Summer is around the corner and Australians are heading to the beach again. University students like myself and my friends are unwinding as the semester draws to a close and as part of that unwinding, we recently made a trip to Avalon Beach, just up near Palm Beach in NSW.
The waves were impressive and the water was wonderfully deep, just the way I like it. It was all in all, an excellent day. And I was very pleased to have remembered my camera this time.
Walking across the sand was a maddening experience as it was littered with washed up bluebottles. Most unfortunately, the less fresh ones filled the air with the subtle tang of rotting fish. And, as any general beach visitor is aware (I’m lying, I asked the surf guard), if there are bluebottles on the sand, they’re also in the water.
Nonetheless, the scene looked glorious. It’s hard to find a beach in Australia that doesn’t look glorious, however harmful or deadly the creatures in the water. Huddled against the rocky headland was a small section of water, marked out by two flags which were placed so close to one another that they may as well have been side by side. Three surf life guards stood, arms folded and gazing out watchfully over the children, girls, men and women swimming through the waves. I wore my new bikini into the water. A long time had passed since my last beach trip and I felt as pale as a beacon of Gondor. The first waves hit and I was swept under and backwards, the salty water rushing into my nose and mouth so that I arose spluttering with my eyes streaming. I used to visit the beach every weekend with my family when I was a child, but since life became busier, it seemed that I had forgotten how to rise and dive with the waves. As a child I had less fear. As a somewhat neurotic adult, I cautiously scanned the waves every few minutes for bluebottles and was highly conscious of the movement of the currents.
But I soon forgot my fear and remembered the fun of the ocean. Afterwards, I climbed the headlands, trekking through the narrow path carved from the bushland and cautiously clambering over rocks until I reached the highest point of the nearby headlands. It was my first time at the beach with my boyfriend, and when we reached the topmost point, we sat for a while looking down at the waves, rocks and open ocean. Perhaps the day passed in a haze of sunshine, but it was filled with nice moments: laughs, hand holding, thoughtful conversations, and occasionally silence.
I wish I brought my camera along. I miss taking photos. But there will be other trips, and I will find another time to resume practising photography. For now though, I can just appreciate the lovely simplicity and peacefulness of that Saturday.