Four hours south from Sydney was our campsite. But nine hours later and with no GPS, we were searching in complete darkness for a new camping ground since a fallen tree had blocked the dirt road to our planned destination. Arriving on a patch of grass next to a long stretch of sand at an unknown beach we were finally able to pitch our tent.
My newbie travel companion made house and warmed herself while I grabbed my headlamp and ventured out into the darkness to find firewood and build a fire for the night.
Weariness really kicked in as I dug in the soft sand with my hands for the fire pit. Carrying logs the size of goal posts from fifty yards away didn’t help either. But the disorientating part wasn’t my burning lungs or the fatiguing muscles, it was trying to get bearings amongst the howling wind and pitch black surrounds.
Relief came over me as the fire took on its own life. Sweating from the labour and yet still cold from the wind, I ignored my hunger and sat by the flames to catch my breath.
I ate dinner like a viking though the menu was a bit different: Sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and buried in the hot sand of the fire pit slowly cooked while the single malt washed down the lamb steaks and sausages. Once the food had settled and the liquor warmed the chest, the constant wind became much more bearable.
It wasn’t until our immediate needs were met that I noticed bright flashes appearing where the stars and the ocean joined cheek to cheek. As if in chorus with the lightning storm that was doing a tap dance along the horizon, a solitary lighthouse far off on the edge of the landscape spun its beam and kept the tempo. Frozen in awe at the display before us, we sat under the visible milky way and watched as the distant storm flashed its brilliant sparks. A swell of gratitude washed over my fatigue, I was tired but I was even more thankful for stumbling upon this scene.
Maybe it was the booze or fatigue that finally got us, but we both fell asleep in our camping chairs and eventually woke up just before the fire flickered out. It was still dark as we sleepily made for the tent, with euphoria still stirring inside of me. It was then that I heard noises besides the wind and saw shapes moving about not too far from us. My headlamp, once turned on, lit up pairs of neon brightness the size of ten cent coins which shone back at us. A great big mob of kangaroos was grazing and roaming about the place - They looked up at us like locals would at strangers walking into their watering hole. Only one feller cared enough to hop on over. Joe Black (as I named him) was treated to all of our leftover bread. As he sat on his tail eating out of my happily weary hand, I hazily wondered what else was next.
Photos by John Ma