Escape to your own backyard.
Sarah Gittoes, creative director and cofounder of jewellery designer Sarah & Sebastian, is a wanderer. She's a traveller who craves adventure, a swimmer and diver who treats her wetsuit as an extension of herself.
Even before the coronavirus and global travel restrictions kept us at home, Sarah has always been passionate about exploring the exquisite spots we have locally. Montague Island is a little slice of heaven just off the Eurobodalla Coast in the South of New South Wales. It's a spot teaming with marine life, and a place that Sarah visits often.
Here, Sarah shares the postcard-perfect pictures of her last trip into the waters of Montague and her encounters with its local seal population.
Tell us a little about Montague Island?
My wetsuit is like a second skin to me. Growing up by the ocean fostered a strong connection; the tranquility of the waves and ease I feel when I’m in the sea has informed my inspirations from a young age. A feeling I crave most is seeking adventure outside the cityscape of Sydney. And as a scuba diver, this passion has taken my fiancé Russ and I to many remote pockets of the world. Closer to home, Montague Island is a special spot we visit frequently. The allure of the ocean’s wildlife that lives at this bay is a drawing point for divers and non divers alike.
During the cooler months, the Sapphire Coast is still a spectacle to witness, and of course being a jeweller I have strong affection for its name.
Where did you stay?
My fiancé and I stayed at the local caravan park this time, but we often will camp in our swags depending on the time of year. We spend the majority of our days diving, so once we decide to unwind in the evening, it’s the perfect place for us to relax. We’ll cook on the BBQ with head torches once it hits dusk and play cards until it turns dark.
What was your favourite moment from the trip?
On our first day of diving, we came across a herd of Australian fur seals. They were so playful! Swimming with seals and interacting with them always leaves me in awe of how lucky we are to coexist with these beautiful creatures. As an ocean lover, it’s a reminder about how lucky we are to have the marine ecosystem we do have in Australia and reinforces the importance of its preservation. What sights were on your must-do list? The South Coast is infamous for its oysters. I love eating them on the beach at sunset! Montague Island is known to be a quiet place, where my favourite activities are based around nature, so I enjoy doing a bush walk around the headland.
What are your favourite things to do on holiday?
I like to detach myself from technology when I’m on holiday, so I turn my phone off and try to disconnect. I love spending quality time with Russ, catching up on all things to do with us. Due to the border restrictions, we had to postpone our wedding this year, so it’s in these moments where we’re grateful to spend time with each other.
What three things will you always have in your bag when you travel?
I always have my Contax T3 film camera with me. It’s my favourite point and shoot, and it's authentic to the tone of film. You only have 36 shots in one roll, so the surprise of looking back on them is my favourite part. I keep my sketchbook with me too so I can draw whenever I feel inspired. And my Dermalogica Facial Mist, to counteract the drying effects of salt water on my skin.
What is your favourite travel read?
I’m currently reading “A Life Underwater’ by Charlie Veron, the memoir of an Australian marine biologist known as ‘The Godfather of Coral’. Charlie transformed our understanding of coral reefs and has passionately fought for their conservation and preservation.
What are your travel beauty bag essentials?
On a diving trip, my beauty bag essentials are focused on skincare as I tend to not wear makeup and I just want to protect my skin from the sun. I really like Ultra Violette’s Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum, it feels like nothing on and gives a nice glow. As a curly blonde, spending a lot of time in salt water isn’t ideal so I’ll always bring my Olaplex shampoo and conditioner with me. And once I’m out of the water and want to look fresh, I’ll just use a brush of NARS Laguna Bronzer and Ilia mascara.