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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.