Day Sixty Three (26 February)

Day 63 was a day of fellowship and rest in Mallacoota.

The heavy weather that had been plaguing me for days intensified, but I was in shelter for most of the day, except for our excursion out to this property on the other side of the bay.

My hosts, Shanna, Graham and Unya visit this property, traveling by water, and clean it every so often.

They kindly invited me along, and although we all got well-soaked, it was a wonderful day, I really loved it, what great family, I’m truly humbled by (and grateful for) the kindness and hospitality.

Overnight, I learned that I’d been on the tellie again – appearances and articles were popping up all over the place, even without my knowledge or participation, which was great – and making up for my own shortcomings at promoting myself & the walk.

I also learned that the wonderful SCOUT CORALIE had gotten an award recognising her as one of the best scouts in New South Wales (in terms of achievements, good works, commitment and ambassadorship)

I really had rollicking fun that day, Unya, the young person of the family was a fountain of local information, even down to geology and nautical topography (I might have made that term up).

Driving rain lashed us throughout the day, but we were all geared up and had shelter to return to, so it was ‘no worries’, none of the challenges of long hours walking through a storm.

The boat ride across the bay was phenomenal fun.

(I’m probably very lucky that I didn’t drop my phone into the ocean on all those bumpy waves, but I was aware and kept an iron grip)

I would love, absolutely love to live in a little farm like the property we visited. Graham and Shanna spent an hour or so there doing cleaning and upkeep while Unya showed me around the property.

They collected these massive Bunya Nuts, apparently there’s a secret family artform to slow cooking or stewing them (I met Shanna’s mum later who kind of explained it, but I was never a cook and too old to learn)

For me, the high point was meeting the horse Bianca and the pear-tree filled with Rosellas, that was a wonderful pleasure (you’ll see in the video below)

You’ll also notice a strange painting of a ghostly (a little creepy) figure in an indigenous style. I was (and remain) very curious about that picture. I even asked my friend Uncle Phil about it but he didn’t recognise the figure.

If anyone seeing this at some point in the future recognises the character in the painting, please visit the CONTACT PAGE and tell me about it ?

The rain was still going strong for the boat ride back, but we still got a bit of sight-seeing in, and it’s beautiful country.

The lovely family pointed out an abandoned gold mine from days long gone, and explained how the Old Mallacoota town used to be on the north side of the bay, and people would actually swim across the bay (with horses) to get there.

We also spotted this tree, as you’ll see in the image on the right, we didn’t get a good photo at the time (due to the speed and the rain) but Shanna kindly found it again a few days later and sent me the photo.

If you see what I see, there’s a giant letter “A” there on the beach loud & proud, which I choose to read as standing for Captain Australia.

(Or, if I can’t take credit for it, maybe we can take it as emblematic of AUSTRALIA and the flat-strap gorgeous country that I was privileged to be walking (and this day boating) through).

Next time ’round, I’m going to rough it a bit more, focus less on speed and more on the journey, still make the Ks, but spend more time in (and share) some of these gorgeous natural places.

When I took the BIG WALK, it was still pretty fiercely in the middle of all the COVID lock-downs and all that stuff (with me blithely strolling through like the world’s oldest toddler), and I think many of the people watching were enjoying seeing the natural beauty that they’d been missing out on with all the restrictions. (Especially in Victoria, it wasnt’ too bad up in Brisbane, but I would soon learn how cray-cray it got down south, and how much damage people had been forced to endure. (I met easily a dozen people who were kept from dying loved ones, or lost their livelihoods or were otherwise severely impacted by the government’s .. ‘strategic response’ to the pandemic).

Who am I to second guess it ? But I could certainly relate, having lost my growing and successful travel insurance company to the border closures.

When we were settled back in for the afternoon, we did a grocery run into town, and Unya took me to show the local art gallery.

I absolutely adore that both parents knew, with absolute certainty that I wasn’t some half-mad derro, I was no kind of threat to their child .. in fact the reverse, if I had to lay down my life to protect her, I would.

It was just another one of those little validations, learning to see and respect that I had lovable qualities, clear ethics.

In a way, their trust in me was helping me to fall in love with myself. I know now that I carry a light inside me, in fact I think we all do.

But experience, society, forces often outside our control try to crush or diminish those lights, but I think I’ve made a firm and defiant choice to do my best to let mine shine.

Win, lose or draw, good bad or indifferent, I see profound value in that. I think that when we all see each other sparking up in that way, the entire world becomes better and BRIGHTER.

Really enjoyed the art gallery and tour of town – there was some weird stuff there though – see that question mark piece to the right ? The black dots inside are all dead flies glued to the canvas. There’s other stuff on there like stubbed cigarettes and (I might be mis-remembering) but I think there was even a tampon and some dried out chewing gum. (And I think those white things are animal skulls – birds, possums)

I’m sure it made a compelling statement, but it was above my head – I just found it to be gross 😀

Back at their home, the family had invited me for dinner, which I gratefully accepted. I got to meet their incredible birds, including that big-boy to the left (I think his name was MERLIN).

It was a wonderful, fun old time.

You’ll see some videos below – and get an impression of how larger-than-life, full of heart and love those people are.

Their house was a right-proper HOME, and oozed love and laughter from every crack. After so long on the road, it was a delight to spend the evening there.

I wasn’t filming them secretly, by the way, they were loud & proud and happy, even eager, to share.

(Weeks later, they kept ringing ahead to radio stations and messaging me, trying to get me to sing “What does the Fox Say?!” ideally on the radio or in live stream .. I was just too shy, can’t say why)

They also gave me (and decorated) my Magic Mallacoota Coat, my “Coota Coat”, which I still wear any time there’s wet weather. Such a marvelous gift, it trivialised the heavy rain of days to come.

As the evening drew late, we played board games like “Brain Fart”, where you have to list things starting with a letter, answering a question like “What is something you do around the house starting with “F” .. heh, you can imagine some of the giggles answering that one …

(Fart, Fuck, Frown, Fry Food)

I seem to remember Unya winning the game, good on you Unya.

Thanks Shanna, Graham and Unya for welcoming me into your home, it was an absolute delight, and I won’t ever forget it.

Following morning, onward toward Orbost.