Underwater at The Pass, or sand-bottomed swimming pool? You decide. Photo: Shendell Hay

Not unlike Southern California, late spring and early summertime are some of the worst months for waves in this region of Australia, with limited swell, jam-packed lineups, and the occasional week or two of nonstop northerly winds. The past several days have been pretty atrocious as far as surfing goes, and as I’ve gradually lost my mind, I have come to the realization that I really need to find some new hobbies. Luckily, my friend Shendell, who I met in Sri Lanka, came to visit from Western Australia, so I at least got distracted from the lack of swell by playing tour guide for ten days.

Although Byron Bay has plenty of fun activities to do, such as eating organic avocado toast and hiking to the lighthouse, its biggest attractions are the breathtakingly gorgeous beaches, so even when the surf is flat, I guess the squeaky white sand and warm, clear water can be pretty darn inviting. Shendell has a neat underwater camera case, so on a calm day, we went out to The Pass and swam around, hoping to see some turtles, rays, or sharks. No luck on the sea life, but the visibility was unbelievable!

We swam around for hours, taking mermaidy photos and enjoying the scenery. By the time we got out, our hands were pruney and our hair went stiff from all the salt, but we had a blast, splashing around like little kids. Unfortunately, within the last couple of days, the northerly winds have returned, along with our dear friends the blue bottle jellies, while the water clarity has been destroyed by churning sand. The forecast claims there will be another week of strong wind and no waves, so I guess I’ll have to start a garden, learn a new language, or start making gluten-free dog treats... or something. Any suggestions?