Sunday Cycle

Last week a flurry of south-westerly winds gusted up the east Australian coast and made me reach for the nearest cardigan*. Then suddenly, they left. Strong wind warnings were cancelled. Spring warmth spilled onto lawns, heartened jacaranda blooms and brightened cheeks, pale from winter. Springtime riding became very pleasant.

Sunday is a popular day for cycling. Sunday cycles take some people long distances at a fast pace from pre-dawn starts in sweat-filled lycra. Some Sunday cycles take people to coffee or to brunch with friends. There are Sunday cycles that carry people to organised events for ease of parking. Some Sunday cycles bring families outdoors to the beach or to enjoy the view along the esplanade footpaths and cycle ways.

Today, our Sunday cycle took us into the sunshine, heading south to see if we could spot any Humpback whales.

I packed a thermos of green tea, a mandarin, an apple, towel, swimmers and camera. It’s about eleven kilometres to the lookout at Point Danger and, even riding a casual pace, I expected to be home in a short while.

That was before I saw what was happening by the beach today.

As we rode towards the Currumbin Alley, which is where the Currumbin Creek meets the sea, I saw a line of small swells rolling in on a high tide, dotted with surfers bobbing on their boards waiting for their turn in the line-up. Car parks were full. I was glad to be riding my bike. The surf looked good but perhaps it would be better later when the tide drops. We rode on.

Around the corner on the Currumbin beachfront, the ocean was calm, clear and topped with a blue sky. Then we saw them. Dozens and dozens of little people. Some gathered in groups, some scattered. A palette of running, sitting, laying on the sand, holding hands, listening, yelling, squealing and jumping, splashed with fluorescent pinks and greens and gaggles of adults, observing, some guiding, some calling out loudly.

It was the start of the season for Nippers – the junior lifesavers of Australia’s Surf Life Saving movement. Children aged between five and thirteen can join Nippers and be involved each Sunday morning during the summer to participate, play and have fun on the beach and in the water. They learn valuable skills for life at the beach. Last Summer about 4500 children enrolled as Nippers on the Gold Coast.

The beach was a bundle of young energy playing. It was fun to watch their flashes of determination, effort, confusion, and cheekiness; sometimes flagging interest but mostly plenty of smiles. We rode on.

Further south at Kirra beach, a similar scene was playing out for the Kirra Beach Surf Lifesaving Club. But added to the kerfuffle of dozens of young children, was a sky daubed with kites!

It was the second day of the Gold Coast International Kite Festival. Kite flyers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Asia and Germany were flying kites over two days at Kirra, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. Some clouds had formed in the north making for a dramatic backdrop to the bold colours and scale of the kites. One kite was an enormous purple octopus that was thirty metres long!

We rode on, through the milling crowds on the footpaths of Kirra and Coolangatta, and to the foot of the hill that would take us up to the Point Danger Lookout. The Boundary Street climb is long and steady, rising about 17 metres. It’s never as difficult as it first looks but by the time I arrived at the top, I was breathing deeply and relieved to see the wonderfully expansive view of the Coral Sea.

Bikes resting, eyes focusing, camera poised,

I stood at the safety fence looking out to sea.

Soon, a plume of spray, whale breath, liquid and misting.

Then, black back, glistening, sleek, graceful, breaks the surface.

Twice.

One large. One small, mirroring its mum.

Breeding in the warm Coral Sea waters over.

Heading to their summer home in Antarctica.

Seeya next year whales!


*(Known as a sweater in North America.)

Approaching Currumbin Alley Photo: Jane Sandyfeet

Approaching Currumbin Alley   (Photo: Jane Sandyfeet)

Nipper season at Currumbin Beach

Nipper season at Currumbin Beach.

Some families Sunday cycle to Nippers.

Some families Sunday cycle to Nippers.

Kites

Kites at Kirra for the Gold Coast International Kite Festival

Giant Octopus

Giant Octopus and other kites waiting to fly.

Bikes resting. People watching. Whales passing.

Bikes resting. People watching. Whales passing.

Whale goodbye.

Whale goodbye.

22 Comments on “Sunday Cycle

    • Thanks Unfurling. It was quite a treat to see the kites. Some of them are huge structures and can take around one month to build.
      It was, of course, especially nice to see the whales 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Gail

    The beach looks great. Love the whale photos.

    Our Sunday cycle was meeting up with an ex-neighbour halfway between our homes and cycling back to his house and a Sunday afternoon barbeque with the family. A lovely way to spend the afternoon.

    (And after a meal and a wine or two, our folding bikes in the boot, they gave us a lift home – perfect!)

    Jen

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jen, that sounds like a very pleasant Sunday cycle – some exercise, friendship, food, wine and no doubt some good conversation thrown in too. And those Brompton bicycles folding away to fit in the boot of your car… I agree, perfect!

      Like

  2. What a happy post, Gail! It’s wonderful to see so many people running about having fun, laughing and playing outdoors. I LOVE kites so I would have been distracted by this festival. It’s always special to see whales, isn’t it? Lovely writing and pics again, Gail. Have a beautiful week and happy riding. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jane 🙂 It was a ride full of surprises… and lovely ones!

      The kites were beautiful, well most were. A couple wore strange faces and another was completely black and designed as a huge spider in a web. Not such a pretty sight in the sky.

      On the flip side, one of my favourites was a series of smaller kites, traditional in shape, each bearing a single colour of a rainbow and strung together so they flew as one arching rainbow – it was particularly pretty and clever.

      Wishing you a wonder-filled week… somewhere with nature 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful post, thanks. I hope Tourism Australia (or the relevant Gold Coast equivalent) are paying you a commission! You’ve made me want to book a trip right away, ha ha. Maybe this time next year….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Well that would be fantastic, Michelle! And this is the best time of year – soft temperatures, quiet seas and blue skies. And the whales heading south with their calves. Keep me posted on that.
      Happy to know you enjoyed the story.
      As for payment… no.
      Only the joy of sharing… which is quite a good currency to trade in 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that I can live this part of the Gold Coast through you until I arrive on 27th December for our amazing Christmas holiday week!

    Liked by 1 person

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