Sunday, August 16, 2009

B9: Surf anyone?

(We got up everyday at 6:30 so that we could watch the sunrise before our pancakes and cereal. Toitle is out there swimming around somewhere... I took him on the trip and now he's gone.. [Bancoora Beach, Breamlea])


Life is chugging along. Classes are going well but they are starting to buckle down and due dates for assignments are coming. I don’t have any midterms, so I can concentrate on my essays and labs for the time being. Research is going well as I’m starting to use the internet for programs instead of writing my own. The problem is learning all the programming languages and this takes most of my time.

Campus life is slowing down but I’ve managed to keep it exciting by continually losing the little traveler’s notebook (with all my bank account cards in it) that Max gave me. I’ve mostly been walking around campus, finding free lunches that clubs sponsor and I still have one more slice of cake left (I eat one every night). It tastes really good with some Hershey's syrup… apparently they don’t have that here.

Baseball is going well and I’m leaning towards going on the Gold Coast trip. Being around the baseball players here is awesome and they are always willing to share a good laugh. I haven’t gone to the pub with them yet because they go right after practice… when I’m the most tired. I even met a player from Occidentel College who played with a friend from high school… what a small world. I missed this week’s game, which means I only have one left for the season. Soccer starts on Tuesday and my housemate won’t shut up about strategy and playing time and the shedule (fixtures) and his new indoor shoes he bought… he is so excited. Our first game is against the Freestylers Football Club (we bettter crush ‘em).

I left school early on Friday and caught a ride up with some Americans (UC Davis, Boston College, Oberlin College, and George Washington University) to the surf camp. On the hour and a half drive, the ones in the back talked about Top Chef and Dawson’s Creek and, as fascinating as that conversation was, I found myself setting up other camping trips with the driver, Brian. Brian bought a car and has gone on trips every weekend. We plan on going to Wilson’s Promentory in two weeks As always, I’ll supply you with a quote from an outside source about Wilson’s Promontory:

“The southernmost point of the Australian mainland, Wilsons Promontory is arguably the most loved national park in Victoria. …
…The park has diverse vegetation communities including warm temperate and cool temperate rainforest, tall open forests, woodland, heathland, and swamp and coastal communities."
- Review from
I stress the word “plan”… Hopefully everything works out.

(The Bremlea market. The fries (chips) were amazing and the "Lot Burger" had beets and egg in it. The store also had tim-tams, but I restrained myself. [Breamlea])

We reached the “camp” at Bancoora Beach (named after a shipwreck) and I was greeted by another hostel-like, low-budget-looking, ridiculously-secluded, sandy-coloured “clubhouse”. The place had 40 beds and since there were 80 campers signed up, we had to stake out our sleeping quarters. I ended up having to share anyways. We got there, got some lunch (I brought mine, of course) and then headed out to the surf.

(Bancoora Surf Life Saving Club. This is where we stayed. [Breamlea])

It was COLD. I gave my carpool mates a condensed version of my lessons and fully intended to tow them into waves and work the “stabilizer” move to get them to stand up, but once I got in the water I was so giddy with excitement that I just ignored them and went surfing. I met an Australian from the camp we surfed for about 3 hours. She was way better than me and was excited to tell me about all the little beaches that were nearby. Saturday I surfed in the morning and in the evening and it was small. I had more fun paddling around and talking to all the other members of the Melbourne Uni Surfriders.

The nights were all about partying. The Australians prepared sausage, pasta, hamburgers, and salad and it was all a little subpar. What do you expect? All they cared about was organising their nude race (I didn’t participate) and singing outdated drinking songs. It was easy to meet people because everyone was so relaxed and eager to form new relationships. One person joked that they should called this “Drink Camp”, not “Surf Camp”. My favourite part of the Barbie Q was the stars. Without night pollution, I saw amazing constellations that are only seen from the southern hemisphere.

Sunday was spectacular as we Americans woke up, stole some boards and wetsuits from the garage and snuck out to 13th Beach before anyone noticed. We surfed there all morning and took some outstanding pictures with our Nokia (I’m working on getting the surf pictures from him… They should be posted by Wednesday). The rain, the bungee cords snapping, the boards flying off our roof, the mud, the 160 km/hr winds and the rocky gravel road were all forgotton when we caught our first waves. It was spectacular.

(When there is no surf, there are no surfers. The water was clear and blue. [Bancoora Beach, Breamlea])

(Sunrise on Saturday. [Bancoora Beach, Breamlea])

Check back this week for the surf pictures. Next weekend should be baseball on Saturday and we are trying to organise a day trip hike on Sunday. I didn’t get my hiking shoes sent out here for nothing! First, I need to get through this week and finish that stupid essay.

Until then,

Mikey Doo

(Here is our 4-runner and the boards we used. They worked out really well and you can paddle insanely fast on them. [13th Beach, Torquay])

(The first day. I think that was a camp of some sort. That girl in front is wearing a USC sweatshirt, I believe. [Bancoora Beach, Breamlea])

(Gippo (Melbourne Uni) and Brian (UC Davis). [BBQ, Breamlea])

(The Bancoora S.L.S.C clubhouse. This was your typical trophy room with plaques, awards, and autographs. The clubhouse also had a fully functional bar. The pool balls were way smaller, and they have a rule where you get two shots if you miss the bal you are aiming for. [Bancoora Clubhouse, Breamlea])

(These are Eucalyptus trees (Myrtaceae Family) endemic to the Gondwanan super continent which broke away from Antartica about 50 million years ago. The Eucalyptus is characterised by vertically hanging, isobilateral hanging leaves that avoid the suns rays. The numerous oil glands in the leaves are used in medicines and the oil is highly flammable to maximise burning so that regrowth can begin quickly. Eucalyptus was exported to California. [My Beautiful Landrette, Fitzroy])


  1. Hi Mike,
    Your "surfing safari" sounds like quite an adventure, glad you got back on a board, I knew you were "jonesing" to surf.

    Your Mom left for Mount Whitney this morning. Her group looked happy and festive as they rolled out from our house. They plan to do some fun warm-up hikes and attack the summit on Thursday, will keep you posted. Sounds like classes are heating up, hang in there and keep up the good work.


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
    Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m).[1] It is located at the boundary between California's Inyo and Tulare counties, just 76 miles (122 km) west of the lowest point in North America at Badwater in Death Valley National Park (282 feet (86 m) below sea level). The western slope of the mountain lies within Sequoia National Park and the summit is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail which runs 211.9 miles (341.0 km) from Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. The eastern slope lies in the Inyo National Forest in Inyo County.

  2. happy birthday, mikey! we love reading your blog. i am living vicariously through it and am enjoying all your posts, especially the food-related ones. ed, max and i all love being mentioned in various posts and we look forward to continuing to follow your adventure. it sounds like you are having the time of your life. take care of yourself! uncle ed, auntie juanita and max

  3. I'm still following all your happenings and so glad that you keep in touch with all of us.
    GMA H

  4. You lost toitle??!? Mine is still riding around San Diego in my purse. :) You sound like you are having an awesome time...even though you are being as cheap as ever. Keep the blogs coming. We miss you!