So I’m lying there with two inches of foam beneath my arse, not nearly drunk enough on the Thursday night before a day off and weekend of musical madness, trying not to think about women. The three cans of Red Bull I’d drunk during the six hour drive to Port Macquarie started to play on my mind while their stimulants rushed around my veins. And I couldn’t help but notice the bastards next door – as in one metre away from my tent – were probably planning less on sleeping that night than playing bad music at extreme volumes till dawn. Plus I needed a drink. Plus I wanted to check out the local freaks in the isolated coastal town’s unlikely to still be open pub. It was open, thank God, and feeding time was at a crescendo. Two conversations were overheard while occupying that den of depravity: one was about carpentry, and the other was about a joint-car-detailing venture. Not that I consider there to be anything wrong with either of those pursuits, but they were discussed in such an inarticulate fashion I couldn’t help but sense disaster in their foundations. I drank my two scotches, checked out an awesome jazz band visiting from Brisbane, smoked a cigarette, then left, bought a pie and got some money out of the ATM. And returned to the camp grounds.
Perhaps it was just sleep deprived delirium, but I became convinced at 2.30am there was a group of large animals engaged very loudly in the process of mating and battling for superiority around my tent. I gave up on sleep again, and emerged from the tent pretending to clutch a knife I could plunge into the closest woodland beast. I’d lost my lighter, my car needed petrol, my phone needed charging and I was hungry. So I figured, why not? A Maccas and servo trip seemed reasonable even at that ungodly hour. Maccas went well. I cruised past the manager and his three subjects on an extended break and they watched me like I was about to leap from the car with a blood-filled syringe. Then I circled back, parked, wandered into the restaurant and they all jumped to attention like my own personal kitchen. The servo went worse, as in it failed. I drove around for an hour before realising late night McDonalds was much more of a priority to the town than was petrol. So at about 3.30am I gave up and devoured my McChicken and large chocolate thickshake under the intermittent sweep of Port Macquarie’s cute-as-a-button little lighthouse. Well it probably was during the day. At this point in time it made me feel like I was the opening death of a bad horror movie. Like my door-window was going to smash open at any moment and I’d be dragged, howling, through the broken glass to be tortured, killed and dumped off the front of Tacking Point.
Energy drinks must have some weird way of boosting the intelligence to offset sleep deprivation, because I had my board in the car. So with the knowledge dawn was only an hour or two away, and in the absence of any company, the morning was spent exploring Port Macquarie’s beaches. Many things were learned: 1. There’s a pointish-break near the mouth of the Hastings River which was on this morning a little small and weak; 2. There’s a beach break immediately to the south of this which looks good in the half-light of the morn’, though becomes clearly rocky death the further the sun rises; 3. A quality beachie sits further south of this but was unfortunately just not good enough on this morning to balance out my conviction it was shark infested; 4. After this is a virtually inaccessible beachie which was also rock-strewn; 5. To the south of the lighthouse, after all the serial-killers had gone, there was a staggeringly powerful peak breaking in Victoria’s direction, with almost enough power to make it there. I was out there. But there was a problem: it was a very isolated beach and the idea of surfing it alone considering its size, power and the possibility I’d be sharing it with sharks required action.
So these were the frantic text messages I made during my search and before deciding whether to surf south of the lighthouse, to my three sleeping comrades:
“1. C’mon boys. Waves aren’t gonna ride themselves. That said not sure how good it is. Can’t really see it near the estuary yet but I reckon the second beachie might be ok. First one seems too rocky.
2. Tuppenny Lane. The second beachie. Good swell no-one out! Don’t make me sit out there alone.
3. Scratch that. It’s even better near the lighthouse. South side. I’m out there.”
And when I got back I realised they’d just gone out near the estuary anyway, and it was apparently pretty good, of course.