My first glimpse of Bondi Beach was many, many years ago when Prince Charles visited Australia as a young man. Since having children, it has been by watching Bondi Rescue, the aussie program dedicated to the lives and work of the lifeguards manning Bondi Beach (and they have done so since 1913)which has brought it back to my mind. The reality of it, was different to my thinking. I had decided it would be crass and overpopulated and although it was very busy, assuring a spot in the car park for a few hours, just yards from the beach made it a very easy visit and although the parking isn’t cheap, it was worth it. If you wanted to spend some serious time here, you could park a little further out and walk in quite easily.
2. Chalok Baan Kao – Koh Tao. Thailand
There is something about the little island of Koh Tao, which holds a magical draw for me. It feels a little like home for some reason and every year I have a desire to return, it’s as if it calls my name. The walk along the beach from one end to the other takes no time at all. At one end of the curved bay you can buy a pizza (if that’s what you fancy) at the other end a beer and a seat on the harbour to relax and watch the sunset. Or if you choose to stay at Sunshine-a small budget accommodation resort, you can enjoy freshly prepared Thai cuisine which is cheap and delightful. My suggestion is try a coconut whisky shake.
3. Turtle Beach. Perhentian Basar. Malaysia
If I’m honest, I’m not a great lover of Malaysia but spending time on the Perhentian Islands was a very special time. Scuba Diving in D’Lagoon we managed a down time of 55 minutes. A new record for me. Our companions Titan trigger fish, Bat Fish, saddleback anemone fish – being nipped by a damsel fish a treat. All experienced in 30 degrees of salty sunkissed warm water. The highlight of this little island, was spending time with Vince and the kids on Turtle Beach. This had to be the tropical, desert island paradise I had been waiting for. Black tip reef sharks circled us as we swam and the ocean bounced over the edge of the reef blending with the endless blue sky. I felt like I was in the movie Cast Away and it was our very own private shoot location for the short time we were there. I’ve learnt to listen to where others tell me to go and stay. I remember a colleague at the college where I worked telling me about this place. I’d never heard of it but glad I took her up on the advice to visit.
When you look at this photograph above it is idyllic. The view in front, is of the mainland and I loved Fji for its lushness and most likely because at points it reminded me of New Zealand. Here you could swim in the little marine preserve and kayak in the calm bay – on the other side of the island the trade winds made sure the gusts were generously entertaining for the wind and kite surfers whom regularly visit. Yet staying on the island spiraled me down into a dark place. I have never stayed anywhere, which has made me feel so unhappy. I didn’t feel welcome or wanted. It was one of my worst travelling moments and allowed me to realise an aspect about myself which I had not brought into my awareness before. If the people I love are happy – I will remain unhappy to not upset the equilibrium. Its taken me a while to place my happiness alongside theirs!
5. Cable Bay – Nelson. New Zealand
Wanting to scuba dive, lead us to find out about this lovely little beach tucked away from the thriving city of Nelson but close enough to it, to be able to drive out for the day and spend some time sunning ourselves with an intent to scuba diving. Vince and I spent shared moments together snorkeling in the clear water, surrounded by an incredible nature made boulder bank. Finding ourselves lucky enough to meet a giant crayfish, discovered in the bay by another snorkeler. For a while I couldn’t believe it was real – it was that huge and still. The beach has sandy patches but is mainly shingle and its modern name came about, after it was the first place that the overseas cable link appeared on land, connecting New Zealand with Australia.