(aka Stinky Beach)
Characteristics: bigger shells than I’m used to, and more very worn ones … black rocks at one end and a lagoon and seaweed at the other … a background of bush.
I was moved beyond my immediate beaches by news of a geological oddity at Parkers Beach, between Meringo Headland and Mullimburra Point. Sand washed away and revealed it: sand washed back in and hid it again, but not before a local geologist had investigated and documented it. I’d also heard that this beach was a mecca for a shell-collector, who’s bagged five hundred species in the vicinity.
So how could I resist, I who have been Covid-anchored (unnecessarily) near home? I, who have spent that time pursuing the geological history of the planet, and beginning to unravel the mysteries of shells?
I leave the highway and drive out towards Meringo and a cloud formation that demands to be photographed; through farmland green after recent rain; past full dams.
The deeply pot-holed car park is full and I soon spot the breaching whales that have caught communal attention. It’s a good place to capture the vista north and south
But I don’t linger. My mission is the beach. I reach it along a rutted road, boundaried by casuarinas and pittosporum garlanded with running postman, and then down a rocky track.
I head south and pause at what I suspect might be the geological oddity, a piece of the Bergalia Formation not seen here before.
Shells are bigger than I’m used to, and a different suite, although of course there are familiar ones too. Not familiar is the green pebble.
The bush follows me along the beach, roots hanging on after an attack by recent rough seas.
Driftwood has been converted into beach architecture.
Towards the south end of the beach, seaweed builds up, collecting all sorts of things in its meshes: sponges; abundant sea urchins; eggs maybe (carefully scrutinised to make sure it’s not orange peel); a crab; and a string of assorted bits and pieces.
The lagoon is closed, but underwater samphire indicates a higher level than usual.
I’m not altogether alone on the beach. A cyclist passes me, and two silhouettes, immobile, stare at the sea from the rocks.
I head back north as clouds intensify, drawn by the black rocks in a tumble at the base of the headland.
When it’s time to leave the beach, I walk up the sandy incline with the Dreaming Track markers, and back along the deep ruts of the road, replete with sun and a new beach for my delight.