Monday, March 14, 2005

Sunday by the beach(es)

Curl Curl beach, with a memorial to drowned swimmers

Here's a coincidence - I was attempting the crossword in Saturday's Herald when I came across this clue for 17 down - 'Insurance Statistician (7)'. So now I know what the word Actuary means, thanks to a crossword puzzle. The irony is that I wouldn't have known the answer if I hadn't spoken to an Actuary the day before. How mysterious.

On Sunday I caught the ferry to Manly and went for a walk Northwards, up the coast to have a look at a few of the surf beaches there. That part of the NSW coast is made up of sandy inlets punctuated by rocky headlands every kilometre or so. The first of these inlets was Queenscliff, and Freshwater beach, which had an amazing amount of spiders in the dunes, hanging in huge billowing webs between the bushes.

After scrambling around the rocky headland, the next beach was the long curve of Curl Curl, backed by a large blue lagoon. Here I witnessed an unfortunate freak accident, where a man sunbathing was hit in the face by a parasol, which had blown free and was tumbling along the beach. The girl who it belonged to was running after it, and got there just in time to see this bloke smacked in the jaw by the end of the handle, like a javelin with an umbrella attached. I was going to help, but the surf lifesavers were there and wrapped his head in a towel to stop the bleeding.

The next headland had a path, optimistically signposted as a 'Nature Walk'. It took about 30 minutes to get through this to the next beach at Dee Why, and the only nature I saw were a few seagulls. In places the path was so overgrown the bushes had almost joined together, so it was hard going. Plus of course it was pushing 30C, but the odd pockets of shade helped. On one side of the bushes was a row of expensive-looking houses with large seaview windows, and on the other a long drop from the cliff to the Pacific. Eventually I managed to reach Dee Why, and crashed out of the undergrowth into a picnic area by the beach.