The couple who fishes together stays together

The couple who fishes together, stays together? [Part 1]

The couple who fishes together stays together
After sixteen years with Dave I finally caught a fish!

Kim:

For the past sixteen and a half years, the ‘issue’ of fishing has, at times, been the single greatest point of tension in our relationship. It wasn’t the sport itself that had caused so many arguments. Rather, it was the sheer amount of time that the man who I loved most spent completely consumed and obsessed by something that I had absolutely zero interest in. As the duration of ‘me time’, shortened with the arrival of each of our daughters, I found it completely unacceptable that Dave’s need to relax was at the mercy of tide, wind, boat, and barometric-pressure. In fact, it really infuriated me that the need to have a bit of time out could not simply be satisfied by joining the local gym or catching up with a friend for coffee. Given this context, it is little surprise there was a serious shift in relationship dynamics following the day I caught my first proper fish.

For almost as long as I have known him, Dave has been fishing the Dampier Archipelago in WA with his mate Simon, who also just happened to be the best local fishing charter guide. ‘It’s my favourite place on earth,’ I would so often hear Dave declare as he virtually drooled over piles of photos of him and the boys holding big fish caught from Simon’s boat. When the penny dropped that leave passes to fly himself over to WA once a year to go fishing were not as readily available with kids, Dave took it upon himself to take up a side gig as a fishing journalist for one of Australia’s top fishing magazines. ‘This is an opportunity of a lifetime‘ I remember Dave proposing shortly after Olivia was born as the fishing magazine had just offered to fly him to the Kimberley to board an exclusive week-long charter consisting of helifishing and exploring literally uncharted waters. Accordingly, it was no surprise that as we arrived at the Dampier Transit Caravan Park, Dave had big expectations for the week.

Persuaded by the promise of deserted islands, crystal clear waters, a decent surf break, incredible marine life, and the epic company of Simon and his lovely family, I was also excited about several days on the boat exploring the Archipelago. I went from stand-up paddle boarding next to turtles, to surfing the unique beach break at Angel Island. I also found myself repeatedly asking Simon how tourists had not overrun this paradise. Indeed, Dampier did not disappoint.

SUP at pristine Dampier Archipelago
Stand up paddle boarding at pristine Dampier Archipelago
Not a footprint in sight - swimming at pristine Dampier Archipelago
Not a footprint in sight

It was about an hour into the first day that I caught my first fish. To say that the experience was nothing like I had expected would be an understatement. For many years, I had imagined sitting for hours with a rod in hand on a muddy river bank waiting for luck to strike and for the so-called prize to be a smelly, slimy sea creature. This was not the case. As I felt the rod pull and buckle, I was filled with a huge surge of adrenalin. I had no idea that when a big fish was at the end of the line, there was actual skill required. My inner competitiveness kicked in and I was not going to let this fish off the hook. To some I may have looked like I was running around the boat like a crazy woman, perhaps even a slightly negligent mama with my determination. I used all of my strength to pull my first catch briefly out of the water before experiencing the satisfaction of releasing it back to the depths. I was overwhelmed with satisfaction and joy. There was also a part of me in awe that, when the tastiest species came along, I could participate in the harvest of something that our family would later enjoy over a meal together.

There is no doubt that my newfound enjoyment in fishing has left Dave most pleasantly surprised and excited about the prospect of future family fishing adventures. Actually, scratch that, he is absolutely frothing! This trip has really provided each member of our family, on an almost daily basis, with the time and space to learn new things about one other and ourselves.

Family fishing adventures, Dampier Archipelago
Olivia, Mia, and I on our way to our fishing spot in our PJs

Western Wanders

Olivia:

Western Wanders

in Exmouth again. Surfing it up. wandring around from beaches to whale sharks and snorkelling around. Shells  Dunes  Fish  what ever we Find.

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Family Stargazers 

in the night we Explore the star’s, planets, and more. We just can’t wait to Explore. one two three or four we have Adventures Any Where!

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A adventure is Exploring and that is a true passion you can have it too!

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Grand Adventures and Domestic Joys

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Kim:

Three days ago, the girls and I were astronauts at the Carnarvon Space museum. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, this was the spot where the signal was transmitted to Apollo 11 as it orbited earth following lift-off, to proceed onwards with its mission to the moon. Two days later, the girls and I were surfers, riding the tubes (or, more accurately, bumping through the whitewash) of Wobiri beach in Ningaloo, as the sun descended into the Indian Ocean. Tomorrow, if the wind stays down, we might even try our hand as squid fisherwomen. In anticipation, our salt and pepper batter is all ready to cook up some delicious calamari.

I am so proud of the new things that the girls have already got stuck into on this trip. It is my hope that these rich and adventurous experiences will instil the confidence that they need to become strong, resilient women who love God and their fellow humans. While Dave and I contemplate, on an almost daily basis, that, because of her age, Alice is missing out on such special memories, we hope that she too is being positively shaped by having us all around to overstimulate her during her every waking moment.

Travelling with children is testing at times to say the least. As a family on the road, we have found that pronounced highs and lows often roll in a very short period. Within minutes of returning from our extraordinary surf session, we had all three girls screaming to the point where the van was literally shaking. They were sandy, tired, hungry and completely over it. While chaos at this time of day is usual for any young family, confining ‘witching hour’ into 18 feet of aluminium proves to be quite the circus. Just when we thought 3 out of 3 kids were asleep and had kicked back to enjoy a few cold beers and Kombuchas, our firstborn reappeared and inquired:  “Mum, Dad, do you ever get the feeling when you are reading a really good book and that you are told to go to bed that it is really annoying because you just want to know what happens?” Ahhhh holidays… Who doesn’t want to extend bedtime until the book is finished? Needless to say, the extension was granted.

It is funny how many of your own childhood memories resurface as you watch your children experiencing things that you so distinctly remember as a kid. For me it was watching the pure joy the girls experienced as they caught wave after wave at the beach, begging us not to have to get out of the water, despite chattering teeth and a blossoming blue hue. I still remember the nights that I lay in bed after beach days, still feeling the waves crashing over me.  

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Our family seems to track sand wherever we go. Not just the usual amount that you could expect from a beach holiday but rather an oversupply that is constantly found in every crevice of the van, car and, somehow, deep inside Alice’s ears! I vowed to myself that I would come home from this trip a tidier person, but the confined space has so far provided a more concentrated zone of destruction for all our stuff. Combined with the fact we are daily packing and unpacking a veritable mobile outdoor convention including two inflatable SUPS, a foldable kayak, a fishing boat on the roof, three bikes, goodness knows how many fishing rods, a complete scuba kit (including tank), three snorkel sets, cameras, drone, Thermomix, coffee machine, Sodastream, a weber BBQ with pizza stone, and a legion of outdoor furniture. Given our total commitment to implementing the chaos theory, our campsite is certainly not going to win any tidiness awards.

People have given me both curious and sympathetic looks when I have told them that we are travelling with a three-month-old. To be honest she is not the most difficult child. In fact, while she is still nursing, not moving and on a reasonably stable routine, she generally wins the daily award in our family for ‘Best and Fairest’. Although, maybe that is because she has the best deal of all – who wouldn’t like lying stark naked in the tropical breeze, while everyone who passes by smiles and tells you how adorable and cute you are?

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The currency of the caravan park is unique and wonderful. Love thy neighbour is exemplified in different, special and usually utterly ordinary ways each day. For me, I try to spread the love through caffeinated beverages. They think I can’t see them, but each morning I spot the longing eyes of those who stand outside boiling the kettle for their Nescafe instant, enviously peeping through the trees as I fire up the Breville. Their faces when I surprise them with a latte is priceless. Generosity is quickly repaid as it seems a recurring theme for us that we always seem to be stuck for coins or laundry detergent for our never-ending pile of washing. Our next-door neighbours have been quick to come to the rescue perhaps feeling sorry for the lady with the baby, dropping her dirty knickers as she pushes that pram to the communal laundry yet again!

As Dave and I began to pack up the van again tonight, readying ourselves for the next part of our adventure, we agreed that there is as much joy, at least sometimes, in the simple act of daily tasks as there is in introducing the kids to a wonderful new outdoor activity.

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My Mummy Rides a Mountain Bike and Surfs Now

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Kim:

Dave and I have tried to not let ‘traditional’ roles define our relationship. During our first year of marriage as twenty-two year olds living in Southern California, I would often drive home from work late in the evening only to find Dave, having spotlessly cleaned the house and made the meals, reclining in the bath smoking a cigar and drinking red wine! However, since having children and with the growth of Dave’s practice in recent years, I have unquestionably taken on a more active role as Minister for Home Affairs. While I can’t say I am a natural in this role, and even sometimes resent the responsibility when my working commitments also press in, I generally enjoy running a household. One of the things I was most curious about on this trip is what roles and responsibilities would be modelled to our daughters on the road.

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This morning I found myself on a mountain bike, burning through the caravan park with Olivia on her own bike by my side, all while Dave hung out the laundry. It made me realise that the busyness and responsibility of ordinary city life had meant that my children had not seen the adventurous and fun side of their mother in quite some time. While I have been intentional in raising children who can adapt to the busyness of life, their experience had often been limited to seeing me ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’.

This trip, although still in its infancy, has already provided plenty of opportunities to model how to be brave and free in the everyday. This has really forced me to step out of my comfort zone. To wit, the girls made me feel like the coolest chick in WA as they accompanied me to book my surf lesson at a time when I barely had the confidence to step back into a swimsuit post-bub number three. Instead of them witnessing my insecurities and exhaustion, I got the opportunity to share with them feelings of pure exhilaration as I stood up, stayed standing, and rode my first wave at Wobiri Beach, at the northern end of Ningaloo. After seeing Mama ‘carve it up’ both girls decided they were going to ride waves of their very own. They were quick to hop on the foam longboard and each had a go being pushed onto the whitewash in the kid-friendly surf.  We won’t be transitioning into professional surfers anytime soon, but still we had a little experience of how to be brave together in a completely unstructured environment. I can only pray that these continued experiences on this trip will act as building blocks for our daughter’s resilience and confidence to become the women that they were created to be.

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