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Moffat Beach, Sunshine Coast
3 October 2009

Beach Wheelchair Disability Moffat Beach surf Aussie dog

Moffat Beach wheelchair Sunshine Coast King Charles Cavalier Judy Penny surf

This was the last adventure for Dot. It came about totally unexpectedly. Dot had attended a backyard concert in Everton Park,
Brisbane which was also a first. Had never been to one before. In conversation at that event, it was mentioned that there was a chair
on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland which could be taken onto the beach. That's all I needed to hear.
The next morning had Dot in the car going to look for these chairs that I had never seen or heard about.

As it had been 11 years since Dot's neurosurgery and with declining health over that period, the opportunity to actually
walk on the sand or in the water at a beach never arose. The sand would make it difficult for her to walk.
Had taken her to quite a few beaches but it was always sitting up the top on a chair on the grass.

There are no words to describe how magic this day was .. if it had just been giving the Dot the amazing chance
to do something so simple and yet so meaningful, that would have been enough but both of us share a deep connection
with our pets. That normally limits access to many beaches but here, not only could we share the fun but dogs were
allowed on Moffatt Beach at this time of the day .. sometimes you just know you are a part of magic.
The lady in the photo was a person I hadn't seen in 26 years and she also brought her dog along so it was that much more fun.

Beach Wheelchair Moffat Beach Dot disability surf fishing

Finding this chair at the Moffatt Beach newsagency was like finding the Holy Grail ..
Something so simple as being ON a beach was made possible.
The feeling of seeing her there was like opening ten years' worth of Christmas presents at once.
To have her feel the water and sand on her feet was priceless.
We take such simple things for granted. And yet, this was a once in probably 12 year experience for her.
It was her last experience of being in nature before she left this earth. What price can you put on that?
Would I ever look at a beach again and just see it as sand, water & sky or would I always look at it for the true miracle
it really is and one which Dot was part of.

Beach Wheelchair Disability Moffat Beach surf Dot

We were like kids going up and down the beach; enjoying the fun of even being able to get the chair up small slopes; just sitting talking
and before it was time to go, the infinitesmal joy of the whole experience culminated in my thinking "Why not" .. Why couldn't she just sit
with her feet in the water feeling the rush of the waves going over them and the sand being drawn back under her feet..
They are beautiful sensory experiences and in her case the only time in more than 12 years ..
Many other elderly and disabled people only get the chance to feel bed sheets on their feet and yet here was Dot,
about two weeks away from passing being in the most beautiful environment possible.

Moffat Beach Land Art stones rocks

The chair is so simple to push .. no harder than pushing a feather .. and yet the benefit of having such a chair for
the elderly and disabled is off the scale. What I wouldn't have given to have known about it years before.
We were there late afternoon so only had half an hour or so but what would it have been like to have spent a longer time there -
walking as far as possible along the beach;
stopping to talk to some of the people there;
just standing there listening to the sounds of the waves and watching them rolling & tumbling onto shore;
feeling the salt spray and wind on your face and in our hair;
being refreshed, re-invigorated and inspired by the collective parts of nature;
and checking out the rocks and vegetation
(the photo above shows a surprise element - someone had created artwork from the materials in the environment.
Particularly noticed because Dot's grandson does the same kind of Land Art)

Dot disability Shelley Beach rock pools surf

When we were looking to find the chairs, was having difficulty and thought perhaps it wasn't going to happen. I stopped at Shelley Beach
and at least sat her out on the beachfront so that she could watch ordinary people enjoying being on the beach and to be able to feel
the wind; the coolness and smell the saltiness. This is how she'd seen beaches in all the adventures I'd taken her to in the past.
At Moffatt Beach, it all changed when I found the chair ..
who would have thought such a simple thing as a chair could make such a huge difference at the end of your life.