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After a few days at Nelson Bay and a weekend in Newcastle, Daryl has headed up north towards Byron Bay for warmer, dryer weather. I myself have been in Nelson Bay for almost 2 weeks and I still can’t leave! Everyday the sunsets are stunning and even on the (many) rainy days I can’t help but still be relaxed. Not one to be idle during my time here though I went dolphin spotting at Nelson Bay mariner,
whale spotting at Boat Harbour,
and taking every opportunity to soak up a glorious sunset.
On my second day here I was wooed by a local barista, Joe, who turned out to be a moonlighting DJ! He showed me all the best spots in the local area and even took me op-shopping to pick up some great ‘vintage’ 80s gear. It’s also been very educational learning from him about how synthesiser boards and effects units work, and come to create the sounds I love (I’m a big fan of techno/dance music). Here’s a short video I took of him in his element.
Whilst Daryl was still with me, we took a weekend trip to Newcastle. Our hosts there were the Ludriks family – good friends of Erin (our Couchsurfing host back in Dubbo).
They had never hosted strangers before, but they were complete naturals. We felt like one of the family, and they showed us great parts of Newcastle such as Darby St (LOTS of coffee shops), The Junction markets (definitely good as I spent over $50 there in half an hour) and showed us their community garden. This one works differently from the the ones in Dubbo – in this case everyone works together jointly on the garden, and then helps themselves to the produce. Rather than each person having an individual plot to themselves. All these gardens are getting me seriously excited about getting into gardening once I’m settled in one place again!
During our time at the garden I decided to jump along the tyres like a little kid.
However I decided to ignore the fact that everything was wet from the rain, so I slipped on one and almost face-planted into it. Thankfully my shin took one for the team and my pretty face lived to see another day. Applying my newly acquired First Aid knowledge you can see me here professionally applying ice, via plastic bag from the nearby serviceman’s club. (I still have a black bruise a week later)
Allison Ludriks, the mum of the family, was even more generous as to give me a tour of her workplace, Rhema FM, a not-for-profit Christian radio station. This was my first time inside a radio station since I was 11 so I was very excited! Allison showed me around explaining how you go from recording segments to planning programs, to production, to actually being live. She also let me sit in whilst she was on airand dedicated a song to me about travelling safe along the journey (forgive me Allison I forget the name of it). All the staff were super friendly, positive and passionate about their job – great to see!
I also met another rising DJ! This is Jeffrey, one of the Ludriks kids. He discovered my Ipod at the same time as finding a huge pair of headphones from somewhere in the house, and was hooked! Even his clothes say “I am one with the music”. I wonder what he thought of my dance music taste?
During my time back in Nelson Bay I met up with Scott and Lynn Jarman, the Shelterbox representatives for the area. They have recently completed training to become SRTs (Shelterbox Response Team members) and was rapt to hear how thorough and varied the training was (I am looking to become an SRT after completing the fundrasier).
I then joined them for the weekly Nelson Bay Rotary Club meeting; this was my first time being exposed to the work of Rotary clubs. I was amazed at how much the club is a part of and contributes to the local community. During the meeting they discussed where their fundraising money had been distributed to – varying from a local suicide prevention centre to a local primary school. And it wasn’t just $100, it was in the $1000s! The members of the club were from all walks of life from fishermen to servicemen, and all were personable as well as passionate about their involvement in the clubs activities. One of the members of the club, Bart Richardson, a former POW, got up to do a talk about his recent trip to Japan which was sponsored by the Japanese government. I got goosebumps all through his talk and was so moved at the end to hear that his impression of the Japanese now is “They’re not war mongers…they’re people like you and me”. Wow.
The most surprising part of the night though was after I got up to talk for a few minutes about the fundraiser. I went to sit down, and Scott (who is also the club president) got up to thank me and say that if the club didn’t mind they’d like to pledge to my fundraiser the amount they raised for Shelterbox recently – upon receipt of a postcard from Darwin. And the amount they raised was….$1100!!
I had to pick my jaw up off the floor.
It’s time to get moving to Darwin!
(apologies for the poor quality of this photo – my camera died right after this shot)