Travels and Travails of Madeline [63]

Castle Rock

By Madeline Noonan, Kyrra-ann Reynolds and Karl Noonan

You get them – particularly spiritual days out there, and it happened on a winter’s Sunday. Out of the west a balmy wind washed across Middle Harbour waters. It was after the winter’s solstice, just before spring, during the Athens Olympic’s highs. The midday sun shone through black storm clouds on golden beaches, the water was crystal clear and big icy rain drops spattered our faces. Out of the heavens God gave us everything, all of it. Yes it was God’s country – Clontarf Sydney. Not far away Queensland, to where Kyrra will soon be leaving forever. I invited Kyrra for a day on the water that she would not forget soon. So I took her to my temple out there and to a place where Viking princesses go.

Kyrra and I, under Dad’s eye, ever watchful, floated off to Castle Rock Beach and to the other world, to find our other centre, the one out side ourselves just for a change. To our surprise it feels good. We are nutty teenagers, so Dad often says. Although we are novice teenagers, we are naturals. Good daddy; the clothes are on the floor at home and he will pick them up later. Momentarily all that is forgotten. For now, we are here enjoying ourselves.

We are unwisely dressed in our bikinis, not the recommended wetsuits for such an excursion. We are paddling river ‘Dancers’, kayaks that go around in circles. We don’t care. We look good and when a princess looks good she feels good. Going around in circles didn’t matter either because the wind pushed us all the way. We must have paddled twice the distance, laughing, to Castle Rock beach. The icy rain gave us ‘chicken skin’ as the Chinese call goose bumps and we didn’t care either. We still felt wonderful, warm from paddling in the bizarre, warm wind. The sun, wind and rain didn’t seem to matter.

Castle Rock beach had shells, a waterfall and rock faces to climb, scrub to scratch our newly waxed legs and of course, as you would expect in a far away place, a castle with a lawn on top. It is a place to climb, to park our Dancers and look over the moat at high tide. We posed and waited to be rescued, dreamt of charming guys and watched our scratched legs go red and complained to anyone who would listen. No one came to our rescue, no one wanted to know us. But Dad was there. Good old Dad. He listened and sighed. I think he has heard it all before. We posed again and Dad took a piccy of us in our Dancers. We were happy.

A modern woman can rescue herself, so not to be left starving we dropped the kayaks over the side of our castle rock and followed. (Check out the piccy.) We self rescued ourselves – how disappointing. Dad said that life doesn’t always go according to our wishes but wishes still come true because some day I will marry my prince. He just better know how to save me. A Viking princess wants to be saved. Kyrra, the wonderful, wants to be saved too.

Balmoral beach has a good café. Off we whirled. More rain spattered us. Kyrra went out to sea towards Sydney Heads, no matter how hard she tried to go straight. It was the Dancer – it had a mind of its own. I was patient. Dad wasn’t and did some laps to keep warm. I chased ferries but I’m not sure why – perhaps to amuse us.

Balmoral beach is always buzzing. People with their kids, dogs, friends, boyfriends, guys. My future prince was milling about somewhere, looking relaxed. The rain dumped on us. We ran for it to the Balmoral Lifesaver Cafe, bought some hamburgers and ice cream and avoided our school Principal who happened to be at the cafe; only because we were shy (maybe awed).

Back in the kayaks we headed for home.

The army zipped across the waters out of no where, direct to Castle Rock beach in three assault craft and waved to us on the way back….. and we are only teenagers. Too late to save us. What losers. Obviously our prince will never be an ‘army’ man.

We were content to paddle in and out of the shoreline running gauntlets. On one occasion the waters moved from under me and I was left a little high and dry. Each wave was to be the next to lift me off the rocks but in the end a fisherman set me free to paddle again. I good fisherman is worth more than a late mariner any day. Kyrra stayed a little way off learning to paddle a straight line. Paddling is fun like this. It wasn’t long ago I was zig zagging everywhere too.

Near Clontarf Point I capsized to check out the bottom. Middle Harbour is not deep and you can see the shells on the sandy bottom and you can dive to touch the sand. Pippis are everywhere on the bottom. Sydney oysters and mussels litter the rocks, a feast for Dad who loves them. Kyrra and I abandoned the kayaks on the beach and Dad towed them back while we collected shells for a collage. After walking about, along the beach wet, we were soon cold and the hot chocolate at home finished a perfect Sunday afternoon. How lucky to have such a beach near home. How fortunate are we to be able to get about in a kayak.

Places to see, places to play, both Kyrra and I felt like mermaids at times, not wandering Viking princesses. When Kyrra is in Queensland she will not forget her old home. Sydney is good too. No matter where we are, we will think of our castle in Middle Harbour waters out there under the heavens. When my fisherman becomes a Viking warrior he will be there for me. Princesses have dreams…. and castles and temples on golden waters in the warm breeze when the world is cold.