Friday, 20 January 2012

Port Stephens and Nelson Bay: Flying 11 National Regatta at Soldiers Point on Salamander Bay

Nelson Bay/Port Stephens on the NSW mid-north coast is renowned for its beautiful beaches and the dolphins that inhabit its numerous bays all year round.

We're here for a sailing regatta, which sounds sophisticated and "my she was yar". The reality is different when you're on a budget and hauling a Flying 11 onto a box trailer for the three-hour drive from Sydney with a daughter, Miss Hissy, who has already bundled herself into the loser's corner before the race has begun.

Flying 11s at Soldiers Point on Salamander Bay

Then we're told our accommodation, which I'd rate as "noice", is at the bogan end of town. I don't take issue with that because I suspect my partner Spanner has bogan tendencies, as does Miss Hissy (aka The Hiss) who vomited on the lawn outside our holiday house last night after gorging herself on fish and chips. Ah, my life.

Nelson Bay is a huge resort town. It's built-up with lots of apartments and budget holiday accommodation. Hordes of Sydney and Newcastle retirees have moved up here to play out their twilight years so the town has a golf course and club, a West Diggers club that's gi-normous, a bowling club and its fair share of retirement villages.

Kitsch? Politically incorrect? Just plain bad taste? This home's front yard is neat as a pin and it's obvious the owners take great pride in it.

I must get a pic of the Croation Fisherman's Club for my swimming mate Miss Freeasabird who has thick Croation blood. Must be an established Croation community up here. I can see why*.

Even though Nelson Bay is, in many ways, suburban sprawl and at times I feel like I'm in a replica of so many Australian coastal towns that have sprung up without much thought given to infrastructure, aesthetics or the natural environment, the coast makes up for that. Also, there are corridors of green that include Tomaree National Park. The eucalyptus trees are magnificent and this must have been a heavenly place before the developers got a hold of it.

We're into the second-last day of the regatta and The Hiss is having a breakdown. Shouldn't amateur sport be more fun than this?

Fingal Bay. Look closely and you'll notice the tan line on Spanner's arm. Definitely bogan or defiantly iconoclastic?

*The water is turquoise and the bays are perfect for swimming, fishing and boating. I've never been to Croatia but I believe its coastline is breathtaking.


Sandie Hudson said...

Oh Shayne, I wish I knew you was coming up to Nelson Bay, I would have come out and said "Hi', it's only about 40 mins away from my place. Hope you had a great time.

Shayne said...

Thanks Sandie. It's beautiful up that way. Lots to explore. Next time I'll let you know if we're about.

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