Cool discoveries at the beach
Even though the air temperature is warm, the surf is cold at Killcare Beach, on the NSW central coast, at least when you first dip a foot. My friend approaches the water with such trepidation it’s as if she thinks it might suddenly bite off her toes. She is a northern European transplant and claims the sea always has “the appearance of freezingness” and should be treated with caution and respect.
My husband is from Melbourne and he has this thing about cold water, too, and won’t go into the ocean unless there is practically steam coming off it, like a kettle on the boil. “The back beach at Portsea,” he mumbles at me with a faraway look in his eye. “My grandfather used to throw me in …”
And so we take holidays in places such as Fiji, where the lagoon water leaves you nicely poached and calling for icy drinks.
I point out to him I first entered the sea in southeast England, a region not known for its tropical warmth. I would have been about five years old and my swimsuit was made of wool and always had loose threads. I lived in fear of it unravelling in front of amazed beachgoers but maybe that took my mind off the water temperatures along the coast of Sussex, which must have been unwelcomingly low.
Many decades on and a refreshing dip is just the tonic. While Himself (and sceptical northern friend) remain lodged in the sand, I am in and out of the surf, which indeed is freezing, but in a good and enlivening way. And then we walk along the beach until we come to this extraordinary rock with its surf-scored striations and textures. It is amid a cluster of other similarly robust boulders near our beach’s rock pool, or “lemonade lagoon” as we call it when the waves rush in and fizz about your feet.
I imagine I see in its contours the mighty cliffs of the Na Pali Coast on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Or is it a sleeping monster, hunkered but dangerous. At least we three are united in our admiration for Mother Nature and agree the word cool will do just fine.
Follow on Instagram: @susankurosawa