by Anne Marie Reichman (AM)
and Scott McKercher (SC)


AM: This summer in WA was a special summer for me;  (and now I have to say that summer in WA is winter in Holland) . I have escaped from my own winter already for a few years; South Africa was one of my first countries, and after that Maui was my winter escape place. But WA was similar and different at the same time.
Similar is the fact that if you step out of the airplane and you drive through a new area, it always takes a few days to get used to the new climate, the road (driving on the left side of the road). You get to know new people, and step by step, you get to know the country.
Different from other places though, for  you can travel “endless” miles. There are so many beaches, so many spots, such a long coast line… You are never done with exploring new things.
SC: It may be a significant date, but things didn’t really seem much different to any other summer on the West Coast. Except it was the least windy season that anyone can remember, the river choked on Algae and stingers infested local beaches. Permanent climatic changes? Or just a rare summer?. Who’s to say. But it did emphasise one point. If you wanted to keep sailing, you had to keep moving.
A song form a few years back always strikes a chord with the words "Summer’s come and summers gone, you wasted every day” Which always makes me realise at the beginnings of summer that it’s going to be over before you know it. And with this realisation, I always try and make the most out of everyday. And I reckon we did alright, squeezing almost every possible sailing day out of the south and west coasts. So many missions, but it still went really quick. (Carpe diem- Seize the day)

AM: Time was flying indeed! I was about to spend 2.5 months in this big, beautiful and unknown country. When you just get there, it seems an ocean of time, and everything is a surprise, but as you know. If you have a good time, you move a lot, you loose track of time, and before you know, you are sitting in your airplane to Holland again.


In WA you should spend a lot of time in the car. 4/8/11 hour-drives being the constant .You stay somewhere for a couple of days for a contest or a swell, check the weather map again, and then move onto where you think it’s going to be on next.
It provides a lot of time for thinking, talking and listening to music, which some people can’t stand, but in a sick kind of way I tend to enjoy. Trips can take ages or not long at all depending on your brain state, with the desire to get somewhere taking more time sitting back and enjoying the ride.

There’s also a lot of anticipation. What’s it going to be like when you get there. Did you make the correct call about which direction to head, or might somewhere else be better. Thinking back to the last time you sailed there and how good or bad it was the last time you were there, if you’ve ever been there before. Or you’ve just had an epic session and are in an appreciative reflective mood as you dwell in that satisfied state of being, thinking back over some of the stand out moments from that session. You also find yourself in beautiful moments and places. Beaches, bays, full moons, sunsets, sunrises. When you’re on the road, you’re much more open to Nature’s light show.

AM: The road if a special dimension; freedom is what it feels like. Whereas  if you are in a city, it isn’t easy to see  what is happening  “out there”. You have things to do, check your emails, hang out with friends. I don’t want to presume that this is not okay or nice, but on the road there is a different life.

You communicate with the moon, you think in “sun-hours” rather than the watch hours (you have to imagine that  between 6.00 and 9.00 it is pleasant to drive; and at 10.00 it’s already hot! And it stays hot till 17.00h, besides that, you have to take care with the kangoroos, who are showing up around dawn and sunset time, so much faster than 80 isn’t available with lots of ‘roo’s on the road), and you drive from petrol station to petrol station, which become holy places with icecreams, newspapers and coffee. And with these coffees, you hit the road for another few hours, to get closer to your destination. The houses disappear again, and the road opens up for you.


thelight.JPG (17718 Byte)
Are a massive part of the big picture as well. The ones from home that I’ve sailed with for ages, as well as new found friends from overseas that are over visiting. Sailing without them just isn’t the same. A smile, a hoot, or a spray in the   face. It’s what makes it that much more fun.
You don’t know these people, but it’s they that make times special, with travel and summer opening everybody up to new and varied experiences through shared experiences.
Especially when they’re mad like Mullin brothers from Ireland or the cruisy style of Peter Volwater, to the crazy antics of Finian Maynard. They along with, of course, my beautiful playmate Anne Marie, who made this one of my most memorable summers ever.

AM: I missed my friends from home a lot this summer. I think, because Scott was so stoked to see his old “mates” from years ago, and I realised that this travel-life - what I love! - couldn’t combine the time with friends all the time. Instead, I came to meet so many sweet people this summer, in every corner of WA Scott had friends, as well as friends from overseas who came to visit him.

Jane Seman, with who I cruised for a while in Maui and in Europe last summer, was stoked to show me some of her country. Rob the men of the east coast couldn’t leave WA anymore, and they were cruising a few trips together with us as well.
All these friends had one thing in common: passion for the water! They planned summer or work that way, that a surf or sail always could happen somehow.


SC: Follow on from friends as it’s so much more like a big party over here compared to the seriousness of many others that I’ve been too. No one holds back at night time, with everyone having a few drinks and a dance and basically having a ball. Lancelin especially has an incredible feel about it, which is why it’s an event that has gone on for 15 yrs. And that’s basically down to friends. Finian Maynard was the winner this year, who was performing some ritual looking dance with a vodca bottle that was highly entertaining.

AM: I just have to say, that I haven’t seen this for a long time anymore: that a whole village is so motivated to organise “just’ a contest. Fathers, mothers, the local pub… Everything was getting it going. Stoked! To see and feel this.


SC: Is one of the most attractive features about WA. I’ve been driving around for 15 yrs, and every year I still get to sail somewhere new. A 4wd makes this easier, but it’s not essential.
We got a tip from someone that went to a Place called Windy Harbour.and reckoned it looked sailable.So we gave it a shot and arrived 3.5 hrs later. It looked too offshore gusty and closing out, but we gave it a shot anyway, and thankfully we did. Super clean racetrack walls that heaved onto shallow sand made for super fun air sections and cutty walls which were pure joy. And we were the only windheads for hundreds of  kilometeres.The thing is there’s hundred’s of km’s more of untapped potential that I’m going to have to save for another summer.

Another time when Esperance was flat we were taken to another beach down the coast that could maybe be 2-3 ft. As it turned out it was with cross off clean banks with no for miles around again. Getting back from this place was actually more of a rush than the sailing as some of the dunes we had to climb and cross over were pretty sketchy. All part of the fun though. Look and Ye shall find.

AM: As every spot was new for me, I didn’t realise what a “kick” it was for our locals, Scott and Jane, as we found these new beaches. The cruise through the dunes with the 4wd-cars, I wont forget them anymore. From just looking around they turn out in real adventures.


SC: Diversity is what WA is about. Pretty much every type of wave is possible ranging from softer reef and beach breaks in the north, to heavy reef peaks and thumping dredging sand pits in the south.
Lancelin and Wedge Island are good destinations if you aren’t to comfortable with powerful waves, but in the south, there are so many different beach breaks, all with their own different qualities, which can always change depending on what the sand banks have been doing.
Swell size is always critical when you’re making your decision on where to head. Denmark doesn’t want any swell at all, while you need quite a bit for Esperance. But anywhere on the south coast once it gets above head high becomes pretty gnarly.
Inspiring waves... painted by Anne Marie
AM: The wave of my life is the one we “experienced” in Rottnest Island. This is a little island close to Perth. You can take the Ferry or you can buy or borrow a boat, and cruise over there yourself. Scott knew this spot where it goes off! He was never able to sail this spot, so when the swell was up, we were up and about to go at 6.00 in the morning. Unfortunately it didn’t blow, but not bad to catch sick glassy powerful barrelling waves there.
Have to admit: to surf this wave, was a bit too much for me, but to look into this barrel, as you are laying in the water was pretty “sick". Scott made some freaky drops, and came out with one of his bigger smiles on his face! Have to keep on going, and next year, I’ll surf this beauty.


SC: Summer. Is almost a state of mind. Everyone is more social, and everyone wants to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.
To take the time out for holidays, or to just take the time out to have a BBQ with friend sand a few beers.
It’s a global phenomenon, where people tend to relax a little and slow down a bit. In Australia it’s over the Christmas period, the New year period , and the school holiday period. Often referred to as the silly, season. It’s when you can sometimes let your cares fall away for a bit, and just enjoy the moment.

(If only this could be achieved more often!)

This feeling peaked for me when on a boat, on an Island, on new years day. When cracking a beer at 11.00 in the morning didn't seem odd, and all you did was hang out, talk and play. Or when you go for the late surf or sail and come out of the water and it’s warm enough to watch the last rays of the sun go down in just your boardies or bathers, as everything turns golden brown. That summertime feel.

AM: Sunny Australia (30-40 degrees) was only a few days ago. Grey Holland (5 degrees, what is supposed to be warm) is reality now. What I miss the most, is being ‘outside”. On the water, in the water, camping outside under the stars and moon, surfing with dolphins, drinking cappuchino’s on a terrace, hanging out with friends on the beach till it is dark, and you are starving… it is just “that’ feel.


SC: And then at the end of summer, you get your photo’s back at the end and there’s all these moments of time that have gone buy, usually appreciated more after the fact when you look back at a photo of yourself in a beautiful setting, or a smiling friends face. Or your girlfriends face who’s not with you at the moment, and you just wish you could be there again. Although I can remember some instances where I was fully aware of my fortunate position I was in at the time, most people really take a moment and fully appreciate the moment they are in right there. And I reckon I can sing the song now as Summer Came and summer went, I made the most of everyday. And that’s a good feeling.

The thing is, these are some words about a Western Australian summer, but the same characteristics are always open to everyone, everywhere. I get amazed in Europe how I’ve been there for a few years, and have sailed more places than most people who live there because I’m not scared of driving. I think our point is, if you’ve got the time, a little bit of money, hit the road because so much more opens up to you. You might even find that epic spot and get the wave of your life Then AGAIN, YOU MAY NOT, BUT YOU’LL HAVE EXPERIENCED A WHOLE LOT OF OTHER THINGS AT THE SAME TIME, AND THAT MAY EVEN BE MORE VALUABLE.

AM: My reflections are still going on as I am back in Scheveningen and my friends ask me how my time in WA was. I can show the video I took on my camera, and if I see that, I am back there again. And …yep... I will admit that I am sleeping with a little “toy-kangeroo” now Scotty is so far away. But before we know, the new chapter is there in a new place, and everything will start somehow all over again.
And I realise what a “rich" life I have to be able to see, do and feel all this, but I have to say: I had also to make choices to get this life! Hmmmmm… I think I choose well.
Top of the Page Trips HOME text & photos: Reichman, Mc Kercher; windgirls 2000