Friday, 1 June 2012

Day 89 & 90 - Wagstaff to Palm Beach to Avalon

We saw an Albatross as we crossed Broken Bay! It was a juvenile Black-browed Albatross sitting on the rolling waters of the bay as Mikey, Bee and I sailed from Wagstaff into Pittwater. It took flight as we neared and circled the boat once then headed out to sea. It was the first Albatross I've seen on the trip and possibly the last.

It was wonderful to arrive into Sydney in style, under sail. Although, instead of making a landing straight away at Palm Beach, the northern most part of Sydney, I decided to include one more National Park in the trip and spent a day and night on the boat in The Basin in Ku-ring-gai National Park with Mikey and Bee. These two gifted, unique, generous and quirky souls have been my biggest support over this three months of walking and I'm grateful for their never failing enthusiasm, engagement and encouragement.

Then finally this morning, with all postponements ceased, Mikey rowed me ashore to the Pittwater side of Palm Beach. Sydney, officially!

I went up to Barrenjoey Lighthouse to mark the occasion. Looking north I could see the headlands of Bouddi National Park and the Central Coast. I imagined seeing all the way north along my path of the last three months to the lighthouse on Cape Byron, approximately 750 kilometers away. It felt pretty darn great!

I was joined then by Neil, a friend of mine and husband of my dear friend Lisa, who is too unwell to walk. Neil and I made our way through Palm Beach and Whale Beach trying to find short cuts along the rocks and through the suburbs. We took the path through the bush on Bangally Headland which brought us past my old high school, where I caught Glandular Fever which developed into ME/CFS. From here we walled Avalon Beach where Neil caught the bus home and I continued on to Clareville, where my mum lives.

It was here in this bed room, where I am writing tonight, that I spent so many years sick with ME/CFS. Being here now is powerful having actively remembered so much of my illness over the last three months. The memory of the struggle I had year after year to get through each day is palpable on these four walls, like old peeling paint on a prison cell. The dreams I had while I lay sick in this bed, of health and freedom, also hang in the air. A yearning like the persistent vibration of a flat note in a minor key. Echoes of the persistent efforts I made and the efforts of my family to make life as rich as possible remain too. This sadness isn't erased by my successful return but my ability to look at the years of illness with deep compassion and acceptance has increased. The extent to which I feel joyous now on achieving this goal is an exact measure of the pain and desperation I felt over so many years. It makes me think of all the people out there now, still ill with ME/CFS, with similar dreams of health imprinted on the walls of their rooms. People striving to live well with diminished resources, living lives which are rich and frustrating at the same time. I sincerely hope that each of you finds meaning and peace in your current circumstances and also find the key that opens the possibility for increased health again in your life. All strength to all of you.

Palm Beach to Clareville - 8 km

Life's a Beach Walk total - 764 km


  1. Greetings all the way from Norway!!

    This is beautiful what your felt and conveyed to words. I'm so glad I found your blog today as you head into my home town: Manly. Your words brought tears to my eyes as empathy and compassion flooded my soul for you. You are truly an inspiration and a joy to many who will be touched by your words and actions. I for one will lift you up in my prayers and keep you there, so whenever you feel an angel on your shoulder, don't be alarmed, it will be the angels ministering God's healing and wholeness and peace and joy over and over and over again.
    xo Lisa

  2. How apt that you stayed in your old bedroom, and this journey has taken you back to where you started- to realise how far you have come- tears for you now dear friend x x x