It’s my day off. The only one I am going to get this week, as I covered Junior Waitress’s shift last night. It’s HOT. After a week of storms, summer has arrived with full force. For the past two days, I wake to the sensation that a wall of heat has developed outside my window, bright light seeping through the blinds. Venturing outside I discover cloudless bright blue skies and shimmering heat.
What’s a waitress to do on her day off, with no pressing commitments, and such glorious weather? There is only one option – hit the beach. I pack my bag. Towel, sunscreen, hat, book, water, keys, money. I intend to spend the whole afternoon there, maybe visit a local cafe. I arrive at Bay Beach to find it fairly empty. The water is a glorious turquoise colour, the ocean pool is fresh and clear. I find a fairly isolated spot in the shade under a giant palm tree.
It’s so beautiful here. It is immediately cooler with the breeze from the ocean. For a while I just absorb the beauty of my surroundings. Bay Beach is set in a small inlet, at the base of a hill. It’s the smallest beach in Town on Sea, but also the most sheltered, so a lot of families come here. To the left, the bay curves around into a rock wall, I can see the lighthouse just over the other side. The hillside is covered with grass and palm trees. There are a few old fisherman’s shacks clinging to the side of the cliff. Somehow they have avoided development – they’d be worth a fortune now. The fact that they are there at all seems incredible – wooden shacks, cut into the hillside. The local pub also sits atop this hill. I can see a good lunchtime crowd through the windows. The whole rear of the pub is built of glass windows and doors to take advantage of the view below.
To the right the hill is more rocky, but as the rocks extend out into the ocean, it has created the little bay. The ocean pool has been cut into the bottom of the rocks and sits flat at the edge of the bay as the surf floods into it. As the outcrop sweeps higher, there are a few trees and grass – out of sight on the other side there is another beach, a carpark, holiday apartments and ocean view houses.
It astounds me still that I can come to this beautiful place on a weekday and find peace and quiet. It is not crowded. Of course, most locals would be working and school holidays have not yet started, although Town is noticeably busier. Today it is mostly young families at the beach. I watch as the parents help their children swim in the pool, I hear their squeals of delight as the cold waves wash over them as they paddle on the shore.
I lie down and close my eyes. All I can hear is the sound of the waves and the wind, feel the cool air washing over me. This is why I love it here. The ability to enjoy the natural environment, the clean air, not living in a city. I relax.
When I am warm enough, I get up and approach the ocean pool. I slowly walk down the stairs, getting used to the temperature. I love the feel of the ocean water on my skin, cold, refreshing, cleansing. I dive off the lower step into the water. I feel the shock of the cold water, but after a few fast strokes towards the ocean end of the pool, I can’t restrain a smile of joy as my body adjusts to the temperature. The cool water feels divine. I swim a few laps, slowly, enjoying it. Afterwards, I turn and float on my back. All I can see is the sky and all I can feel is the water. I close my eyes. There is just me in the water, and silence. I feel supported by the water, connected to nature. I feel the insignificance of one small human compared to nature. As I move my arms, I feel the connectedness of all things, I feel a part of nature. I float. There is nothing and no-one else. For a few moments, I am free.