Balling and Hiking

Right then, I have much to update on, and a limited amount of energy to do it with, due to the fact that I probably got about 2 hrs sleep last night while being buffeted by a thunderstorm and heavy winds in a $27 K-Mart Tent  which was most definitely not of a sufficient standard to deal with such weather, so here goes.

Other than Uni and work which I am definitely enjoying a lot more, this week I have attended the AUJS Ball, Melbourne’s equivalent of the Leeds JSOC Ball as well as camped at Wilson’s Promontory National Park in Southern Victoria with the Monash Outdoor’s Society  (although this trip consisted of a majority of exchange students) . As such, the last 4-5 days have been eventful to say the least.

To begin with, the Ball. I had been kindly lent a suit by Josh Ben-Moshe which was unfortunately too tight on my waste, a first in my life, and an illustration that I probably need to start doing some more exercise or that I am no longer stick thin, it’s one or the other. As such, I had to make do with a pair of jeans and a heavily creased shirt (my house lacks an iron although it has a great ironing board we found by the side of the road) my own fault really, for not trying on the suit earlier than the day. Thus, upon arriving at Safi’s, I quickly realised I was going to be significantly underdressed. This meant that when we got to the Crown Casino (which was super posh and absolutely massive)- on a totally unrelated note, it reminded me a lot of the Wynn Encore in Vegas- … and saw everyone in full tux suits, I knew I was going to need copious amounts of alcohol to make up for my poor dress sense. That said, as Saf, Benji and I knew very few people at the ball, although those we did know did a great job of introducing us to their friends (shoutout to Louis, Isobel, Julian, Anika etc etc), the evening was always going to be a slighty messy one.

It also turned out that because I had bought a ticket later than Benji and Saf, I had been placed on a different table from them with no one I knew. This meant that the onus on me was to drink enough before dinner to make casual small talk with people that while lovely, it was unlikely that I would see again. However, due to the beauty of jewish geography, a favourite game of mine, it turned out that the guy next to me, Jake, knew a girl who was at Leeds with me. He was also a very funny chap. Moving on, I really enjoyed the dinner which was highly nutritious compared to the  cheap and cheerful meals I have been feeding myself otherwise (this is probably, somehow, maybe correlated with the suit not fitting). That said,  lots of people didn’t seem to eat their main course so Benji did his usual thing, as the environmentally conscious guy that he is, and ate 3 plates of salmon to prevent wastage (money well spent). From then on the three of us, all enjoyed the rest of the evening very much, dancing  and drinking the night away.

One thing I would say, is that the ball did definitely finish early, and while there was an afterparty, for the ticket price they should be able to stay open for a bit longer.

Anywho, after not much sleep and quite a hangover, I had to drag myself out of bed on Friday morning and get to a seminar as well as pack everything for my camping weekend. I should say that earlier in the week, I made my first trip to the Chadstone Shopping Centre to get some gear for camping.This place is basically a mix of Brent Cross and Westfield, and therefore my worst nightmare – I do always try and reduce my exposure to such places. It was however useful on this occasion because it has the 8th wonder of the world: K-Mart, which sells just about everything. Nevertheless, I did my best to reduce my time at ‘Chaddy’ as the Aussie’s call it, because you know everything here is abbreviated. So returning to Friday, after my seminar, I returned home to pack up my stuff. After some late lunch, I made my way to Emma Kaye’s place, who was kindly taking Saf, Cat and I to the Prom.

It was a bit of squeeze with all of our stuff but the girls did let me DJ for some time, which isn’t something which I am usually allowed to do on roadtrips. I probably should add that because Australia is huge, the drive to get there was about 4 hrs and it was still within Victoria. However, once we got into the prom after about 3 hrs in the car, we did see a kangaroo on the road and some other wildlife, most notably lots of wombats. We arrived pretty early, and must have been one of the first few cars of the group so decided to huddle around by the toilet blocks and wait until the group leader arrived to let us know when and where we could set up our tents. From then on, over the course of about an 1 hr, the majority of the group turned up, but without any direction the huddle just got bigger. Finally, Lucas arrived and directed people to set up their tents. As it was past 10 o’clock at night by this team and considering that I hadn’t set up my tent before, it was a slight struggle to get it up. Thankfully, with the help of Richard Gold, I was able to set up my tent relatively quickly. I was meant to be sharing it but I think that other guy find a space in another tent, so I had the tent to myself for the two nights. This was definitely the first time in my life I had been camping and had a tent to myself. It was a suitably more enjoyable experience because of it, as I had so much space for my stuff and could move about without anyone else getting angry, pissed off or complaining about my snoring. I also had brought along two sleeping bags and a blanket due to the fact that my sleeping bag was not designed for winter and if left on its own I am pretty sure I would have been freezing. It was a great decision. To recap, perhaps, the funniest thing about the first night was the fact that the Aussie’s hadn’t informed a lot of the Brits of wombat attacks on tents if you left your food in the tent rather than the car. This was fate befell both Richard and Claire’s respective tents over the course of the two days.

That first night I managed to sleep well, and woke up on Saturday morning feeling refreshed and ready for day ahead. I had been woken by Claire screaming about a wombat stealing her bag, which was absolutely hilarious. After a slow process of getting ready and eating some brekky, I decided to go on the Full Day Easy Hike which took us from Tidal Bay to Oberdon Bay- a distance of probably 7.5km each way. Luckily the weather on Saturday was with us and was beautiful, meaning that we could enjoy the hike along the beaches and skirting the bays. It wasn’t much of a challenge but was a really lovely way to get a feel for the Prom and the natural setting. All in all, it took about 6hrs end to end. There was a slightly tricky mid section where we had to cross an estuary and I found that my trusty hiking boots of 6 or so years had a hole which was letting water seep in. Eventually, after unsuccessfully trying to skirt the meandering river, we had to take our boots and socks off and brave the chilly water to cross the river. While not deep at all, it was very very cold, and I had andy feet in my socks for quite some time afterwards.

We probably arrived back to the campsite at about 4:30 on Saturday afternoon, where my trusty and totally reliable K-Mart tent had been flipped over by the strong winds. I therefore, had to spend about 20-25 mins re-securing it and rearranging all my stuff which had been tossed around inside the tent. In the meantime, the others who had been on different hikes and other activities returned back and everyone got their stuff together for dinner. I had been very experimental with my dinner choice and brought with some cup soup. This meant the only other ingredient that I needed was boiling water.Unfortunately, I did not have a trangia or a pan and therefore spent about an hour trying to find someone with both of those things who was willing to lend me some boiling water to make my cup soup. I must say it was delayed in part by the fact that the committee circle, which had a lot of the gear and were cooking their dinner’s first, was invaded by a maurauding wombat which tried to eat a box of matches and ran into a car bumper. It was a scene which deserved to be recorded but my phone unfortunately died. Eventually, after some time, I did managed to get hold of some boiling water, although this was around the same time the free alcohol was being handed out, so I had to alternate between soup, beer and goon. As can be ascertained from my highly nutritious dinner, it did not take me very long to get quite drunk and I decided to turn in for the night early at about 10.

Nevertheless, while I may have hoped for a nice nights sleep, the weather had other ideas. As such, everytime there was a strong gust of wind, irrespective of the fact that the tent was secured in the ground, I would still shift quite a bit.

So ye that was the last few days and sorry for the length of the post, I wanted to try and capture as much of what happened as possible.

Right signing off.





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