Offshore islands …. backed by a lake … hard sand even at high tide … mussels and seaweed with holdfasts attached … a breakwater to the north with a path leading to a marina … cliffs to the south … close to the coast road and Batehaven shopping centre … plenty of facilities including a playground, a toilet block and barbecues
I’ve walked here before, but only briefly. Today I have time to poke around and reach the breakwater, eyes down to the unique patterns on the sand; the profusion of uprooted seaweed; the various holdfast attachments; a couple of jellies; the shapes of sea grass; and mussel shells, hirsute and otherwise.
Eyes out: across grey sea to islands sharply silhouetted against grey sky. One of those islands, Snapper Island, is a nesting place for little penguins, one of the last refuges of local populations in the face of dogs, cats, foxes and development. It’s managed by the local council: the focus lately has been on getting rid of bitou bush, turkey rhubarb and asparagus fern; cleaning up a huge amount of marine debris; planting natives – lomandra , dianella and poa – to replace the weeds; and providing concrete nest boxes that mimic a penguin burrow. As well as council employees, local landcare groups and schools are involved in the cleanup. No one else can land on the island.
Eyes across the sand towards the highway, over a shallow lagoon with dark water.
Eyes to the end of the beach, always a goal that draws lagging feet on: what will I see when I get there? A marina, Batemans Bay township, and beyond, the mountains of the Great Divide.