Day 360 | watching those waves roll in: and some more characters appear

Esperance Day 62

D came from Perth a few days ago after 8 straight hours driving.

He’s bought a bargain Toyota 4WD for the trip back to the East Coast and a large secondhand tent for $30 that appears to have only been used once. It’s the biggest in the campground and took about 3 hours to put up, the first night out he’s never done it before.

I shook his hand and managed to crush the bones where he’s recently had a metal plate installed and he explains he’s still on compo.

D tells a few stories that are vastly entertaining and he likes an audience who for once can be bothered to listen, or, at least not completely off their scones. As a teenager hanging out near Lennox Head (in northern New South Wales) but only going into town when someone needed a new tattoo. Living across the road from the beach with a bunch of similar misfits and working a day a fortnight laying floors to earn enough to keep surfing and drinking.

There was one story of having a 30 keg party for someone’s 21st and being gate crashed by six burly locals who arrived in a very small car and tried to rough their way to score a keg but then ended up staying days instead when they found they couldn’t fit one into the car. Surfing and being visited by sharks and being left behind by his mates because he didn’t have the big board needed to get onto the swell. Those were the days.

His 4 boards all are missing chunks where they’ve been smashed onto the rocks. He reckons they don’t last long and get snapped in big waves too often.

He’s a true surfer with the hoodie and ugg boots, (what’s with the girlie boots? asks T the Canadian bike rider who rolls in), and proves it by taking to some severe waves down at Salmon Beach. With the offshore breeze they were standing up a full 4m of savagery, rolling straight from Antarctica. He admitted it was a rush but was so offhand that I realised it was really just another day at the office, what interested him was the story of getting in and out of the water from the rocks, a ludicrously dangerous route with that locomotive strength swell and rushing foam.

But he’s had a phone call yesterday: one of his best mates died on Australia Day diving off the rocks at a Newcastle beach that everyone’s dived off since they were 10. He’s heading back by plane for the funeral.

For some reason D had been given a couple of dozen free range eggs, and T’s scored another 12. With them both leaving I’ve now the recipient of 3 cartons. I had half a dozen in a tasty potato omelette last night: only 30 to go.

If you don’t hear from me again, with my cholesterol spiking sharply upwards, I may have had a heart attack.