I’d already set up my tent when I heard the warnings. The first came from a couple in rain gear who stopped to say hi while I was checking the surf in town. “Apparently it’s hit Narooma – trees down and everything!”
On the way back in to the campsite, a lucky fellow staying in a cabin stopped me. “Bit of a calm before the storm, mate – they say there’s 3 cells and this is where the southerlies are the strongest!”
Great. It was already belting down with rain, so pulling up the pegs and cramming myself into the car for the night was an unappealing prospect. Instead, I re-pegged the tent as firmly as I could. I was in the lee of some thick bushy trees, and parked my car right next to my tent to offer extra protection.
Climbing in and zipping up the fly, I resigned myself to an interesting 12 hours. A few gusts passed over without incident, before the first real blasts of the storm hit. The headlands at Pretty Beach channelled the wind straight towards the campsite. I could hear the gusts as they roared up from the beach, thrashing the vegetation and creating an ominous howl. The wind shook the cabins and made the simple act of standing up a treacherous task. My phone beeped. Dad.
“Hi dave, just check bom n weather zone. Not sure where u r, but lots of major warnings for flooding, winds, v high tides etc. Plan night carefully – in car?”
Sitting with my dim LED lamp, trying to read and ignore the gale outside, I found my mind running through worst case scenarios. It slowly dawned on me that I’d actually been very wise, and perhaps fortunate, in my choice of campsite. The wind was so strong that it was gusting straight over the bushes near my tent, creating a calm pocket. An occasional stray swirl would bend the tent this way or that, but most of the force of the storm passed safely over me.
Emerging from my thin canvas shell the next morning, I surveyed the scene: bedraggled kangaroos looking cold; leaves and debris carpeting the ground; the odd broken branch lying forlornly on the wet ground. Apparently gusts reached 100kph at the nearby weather stations!
I allowed myself a little moment of self-congratulation at having passed my first proper ‘weather test’. Take that, nature!
*On a more mundane note, apologies for the lack of pictures etc. I am running on the finest of power and wi-fi budgets (read: what I can scrounge from random power points and wifi hotspots in rural areas). I have grand plans and 5 posts drafted, waiting for shiny images to be edited to make them ready for the big wide blogosphere to see… till next time!