Sussex Inlet with The Fam

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Mum, dad, my brothers and their families, have stayed at caravan parks in Sussex Inlet every January for as long as I can remember.  It’s all about fishing for them. Leaving at the crack of dawn in their little dinghy full of stinky burley and bait. Burley is a mixture of fish entrails which are thrown into the water to attract the fish. Apparently, only the experienced fisherman know what is the best bait for these rivers and its a secret they don’t want to share.  My little nephew warns me seriously when I ask after their bait choice, “loose lips sinks ships, you know”. I’ll give the secret away here – it’s pilchards. “But what about prawns?” I ask because I thought prawns were the staple bait. With all the experience that his five years of life have given him, my nephew also shares with me another secret, “If you want to catch bigger fish, you have to use bigger bait”.  Good to know.

We always said we wouldn’t holiday in the peak (school holiday) seasons or in hot weather because caravan parks get too crowded, noisy and cost more, and the caravan would be uncomfortable in the heat. But my life seems to be getting busier, and I don’t see my siblings or their families as much as I would like to. So spending a week with them nearby was something I thought would keep me in the fringe of their lives.

At $45 per night in peak season, staying in a caravan park is really quite affordable. We stayed at Badgee Caravan Park which is one of the tiny five or six caravan parks that line the river. It wasn’t crowded at all and compared to the other Parks, it seems we picked the best one. My brothers were staying at other caravan parks which I did not book into because they did not allow dogs in peak season.  Badgee Park is not just “dog friendly”; the owner  Paul is a “dog lover”. On our arrival, I think he was more thrilled to see Boo Boo than us, greeting him and showing him around. When we were leaving he took a photo of Boo Boo to pin to the display board in the shared kitchen along with the portraits of other visiting dogs.

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Badgee Park is kept in immaculate condition. The amenities are brand new and all the sites are covered in thick, lush grass which I walked around in bare feet most of the time. But the best part about Badgee Park is the Camp Kitchen (see photo above – its the building on the left). We’ve never used these at other Parks in the past, preferring our privacy. But because it was hot, I didn’t want to cook inside the caravan. So we used the Camp Kitchen – a lot. We kept water and drinks cold in the fridge, used the massive hotplate to BBQ meat or fish at night, and washed up in the large kitchen sink. Perfect set up.

We used our canoe quite a bit – keeping to the edges of the river for fear that we might be swept out to sea in the strong outgoing tides (Justin was more worried than I was).

 

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Boo Boo has taken to the canoe like a duck to water. At first he clung to my lap and wouldn’t stop shivering. Now he is happy to sit on the middle seat, all on his own. He even lies down for a snooze.  He is fascinated by birds, especially the pelicans and points to them by freezing and staring. I’m hoping he’s not going to jump into the water after them – they’re twice his size! We bought him a life jacket, but I will introduce that more slowly so he doesn’t freak out too much.

Justin and I continue to argue discuss how best to steer the boat.  Are there  courses in paddling canoes I wonder? If so, Justin needs to attend  one. I’m the type that wants to paddle a little bit and then relax, float along and feel the serenity. He likes to get somewhere, anywhere. Even if its just to the other side. And he wants to get there as fast and efficiently as he can. He keeps accusing me of not paddling hard enough and making  him do all the work (I secretly do want him to do all the paddling, I mean, he wants to paddle so furiously then I say go for it, just leave me out of it!) We’re considering bringing the fishing line along next – I am hoping that will give him something to do while I lie back and listen to nature.

Sussex in canoe

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I found some of my old records at mum and dad’s place a few months ago, and this holiday had the chance to play the best record album of all time, Carol King’s Tapestry. Listening the the record brought me back to when I first left home at 17 years of age. I was in a little flat shared with my friend Jenny on the beach at Cronulla. She had a little record player, much like the one in my photo below, which sat directly on the floor. I only had a few records and at night I would down on the scratchy old carpet and sing along to Tapestry again and again. I know all the words by heart and the music brings back memories of ocean winds, sand in the carpet, windows frosty with sea salt, surfing, wet beach towels, sunburn, the smell of B&H cigarettes, cravings for hot chips and thickshakes, and unrequited love.

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I Feel the Earth Move
Carol King

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

Oh, baby, when I see your face
Mellow as the month of May
Oh, darling, I can’t stand it
When you look at me that way

I feel the earth move under my feet
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever you’re around

The trouble with holidays is that they just aren’t ever long enough.

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Driving through Berry. Beautiful place.

 

 


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