2,617 times. No, it's not the daily (or even cumulative total) of Trump's alternative facts that has been tweeted out. It is the average number of times that a mobile telephone user touches their 'phone. These 2,617 encounters result in an average of 145 minutes spent on mobile telephones per day. And, the phenomenon is not limited to Millennials, Centennials, or Gen-X'ers. I have watched a frightening number of my cohort become addicted to allure of the mobile telephone instantly reaching to swipe when the notification tone sounds.
Paddling around the Tollgate Islands, always fun
I am not a fan of the insidious spread of the “connected” life. Half the time, I don't know where our one mobile telephone, which Doug and I share (inexplicable as that is to most people) is, and I certainly don't interact with our telephone anywhere near 2,000 times per day. But, since we began looking for a home to buy, both Doug and I have found ourselves more than ever connected to this diabolical device. In fact, on only one day per week, do we allow ourselves to be out of touch of the invidious reach of our mobile telephone. That day is Sunday where nothing much happens in the world of real estate.
Tollgate Island spire
Sunday has thus become paddle day, and, to minimize driving (which I also deplore) we try to launch from the closest location to where ever we are squatting when Sunday comes around.
Heading south towards Point Upright
Almost exactly mid-October we met Mike and Mark at Cookies Beach (South Durras) and paddled north past Point Upright to Pebbly Beach where we landed, had lunch, and listened to greatly conflicting stories of Mike and Mark's recent North Queensland sea kayak trip. Even though the swell was not very big, the waves were crashing onto the rock platform at the base of Point Upright (a must do walk).
A week later, Doug and I launched from Maloneys Beach and paddled out to the Tollgate Islands, arguably the best day paddle easily accessible from the Batemans Bay area. It happened to be Doug's birthday, but, as usual, we forwent present and cake for a day out. Looking back at our trip database (doesn't everyone have one?) it seems that most of Doug's birthdays have been spent rock-climbing, usually in the USA, but one year in Mexico, and a few years were spent scrambling up peaks in Canada.
After our usual lap around the Tollgate Islands, poking into a few little bays, we were paddling north to have lunch at North Head Beach when a mother and calve humpback whale started breaching and tail slapping nearby. We quickly paddled over and one whale breached about 5 metres in front of my boat, close enough that the ripple waves as the whale hit the water rocked my boat. Doug declared it a grand birthday.
And that brings me to yesterday, paddling out of the Tuross River, over the infamous Tuross Bar, and north to Mullimburra Point. Before leaving, we tried to ignore both the Batemans Bay wave data - which had combined sea and swell height at well over 1.5 metres - and the rather confronting mass of breaking waves marching in over the bar. Pete, who has intimate knowledge of Tuross Bar, had picked a diagonal line that would take us out through the increasingly narrow channel, hopefully avoiding the largest of the breakers.
Much smaller swell in the afternoon
At Caravan Park beach, it was chilly, grey and surprisingly cold for November, and, just thinking about a dunking in the channel made me shiver. Peter promised such an easy passage we would not even get our hair wet. Indeed, the passage Pete led us through was cunning and relatively easy, although not without the mandatory five minutes of terror which any passage through Tuross Bar (unless the swell is very low) seems to evoke. I am sure, however, my entire boat was airborne over a couple of waves. Doug took a larger breaker in the chest and ended up surfing backwards, which, had his rudder not chosen that moment to jam full port, would not have been too bad, except he was rapidly getting turned broadside. But, somehow, we were magically outside the bar on the open ocean, a bit damp, but otherwise undamaged. Pete managed to wriggle Doug's rudder free, and we paddled north with a light southeasterly wind behind us.
Pete and Doug near Bingie Bingie Point
Pete was off on a big training day, so he left Doug and I at the little beach north of Mullimburra Point and continued north, eventually reaching Burrewarra Point before heading back (a solid 60 km day). Doug and I had lunch and a thermos of hot tea, and then walked the Dreaming Track south to Tuross Heads. I've done this walk numerous times but I always wander off the inland option at some point (at low tide you can walk the entire distance on the beach). Sunday was no different and we ended up walking through open banksia forest and small grassy dales before we found the track again.
We were back at Tuross in time for a late afternoon tea, Pete arrived in time for dinner.