I drove along Cullendulla Drive, winding my way from the highway to the coast just north of Batemans Bay, past roadworks and through bush. I pulled up under a hill in the Eurobodalla National Park, no sign of the track I’d been promised that would take me over the headland to Quiriga Beach. I was however by water with a beach stretching up the coast, possibly “the small protected cove” that is part of Maloney’s Beach.
It wasn’t the ocean I was looking out on: it was an expansive bay, Chain Bay, leading the eye to settlements around Batemans Bay, and beyond that a pale line of mountains.
I began to walk, grateful for the shade on a day threatening to reach 28°. The beach was crunchy with quartz, and water caressed sand with a gentle zzzshshsh and a shingle-clatter: The wind in the casuarinas bordering the beach echoed this sound in a different key.
Rock platforms were a golden orange and stretched out under the clear water in a way you never see beneath ocean waves.
I turned back when I reached piles of rocks, intimidated by the need to clamber a bit, not something I do much of when I’m walking alone these days. A few fungi reminded me of plumped-up embroidered cushions. I added a shell to a stone pile to mark my passage and my turning point.
The view was gentler as I ambled back to the car, admiring rock patterns and asking myself the perennial “I wonder what this is? I wonder how it was formed?” as I noted such diverse colours and patterns.
There were the blond and golden rocks, but also much rougher rocks with a look of iron about them.
Rocks and roots intermingled along the eroded edge of the bushland
I assembled a visual wrack list, prompted by such a list written by Thoreau and quoted in David Haskell’s The songs of trees. Thoreau’s list included twenty-nine human cadavers over three years, some from the wreck of an Irish migrant ship. Fortunately mine has none.
A family group were frolicking in the water and a gentle wave caught four sparkly thongs, which drifted, stately, away from the shore, until they were rescued in a flurry of adult action.
I settled on my chair in the shade for a picnic and a read (Anne Summers “Unfettered and alive”). There was a strange noise above my head, at first sounding like the full-bodied squeak of two branches rubbing together in the wind, but then changing tune to something that sounded like bird-noise, but bird-noise amplified. Eventually I turned around gingerly to investigate and a large black crow flew off from the branch just above my head, skkkwarking emphatically.