Saturday, 7 November 2015

Point Leo Trip

Tony's cousin asked us last week if we would like to join them camping for the Melbourne Cup long weekend, as they had a spare campsite available. The kids had Halloween plans for the Saturday night - Caitlin had been invited to a party and the other 2 had been looking forward for months to trick-or-treating in Yarra Glen - so we decided to head down on Sunday morning and stay for 2 nights. It was a very exciting invitation as Millie has been asking to go on holidays and we'd thought about camping for Cup weekend but figured we'd left it to late to find anywhere with vacancies.

Last week Tony had had a lot of trouble with his eyes, and on Friday afternoon he'd gone to Emergency to see if he could do something about them (the treatment his GP had suggested hadn't worked). We ended up taking him in to the Eye and Ear hospital in the city, and not getting home until 1am. So on Saturday we were all pretty tired and in a bit of a daze, and not much holiday preparation got done. Saturday evening was Halloween and the kids all had a great time. We came home and watched The Empire Strikes Back until I fell asleep, which still left most of the preparation for Sunday morning.

Having the camper trailer permanently half ready meant that there wasn't quite so much to do, most of our camping supplies were already packed. We got away before midday and arrived at the campsite around 1.30. The kids went down to the beach with the others while Tony and I set up the tent. We spent the afternoon between the beach and the campsite - with 4 adults there was always someone available to take kids to the beach or wherever they wanted to go, and someone to stay with those who wanted to hang out at the campsite, so it was a very relaxing way to spend the weekend. Not any stress or pressure for anyone to do things or be places they didn't want to be.

Our campsite was at the top of the sand dunes, right near the beach, although the dunes were covered in thick trees and bushes so we couldn't see the water - we could hear it though, especially at night. The waves seemed to be crashing so loudly, I was always surprised at how small they were when I went down to the beach. It was only a couple of hundred metres walk to the beach access, down a long flight of stairs, and once there we could swim, play in the sand dunes, or at low tide, explore the rocks.

The kids found some pathways through the sand dunes further down the beach and spent a lot of time playing in their 'hideout' on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. It seemed pretty cool - a really awesome holiday memory I would say. The others had a kite and LiAM spent some time flying it one afternoon when it was cold and windy. The girls had built a big hole to shelter from the wind and all 5 kids were in and out of that. The girls also went swimming - I'd been in on Sunday afternoon but gave it a miss on Monday as it was pretty chilly. The others had little surfboards and Caitlin regularly borrowed one and did a lot of body boarding which she really enjoyed. Millie ran in and out of the edge of the waves and really loved it.
The boys in the big hole dug by the big girls, Caitlin body boarding, Millie running up and down the sand

On Monday morning I took the girls down to the beach before breakfast. It was cold and wet and we didn't have much time before food was ready, so we played around the edge of the rocks for a little while, then headed back for pancakes, bacon and eggs. After that delicious start to the day I went back to the beach with LiAM and Caitlin and we explored the rocks and rock pools. The rain was icy and my hands were frozen, and the water in the rock pools felt so warm in comparison. After a while the rocks stopped feeling uncomfortable on our bare feet because they were numb! It was a lot of fun though, looking into the rock pools and having the ocean rumbling all around us. When we got back we were so wet that everyone thought we'd gone swimming in our clothes.

Caitlin exploring the rock pools on a cold and wet morning
Tony had an appointment at the Eye hospital on Monday afternoon to check that his eyes were healing ok (they are) and then went up to Croydon for his Monday evening Masters baseball game, and came back to the camp late that night. The rest of us spent the afternoon at the beach, playground or campsite. We played lots of card and board games, and a little bit on the iPads, and had some time riding scooters. The kids all got on well and played together in lots of different combinations. There was always lots of do, and someone to do it with, or the chance to be alone if anyone needed a bit of down time.

On Sunday evening we cooked up lots of pasta, vegetables and salami, and put it out on table, each item in it's own separate bowl, so everyone could pick the bits that they wanted. An easy and effective way to feed 9 people with a range of tastes, and everyone was happy. Monday night we had fish and chips, then ice cream in a cone with ice magic. Monday lunch we had sausages and chops cooked on their Weber-Q, bacon and eggs both mornings, and left overs on toasted sandwiches (and hot dogs for the kids) for Tuesday lunch. Great food all weekend for minimal effort and cost!

The others had bought glow sticks with them and both evenings the kids had a great time as it began to get dark. They were pretty fancy glow sticks, with head bands and connectors to make ears and glasses, bangles, earrings and so on. We put them in the freezer the first night so that they would last, and used them again the 2nd night, then hung them in the tent. It was very cool to go to sleep by glow stick light!
Glow stick fun

On Tuesday morning I woke up before everyone else and went for a walk on the beach. It was sunny again and not as cold as Monday. I walked quite a way down the beach - saw some red plovers running in and out of the waves just like Millie was doing the day before - very cute! I took lots of photos and was thrilled to be by the ocean early in the morning. I decided to go for a swim - I knew I'd be disappointed later if I didn't, even though it was cold - and it was wonderful. One of my favourite things in the world to do is swim in the ocean in the early morning - it was refreshing and exciting and relaxing and so beautiful. I was very happy and content and so glad I made the effort.
Early morning on the beach

Later in the morning I took some of the kids back down to the beach - it was the first time LiAM went in the water and he loved it. The waves were small enough to not be threatening and we could easily get past where they were breaking. It was mainly like a being in a large lake with a bit of a swell, then occasionally there'd be a bigger wave which was quite exciting. Perfect conditions for kids not used to swimming in the ocean. After a while I started to get cold, and by then the dads and the rest of the kids had come down to the beach so the boys and I headed home.

While the girls and dads swam at the beach, the mums packed up as much as we could before having lunch, and the boys played around the campsite. When the others returned we ate lunch, then finished packing everything up. With no new campers coming in we were able to take our time and pack with no stress. Everything was all done by about 3pm and then we all headed for home.

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