Monday, December 26, 2005

Although Fraser was cloudless the entire time with a beautiful blue sky, heading back to the mainland we could see the edge of a storm and it became very dark. Lightning was forming in the distance. By the time I got dropped back in Coolum Beach, it was windy and rainy and electrical. However with the winds, the waves had come up. I decided to get in a quick surf before the daylight ran out. The ray must have known it was coming, as he lept out of the air almost completely. The waves were a little mushy but it was better than it had been the past few days, with almost nothing showing on the island, unless you had a huge longboard. The wind wasn't messing the waves up bad. Lightning kept flashing but others were out, so I didn't worry too much. The wind and air and water all felt about the same. Perhaps the water felt slightly cooler than the air, but not much. It was a nice soupy warmth, not warm but not cold either.
I got out as darkness approached and the strikes grew closer. I saw one hit the water. I'd never seen that before, a bolt striking the ocean. Very dramatic. It was only raining lightly. I wanted to stay and watch it, but it was nearly 3 hours south to where my reservation was waiting for me in a place called Surfers Paradise (don't let the name fool you. It's Waikiki meets Vegas.) So I drove off.

At first it didn't seem bad but then the rains started. Rains so hard I couldn't see the road or the stripes on it. The windshield wipers would not go fast enough. The car in front of me nearly stopped, so I nearly stopped. We plodded on about 20 mph, and for once no one tailed me. I started getting scared. I saw bolts coming down on BOTH SIDES very close and was certain that with the luck I'd been having this trip, one would hit me. I lost the sight out of the windshield when it fogged up and had to pull over. I figured out that the air conditioning had to be on and hight. Brr.
I found a little mental relief when I realized that there was a slight delay between the visual of the lightning bolt and the sound of the clap, so for now I was probably alright. Still, I'd never seen anything like it. I now know what 7000 electric hits in one hour looks like. That's what the news reported the next day.
Gradually the rain lessened and I was on a major highway, but the horizon was like a flickering flourscent lamp. It was bright more than it was dark. A huge cloud spread across the sky that was still illuminated by what remained of the sunset. It emcompassed my full range of vision and more, hugging the sky like a giant pie crust. Suddenly, fingers of lightning bolts filled it, not going downwards and striking the earth, but spreading across the sky like a giant hand, the length of those clouds. It was about the most awesome thing I'd ever seen. If only I could have gotten it on film. But I was having enough trouble concentrating on the road.
It had hardly sprinkled in Surfers Paradise, and I found my hotel without too much trouble. It is right across from the beach. My room, although a bit run down, has a comfortable bed and a view of the ocean, which hasn't been much because of the haze.
Vegas of Oz?

Currumbin to Kirra, and not much surf.

I did manage a little surf in front of the hotel last night. The tide must have changed or something. There was something surfable at Currumbin yesterday. As soon as I change my domestic flight to Sydney earlier to leave enough time to get a new passport, I'm going to head down there. If it's not working, there's some nice rock pools nearby. Tomorrow I head home. Home. Comfort. Cats.


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