We make today a special day (oh, very holy) and decide to head to the beach for the first time in this fair land. We look forward to it all day but its about 4 o’clock by the time we get there, heading south to Cronulla, through the bushy suburbs of the city to what seems like the outskirts.
My eyes are stuck to the windows of the train, our usual journey into the city is lined with factories and industry and where it is suburban all the houses are visible, but here all you can see is trees with the odd corners of houses sticking out or braking the skyline. Some houses are built on steep embankments above small tree infested valleys, stilts sticking out of the floor of the construction, going down twenty, forty feet til finding ground to support from.
Over a bridge over a river with a peninsula in the foreground standing high, along the waters edge, small boat buildings and above, up the windy steps, huge houses nestle in the bush, the wealthy cats must hang out there.
Cronulla, last stop on the line, this train terminates. It’s a blistering hot day but the cool breeze is blowing off the sea to the station and we follow our noses to the beach, past a hardcore record shop where skaters hang out outside listening to the music blasting away, what more could you want? It briefly reminded me of Black Flag coming from Redondo Beach, but with a blink my mind was captured by the sight of the beach, beautiful warm yellow sand in a tiny cove lined by slippery slimy rocks which went off one way round the corner and out of sight and the other leading to the main beach, apparently the longest stretch of sand in the area.
We walked round, past ocean baths, swimming pools built into the rocks and watered by the ocean, a safe swim and if you go to the ocean edge of the pool the wave will bash up against the side and over your head. We carried on, to our left, blocks of flats towered on the small cliff but trailed off as we walked round the corner and the sand started again. We laughed and played like kids in the sand and remembered the times we used to go down to the beach after work, with John, when we lived in England, it being a similar time of day (despite the lateness the sun was still high and hot).
We ventured into the water, very slowly, it was freezing to our little hot bodies, slowly letting it envelope us, but after a few metres the waves became bigger and we didn’t have much choice about getting wet. Once in though it began to feel warm, our bodies adjusting. We watched the other kids body surfing, catching a wave and swimming with it and we attempted to imitate them with little success at first but after a while I caught a wave and frightened myself as I was riding this wave, my head was in front of it and all I could see in front of me was bare sand, no water! I was flying along about two feet above the ground, but the wave broke and cushioned my fall to the sand and I got up, huge grin and back out to try it again.
The next time though we were both stood awkwardly and we got dumped, I went under for about five seconds and all I could see was the white wave all around me, when will I come up!? I found Broni and she got hit bad, dragged along the sand on her back and tumbled into a somersault, she retired hurt and slightly embarrassed, but it did make us realise the power of the water.
I went back in and the waves grew stronger and stronger, one minute the water was knocking round your ankles, the next it was too deep to touch the bottom, big waves which we would never see in England, I managed a couple more rides before getting out and drying in the sun as it slowly set over the other side of Australia.