Monday, April 7, 2008

Stockton Beach Sand Dunes - 5-6 April 2008



The 'Sygma' wreck
Trying to get up


Going down

Going through

Jumping

More jumping


More jumping

Camp


Camp fire


Playing with fire


At the beach


Dunes

Trip Report – Stockton Beach Sand Dunes – 5-6 April

Who went: Flab, JP, Chandia and me

^^ Day 1 – Preparations and driving up ^^

After years of trying, this trip finally happened, and with a couple oflate drop-outs (including a late hissy fit by Bucko) we were down to 4starters. Flab had also managed to successfully scare off the girls withhis dreaded desire to have a boy’s weekend away!

Johnny and I came prepared with most of the supplies we needed, Chandiahad his car (which we thought might conk out), and Flab brought himselfand his attitude. The 3 of them met up in Fairfield and then picked meup at Prospect on the way (sort of)… As usual, everybody was runningabout 2 hours late, and then we forgot my air pump, so wasted another1/2 hour returning to pick it up.

Finally we were on the way, and first stop was the supermarket on theway (sort of) at North Rocks. After some deliberations we got some grubto share (but not enough bread!) and then continued. Flab was overexcited with anticipation, and being his usual loud self, was annoyingChandia. On the way we had to wait two sets of red lights to hit themain road again, and then Chandia missed the turn (twice), so again wewaited on the other side for green light to join the main road, wastinganother 20 minutes. Lucky we were in no rush. We all busted up atChandia’s incapability for missing the turn (twice!)

We hit the F3 and finally arrived to the start of the dunes. Beforehitting the sand we deflated the tyres to less than half normalpressure, as we knew Chandia wouldn’t stand a chance of not gettingbogged otherwise.

^^ Day 1 –The dunes ^^

We drove through the rutted sand track in the coastal bush, before itopened out to the wide expanses of these impressive dunes. Almostimmediately we stumbled onto a picturesque lake surrounded by dunes andbush, and found a spot in the shade to have lunch. Chandia tried twiceto get his shitbox up a slight hill here but couldn’t, so we had to walkthe last 15m to our lunch spot. Here Flab noticed a steep sand hill anddecided to jump off it, and the fun caught on and the cameras were outas all of us (except Chandia who is too fat and lazy and wouldn’t takeof his mammoth boots) had a jump landing in the soft sand.

After lunch we drove on towards the beach, and soon stopped for anotherset of photos in the dunes, taking some photos of our shadows cast onthe uniform sand. We then reached the very long beach, and turned southtowards the ‘Sygma’ shipwreck. Chandia could hardly drive straight as hestruggled to stay in the deep sand ruts left behind by other cars.

As usual, the sight of a large rusting ship sitting wrecked in the surfwas a sight to behold. It had degraded considerably since I was there 10years ago, but the back half was still sitting high above the water. Wepaused here for more photos, seeing the ship from both sides. It washere that Flab decided to leave his first mark for the day right behindthe car, and then proceeded to drive the car along the beach withoutauthority, freaking Chandia out.

After numerous photos, we were finally moving again and headed away fromthe beach to the dunes, trying to reach a highpoint for a lookout. Wefound another steep sandhill, which we finally convinced Chandia todrive down. But first we had more jumping action and photos, and Flableft another mark of his directly behind the car again. Driving down forChandia was a cinch in the end, so he decided to see if he could get upafter a long run-up. He made it. Then I had a go at driving, and alsoperformed some doughnuts with the sand streaming in through the carwindows.
Chandia let me drive and we continued exploring the dunes to the southand hit the beach again to find lots of beach fishermen. We discoveredChandia and I were both painful back-seat drivers.
^^ Day 1- Camp ^^

It was getting late now so we needed to find camp. After somediscussions we decided to camp at the edge of the dunes where they metthe bush. It was a great spot as we were relatively isolated and therewas plenty of dead wood for a big camp fire! And there was a huge sanddune sheltering us from the coastal breeze.

We set up tents and Flab and JP got lots of firewood. We hadn’t broughtmuch alcohol (or bread for that matter), but I got out a couple ofbottles for those who were keen (JP and me as it turned out). And thenbegan our bbq, while we sat around the fire enjoying the ambience.Dinner was good, some tasty meatballs and sausages, and Chandia had hisbig-arse steak too.

We had a rowdy night, the highlights being some fire-jumping, followedby burning stick throwing, melting JP’s tent in the process. A burningstick was thrown into the back of the Chandia’s shitbox in retaliation!I also took Chandia’s shitbox for a spin around camp in my drunkenstate, playing chicken with Chandia and nearly running him over.

^^ Day 2 – More dunes ^^

It rained overnight and everything outside got wet and was covered withsand. After waiting for the showers to ease, we eventually got up andcooked up sausages and eggs for breaky in the wet. Meanwhile Flab leftanother of his marks directly behind the car and also pissed on the hotfire, stinking the place out. After breaky we waited in the car againfor the rain to ease, and then put down our tents and threw everythingin the back, including a heap of wet sand.

We began driving again, heading north to the top of this long beach. Wealternated between driving on the dunes inland and the beach. We found anice little pond to speed through, sending water spray high above thecar. It was so much fun we did this a second time for the cameras. Abouthalfway up we headed inland a bit to the biggest set of dunes there was,nothing but dunes all around. Here we found the longest steep drop-offand convinced Chandia to drive down it. I stood on the back of the car,and in the end it was a bit of an anti-climax but still fun.

Driving on the dunes was a challenge in Chandia’s shitbox, as there wasalways a steep hill that we had to go around as we couldn’t get up it.At one point we were flying along in the rain with limited visibility,when a huge drop-off appeared out of nowhere followed by a lake below.Luckily we stopped just a few metres before it! We found another set ofshallow lakes to drive through, sending water spray everywhere, andalmost conking out Chandia’s shitbox. I had another go driving, butJohnny wasn’t keen after he burnt out the clutch on a previous occasion,and Flab only drove mischievously when he took off with the car afterChandia accidently left the keys in the ignition.

We passed a small village called ‘Tin City’ where a few corrugated ironshanty houses are built in the dunes, like something from a Mad Maxscene. The rain had made the dunes a little harder, so we could get up afew more steep hills, and in the north there were fewer vehicle tracks.Chandia had no idea which way to go and was always asking fordirections. But the dunes were quite beautiful, and you almost felt likeyou were in the middle of a desert (except it was raining).
We finally reached the top at Anna Bay, seeing some tourists on camelsand horses, and then bought some much needed bread for lunch and headedback to Sydney. The action was too exhausting for JP and Flab who sleptlike babies on the way back.

It was a great get-away in a unique environment, where sand rules overall else and gets just about everywhere. Thanks to everyone for makingit great weekend, and Chandia for driving his splendid shitbox (whichbroke down after the trip!).