Parked up in a campground, in a forest, miles from anywhere, the last thing we wanted to wake up to was a flat tyre and an empty radiator. It turned out to be more of a setback than a disaster though, as our spare tyre was good and Kevin had a tube of radiator putty and bottle of fluid. Soon we were heading for the east coast town of St Helens and Binalong Bay, in a perfect sunny day, giving way to rain and then, to our amazement, hail.
Through the curtain of falling ice, Binalong Bay looked like another one of Tassie’s typically beautiful beaches and, having not showered for a couple of days, I thought it would be an epic show of manly-ness to don the swimming shorts and do some body-boarding in it. I think it took 2 seconds – and that could be an exaggeration – for us to start shivering after stepping out of the car in shorts and flip-flops and embracing the arctic weather but, with either of us unwilling to back down from the challenge, we charged on towards the beach with our body-boards. To stack the odds further against us, there was a river of what looked like torquise liquid ice flowing between us and the beach-proper and that almost made me turn back. Compared to the sharp hail cutting our skin the, marginally less cool waters were bliss and subdued the shivering for a few minutes.
The cauldron that was the sea, bubbling from the impacts of millions of frozen bullets, was probably the coldest water I’ve ever been in: I never did get over the initial blast of cold when I jumped in and after about 10 minutes of catching waves I was shivering so much I couldn’t hold the camera still enough to take a video of Kevin riding the surf. If feeling like I was minutes away from full-blown hypothermia wasn’t enough to get us back to the car, the forks of lightning that started striking just behind the beach compelled us to beat a pretty quick retreat from a day of body-boarding I’ll never forget.
Starting our descent down the east coast, we made Lagoon’s Beach our target rest area for the night. The rain never did ease up though, and we really couldn’t be bothered trying to pitch a tent in the rain, so the night was spent trying to sleep in the driver’s seat of the car.