Every morning for the last couple of weeks, I have woken up to the sight of my brand-new wetsuit hanging on my bedroom wall, beautiful (as much as a wetsuit can be) but totally untouched. I’m starting to find the view quite depressing now. I feel like it’s mocking me because as much as I want to use it, I keep being thwarted – mostly by the fact that the last few weekends (which are, until summer arrives, the only potential beach-going opportunities available to me right now) have followed wild-weather weeks, meaning the surf is often just too big for a scrappy beginner like myself. While I don’t have a problem with being chewed up and spat out by the sea (it’s pretty standard, being that I spend more time on the ocean bed than on the surfboard), I do have a bit of an issue with the prospect of being swallowed whole by a wave the size of a black hole, and disappearing into the depths of an ocean, never to be seen again. Look, I know my limits ok?
As a result, the closest encounters I’ve had with the swirling tides in the last month have come courtesy of the lovely cliff walk between Bondi and Coogee. Ever since our first week in Sydney, when we initially wandered along this path in the sunshine following an impromptu theatrical thunderstorm enacted by Heavens Inc, I’ve loved it down here. Born and bred by the beach in the UK, I’m always happiest by the sea. So it’s hardly surprising that, when I need a taste of sea air, I’m drawn down to the little coves and beaches dotted along the coast, each with their own individual atmosphere and backdrop. (Have to say, though, that for a proper beach day Manly’s my first choice – even if it is a bit of a trek from Paddington.) Forget Bondi – I actually love that you have to turn your back on it to walk this 6km path.
I’m not going to try to describe the journey to you step by step – there are other websites for that – but here are some personal highlights for you in photographic form. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of the moment when, after a swim in the outdoor pool at Bronte, I walked into the changing rooms to be confronted with a rather large, stark naked grandma taking a shower. That was special. Consider yourself spared… although I’m sure the mental image will be enough.
Anyway these snaps are clean, I promise! Please excuse the quality, I’m still short of a camera that isn’t integrated into my phone.
I’ll set the scene: winter sun beating down on your back, perched on a cliff-top seat, listening to the roar of the tide and looking out towards the horizon… Sorry, I just disappeared into a meditative trance for a second. This rocky perch in front of the SLSC is, in reality, pretty sweet.
The mosaic steps
I don’t know whether these steps represent something other than an artistic soul’s creative output, but they provide a bit of extra colour along the concrete path. Crafty.
Apparently you shouldn’t swim in the water round here after a week of heavy rainfall, as it can make you sick – who knew? Yes, I am speaking from experience, but I still love it. It’s like the rough-n-ready version of an infinity pool with ocean views that change with the tide – particularly inspiring when the waves are pounding on the rocks below, and the best local surfers are out showing their skills. One afternoon’s free entertainment, sorted.
Another cove, another purpose. Apparently, the waters beyond/ behind these boats, offer a great dive spot… May need to inspect that closer, if I actually ever learn to dive. Reckon the people who live in the clifftop houses are sitting pretty, too.
Some people might think this is morbid, but I thought this cemetery was beautiful. The sun high above it, the sea right below it – there are worse eternal resting places.
Seems like a fitting place to leave this post to rest, too. I’m off to check swellnet for the weekend forecast. Please be something I can work with… *wishes