Byron Bay Lighthouse, Skyping and Surfing

23 Mar

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We got up when it was still dark outside as we had decided the day before that we wanted to hike to the famous Byron Bay Lighthouse for sunrise. The hills leading to the top were steep and winding but the views were incredible, especially as the dark sky lightened into shades of pink and orange and eventually became bright blue. The well-kept and seemingly freshly painted white lighthouse stood in stark contrast to the amazing colours of the sky.

Near the lighthouse they had a handy stand that tourist could use to mount their cameras to take photos of themselves with the lighthouse or the ocean view in the background. Once we discovered this we were able to take a non-selfy photo together – a rarity it seems.

Just as we decided we’d taken enough photos (literally 100’s), we started walking back to where we’d parked our rented blue Yaris and as soon as it was in sight the skies opened up and big drops of rain began to pour down. We made it inside the car just in time.

Because it was still early and we didn’t want to wake our roommates back at the hostel we chose to head into town for a coffee (for me) and hot chocolate (for J.J.) at Twisted Sister Café and find some post cards to write home.

An hour or so later we returned back to the hostel, made ourselves our backpacker’s breakfast (toast and PB and tap water) and took it outside to eat at the large picnic table in the common area. There we met a German guy and a British guy. We told them about our surf lesson the day before and they gave us some good tips before offering to go out with us that afternoon if we saw them at the beach.

Back in our room, J.J. and I decided we’d try surfing again in the late afternoon and opted to head into town to use the wi-fi at one of the few cafés that offered it to call our families over Skype. We talked to my Mum and Dad for a good while and they put Oakley on for me (if you don’t know me at all, Oakley is my golden retriever). We then Skyped J.J.’s dad, who is subletting our apartment in the Beach, and on the one hand it was so strange to see someone else living in our home but on the other such a relief that it’s being cared for and lived in by someone we trust.

We left the café to head back to Byron Beach Resort to change into our bathers, pick up our surf boards and hit the beach. We found the rip, just as we’d been taught the day before, and found a spot that wasn’t being used by anyone else.

The waves were slightly bigger and more regular, or predictable is maybe a better word, than they previous day which for me means it’s harder to make your way out, but easier to catch a wave in. My session started much the same way as it had gone the day before: a few face-plants, but I managed to catch quite a few and surf my way in as well. The most exciting wave for me was the one I rode for 10-Mississipi seconds (J.J. counted). It felt amazing and I fell more in love with a sport I hardly know after that wave.

J.J. had a bit of a more frustrating time with it but he was getting much closer to having the steps down and looking natural. I think his biggest challenge was that he’d been given a very short board which was difficult for someone of my height that’s learning, never mind his height!

As we were gathering our flip flops to head back to the hostel we met a woman in her early 60’s out walking her dog along the beach. After telling her that we’d be leaving Byron Bay and heading towards Sydney the following day she recommended that we visit Angourie and said it was absolutely stunning. We made a mental note and were on our way home to shower and change for dinner.

The plan was to go to a well-known dance club called Cheeky Monkeys for dinner because we’d gotten a free meal there when we’d bought our surf lessons through Mojo. For those of you that have been there before you know that this is the club you go to feel 18 again (amongst 18-year olds might I add) and where the sole purpose of the tables is to have drunk girls get up and dance. You don’t go there to eat.

When we arrived we had to wait in line, much like you do at a club, for the bouncer to check our ID before we could go in. The longer we stood there, the older we felt and the more of the inside of the bar we could see. We decided a) that we’d probably get sick from anything we ate there and b) that we were way too old. Instead we had Thai down the street with people our own age.

After dinner we headed up to an open-air bar located up the street just off the beach to take in some of the local talent at open-mic night. We were surprised at the number of really good acts, and entertained by those that were less so. We even saw our Brazilian surf instructor, Rod, get up and sing and play guitar while a Japanese girl accompanied him on the violin.

After a few drinks we headed back to Byron Beach Resort for some much needed zzz’s after a long and amazing day.

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