We had a mass start at 8:00 - I got there a bit early at 7:30
and chatted to people. Judy, who was one of the girls from
last night, turned up early as well and we rode together on
and off until after lunch. The view to the east showed the
hills we would have to climb over to get to the coast.
Mass start - (C) Top Shots
View to the east
There were two climbs listed in the guide: Brushy Hill (100m
over 1.6km) and Belbora Hill (60m over 1.5 km). There was also
a long but shallow climb between these. For a fair way we were
riding along one hillside or in a valley, with a quite steep
hill facing us. There were these specks of cows which looked
like they'd fall off.
At lunch, we saw black clouds gather in the west, and a
sprinkle of rain fell. We assumed, when it stopped, that it
would all blow around. A bit later I hit the highway at Nabiac
and almost immediately got a flat. After replacing the tube, I
headed along towards the Tuncurry turnoff and there hit a
headwind blowing inland. I struggled into camp feeling the
70km was a bit too long for a first day's ride.
I set up camp in blustery conditions and got some food. As is
was starting to sprinkle I thought I should put on a jacket
or something, and realised that I'd forgotten to pack any. I
wen to the MS tent and they had a few of the long-sleeve shirts
from last year so I bought one. Then I decided that, rather
than head to the beach like some others were doing, I'd go on
the dolphin cruise on Wallis Lake. Not long after I booked -
and on my way to the transport - it started raining really
heavily. We were driven to the boat where we sat in the dry
looking out at dejected pelicans in the rain, being given
endless cups of tea and biscuits, and thinking how good it was
not to be in a wet camp.
Apparently, dolphins don't like rain. We were told that the
trip would be a wasted one if that's all we wanted. Like me,
however, I think that all the others from the ride felt that
this was a good way to keep dry and do some sight-seeing. We
slowly motored out past islands with all private mansions, an
air strip and exclusive resorts. Wallis Island is the biggest
one. Pelican Island is a speck of rock and sand with an
amazing number of pelicans and black swans. It's where they
breed and their only predator is the sea eagle so they're very
The only water-life we saw ended up not being dolphins but
jellyfish. There was a whole school of them towards the top
end of Wallis Island.
Back at the camp, the rain had stopped, and we thought it
might be clearing for a fine day tomorrow. The mozzies and
sandflies set in. However, my tent is dry and sealed against
them so I'm for a good nights sleep and a dry ride tomorrow.