Just over three weeks ago, members of the ACO, film crews and a group of intrepid surfers among others, converged on Gnaraloo Station for The Reef Residency , in preparation for the upcoming tour of The Reef. Sara Poguet was one of the cooks at the station. This is her story.
Tucked away amongst sleeping bags, jumpers and towels in a seat less back of a car, my knees almost bent backwards and my neck at a 90-degree angle we began our drive north. My father Frederic and his friend Mike and I headed up the highway as we began our 13 hour journey to Gnaraloo where we were soon to begin feeding the mouths of the ACO, film crew, surfers, and all else involved with the Reef Tour. Well into the night the four tires continued to turn and stuck to the bitumen like a monkey to its baby. Foam boxes by my feet screeched at the door as they fought for space against my upturned and now rigid body, its lid repeatedly losing the fight and falling between my ankles. Sleepless and exhausted, my eyes scanned the barren land and spotted numerous red-eyed creatures lurking in the spinnifex in my mind.
Eagles and crows that soared the skies and hustled by the road warned me of carcasses I was about to witness, the sun began to tickle my right eye as it rose from the east and ricocheted off a snake that wiggled and fought in the beak of a crow. Shell shocked and exhausted we stood with 2 trollies and no direction in the Carnavon IGA. Almost 3 hours later our trek to the surfers delight called Gnaraloo was just a hop skip and jump away. 3 mile camp and bumps galore lingered in our future, but the 13 dozen eggs that sat in the back bothered us more.
Our tiredness was overtaken with excitement as we began to settle into a small shack named ‘the Hilton’ that was to be our kitchen for next 16 days. As we later sat around our campfire, my Australian roots took over my body and dusty UGGS as the golden sun began to loom over the crashing waves. Breaths were held and appreciation of our land flew into the now orange sun that melted into the scores of ripples that is our ocean. With the setting sun finally blinding our vision, we watched it shrivel into a dolphins play as Venus loomed above.
Over the next 16 days we prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner in our little Hilton kitchen. Watching Mikes and my fathers contented smiles as the hungry crew demolished our beef cheeks, lasagna, gnocchi, ravioli, paella, beef fillet, wraps, pancakes, omelets and countless more dishes warmed my heart (not to mention the famous Spanish themed dinner where we all managed to consume 50L of sangria, and a few bruises to match; the next morning at breakfast was priceless).
16 campfires and a forest of wood burned with the night sky surrounding us like blankets; shooting stars were witnessed in double digits and the waves in the distance melted into the music that the ACO so beautifully played. One night I witnessed the moon convulse and illuminate and I felt each goose bump detonate off my spirited skin as Mark Atkins exhaled into his didgeridoo with Derek Hyndes new found Dingo X Buntine peacefully sleeping beneath him.
I spied 50 strangers manifest into a family that will love each other forever; I saw the disagreements families all have that are forgotten the next day. I witnessed the phenomenal formation of creativity, art, food, music, surf, ocean, people and desert. I touched the dead coral in the bay that had been sitting there for hundreds of years that had been touched by hundreds of hands. I cooked in the most beautiful part of the world that I will never be able to do again. I drank emu export and I loved it. And as I returned home I witnessed a come down that no heroine addict could ever encounter.