Pottsville is a quiet coastal town in the northern rivers region of New South Wales, Australia. It may be somewhere families return to year after year for their camping holidays, but it remains a sleepy outpost that hasn’t quite achieved the stunning growth predicted a decade ago. This is our new home but, as so many people ask us (ex) inner-city dwellers, why Pottsville?
We’d been looking for property in the area and were talking about where we’d really like to live. Was it here?
Gazing out to sea in a rare deeply-zen moment, I said I’d like to live on the coast surrounded by bushland and wildlife. We both laughed. Now that would stretch the limits of our bank’s generosity.
In front of us, people were doing their beach thing. Glistening bodies catching rays, watchful parents making doomed sandcastles with sun-protected toddlers at the water’s edge, kids giggling and squealing as they took on the fiesty waves, surfers waiting for the next perfect set.
Suddenly, out of the deep blue, three dolphins powered towards the shore where we were sitting. At the last moment they turned and, leaping over some kids who’d managed to catch a wave, disappeared back out to sea.
We were stunned, but not nearly as much as a little boy who had no idea what the huge thing was that just leapt over him. I think he’ll be scarred for life.
As we peered out to sea in the dusky light, there it was again. “OMG!” I tugged at EB’s shirt, “It’s a manta ray!”
Who knew manta rays could leap like that? Apparently they do because there it was again, leaping out of the water beyond the last break.
But wait, there’s more. In the morning, we woke early, as you do when you’re camping.
The sun was just creeping over the horizon, turning the sea to liquid gold. And there, close to shore, was a humpback whale breaching, waving its fins and slapping its tail on the water.
Our jaws, quite literally, dropped.
That afternoon we heard about an environmental estate on the outskirts of the township of Pottsville, two minutes from the beach, and we thought… hey, what have we got to lose?
Today, moving into the house we bought back then, felt like coming home.
It’s taken us a while to make the move, but it’s not like you can argue with a dolphin, a whale and a manta ray…