Paddle Boarding, New Friends, and a Questionable Odour



I think that I relaxed more today than I have over the past thirty-four years combined. I mean relax in the restorative way that I have only heard people describe but not ever experienced (not even at the day spa). While it may be possible that such a deep sense of restoration and peace could be attributed to the OD of lavender oil last night as described in Dave’s last post, I think that my connection with God’s creation today brought a deep sense of freedom that my soul so desperately desired.

Our morning was spent in paradise. The crystal-clear waters of Turquoise Bay in Cape Range National Park (part of the Ningaloo World Heritage Area) became the perfect location for a long-awaited reunion with my stand-up paddle board. I had not paddled my trusty inflatable SUP since shortly before Alice’s birth and I desperately missed the feeling of having the ocean glide silently beneath my feet.


The bliss of SUP-ing the impossibly azure waters of the bay became so obvious that Dave’s Dad, who had selflessly volunteered to accompany him on the 5000-plus km drive over here decided to give the burgeoning paddle sport a go. After doing a quick spot check of the nearest defibrillator location, we encouraged him to his feet on the SUP. We all thought he was doing quite well, so much so that the girls began chanting ‘Pa Pa, Pa Pa’ from the water’s edge. Perhaps it was the supporting words of his granddaughters’ voices that proved to be the untimely distraction, but poor Pa Pa momentarily shuddered before going down, with arms and legs flapping like the a fledging bird that is not quite ready to take to the skies. Such a scene caused great amusement for those in witness. For my part, I laughed so violently that I spurted out a mouthful of my precious Kombucha.

Parenting without school drop offs, over-scheduled and tired young children is something else. Dave and I got the privilege of witnessing the girls make their first friends on the road today. Due to the close proximity of the girls’ beds to ours, this morning we were privy to their usually private sisterly chat. The topic of conversation left us with little doubt that making new friends was clearly a top priority for the day. As we arrived at Turquoise Bay, they quickly scouted out children of the same age. It was agreed between the two of them that Olivia would approach with the offer to help build a sand castle and Mia would follow behind, as inquisitorial as she always is. Fast forward a couple of hours later and the girls had not only mastered the challenge of meeting new friends but had continued playing happily back at the caravan park during and following a fish-n-chip lunch date.


Dave and I are challenging people to insure. Notwithstanding our previous travel mishaps, I was proud of the fact we are both being overly cautious regarding trip safety. This afternoon, we were relaxing back at camp when we both smelt a strong odour of gas. I saw the look of real concern on Dave’s face (far more so than the one he had worn during the Lavender Oil Saga). He swiftly checked each of the gas outlets on the van, trying to assess where the gas leak was coming from. I decided the safest course might be to take Ali for a walk in her pram (she was sleeping in a state of oblivious peacefulness). When I was no more than 20 or so metres from our van, I happened upon a lovely grey nomad carrying a gas bottle back to his own palace on wheels. “Can you smell that?” I asked, too concerned to commence our exchange with the ordinary pleasantries. He gave me a strange look before pointing in the direction of a gas truck and a line of travellers waiting to have their gas bottles refilled. After his quick explanation about ‘changeover residue’ and prevailing wind direction, I yelled to Dave, “Its OK… we’re safe!”. Another apparent asphyxiation crisis had been averted, and our blissful day continued.

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