Cape Otway – December 2010

Day 4 – a hot day at the beach

Friday 31st December

Just exactly why I was surprised that Jennifer was the first person on the entire camp-site to wake up this morning remains a mystery to me. As it was only six-thirty this time, I figured I could at least try to convince her to close her eyes – or at least stop singing. This was mildly successful but it soon back-fired. After about thirty minutes of shushes, the inevitable utterance of ‘Daddy, I need to do a wee’ finally broke. As predicted, this was something that a persistent shush was not going to address – particularly given the urgency in her tone – so up I got to take her off to the toilet block. We made it all of three meters beyond the tent before … Well, I guess I know next time to get up just as soon as she does just to make sure that we at least make it to the toilet in time.

As ever, our neighbours were slightly more organised than we were this morning and they managed to get out of the campsite slightly before us. We actually had a very similar agenda today and we would run into them at least once throughout the day. For our part, we decided to take things slightly easier today. The temperature was forecast to be in the upper thirties and so we decided to make today a day that we would spend some time at one of the many beaches or bays.

First up on our day’s agenda was a trip to the local Cape Otway Lighthouse. By the time we arrived there, the temperature was indeed pushing forty and this made for a very lethargic couple of whiny kids at times. I can’t really hold this against them, as they actually did very well to last as long as they did under the circumstances. When it came time to climb up the lighthouse itself, Sandy stayed behind and so I took Joey & Jennifer up with me to chat with the guide and to enjoy the fabulous panoramic views of the Southern Victorian coast. There are a number of buildings on the lighthouse grounds and these served as residences for the lighthouse keepers throughout the years. One building now serves as a cafe whilst another as a museum and so on. There were various guides throughout the complex in period costumes entertaining the tourists with stories and facts regarding the lighthouse and the significance of Cape Otway. I actually found all this fascinating but the kids were starting to get restless and so we decided to call it a day and head out to the beach for a nice cool dip in the chilly waters.

When we pulled into the nearby bay that we chose to visit, we bumped into Mel & Henrik and their  clan. They had already visited the lighthouse and were just finishing up their time on the beach. It was an ominous sign that they had chosen to pack up and leave the beach because it was getting too hot but we enjoyed a couple of hours there without too much problem. Between the shaded spot we found to sit and relax in and the icy cool waters, we managed to keep the worst of the heat at bay. The kids really loved wading around in the water and exploring the various rock pools. Between the crabs, sea stars, seaweed, shells and tiny shrimp darting around, there was plenty to keep them occupied and stimulated.

By around three o’clock, we were starting to look forward to a nice warm shower back at the camp-site and so we packed our things and set of down the several kilometres of unpaved road back away from the coast. Before we left, Sandy had done a load of washing and I had erected a washing line between two distant trees so that we could dry everything. There had been some fiercely strong winds today and we returned to our pitch to find various articles of clothing dotted around the place and all our chairs and tables upended. Mel and Henrik hadn’t yet returned so we surmised they had headed into Apollo Bay for some shopping, which turned out to be the case.

We all showered (although the kids technically bathed) and I felt human again. Even though the shower only lasts three minutes on a single coin, washing away all the sweat and sunscreen really does wonders for the psyche. Due to the heat, there was a total fire ban today and this put paid to our original plan of getting the open fire going for a BBQ. Instead, we used the gas BBQ at the kitchen area to cook all the meat we bought yesterday (most of it at least – we still have a fresh chicken). Henrik had befriended another Danish man and his daughter and they joined up for dinner.

Throughout the evening, our kids were all having a ball of a time and this attracted yet more kids. Hana is apparently in the next field over and her Father seemed quite keen for her to mix with other children. I have to say that I find my own holiday enjoyment that much more fulfilling for seeing so many active and happy kids running around being allowed to just be kids. Despite all kids having been bathed of showered just before dinner, it didn’t stop them all getting thoroughly dirty and dusty again as they played around in the dirt and sand that’s prevalent all throughout the camp-site.

It was starting to get dark and considerably beyond the kids normal bedtime before we tucked them all into their sleeping bags. I managed to steel a few moments to myself so that I could catch up on today’s log entry. Today was another good day. The kids have horse-riding scheduled for mid-afternoon tomorrow but I think we’ll otherwise just chill out here in the camp-site for the most part.