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
You are never done with exploring new things.
It may be a significant date, but things didnt 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?. Whos 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 "Summers come and summers
gone, you wasted every day Which always makes me realise at the beginnings of summer
that its 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)
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 its going to be on next.
- It provides a lot
of time for thinking, talking and listening to music, which some people cant 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.
a lot of anticipation. Whats 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 youve ever been there before. Or youve 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 youre on the road, youre much more open to Natures light show.
The road if a special dimension; freedom is what it feels like. Whereas if you are in a city, it isnt easy to see what is happening out there. You
have things to do, check your emails, hang out with friends. I dont want to presume
that this is not okay or nice, but on the road there is a different life.
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 its 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 isnt available with lots of roos 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.
- Are a massive part
of the big picture as well. The ones from home that Ive sailed with for ages, as
well as new found friends from overseas that are over visiting. Sailing without them just
isnt the same. A smile, a hoot, or a spray in the
face. Its what makes it that much more fun.
- You dont
know these people, but its they that make times special, with travel and summer
opening everybody up to new and varied experiences through shared experiences.
- Especially when
theyre 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.
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! - couldnt 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
couldnt leave WA anymore, and they were cruising a few trips together with us as
- 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.
Follow on from friends as its so much more like a big party over here compared to
the seriousness of many others that Ive 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 its an event that has gone
on for 15 yrs. And thats basically down to friends. Finian Maynard was the winner
this year, who was performing some ritual looking dance with a vodca bottle that was
I just have to say, that I havent seen this for a long time anymore: that a whole
village is so motivated to organise just a contest. Fathers, mothers, the
Everything was getting it going. Stoked! To see and feel this.
Is one of the most attractive features about WA. Ive been driving around for 15 yrs,
and every year I still get to sail somewhere new. A 4wd makes this easier, but its
- 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 theres hundreds of kms more of untapped potential that Im
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.
As every spot was new for me, I didnt 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
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 arent 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 youre making your decision on where to head. Denmark
doesnt 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
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 didnt 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, Ill surf
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.
- Its a global
phenomenon, where people tend to relax a little and slow down a bit. In Australia
its over the Christmas period, the New year period , and the school holiday period.
Often referred to as the silly, season. Its 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!)
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 its 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.
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 cappuchinos on a terrace, hanging out with friends on the beach
till it is dark, and you are starving
it is just that feel.
And then at the end of summer, you get your photos back at the end and theres
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 whos 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 thats 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 Ive been there for a few years, and have sailed more places than most
people who live there because Im not scared of driving. I think our point is, if
youve 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 YOULL HAVE EXPERIENCED A WHOLE LOT OF OTHER THINGS AT THE SAME
TIME, AND THAT MAY EVEN BE MORE VALUABLE.
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.