A few blocks from us a bridge crosses the lake. The lake does a sweeping bend and then heads out to sea. A few years ago the council dredged the area of the lake around the bridge and completely farked it so now there is more sand build up than ever.Â
For children however, it is heaven. You can now play in the crystal clear waters of the lake (us yocals know you don’t swim in the days following rain or if its mouth is blocked off from the ocean – pelican itch you see) – swimming and tootling around in water only shoulder deep on bigger kids.
Every day during summer there are children down here. Playing in the sand, splashing around in the water.
During the holidays it is at its height, the caravan park just across the bridge packed with people from out-of-town. You can pick them – they’re the ones with accessories – beach chairs, those shade thingies, eskis. You know the drill.
We have been down there a few times already these holidays and I can’t help but breath it all in. The happiness of it all. How carefree we all are, at least for that moment when the kids are splashing and chasing schools of baby bream, whiting and flathead.
When the cool of the water and the warmth of the sun make everything else disappear.
The other day we saw a massive crab – as in two hand-spans long – scuttle through the water, sniping at the guys trying to catch it. We drifted with the current and counted little crabs scurrying among the oysters on the embankment. We found a sea dragon! Thin as a reed but with a head like a dragon and a forked tail.
Several months ago I finally discovered a company making fantastic glasses which were funky while not breaking the bank. With the A$ at parity with the US$ I was in action. Then it took a little while for my friends in the US to get them in the post to me here.
Guess what arrived today (along with Butterfinger Christmas Bells and Reeses Christmas Bells – nomnomnom):
Please also note the decided reduction in chins, partially due to angle and largely due to running my chins off!
This is the second photo where even I can notice the difference. Tres exciting and enough incentive to keep me going.
See the hair? It’s wet. We’ve been at the beach this morning and the children not killing each other theme has continued.
I knew it would get better as the boys got older, but going to the beach – all 100 metres away that it is – is SO.MUCH.EASIER as each year passes.
In the last week three children, the eldest with severe autism, were orphaned after their mum went into the surf to help two of them in trouble. She got the kids out but then got into trouble herself. So the dad went in to help his wife and the mother of his three children. The two of them drowned in a rip on one of the many stunning but unpatrolled beaches of Australia.
Yesterday another dad drowned in a rip after going in to help his two sons and their friend who had got in trouble.
People, the beach in all its stunning beauty is a mighty dangerous place to be if you do not understand what it is capable of. Even I was stunned to read this morning that our beach is rated a 7 out of 10 in terms of hazard. Dudes, the beach in which we frolic is regarded as highly hazardous.
Basically every beach has a rip. It’s not a tide, it won’t pull you under, it’s a current that pulls all the water that’s come into the beach back out again. Some beaches have several permanent rips, where the beach is between two headlands there will pretty much always be a rip at one or other or both of the headlands.
They’re sneaky buggers because a rip looks like the safest place to swim as there are less breaking waves.
If you are holidaying somewhere on the coast where the beaches are not patrolled the advice is not to go in. Easier said than done when you’re away and holidaying during the height of the Australian summer. That’s some sort of Coleridgian water water everywhere but not a drop to swim in kinda sentiment that is just not going to wash with many. SO, get yourself to a high point, survey the beach and work out where the rips are and avoid them.
The Rip Currents website has everything you need to know including a five point survival plan for when you get stuck in a rip here. The key is to not panic and to swim parallel to the beach. Do NOT try to swim against the current. You’ll get tired and start to freak out.
Also, just take a few minutes to watch this:
Enough kids have been orphaned by natural disasters in the last few weeks. We’ve made the boys watch this video a few times now and the bigger boys school had the guy in the video come and talk to the kids about the science of the surf.