We recently went on our first camping trip in 2 and a half years; when last we busted out the tent Rory was only just walking (and still eating sand). Summer 2012 really was an ideal time for camping, being characterised by pissing rains and much flooding over most of Queensland, but we persevered and for the first 2 days of our 5 day trip we enjoyed a near constant downpour with the occasional howling storm to make it more interesting. I remember on our second night I was standing in the centre of our (large, 9-person) tent when a massive gust/mini tornado hit and nearly flattened us; the inner wall of the kids’ room whacked me over the head and shoulders. When we got our first glimpse of the sun the next day we almost decided to cut our losses but didn’t, which was lucky because from then on the weather was as close to perfect as that drenched summer got.
The boys had handled the inclement weather with fortitude; they faced the downpour in sodden fleecy jumpers, when they got bored they dug up the wet sandy floor of the annex, and they hardly gave a shit about the mindless fury of the world outside our flimsy tent. So this time around we were hoping they’d again be cool even if the temperature dropped a few degrees. Or twenty.
As we headed down the driveway Rory suddenly piped up “I think it’s time to go camping!”. Both of them were super mega excited prior to our departure, which translated to always being underfoot, constantly asking if it was camping time yet and being really
emotional bloody irritating. For the 70 minute drive to Lennox Head we had pretty much nonstop loud laughter and screaming from the hyped up duo in the backseat, then they crashed and moaned while J and I laboriously put up the tarp and tent, in between feeding them and letting them hammer in the odd peg. Rory also hammered the back window of the (brand new) ute, but luckily he’d chosen the lighter plastic hammer and he didn’t break the glass!
By the time we were settled in it was late afternoon so we went for a walk to nearby Lake Ainsworth and Seven Mile Beach before it got too dark.
The beach was nearly empty, there was no wind, and the sunset wrapped us in a peaceful pink twilight. The boys even quit whingeing for a while, and tore off up the beach – even during only a brief visit determined to get as wet and grubby as possible.
We noticed a bit of commotion just up the beach. A flock of gannets, hovering and divebombing into the water, were catching their dinner from a large shoal of fish only 10m from shore. Other seabirds had arrived, including silver gulls and a couple of beautiful pelicans, and they were all pigging out, oblivious to us. They were also oblivious to three surfers who were in the water right next to them, who were in turn apparently oblivious to the fact that it’s PROBABLY not ideal to swim RIGHT NEXT TO A BUNCH OF SEAFOOD AT TWILIGHT WHEN MANY SHARKS TYPICALLY LIKE TO FEED.
In other news we didn’t see any Jaws re-enactments at the beach today.
We started reading Harry Potter to the boys at bedtime tonight, and they’re really getting into it; J, returning from the loo, growled right outside the tent and scared the living crap out of them. “STOP IT DAD!” Finn wasn’t impressed. Freaking out your kids on a camping trip, that’s tradition, and I’ve always said we’re a highly traditional family when it suits us.
Very cold tonight; 4C! So we retreated to our nice warm sleeping bags a bit earlier than usual. I love camping, the switching off from everything, the business of the day ending when the sun goes down and nothing to do to prepare for the next day. Just close your eyes and listen to the soothing sound of waves washing endlessly on the beach.
…and get woken up at 2am by a goddamn something banging around outside the tent. Figured it was a possum trying to get into our (zipped up) camping larder but didn’t see anything. Hungry axe murderer perhaps? I just hope it’s not a rat.