Josh & Friends
Camping at Smiths Lake NSW


Each year for the past 3 years, Josh's uncle has organized a camp for the younger troops made up of cousins and friends, including Josh's best friend, Harley (Harls). This year, they chose Smiths Lake, not far south of Forster-Tuncurry on the NSW mid-north coast.

On the first day, they'd almost finished setting up camp when the rain came down in buckets, and they realized they'd pitched their tents in the wrong spot. Oops! So, there in the rain, they had to move everything to an adjacent site. Off to a great start! Actually, it rained often during their 4-day stay. However, Josh said the camp ground facilities were quite good - warm showers and flush toilets.

Later that night, as Josh and Harls were about to retire, Josh noticed a flashing light against the wall of their tent. Josh was in his undies so Harls offered to investigate. It turned out to be two girls from another group of campers who asked the boys if they felt like a walk along the beach. Presumably, the rain had stopped. Josh was not interested. "I've already got a girlfriend," he explained to his mate. "Then do it for me, do it for me!" Harls pleaded. "I don't wanna be alone!"

Afterwards, as they sat around a campfire and chatted, Josh noticed a dingo. "They're kinda skinny but they're big, and this thing was stalking us. Pretty scary, actually."

Because of the stormy weather, the seas were very rough. The group spent a lot of time standing on the headland watching the giant waves. They were big enough to crash against the rocks far below and send their spray over the top of the headland. One bigger wave actually sent a wall of water over the headland, drenching Josh's younger brother Brendan who was closest to the edge. Brendan is also the guy feeding a kookaburra (as you'll see in a couple of the photos).

Despite the rough seas, on most days the group took their bodyboards into the surf. On one occasion, Josh had gone further out than the others. He didn't bother to take a leash this time. The leash he used the previous day had broken. Suddenly, a large and powerful wave snatched the bodyboard from his grasp and swept it from sight. Josh then realized he was the victim of a rip that was dragging him further out to sea. He heard his friends calling to him in the distance, and tried to swim directly against the impossible current. But he was soon exhausted. "I hadn't gained an inch - the rip was too strong." Josh laid on his back and allowed the current to take him wherever it wanted. He had no option but to float. His energy had been totally spent. For a while, he felt helpless and alone - a tiny speck in a vast expanse of ocean, and wondered if he would ever get back to shore. Luckily, his cousin recognized Josh's predicament in the nick of time and went to the rescue with his board. By the time the pair reached the safety of the beach, Josh could do nothing but collapse onto the sand, utterly drained.

When Josh first told me that story, he said, "I nearly died... I really did!" I don't doubt it for a moment.

During the camp, Josh was made official toastmaster... which meant he was in charge of making toast for breakfast on the gas griller. "Perfect every time," he boasted. Depending on how lazy they felt, breakfast was either cereal or, sometimes, bacon and eggs. In the evenings, they sat around a campfire toasting marshmallows and swapping stories. No singalongs, though. Rap songs and campfires are not really compatible. And, besides, I don't think Josh knows the words to 'I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts'.

The camp was not without its problems and dramas but, despite that, everyone had a pretty good time. And Josh, fortunately, lived to tell the tale. I've taken the liberty of adding a few extra pics from the net to those Josh took, just to give you a better idea of the location. Oops! I almost forgot to mention, there's a nearby beach called Blueys... gotta go there! And, that pic of the strange markings in the sand, they're worm tracks - kinda like an Aboriginal painting. Click here for the photo album.


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