Friday, 19 October 2007

Sick Bay

Time drifts by hear at the aptly named Dreamland, although not for much longer. I’m flying to Brisbane on Monday for an MRI scan on my back in order to properly assess the damage, and the Dreamland warungs are being demolished in December to make way for a 5 star golf resort. “The fat cats whacking balls have pushed out the surf rats whacking bowls” to paraphrase my cowabunga stomach-churningly naff surf guidebook.

I hung out with a ‘spunky’, to use the colloquial, Aussie woman called Polly for a couple of days. She owns a villa in Bali and when she lets it she holidays at Dreamland or Bingin donw the coast. She surfs as badly as I do so we watched out for when another in the bigger swells we’ve been experiencing recently and the night before last we walked along the beach to Bingin for a drink a new bar down there. We had a good evening in the usual U.N. congress kind of way with Yanks, Aussies, Kiwis, Balinese and a Colombian fella eating some good food and drinking beers, timing our return to beat the incoming tide which would strand us in Bingin. Having never made the walk before I was relying on Polly’s judgement that 10pm was our curfew, but during the evening I talked to an older Kiwi gentleman who did the walk at 9 that morning and the tide then was pretty close to making it impassable. I managed to lure Polly from the clutches of an All-American Huntingdon Beach surf dude by 9.30pm and we set off bare foot and with my head torch illuminating our way. The higher tide meant that much of the easy beach sections of the walk were submerged so we had to resort to more rock scrambling than on our outward journey, and someone had been busily sharpening the rocks whilst we were eating and drinking. Yet we made good progress and all seemed well until we rounded a rock to be confronted by a 3ft green and black striped sea-snake in our path. Both snake and humans froze trying to assess who was in the greater danger and we made a slow retreat. Once out of the torchlight the snake disappeared and we proceeded with haste. From here-on things became critical. The rapidly incoming tide was compounded by the growing swell which sent waves crashing in to the coves we were trying to traverse. Timing our progression between wave sets we edged closer to Dreamland aware that a retreat was now more difficult than an advance. We just made it round promontory after promontory each one promising and then failing to deliver us to the safety of home until we both recognised that the cove we were in was definitely the one before safety. By this stage we were literally clinging to the cliff face as huge rollers crashed in to the rocks below and a delirious panic had set in. Spying the opportunity of a rare lull between wave-sets we lept from the cliff to the beach below and made a run for the final promontory making it round just in time for the next set to wash us up the beach to the safety of Dreamland. Crikey!

Last night I surfed (or rather, bobbed about) until I saw the large flame-red sun melt into the watery horizon. In this last hour of the day the wind drops completely leaving a mercurial quality to the ocean. It’s a magical time; even as the waves roll in there’s a tranquility about this transition zone between ocean and land. I hope my back, nerve and foot combo recover in time for me to fully experience the incomparable pleasures of surfing before returning to work.


phil said...


phil said...

i just wrote hi cos last time i wrote a big one and i could not send it sothat was a tester, i am sorry bto hear you are struggling so badly with your body aches such a shame to be in bali and not be able to surf i really feel for you , i trust however you are making the most of beautiful indo the people, food and places. my friend neil is over in bali and he is popping over to dreamland soon so look out for him.
not to rub it in but we have just had a week of cl;assic surf clean and headhigh and more the water was full of big smiles from surf starved folk. The sept swell has eventually arrived late but with some force but bloody chilly thats for sure, i gave you a thought or two surfing in your piss warm ocean as i got my first ice cold duck dive.
Whatever way you travels go ed im sure it will be an adventure even if its not exactly what you planned , so heres too a speedy recovery and some surfing future, lots of love and cowabuga phil xxxx
p.s. you do write a good blog xxxxx

Emma said...

crikey indeed!!

careful mr t!

Mum said...

omigod - snakes and running for your life! At least you could run. No need to feel paranoid, they ARE out to get you. I hope you enjoy this weekend in Bali and I feel sure that you'll be back once that Geordie neuroradiologist takes a look at you. Mark said that he wears a Newcastle football shirt around the hospital. That doesn't really make him a bad person, I suppose. We'll speak when you're in Brisbane. Love, Mum
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