My Thursdays are rich and full, and today the tide obliged for phase 1, a (relatively) early exploration of a beach my son assures me I’ve visited before, once long ago, “in the days when you made us all walk”. No memory in my head. Maybe I was too caught up in wrangling unwilling walkers.
I have to ask a man walking with his music for directions to the beach. I drive through bushland hiding houses, some of them obviously old beach shacks from, maybe, the 1940s, some of them who’d probably regard “shack” as a dirty word.
When I reach the car park I find the owners of a camper van with breakfast spread out on the picnic table, looking out over a pair of rocky headlands enclosing a bay, guarded on the sea-side by a rocky island.
Suddenly I’m back in the world of geology. Formations look familiar and I poke around muttering “BIM? Bogolo? Collision between land and tectonic plate? It looks like Narooma. I wonder … ?” Back home I google and find a site which quotes at length a paper about the geology of Guerilla Bay. I’m delighted to recognise all the geological terms, and to find it is indeed like Narooma.
Of course, I’m also caught by beauty: seaweed draped as if by a practitioner of haute couture: rockpools nestled in rockpatterns; pools of rocks and pools of sand; multi-coloured rock; honeycomb niches waiting for minute madonnas or providing a hook for a dog-leash.
I leave the beach and look back at it through a screen of leaves. The track winds briefly through the bush and I return to the sand a couple of metres away from the stairs that took me to the track.
I head briefly south to a longer, less interesting beach, backed by visible houses.
Time’s running out, so I walk past a tumble of rocks; a spread of grey pebbles; across a rock platform to different angles on the ancient rocks; and a reminder of human attempts to preserve this environment.
The name Guerilla Bay is taken (probably) from an Aboriginal word guarella, meaning “big rock”