing american hippies in the face, and running over japanese surf chicks. Pretty much anything goes so long as you come up with a megaman face and a "no worries!" I have had 2 collisions thus far, one with an american girl and the other with an australian hippie with bangs and a mullet. I have seen Bow get dropped in on by a japanese girl with her eyes closed and then he ran her over, as well as a japanese dude wipeout and bomb-drop on Tommy as he was trying to paddle back out. i think was a kamikaze attack in retaliation for the girl. Byron has been a great place to get comfortable and leaving Tallows is bittersweet. After 2 months in Australia, it is here i have finally been able to let time slow down a little. I think about the rat race back home and how time goes so fast. Lately I have truly been able to appreciate my day's big decision of which beach to surf, whether to walk the nature trails, have a beer at lunch, take Kristen surfing, read a book, chase a brush turkey, etc. Even though the money is going pretty fast and a part time job is not too far off, pretirement is feeling pretty good.

and….we just arrived for our 1 week stay in Lennox Head and spent all day yesterday surfing the perfect right point. It was 3-5 feet and going for 200+ yards. Tommy and I both got some of the best waves of our trip. We have another run of south swell due for the weekend and we will try to film some of the good sessions this time. hope everyone is well and the dudes got some great surf from the hurricane, GO JAGUARS!! oh yeah, our nights are filled with movies and Tommy killing us at cards..

Friday, September 3, 2010

Beautiful Bushwalks

Beautiful Bushwalks

Noosa National Park

Wow! We are 6 weeks in and still so much to do and see. We are now in Byron Bay, our first stay in New South Wales, where we will be for 2 weeks. We have a lovely 2 bedroom, 1 bath, beach themed condo right off the beach. Nice porch and lots of windows and doors to open up and let the fresh air in. We are walking distance to all the restaurants, shops, live music, parks, and markets. We have enjoyed a roof over our head and showers at our expense, though now that we have been out of a tent for 11 days I am beginning to miss it! We will be back under the starry nights before we know it. We have been busy with the many exciting things to experience here in Byron. One of our favorite things has been the beautiful Bushwalks along the Eastern Australia Coast. They call a Bushwalk what we call a small hike. The bushwalks we have done have all been along very scenic trails and not too difficult.

Noosa National Park was about a 3 mile trail right along the ocean that we walked before leaving Queensland. Dolphin Lookout was one of the points that we walked to and sure enough true to its name there were dolphins jumping! We had a nice view of the southern side of the Rainbow beach sand cliffs that we had just been to, so that was a nice reflective moment.

We saw our first Wild Koala which was fun. They are hard spot!

Cape Byron walking trail starts right outside our front door. This 3 mile trail took us to Australia's most eastern point. The trail starts through a pine forest that bridges above the path.

Very peaceful. It continues along Clarkes Beach, fairly flat trail so far. We then dipped way down on the trail to Captain Cooks Lookout point. Next we traveled up where we got a perfect view of Mt Warning,

the tallest mountain in the east (We hope to hike Mt Warning here in the next few days when we are sure the weather is clear for the 5 hour round trip).

After climbing pretty high we descended to Wategos beach, where Australia's favorite events were taking place; surfing,sunning,kayaking,and grilling on the barbie! We kept going as we were trying to get a little exercise.(we have been eating healthy but the bakeries with all their yummy treats are not helping!)

The next part of the hike was the steepest climb with a 360 degree view of the land and ocean.

I found myself walking more of this steep climb with my back to the trail and looking out at the clear blue water.

We were rewarded at the top with a final stopping point at the most eastern lookout. Whales were jumping everywhere. I never get tired of watching the whales.

We made it to the Lighthouse.

Even though we had seen the lighthouse before on our day trip to Byron, we came up to the lighthouse in the opposite direction making for a totally new experience!

We continued our trek around the lighthouse and back down. We had a great view of the next big hedges south, Broken Heads and Lennox, as you can see in the picture below. Lennox is our next point of destination after departing Byron Bay.

It was about a 2 hour walk and we were all tired. This was our warm up for Mt Warning!

Byron Bay has proved to have something for all of us here. Surfing for the guys, beach days for all of us, walking trails and yoga for Jenny and I, Live Music for all of us, Markets for the girls, Bakeries and Breweries for the guys(and the girls). We will write again soon on details of our Byron stay as we are still in the moment.