In mid-January, we headed south as we did last year to camp and fish at Peaceful Bay on the coast of the Southern Ocean. We didn't have as much time to get away as we did last year, but did find about 5 days to relax with our Pastor Fulwood and his family down there. (view a map of the trip)
Since we had seen many of the local tourist sites last year, this year was more about staying around the campsite. That means we lounged around reading books and playing games. The most popular game for us currently is "Monopoly Deal". This card game, adapted from the original Monopoly board game, was actually a Christmas gift from the Fulwoods so we were able to teach to them. (You can try playing it online here, but it may not make much sense without someone to explain the rules.) We also played several rounds of the card game "Wizard".
The overnight 4WD beach fishing adventure was "on" again as it was last year. We jump in about 6 four-wheel drive trucks supplied by acquaintances through church who camp at the same caravan park every year, and then take a 4WD-only track across the dunes and onto the beach. This time we were a little better prepared for the experience including bringing warmer clothes and tents for overnight (the blokes with the 4WDs just sleep in their trucks, whilst last year I just laid out on the sand). We left at about 2pm and returned the next morning before lunch. In between it's all fishing on the beach as late into the night as you can stay awake and then up early for more. My first cast in was hit by an Australian Salmon. As I patiently tried to bring it in, it jumped fully out of the water 3 times - what a sight! I lost it just as it got close to the beach. However, we soon found that there were many more salmon in the waters that night. I ended bringing one in a few hours later (photo - maybe 5-6 pounds). Pastor Mike landed the biggest salmon amongst us with a whopping 12+ pounder. Peter was able to join us this year and was able to bring in several other fish including a silver bream and a yellow-fin whiting.
We also got Karl and Dane out fishing on the beach near our campsite one evening. Dane was thrilled with his first catch of an ocean fish - a whiting. Karl didn't bring any of his bites in, but he had caught one last year whilst there.
On the one afternoon where all of us headed out from the caravan park, we went to Mandalay Bay. This is a picturesque bay with a view of Chatham island and wide soft-sand beaches. After picnicking, the seven of us boys played a fun game of "French cricket" on the beach while Lanette and Narelle huddled against the big sea breeze.
We had beautiful weather for most of the time camping with tops in the 90s F and evenings in the 60s - though windy at times. Even in summer, the Southern Ocean is a little cool for swimming so I think only Peter got in the water. The hottest day was when we drove home whilst the thermometer topped 107°F.