Saturday, 4 January 2014

1770 Camping Trip November 2013

A few years, prior to having children, when we were all grey hair and care free, we went camping with like minded friends in the Town of 1770 on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast. We set off on a number of misadventures, sorry I mean trips, and they’ve all merged into one funny memory.

There was the time we spent a number of pre-dawn hours beside the road near Gin Gin, having blown a tyre on the boat trailer. There was the time it poured torrentially and we sat huddled underneath the gazebo as a little river of rain ran in between our feet. The time a friend brought his then girlfriend along and we watched the grass grow/ the paint dry every time she spoke. The time the campers 200 metres away had a kid called Courtney. She was in trouble a lot, though we never caught sight of her, just heard her Mum yelling “CAWTNEE!!” (that’s quite possibly how it was spelt) repeatedly over four days. The time the campsite lost our booking and we had to set up and down four times in six days. Aaah, good times. But really, we all have a good laugh now that there are a few years between us and what were mind altering-ly irritating and frustrating circumstances

So November 2013 was supposed to be the one where we broke the 1770 curse. We all expressed positivity that yes, this would be an awesome holiday, filled with relaxation and great times spent together as friends and family. Our friends, Geoff and Peppa, weren't camping with us this time around and were rather staying in an apartment with their 3 year old and 6 month old about 200 metres from our campsite, where we would set up the van on an awesome site looking out over the beach. Perfection, right? Almost.

The Uys Huis in action
Luckily, I had booked well in advanced, and whilst we couldn’t get a beach front plot, we did manage the second row back, directly opposite a beach access point with shower and the best surprise: a permanent table and chairs at the front of the plot. The 1770 Camping Ground is really well run with good facilities. There’s a real mix of people too which is quite nice, from backpackers in their Wicked campers to cashed up miners enjoying  some down time in their brand new vans and of course, the Grey Nomad crew. There’s also a new cafĂ© in the park, right on the water with cheap (and big!) eats, BYO and very friendly service.

The weather was great over the next 5 days, and the tide was in over the morning and middle of the day (it’s very tidal here, at low tide there really isn’t anywhere for the kids to swim, but high tide is fantastic with about a 1 metre depth and sub-tropical warm water). The kids exhausted themselves swimming in the morning, and we enjoyed a few beers in the shade over lunchtime while they ‘rested’. The afternoon was spent exploring the rocks, feeding pelicans and generally ‘having adventures’ as Marguerite liked to put it. Fiela got out fishing a few times, I got into Agnes Waters for coffee and a magazine but best of all was spending time with our friends. Most notable were the mudcrabs Peppa bought off the professional mudcrab fishing boat (no, not our boat unfortunately) and we had a great evening trying to collectively get gout. All in all it was a great trip, but the curse has definitely not been broken…

Our view - beautiful 1770.
It hit us as we drove out of our driveway, with an ominous ‘click’ as some electrics shorted out in our Prado. The airconditioning (OK I can survive without that) and the indicators (no, can’t really do without them) were gone, so our first stop was the Toyota service centre in Noosaville. They fixed it after about an hour and a half of mucking around, and luckily Fiela had the presence of mind to buy a few extra fuses just in case they blew again (which they did, twice). The 4 hour trip then took around 5 and a half due to roadworks and us going probably the longest way possible. Tired and cranky, having listened to Caesar grizzle, scream and cry for about three hours solid, we pulled into the 1770 Camping Ground as the caretaker was about to close the gates.

The next day, actually every day, the kids woke up at 5am or earlier. Uuurgh horrendous... but that would mean they’ll sleep over the lunchtime rest period, right? No. Not really. Caesar cried for the first 4 days; he was sick, possibly teething and also a bit put out that no, he couldn’t just go wherever he wanted. Marguerite’s behaviour became progressively worse over the time as sleep deprivation and general bloody exhaustion took hold. She was really put out that no, she couldn’t go wherever she wanted by herself because “I’m a big girl”. Other campers started to look sideways at us and actually comment on the volume two tiny kids could emit (always followed up with a “We’ve all been there, love” and a silent ‘but really, shut them up would you?’). Lots of naughty corners, chairs, sand, trees etc were found.
Fun at 5am

There were the usual fights between the wives and husbands about ways to parent and when and how exactly the other person should “fuck off!” (thankfully only a few of these, and as it always goes, one set was fighting while the other looked smugly on and thought ‘wow I’m glad that’s not us’ only to take their turn later on). The kids fought a bit. One child pooed her pants almost every day despite being toilet trained AND being asked repeatedly whether she needed to go.

Probably the worst error in judgement was the decision to put the crab pots out the night before we left and “just quickly” pick them up in the morning on our way home at 10am. Unfortunately, and I’m not sure who to blame so I’m going to take a scatter gun approach, Fiela and Geoff had not properly moored the boat in a place where they COULD “just quickly” go and get the pots. Instead, the light of morning showed that the boat had drifted 100 metres down the beach, and was now high and dry until the tide came in. Probably around 10am. When we were supposed to be leaving. We did eventually leave without any crab to speak of, after 12pm and a bout of gastro had hit one of the kids.

Morning tea and a view for the kids.
So ended the 1770 camping trip of 2013, in a blaze of shit, vomit and a noticeable lack of crabs and fish… The curse lives on, but so do memories of fun times with friends, which will undoubtedly become funnier as the years and further attempts at breaking it pass by. Thank God time heals all wounds or really, who would bother camping or leaving their house ever anyway?

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