On my last day in Byron it was finally nice, so Brit, one of my roommates, and I headed back down the beach to make the trip to the lighthouse. Once you get to The Pass you have to take a trail up the hill and along the coast, extremely steep, but the views were beautiful. The path leads you to the “Most Easternly Point on the Australian Mainland” which is pretty cool I guess. The lighthouse was surprisingly large; not so much tall, it just seemed very stout up close, and the actual light and lens were enormous. We took a slightly different path back to the hostel, and when we finally got back down to the beach, who should be standing there taking photos, but Mira!? It was really funny – we chatted for a minute and she told me that her friend would be in touch… Later that night I caught the bus to Yamba. The bus stop is actually about 15-20 minutes from there and only one other guy got off the bus with me. While waiting for the shuttle to take us to our hostel we naturally began chatting. We found out that we both loved beach volleyball in Cairns and after a minute or two of talking about it he suddenly asked when I had left Cairns. Turns out he was in Cairns on my last night of volleyball. He remembers everyone saying goodbye to me and stuff. I asked if he had still been around when we’d taken the huge group photo, but he’d left by that point. It was just so random, but it definitely had me cracking up – nice to find someone who understands why I love Cairns so much.
My first morning in Yamba I tried surfing again – it had been nearly a year and I was a bit nervous about it. Shane, the guy who coordinates and helps you is such an awesome guy though, incredibly nice and has a great sense of humor. Being the only American he called me “Team USA” all morning, I think it was just easier than trying to remember my name. I’m pretty sure him and his brother own the hostel, or at the very least are the managers. They don’t have the big, foam learner boards that I’m used to so I had a proper surfboard this time. Somehow I did end up catching some waves – the smaller board is much harder to balance, but I managed. I banged up my knees something terrible though, I’m not very good at climbing on the board without cracking one, or both, of my knees on it – never noticed on the foam boards of course. The water was quite rough so you were constantly fighting the riptide and waves to try to get out into the water far enough to catch a good wave. It was a pretty good morning out though, and it was nice to know that I am capable of surfing on a “real” surfboard. The next day, after my usual wishy-washy-ness (I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go out again or not since my knees were so sore), I finally decided to go for it. Shane wouldn’t be taking anyone out on my last day in Yamba, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to attempt on my own, so I decided I’d best make use of the chance I had, pain and all. Either Shane hadn’t brought enough of the longer boards (that’s my guess) or he was confident I was good enough, he gave me a 6’8” board which was smaller than the one the day before!! I honestly don’t think I did as well surfing with it, but it could also have simply been that I was quite tired and the water was still rather rough. He told me that the smaller board is actually easier, but I just don’t believe it – not yet anyway. After being thoroughly bruised (knees, hip, and elbow to be exact) I decided I’d had enough. I sought out some shade and a good view of the waves out the back so I could watch Shane and the other good surfers catch some waves. I ended up talking with this lovely older gentleman (he told me he’s 76), who is originally from Sydney, while waiting for the others to finish. He told me he travelled the whole east coast and decided Yamba was the place where he wanted to retire. He knew Shane of course, Yamba is a small town, and also confirmed that he’s a great guy, just one of those really likeable people. Sadly, I just accidentally deleted all the photos off my camera – I had been trying to transfer them to my computer. So all my photos and videos of Byron Bay are gone, but I texted Brit and she’s going to send me some so at least I’ll have something to scrapbook. Although honestly, I cringe just thinking about how much scrapbooking I have to do when I get home – that’s going to be a full time job in and of itself!