I had some lunch at some point, a fresh mango smoothie and an avocado sandwich, from a local establishment. I was pleased to notice that Michelle now had some company out in the sun. I drifted along the shore and found bits of coral, surprised to see how many different forms there were. It only made me more curious about getting out to the Reef.
During one of my afternoon swims, I spotted something totally unexpected on shore:
A beautiful woman, sitting in the shade of palm trees…
I know what you’re thinking: “There are millions of beautiful women on the world’s beaches. That doesn’t seem all that surprising to me.”
You’re right. However, I really didn’t expect her to be juggling.
Faced with an attractive member of the opposite sex doing something I love to do, I did what any other sane human would do; I got out of the water, walked up to her, smiled, and silently motioned for the bags. Without stopping she threw them to me one after the other and I continued juggling with them. For the next few minutes I’m not sure we said anything. We were just stealing the bags from each other in rapid succession and showing each other tricks. Happiness in situations like this builds its own momentum, and in no time we were both grinning from ear to ear.
I asked if she knew how to pass, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that not only could she speak English, but she had a delightful Australian accent. She showed me a 5 ball pattern between two people that I hadn’t seen before. It looks pretty impressive considering that it’s only one extra object. (We would work again with this pattern later.) With the five bags she had, plus a small sack of coins I had with me, we started passing six. I think she was a bit new to it, but we took it in stages, and soon were doing well, trying the odd trick and off-timed pass to spice things up. I’m not sure, but I think many of the folks hanging out in the shade were watching.
Eventually, after working through several different six ball passing rhythms we introduced ourselves, and decided to go for a swim. After drying off, we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to meet again.
Over the next few days, my trip to the reef kept getting delayed due to heavy weather and wind off the coast, but that was OK because each day I got a chance to juggle with Dominique. She said that she hadn’t been able to find anyone to teach her anything new, and I was absolutely thrilled to be able to play with someone who shared my passion for juggling. Watching her face glow while practicing every new skill was one of the highlights of my stay in Australia.
I spent some time thinking about that odd 5 ball pattern that Dom had shown me, and I decided to try something with it. In one session we revisited it, and I proposed changing it a bit. The pattern was such that every throw was a pass to the other juggler. Juggler A started with three balls and threw every pass diagonally, and Juggler B threw every pass in columns. I put Juggler B up on a utility box that stood about 5 feet high. In this scenario the upper thrower really only has to catch and drop the balls into place for the lower thrower. It seems like a great way to learn how to juggle five balls. Eventually, we realized that the lower thrower could start out with all five balls to make it even more effective. We played with this a little bit, even though it was dark, raining, and getting late. I had to run to catch the last bus of the night back to the hostel feeling too excited to go to sleep. Juggling 5 balls is a goal of mine, and I looked forward to a new strategy for accomplishing it.
I delayed my flight from Townsville to Syndey one day in case the weather cleared for a trip to the reef, but it was a cloudy day for juggling instead.
On my last day on the island, Dominique met me in the morning and brought along her friend Rebecca (Bex) who also juggles. Between the three of us we had about seventeen beanbags to
work with. We started off with some passing in a triangle:
Then we tried a couple of 2 and 1 passing patterns:
We were soon joined by their friend Keith who also had a bit of juggling in his blood. We set up a four person passing pattern with twelve balls. The four of us lined up, the two middle jugglers faced each other on their knees, and the pair on the end remained standing. Here’s another brief clip:
Bex, Dominique and Keith all play together with all sorts of fun toys like Poi and fire sticks. If you come across a group called the Magnetic Island Circus, or the Island Jerds, check them out.