Royal National Park: Monday, 3rd October, 1977

We awoke at five past seven to a sunny sky and relative warmth. It was hard to believe that the airport, which is perhaps only twenty kilometres or so distant, as the crow flies, was closed due to fog.

I drove up to Miranda where Tiki and my brother-in-law, Roger, left my sister, Susan, and I in the car while they went to buy two half cartons of beer. The bar attendant must have presumed that they were husband and wife and took it upon himself to give the change to Tiki, as he pronounced, “This is the only opportunity you’ll get!”

Thirteen of us, in all, boarded “Dad’s” launch, “Ocean Swell”, which is thirty-one feet in length. We headed up the Port Hacking River to the causeway at Audley where I suddenly experienced the insuperable urge to announce that it was near there, on the river’s bank, that I had first told Tiki that I loved her.

From there we travelled back down the river and anchored near the old rusty shell of a small boat, which is located just off the eastern shoreline of South-West Arm in the Royal National Park. Declared to be a national park in 1879, it became only the second in the world, after Yellowstone.

After lunch some members of our party set off in what the family term the ‘Quintrex’ and later others went for a row in the dinghy. When everyone was accounted for we weighed anchor and, with Tiki and I seated at the bow, journeyed to Bate Bay at the Port Hacking’s mouth prior to our return to the in-laws’ via Burranear Bay, Dolan’s Bay and Great Turriell Bay.

It had been an appropriate day to be on the water as the mercury reached thirty-three degrees Celsius. This meant that it has been Sydney’s hottest day, in October, since 1969. In fact, the city recorded the highest maximum of any Australian capital, being one degree warmer than Darwin’s.

Roger and Susan packed their bags by six o’clock and left us with a map of Melbourne. We intend to spend Christmas Day with them.

At half past six on Channel Seven’s News, read by Roger Climpson, I learned that the late Perc Galea’s horse, “Sir Serene”, had won the prestigious Metropolitan Handicap, which was run at Randwick Racecourse this afternoon.

 

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