John Alvarez, Andrew McLennan, Anthony Dunlop, Michael Ritchie, Andrew Hookway, Mark Grayson, David Peterson, Andrew Yuncken
Dunny broke a board and the boys' realised they were back. 1996 was their last venture to these reefs. When no-one had air conditioning and no-one cared. Ah, when we searched for another boat to have a beer with·.anyway, let the fun begin. Johnny's face plant onto his fins made for some lovely facial mascara. Dunny and Yuncken pulled in on anything, while Hookers just kept looking for the tube; again and again and again. In fact, he did not even turn, except for those subtle ones inside the green room.
The fishing competition was almost volatile on this trip. Almo, Hookers and Yuncken, being the brawlers. They would accost the dinghy any chance and head off to the bellows of the captain·"take a radio". Lures swimming enticingly behind the Toranna. They eventually all came back with a good catch. Blue Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, Coral Trout, Dogtooth Tuna. Meanwhile, Dave, our visiting Physiotherapist, would be trying to spear something amongst the coral. On one particular expedition, it was Dunny who landed the big Wahoo amongst hoots from the whole pack. All salivating sessions led to those sushi moments in the beer garden on the top deck of the BJ.
We surfed this left for 2 days. Perfectly suited to our bold watermen. But we had been going left for many days and the cries of an uncrowded right went up. And that's where the arguments began. The Captain would give 3 or 4 options then let the passengers decide. Just when they thought they had made a reasonable choice, the captain would throw another option at them. It was always after a few beers and invariably the BJ would wind up somewhere else anyway.
Not one of those blokes will ever forget that island set-up. Even though there was a smidge of onshore. It was still nice and long and just themselves to hassle each other.
We also celebrated Belinda's birthday on this trip. The captain's partner and the quiet and solid rock behind the Barrenjoey's operation. She organises correspondence for all aboard, plays nurse to the ever present reef cuts, oversees the galley while everyone surfs, and generally makes sure everyone is right. The boys brought some Australian beef and we had a BBQ fest on B's birthday. A few bottle of red wine were de corked and Elvis even baked a cake. Good on ya guys. She was stoked.
As the BJ sailed into the sunset, and the surf went flat for many a day. Lucky we were at the end of the trip, Mike and Mark reflected on their personal conquests. My memory is of that tall figure surfing his mini mal looking for all the world like the Duke with a jungle back drop. But then I blinked, it was that bloody Almo.
Cannot forget one of the Aircons breaking down. It is not always as perfect as they make out. Lucky they had done it all before.