Salt, decomposing meat and uprooted seaweed – that distinctive odor of the ocean – floods my nostrils as I climb out of the truck.
The others don’t find it appealing. “It smells like dead fish,” someone confirms; but I’m stretching my lungs for the stuff, desperate to fill them with new air.
After 3.5 weeks at Nundroo Roadhouse, my boyfriend and I have finally left the few square kilometers we’re currently calling home. It’s not the job we’re temporarily fleeing, but a small scene that has become all-too-familiar.
Ceaser’s vehicle has carried us only 32 kms, from our staff room to the coast. This is the closest I’ve ever lived to the ocean, and there it is: the rhythmic lapping of the tide, the overwhelming scent. No beach has ever smelled so inviting as Fowlers does tonight.
Hadyn and Tristan, our manager with the heavy Scottish tongue, carry buckets of bait down the long jetty. Ceaser, the chef, handles four fishing rods. Earlier in the day, he caught rock cod and crab; tonight, we’re angling for squid and sharks.
“Who wants a go?” Ceaser gives Hadyn a cockle to tie onto the line. My job is to keep an eye on the bobbing, florescent lure that marks tomorrow’s potential dinner.
I don’t care if we catch anything. I don’t mind that we’ve only gone 30 minutes down the road. I’m simply, nose-twitching-ly, happy to be somewhere else for a change. In a place where nothing ever happens, the simplest break-out can bring the greatest pleasure.