The day had come to really kick off our adventure. In Canberra, we woke, re – sorted everything, repacked the car and headed over to the Uni to see Nat for one last visit.
She seemed off a bit. Granted I was feeling internally conflicted: sad to leave Nat but excited to get going on the road. But with Nat, she exuded an attitude that made us feel like we were encroaching on her life and that she had no interest in showing us anything. It was intensely uncomfortable and frustrating.
We headed to Union Court for lunch. She hadn’t eaten at all, despite it being almost 11.30. She mentioned she wasn’t feeling well, so we found something we could share for lunch. She wasn’t interested in that either. Frustration was starting to build.
I lost it. Rich lost it. We called her on her attitude and how we were interpreting it. She apologised but it still seemed half-hearted.
As we walked back to the dorm, it hit me. I wouldn’t see her for 5 weeks. It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from each other. But still, she was grumpy at what was said. I could tell. I know my baby girl.
We said our goodbyes. It was quick before she turned to walk back inside. Of all moments, I felt let down (?). She didn’t stand and wave. She didn’t even stick around the parking lot. She was on her phone, texting, as she made her way back inside.
Regret bubbled over. I had that fear that all parents have when they say goodbye to their child: would this be the last time I would see her? Would this be our regretful moment, when we didn’t have that moment of love when we said goodbye?
I felt like my heart was ripping in two. I didn’t want her angry at us. I just wanted her to know that I was interested in her life. That I would miss her beyond words, which even then seemed to escape me. I couldn’t even articulate basic thoughts or emotions.
So, regrettably, I let it go.
We headed out of town.
I put everything behind me and thought:
‘W‘e’re finally on the road. We’re finally doing this!”
Driving from Canberra to Bateman’s Bay, you drive the Kings Highway, going through small country towns, and farming communities. There was a lot of roadworks happening, which slowed down the excursion, but we weren’t in any hurry. While the intention was to take our time getting to our next destination, we both seemed eager to arrive and set up. We were needing this beach camping escape more than we realised.
Nestled between Narooma and Moruya is Potato Point. The road to get there isn’t blatantly marked but rather a discreet road off the Princes Highway.
Of course, we got lost but we did have a nice scenic route through Potato Point.
When we arrived, following a dirt road hugging the coast, we were happy. The campground was not busy and it was nestled into a cove that was protected from the ferocious winds that had just picked up.
After checking in, we scouted the sites and found one only metres from the beach, but back far enough that we had some shade if and when we needed it. Unfortunately, it was in blustering wind.
Of all the times I hate putting a tent up, it’s when it’s windy. I can pitch in the dark. I can pitch on a hill. I can pitch when it’s blazing hot. But it’s frustrating as hell to pitch when it’s windy.
We opted to put up our new canopy, nicknamed ‘The Taj Mahal’, first. We’d had a test run putting it up while we were still living in Westleigh. It had been a beautiful sunny day, under the shade of some eucalyptus trees and there had been no wind. It went up in five minutes and we looked at each other with smiles on our faces and said “Easy as!”.
That was not today.
Today, as we battled the wind gusts, we snapped at each other. It was testing every communication boundary we had. Just as we were battling to get the thing vertical, a blast of wind came and toppled it down. We just glared at each other. The two angels arrive, beers in hand, offering help.
“We can hold it down while you peg it if you like? This shit is no fun,’ they said. They went on to tell us they’d tried pitching their tent earlier and the centre pole had snapped in two. Now they were staying in a cabin while they waited for a part to arrive locally.
Nope, no fun at all.
With their help, we managed to get the canopy up. It wasn’t facing the direction we wanted, per se, but that was okay. It was erected and it was solid. Somehow getting the tent up was fairly easily after that. Of course, the wind had died down enough for us to pitch.
Thankfully it wasn’t an omen for the rest of our stay. Beachcomber was everything we needed. We spent 5 days there, hanging out with the wallabies. Reading books. We chatted with other campers. We went for walks along the beach. And yes, of course we wrote, including a blog post about it. It became our secret beach getaway.
Beachcomber is probably the best beach camping location I’ve stayed in. It was exactly what we needed to let go of the Treehouse and all the madness of the prior two weeks. We needed to just ‘be’ for a while. It was so relaxing. We were so drained, exhausted really, but by the time we left (Friday March 10th), we were refreshed and ready for the next adventure.
Except we couldn’t leave. We had a flat battery on the car. For the second time. We’d had this same experience only two days before when we went went to go into town.
The car was packed up and we were ready to go. We went to start the car and the battery was dead. We couldn’t even open the back door of the car to get the jumper cables out because it was electrically locked.
Turns out our new Waeco fridge wasn’t switching off when it was plugged in. It’s supposed to, so that it doesn’t drain the car battery, but we had forgotten to ‘switch’ that part on.
We got lucky that the park hosts could help us and give us a jump. Talk about full service!
Before long, we were off to our next destination: Wandadian in Jervis Bay.