Our hearts were set on beach and sunshine to see in the New Year. We got exactly what we wished for at Sandy Cape Recreation Area, 10 minutes north of Jurien Bay and we set up camp for $15 per night.
We camped at the Northern campsite and were less than 5 minutes walk from the beach. The first time we climbed the dune and looked out at the beach, our daughter Em (not her real name – read about why we use pseudonyms here.) said, ‘beudiful, beudiful beach’ with an upward lilt as she ended the word beach. ‘Yes’, we agreed.
It was a peaceful bay with turquoise blue water (apt as we were on the turquoise coast), with white sand and a few people spotted along its shores, swimming, fishing or sunning. At the southern end of the beach there were a couple of caves and a track leading behind them that led to endless white sand dunes and a lookout over the beautiful bay.
There was a snake print in the wind rippled sand and we talked to our girl about snakes. I told her, ‘we stamp when we walk so they can feel us coming and slide away, but if we see one we stay completely still and watch until they go.’ Then I said to her, ‘So what do we do if we see a snake?’ and she replied’ Stamp stamp stamp’ while stamping her feet with her face all scrunched up like she was angry. Oh dear, that’s not what I said. I will have to keep working on snake safety.
After setting up camp, and having a swim, Em was in the business of making friends with our neighbours. She is almost 3 now and although we have taken her on many camping trips already, this was the first one that she was really old enough to make friends. It made me laugh out loud when she introduced her new friend to me as ‘my best friend ever, really’. And I loved hearing her say to the neighbours, ‘Hi my name is Em, this is my mummy and this is my daddy.’ As though that was everything in the world you needed to know about her.
The camp grounds were well maintained and everyone camping there was friendly. The caretaker organised a party for New Years Eve – which surprised us. We expected to be in bed by 9pm, but there were lights and a DJ playing groovy tunes in a communal area. They handed glow sticks out to the kids and everyone was relaxed, chilled out and happy. It was great fun. The tunes were funky, and Em had the chance to make even more friends.
When we arrived, we set only the trailer part of our camper up and then quickly got down to the business of relaxing – it was New Years Eve after all! It was also windy and we knew that the wind would make it difficult to get the annexe up. We had only erected the annexe once before so preferred to wait until the morning when it was less likely to be windy.
The next day was windy again, but not quite so bad. We put the annexe up and managed ok considering it was only our second attempt. After that it was straight off to the beach for a swim and a play for a few hours, then a walk to the southern end of the beach to explore the dunes and the caves. Once we were hot and tired it was back to camp for lunch and then a drive through Leseur National Park so Em could have a sleep in the car.
But she woke up after an hour!
The third day was perfect, the wind had died right down, but it was also hot. Rick was starting to worry about Em in the heat. Her cheeks were red and he didn’t want her spending anymore time in the sun. Eventually I convinced Rick to cover our girl in suncream and go to the beach for a midday swim. I needed to cool off and I was sure her red cheeks were a sign that she needed too as well. The swim was exactly what we needed. We cooled right down and all grumpiness dissipated straight away.
This trip was only four days but I found we settled easily into our camping routine. Up with the sun, coffee tea breakfast and at the beach by 7 until the sun was too hot. Lunch was at 11 and then we would go for a drive so Em could have a sleep. Back to the beach for another swim, then cook and eat dinner at 5. In bed to read and play shadow puppets and asleep as the sun was setting.
On our last morning we woke early to watch the sunrise over the endless white sand dunes. Rick had woken earlier the day before and gone for a walk over the dunes and said the sunrise had been magical. Unfortunately it was misty when we did it together and it was our last morning. Still lovely to be out there with white sand as far as the eye can see but not as good for photos.
We called the dunes, ‘the biggest sandpit you have ever seen’ when we were talking to Em and she would get excited whenever they came into view – but not that early in the morning! When we got back to camp, she went back to sleep and we started to pack it up. Until we got hot – then we went for one last swim before hopping in the car to drive home.
I felt completely happy in Sandy Bay. Despite the wind, I found a deep sense of contentment there. I felt great on our holiday. Sure we had no mirrors, but my body felt better. The sun and the ocean felt healing – not only for my body but for my mind. Having a 2 year old can be hard work sometimes and we have had some difficult moments lately. That didn’t change when we were camping – she ran away from camp a number of times onto the road. It is tiring having to watch her all the time, especially because she had made a number of friends at different camps and wanted to run off and play with them. We also had tantrums and fights over food. And SO much ATTITUDE!
But every time I set foot onto the beach, I was light. I was happy. There were no problems in my world and I was flooded with gratitude.
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