same but different

July 2009

Tonight is our last night at Clarkes Beach on this winter sojourn. This annual pilgrimage and celebration of so many good things in life began for us when this photo was taken in July 2009, about 20 metres from where I am sitting tonight. So much has changed ...

Pat the Patrol got sold earlier this year. I was so tempted to hang into him, put him in a garage for 20 years and cash in, but in the end the cash to help fund the new caravan won out.

That Ripcurl surf board was the first one I ever owned. The sales bloke at the Torquay store told me it was a good hybrid; sufficiently buoyant to let me begin, and shaped to allow me to progress. The fins were 'new' technology' that clipped in. I spent hours on that board, mostly in the white water. I got more injured than competent in the early days ... not stretching properly and pulling hammies, learning the hard way not to let the board get between by head and a wave. And, despite his well meaning sales effort, that board was (and still is) a pretty average ride. Today it still sits in the rack as the step up from the foamy, but the fin technology ended up being a dud and even though I managed to track down a couple of spares a few years back ... it is one fin ding away from going to the big wave in the sky.

That Regal caravan changed our lives. I have irrationally positive feelings whenever I see another one on the road. Its walls were bursting with memories and good times. That old camping table got a severe workout over the years but eventually succumbed to weathering and weight and made its way to a skip. 

Behind it is my fist ever wetsuit, one that I bought to water ski in when I was at uni in the early 1980s. It survived decades of virtually no use until Zac started wearing it - as if I could have fitted in it!! That orange tent also served us for many years until one fateful night in Port Fairy when a storm literally tore it to shreds.

And so here we are 11 years on. So many good friends, amazing meals, memorable surf sessions and countless conversation in the winter sun later. It is quite simply, my favourite time of the year.


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