Tag Archives: Broken Bay

Beached After the Floods.

Alleluia! I couldn’t believe it was actually sunny today, after what seemed like an eternity of rain. Indeed, I’m sure Noah had it easy!

At least, it eventually stopped raining and Noah’s Ark came to rest.

Desperate for a bit of sunshine, I headed down to the beach for a walk after dropping Miss at the dance studio this afternoon. Not only that. I wanted to check out our beach after all this rain and heavy flooding. It’s like an ephemeral, living, breathing canvas constantly painted and washed away by the waves and forces of nature. Geoff had told me the water was brown, and that it was almost like you could plant spuds out there, and a friend had seen a dead horse on the beach on her morning work.

The Hawkesbury Nepean River Catchment..

Our home beach looks out onto Broken Bay just North of Sydney, and this is where the mighty Hawkesbury-Nepean River system meets the sea. The Hawkesbury-Nepean is the longest coastal catchment in NSW. The Hawkesbury river flows 470 kilometres (from south of Goulburn near Lake Bathurst to Broken Bay), draining 21,400 square kilometres, or 2.14 million hectares, of land. This river catchment is very prone to flooding, and much of that detritus gets washed on our local beaches.

The beach was closed today on two counts – rough surf and poor water quality. Yet, there was still a dog out there running through the surf and enjoying a vigorous swim. It’s humans didn’t seem too concern about the dog being out there, but perhaps they are of that school that you could get hit by a bus and taken out at anytime, so why not take a few risks and carpe diem seize the day?

One of the first things which stood out to me, was the huge amount of foam down on the beach. In parts it was like clouds of whipped cream. However, as you can see, there was also filthy, brown foam which brought back the harsh realities of flooding. I didn’t want to touch the stuff, although I did video it drifting in and out, and seemingly breathing with the waves. It was rather mesmerising.

To be honest, I was a bit shocked by the amount of stuff on the beach. There was a massive mountain of wood, which looked like it might’ve been the work of a bulldozer, although it might’ve been the sea. There were a few spare tyres, including a complete wheel for a Volkswagen that seemed to be in good nick. I was pleased to spot a friend of mine who is the local Lifeguard. There’s not much he misses down on the beach by day and is a better source of goings on than the local rag. It turned out that the dead horse had been moved off the beach after some discussion of a not too serious nature to cremate it. He also told me that a cow had been washed up on the beach a few days ago. It’s sad that so many animals have been lost in the floods, the financial impact on multiple communities is staggering.

Atlas salvaging a coffee table off the beach.

Meanwhile, there’s been a bit of salvaging going on. He’d seen a couple of blokes roll away a keg of beer which had washed up, and while I was there a bloke salvaged a reasonable coffee table from the rubble and was strutting down the each with it over his head. He even stopped to chat for a bit, and I marvelled at his strength. He was chatting away with the coffee table held up over his head like Atlas. Meanwhile his partner/wife wasn’t wanting the coffee table to come home. Here was yet another project, and something else taking up space. In case you didn’t know having a cluttered house is almost a capital crime. When I arrived home, and filled Geoff in on all the goings on at our beach, he reminded me of a story he’s heard at the sailing club. Some blokes had been out in a tinny (small motor-powered dingy) when they saw a small bar fridge floating down the river. They managed to capture that and bring it on board and it was full of booze much to their delight. It sounds like the locals have been busy.

Here’s the lifeguard heading down the beach. This end of the beach is pretty clear and loo9ks like any other sunny day.

I wasn’t looking for anything to salvage, and was more interested in taking photos, along with getting my walk and a bit of sun. However, I also called my parents from the beach and had a bit of a chat with Dad. It’s a shame he couldn’t see the beach and enjoy it with me, but we had a good chat anyway, and I’ll forward them my photos. I also videoed the foam almost breathing as it drifted back and forth between sea and sand.

I’ve photographed reflections of clouds in the beach many, many times, but reflections of clouds of foam is something else.

Meanwhile, what has been washed up onto our beach is not even a fragment of the bigger picture, especially the decimation of Lismore in Northern NSW. Lismore frequently floods and has had some bad floods in the past. However, this flood is by far the worst, and just to give you an insight into the damage, all the books at Lismore Library have been lost. While it was hardly the State Library or the historic library at Alexandria, as a book lover that particularly disturbed me. I have so many books and each of them is precious and for an entire library to be lost…It’s just impossible to fathom, and yet there are so many people who’ve lost the lot. Ordinary people just like you and I.

Sending my love just isn’t enough!

If you been affected by the flooding, my heart goes out to you.

Love,

Rowena

Y – Yachting Holiday – Hawkesbury River, Australia…A-Z Challenge.

Welcome back to my series: Places I’ve Been for the 2020 Blogging From A to Z April Challenge.

Today, we’re jumping back into our time machine and re-setting the date for the 13th December, 1982. We’ve just arrived at Mangrove Creek, where we’ll be picking up the yacht and sailing down onto the Hawkesbury River. Of course, you’ll be meeting my Mum and Dad, my ten year old brother and my 13 year old self. By the way, you might notice that my Dad bears an uncanny likeness to British actor, John Cleese. I always used to wonder why people used to say to him:”Nudge, nudge wink wink, say no more”. However, the world’s full of so many mysteries for a kid, and this was just one of many which were never sufficiently explained.

My apologies for the lack of photos. My 13 year old self wasn’t much chop with the camera, and the camera wasn’t much chop either. I’m pretty sure I was still using my Kodak Instamatic, which had the cartridge of film you put in the back which you dropped off at your local chemist for processing. My parents and brother have also requested not too subtly, that I don’t post their photos on Facebook or the blog, and I mostly honour that request.

Anyway, on the 13th – 18th December, 1982 our family spent five days onboard a yacht slowly sailing from Mangrove Creek along the Hawkesbury River into Pittwater.  Mangrove Creek is a tributary of the Hawkesbury River which flows into Broken Bay not far from where we now live at Umina Beach on the NSW Central Coast.  We also stopped off at a picnic spot called The Basin where they have a shark net set up for swimming. My Dad flew over the Hawkesbury River once when he was young and saw loads of sharks in the water. So, beyond The Basin, swimming was out.

My Dad’s had an almost life long interest in sailing, and has since become a fully-fledged sailor. That is, even if he hasn’t completed the Holy Grail…the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

However, back in 1983, he hadn’t quite gained his stripes. So when the bloke hiring out the yacht asked Dad if he could sail, he could give an honest “yes”. However, I only found out a few months ago, that Dad didn’t actually know how to stop the boat. Of course, this was only a minor detail, and thankfully, everything went swimmingly well. My Dad in his typical try his hand at anything fashion, pulled it off and we were right.

By the way, “she’ll be right, mate” is something of an Aussie creed. It’s more or less  the reverse of catastrophizing where you just take everything in your stride. Of course, the little Aussie battler who’s even had it harder than most, will always triumph in the end. If they don’t, they’ll probably just find their way down to the pub.

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One of the things I clearly remember from the trip, is that the yacht came with a dingy out the back with a pair of oars for rowing out to shore. While Dad took us out for a bit of exploring, clearly the idea was to go out by yourself. However, Dad had this thing about needing to pass your rowing licence first. Of course, my younger brother who was more sporty and better coordinated, received his licence straight away, and was able to scoot off without me. However, it took me a few goes, which I was naturally unhappy about. Indeed, I was a ball of angst…sad, angry, jealous, disappointed…every intense emotion you can think of under the sun. Of course, being 13 and the eldest didn’t help either. Well, eventually, I also managed to get my rowing licence and loved exploring the little bays and beaches along the Hawkesbury River as well.

 

Another indelible memory, was when we sailed across the heads into Pittwater battling against strong winds and a larger swell. Indeed, I still remember the slap of the salty wind in my face, and my hair taking flight. As the yacht keeled right over with the gunnels in the water, I was helping Dad with the ropes and loving every minute. The exhilaration of speed and flying into the salty, ocean wind was incredible. However, my mother and brother were both below deck and couldn’t stand it. After my difficulties getting my rowing licence, it felt particularly good to be outdoing my brother at this point, even if he was younger than me. This was my moment of triumph, but I also truly loved sailing.

Above: we went out sailing around much the same area on the 19th December, 2010 with my parents and our kids almost 27 years to the day after our family sailing holiday and now, even that’s 10 years ago.

Although we’re now mostly a sailing family, we’ve only ever had that one family holiday sleeping onboard the yacht. Indeed, we still haven’t christened Dad’s current yacht, which is quite a shame. It would be rather magical to fall sleep on nature’s water bed, don’t you think?

Have you ever been out on a yachting or boat holiday where you’ve actually slept onboard? Or, perhaps you’re more of a day sailor? Or, you love your land legs. Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Rowena

Winter Walk Along the beach…

“Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.”

– Sarah Kay

It’s a tough life living near the beach here on Australia’s East coast just North of Sydney. Although the mercury might plummet to single figures, it doesn’t stay there for long and the sun can be absolutely glorious. Indeed, during the last week, it’s been perfect.

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Umina Beach, NSW.

“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”

Rumi

After spending a few days indoors with our daughter competing in the local dance eisteddfod and our son performing in the annual Scout and Guides’ Gang Show, I was busting to get outside, spread my wings and soak up that balmy sunshine.

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Even seaweed on the beach can take on a magnificent beauty and I loved its jagged shadow.

These photos were taken over two beach walks this week. On Friday I went by myself for some much needed solitude. Not necessarily that sitting on a rock all by myself type of solitude, but definitely not having to worry about dogs pooping or lunging at other dogs who for reasons unexplained seem to press the growl button not an enthusiastic wag of the tail. I didn’t have to wait for anyone else to get dressed or find a missing shoe either. Rather, I could simply get in my car and go.

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A lone photographer on the beach…

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

Rumi

As much as I simply love going to the beach enjoying it at face value, at times I also push myself to squeeze in a beach walk to de-stress, raise my heart rate or improve my overall well-being.

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Today, our daughter asked if she could come with me, which was great because she’s competed in a dance eisteddfod during the week and has her grade six ballet exam in three weeks and more phenomenal stress there, along with the final preparations. Getting out of the house, out of the studio and onto the beach and expanding your horizons across the vastness of ocean which extends off as far as New Zealand or even South America. Isn’t that incredible!

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”

Helen Keller

I love photographing shadows down on the beach. They’re so intriguing and distort as the sun nears toward sunset which is when I usually manage to get there. Shadows are also mysterious, enigmatic, and alluring. They’re not just something you accidentally capture in your photo which needs to be Photoshopped out. The other thing about these shadows, is that for users of real cameras and not phones posing as cameras, shadows are our take on the selfie. otherwise, I still need to stop a complete stranger to take our photo and I don’t feel entirely happy about handing my camera over especially when I take my glasses off and I couldn’t even see them make a run for it.

“A human being is only breath and shadow.”

-Sophocles

Another favourite subject of my beach photography is the seagull. Although I’ve probably overloaded my hard drive with seagull photos, I keep taking them. As annoying as they are, I love seagulls.

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.”

-Rumi

When you take a closer look at these photos, you’ll see that our beach is surrounded by bush and is relatively untouched and natural. You can walk down the beach during the week and only run into a few dog walkers and virtually have the entire stretch of beach to yourself even in Summer. It makes me wonder why anyone would ever compete to find enough space to stretch out their towel among the multitudes.

Anyway, reality bites and I’d better get dinner into the pie machine and onto the table. It’s a cruel world, but Masterchef finals week starts in ten minutes so I’d better get a move on.

Best wishes,

Rowena