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Life Happens The adventures of Nora Dunn & Kelly Bedford, Professional Hobos. Nora writes, Kelly makes music. Together, we are on a lifelong journey to...wherever.

Squeaky Sand and Screaming Trees

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 24 June 2008 | Views [4080]

Evans Head (about an hour south of Byron Bay) was a surprising treat and a little sample of absolute paradise. Knowing we would be kayaking the following morning, we pulled into the nearby caravan park. We were surprised to discover it was completely full, save for a handful of un-powered sites in less-than-optimal locations. Since we felt short on other options, we took it anyway.

We immediately understood the appeal when we went on an extremely short walk and ended up at a pristine almost deserted stretch of beach. Now, we know beaches. We lived in Hawaii for six months after all. But it was upon landing on this beach that we realized why most Australians choose to live on the coast. It was one of the most beautiful sights we had seen yet on our World Nomads adventure.

Before we left Hawaii, a friend of ours said that there is a beach on the east coast of Australia that has sand so fine that it actually squeaks. We figured that after his passing through Nimbin, he was probably a little too high to be a reliable source of information on this topic, and sloughed it off as rhetoric.

But when we stepped onto the beach, and actually heard the sand squeak under our feet, we were shocked.

“This is the squeaky sand Zero talked about!” we exclaimed, dragging our heels all around the beach and feeling the unbelievably soft sand between our toes and fingers. Who knew.

One sunset and about a million pictures later, we came back up to the park to see (or rather, hear) another amazing thing: birds. Birds of all kinds were noisily announcing their resting place for the night and calling on their spouses to join them in the nest. One tree in particular was so full of birds that the tree itself appeared to be screaming. Each leaf was crying out in miniature fits of agony, and all together they formed a chorus of tiny tortured souls.

Once the trees stopped screaming as much and darkness encroached, the flying foxes began their dance. We were camped directly under a section of forest that held (no exaggeration) hundreds if not thousands of flying foxes. What are flying foxes, you ask? Bats. Big bats. Really big bats.

We spied our foxy friends earlier in the day, all hanging upside down in the trees. One tree devoid of leaves actually looked to be in full foliage for all the bats resting up for a night of….well…bat stuff.

And at dusk when the bats started to wake up, the activity (and noise) kicked up a notch. Messenger bats seemed to flit from one tree to the next, as if coordinating the evening’s plans. We imagined the bats saying “Okay mate,” (We’re in Australia after all – I’m sure even the bats call each other mate). “Everybody in our tree wants to go to the rocks tonight. What’s your plan?”

Once they worked out their itinerary, more and more flying foxes took to the skies, forming a silent cloud cover of activity less than 15 meters above our heads. It was truly something out of a horror movie, but in reality was more fascinating than scary.

Turning into bed with squeaky sand on the bottoms of our shoes, screaming trees put to bed, and the smell of bat urine and guano everywhere (ssnifff…aahhh….an unsavoury smell that reminds us of caving), we tucked away for a wonderful night of rest. We were already thankful that our kayak adventure scheduled for the following day (which was the sole reason we rolled into Evans Head) brought us here. And the adventures of the next day were certain to deliver too.

Tags: ambassador van, australia, evans head, flying foxes, giant bats, loud birds, squeaky sand, world nomads

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