Gets my goat

2 May

According to locals, Byron Bay was famous in the 1960s for 3 things – whaling, meat and surfing. A whaling station stood right on the Main Beach. It was short lived, opening in 1954 and closing in 1962. In that period, the station nonetheless slaughtered some 1,146 whales. The whaling station was built right next door to the meatworks, but in the 1980s that too closed and the cows were let back out to pasture.

Surfing however has remained popular, thanks to the 7 major breaks – no matter what the weather, there is always a wave in Byron Bay. Byron is also well known for its bomberas (waves that stand up in the middle of the ocean). The ‘boiling’ bombora off The Pass, being one of the factors credited with forcing the organisers to cancel last year’s ocean swim.

A bit of a challenge then for an ocean swimmer who isn’t keen on surf.

But hey, Captain James Cook named Cape Byron after John Byron, Lord Byron’s grandad. Modern open-water swimming is sometimes traced to Lord Byron, who in 1810 swam across the Hellespont, the stretch of water separating Europe from Asia, now known as the Dardanelles.

So, what with the surf, the Byron connection and coming as it does in May, what better swim to be the end of season finale. Os.c usually declares the aptly named Beach Hotel as Culchural HQ. Apparently, ‘see you at the Beach’ takes on a whole new meaning as the open water tribe gathers there swapping the water for the watering hole.

Last year, there must have been chatter aplenty at the Beach. A year that will go down in folklore, some 1,000 anarchic swimmers protested against the late cancellation of the swim, streamed into the surf at Wategos and swam the course despite officials declaring it too dangerous.

Wategoat at Cape Byron

Wategoat at Cape Byron

So I am blogging now as I might be too traumatised before, during or after the swim or more likely, I’ll take one good hard look at Mother Ocean and opt for being a towel carrier on sundee.

I’ve come up early so I can get the benefit of those ley lines, get zen and see if I can shut this bloody inner critic up. But while I am eating ‘organic’ mushrooms in the Hinterland, my chattering monkey is completely preoccupied with what I might see if I look up at the headland on sundee.

You see, a few weeks ago, I heard about Wategoat.

A female goat, knicknamed Wategoat after Wategos Beach (allegedly having earned her name through rumours of her clattering on the roofs of the wealthy residents of Wategos), has wandered the cliffs of Cape Byron alone since 2005, when the National Parks and Wildlife Service removed the rest of the herd.

The feral goats were removed because an environmental study had found the herd was spreading weeds, causing cliff-face erosion and native plant degradation.

Wategoat evaded capture both then and ever since by sticking to inaccessible terrain.  She has become something of a well-loved, town celebrity.

The town has a Save The Goat Committee

You can see her on youtube

You can buy professional photos of her

You can even download her bleating ‘Cape Goat’ as an MP3 to be a ring tone on your phone

Wategoat has her own facebook page, Wategoat – the last wild Goat on Cape Byron.

And in the tradition of Lord Byron, she has inspired devotees to poetry

But last month, the goat that has eluded her captors for nearly eight years was reported to have been stuck at the base of the Cape, under the lighthouse, for 2 weeks, sick and frail.

Life in the old goat yet

Life in the old goat yet

A daring rescue mission was conceived.  The RSPCA’s animal rescue squad would abseil 100 metres down the cliff to save Wategoat.  They planned to tranquilise her, then winch her to safety.  Wategoat was then going to be sent to a hinterland farm to see out the rest of her days (just like the Tamworth Two in the UK).

Wategoat had other ideas.  She waited for the rescue squad to abseil down, took one look at her would be saviours and scarpered; suddenly finding the strength to push her elderly, arthritic frame up the cliff face unassisted.  And now the Old Goat’s on the run again.

I will keep my eyes peeled for her on sundee and doubtless, as I swim along, Maria Von Trapp will be between my ears yodelling about being up a hill with a lonely goat.

It’s kind of weird because coming back from squad one night early on this season, we saw a goat drinking outside the Rag and Famish with 3 blokes.  It was around the time that Gary the Goat was up before a magistrate after being fined $440 for eating a path of public grass.  So we reckon it was him.

So maybe, this is the season that just really gets my goat.  Sorry, just kidding.  Ha ha.  Time for another one of those funny cookies.

2 Responses to “Gets my goat”

  1. Liz May 2, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Oh my! You are definitely on a “trip” of some description!!! It must be that neck of the woods perhaps?
    Good luck, I will be thinking of you whilst I’m at an ALL DAY netball carnival practising my “happy to be here” face:)
    Hey I’m seriously considering getting back into squad training!!!!

  2. Leesa April 26, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    High on a hill.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: