Friday, June 01, 2007


I have to go to Coral Bay this weekend, to do a story on the pub.
I mention this to Bart in my email.
Every journalist's dream, he replies.
Later, i discover our mate Noodles from Megarooting Avenue, Bones and the band will be supplying the musical entertainment. The publican will be putting on free food. And free beer.

That's free beer.

And an after party on the beach. When Mickey T, Louie, Chrisso and i roll up at the Bay, late in the day, there seem to be lot of blonde backpackers from Sweden getting about on the brilliant white beach in their bikinis. The tinnies are coasting in, and are being hauled up onto submerged trailers behind 4WDs sunk sill-deep in the water. As we slide Chrisso's boat out into the bay, i reflect upon my fate. Last year i had wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and go to West Papua or Afghanistan or Venezuela to cover the troubles, but somehow i have wound up only as far north as the Ningaloo Reef Resort. The path of least resistance is an understatement. Perhaps Heatseeker of Leisure is more apt. Because, my friends, this is supposed to be work.

And there i was lecturing Melinda Mayhem about getting out of her comfort zone. Ha! I feel like such an impostor. Prompting poor Mayhem to the limits of her endurance, urging her leave her boudoir, to fly as far from Perth as possible. Forcing her to widen her ambit beyond the North Perth Plaza and the dungeons of Mount Lawley. Have i prodded her in the right direction? Last time i checked on The Adventures of Miss Melinda, she was being smooched by Mr Fear'n'Loathing himself in Las Vegas and hanging out with a certain music producer of a certain favourite band. Mayhem. Thou rockest. I am but an amateur in thy presence. Thou art cool as kim deal.

Large spangled emperors swim at my feet, hoping for a titbit or two. They look delicious. But they are smart. They know this is a Sanctuary Zone. They eyeball us with smug amusement, and swim languidly away.

The sun is dropping to the horizon. The shadows of the girls walking the beach are stretched to barbie doll proportions, ridiculously long and slender. Black clouds are forming on the horizon. All the boats seem to be all coming in, droning their way in a long U-turn through the reef, carefully following the channel markers. We are heading out. There's still time for a couple of quick, high-speed wakeboarding runs through the polyps, i am told.

I climb on board, and hang on.

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