Monday, December 7, 2009

Diamonds and Seals

Some days are more "paradisey" than others. I have so often written about the shack being in paradise, but even paradise can have a rating! Today is 10/10 for sea and sand but a little lower for temperature and wind. It is lucky indeed to be here when the sea is this clear, this brilliant and the sand such a pure white as to take your breath away.  As the tiny waves form a crest and are about to break onto the beach, it is as though each is filled with thousands of diamonds, polished by sand and sea, destined to be washed up onto the shore, such is the clarity and sparkle of the aqua water.

And so it was that this beauty drew me out on my board this morning; I just had to be there, to touch the diamonds and be a part of the day. I am very much at home paddling my board and prefer it to a canoe because I can drag a foot in the water or scoop up and handful of those sparkling jewels and splash my face, and I enjoy the cool water coming over the front of the board as I head out through the waves. I can also roll off the board into the sea on a hot day to cool down and easily climb back on again. If I am careful, I can leave my hat and sunglasses on the board while I am swimming about and diving down to touch the sand below..... if I am not careful enough, I end up having to dive down and get my sunglasses off the bottom and ringing out my sodden, floppy hat!

This morning I paddled out around the point and across the bay to the far end of North Beach.... what a totally inadequate name for such a beautiful place! There were a dozen or so old tractors and their trailers on the beach, used by the locals to launch their fishing boats....The sea was calm and it only took me 15 minutes to reach the end so I continued on past the rocky promontory to the next bay. Because the tide was in, this little bay was cut off from walkers who might come along North Beach and so I had a tiny patch of paradise all to myself. I put my board up on the beach and went for a swim in the deep, cool, crystal clear sea, afterwards drying off in the sun by sitting on the end of my board on the beach. Truly, I thought, this must be heaven.... no people, the only sounds being the tinkle of the tide on the sand..... just me and 2 seagulls.

Not being in any particular hurry to return I paddled on again, marvelling at the serenity and beauty of the high, red cliffs, the sparkling clean water and brilliant blue sky. The wind had been slowly rising and the time came to turn around as the trip back would be into the wind and therefore into the waves and not as easy as the outward journey. The work took more of my concentration on the way back and I was glad to hold onto an old boat mooring after paddling for 1/2 an hour.... the only place to stop and not be blown backwards. Another 10 minutes or so and I was back on the beach in front of the shack, looking forward to a coffee.... but that's another story.

This evening the wind died out completely as the sun approached the horizon and so lured me down to the beach once more. I walked in the cool, still water, the only sounds my footsteps and occasionally some distant birds in the sandhills. This is another rare and beautiful treat.... to stand still and feel total silence.... not a ripple of the sea, not a bird's call..... nothing..... and no-one else in sight. Such silence both empties and fills your head and is almost impossible to describe.

As the sun became a rich, golden ball, reflecting its glory on the calm water, a lone seagull flew silently by and tiny fish scurried here and there in the shallows. A metre or so away a stingray glided slowly by and another 4 or 5 metres further out to sea a seal's nose appeared, then the hump of its back broke the surface and it was gone again.... Usually I see dolphins fishing close to shore on still evenings like this but although I saw several yesterday, there were none tonight.

Paradise excelled itself today.