beach

A walk along Surf Beach – with shell

I’ve been enjoying another relaxing few days at Phillip Island, where beauty and inspiration abound.

This morning I took a walk at low tide along the south coast section of the island known as “Surf Beach” to Forrest Caves. With this week’s WordPress photo challenge theme of SCALE in mind, I picked up a shell and experimented a little with the different beach backdrops. These are taken on an iPhone 4S, so the depth of focus isn’t so good unfortunately.

Then I came across the following rocky formation, which reminded me of a miniature version of those ancient villages that exist in some parts of the world. I rather wished I had one of my D&D miniatures to place into the scene…

village

The caves themselves were beautiful too. Maybe a bit damp at high tide, though, so I don’t suppose they’d be any good for camping.

forrest caves

Forrest Caves – Phillip Island

It was fun to explore a new part of the island — after 8 years, I still had not made it down to Surf Beach and Forrest Caves. There’s always something new to discover.

Twinkle twinkle at the beach

‘Tis the season for twinkling. In Australia that often means sun and the sea. We love our Christmases at the beach. I know we’re not quite there yet (can it only be 12 days until Christmas?), but here’s my take on TWINKLE for this week’s photo challenge.

This is the photo I immediately thought of when I saw the theme. I took it last year with my iPhone 4S. It shows the boat ramp for Cowes yacht club (Phillip Island) in the late afternoon.

I particularly love the texture of the rough weathered wood and the glint of light on the rusted nails and bolts. One of the better photos this amateur has ever taken!

Sunday journal ~ time out at Phillip Island

Winter sun. Wind. Waves.

Words.

beach near watt pt

Beach near Watt Point, Phillip Island

Phillip Island in winter is quiet, serene, beautiful. With the blessing of a clear weekend, I hightailed down to the island this past weekend for some much-needed R&R and time alone with my WIP. It turned out to be one of the most relaxing and joyous weekends I’ve ever spent down there.

One of the lovely things about my current self-employment status is the flexibility. So I headed down on Thursday night and spent Friday morning working from the island, tethered to my phone. (Gotta love modern technology.) Somehow even working down at the island seemed relaxing.

After that, the rest of Friday and the weekend was mine to do with as I wished. I hung out in the cafe for brunch with the WIP (Rumbles Cafe and Bar), kept the fire roaring, and maintained a steady intake of coffee, wine and chocolate. And some healthy food as well.

speke4

Wreck of SS Speke (1906), Watt Point, Phillip Island

On Saturday morning I revisited the wreck of the SS Speke (1906). As I mentioned in a recent photo challenge post (Relic), I first visited the Speke years ago and I hadn’t been back — but WHY? I’m now asking myself. The rusting fragments of hull are washed up on the rocks in a fairly secluded cove… at this time of year, I did not see one soul as I trekked over the headland, down onto the beach and clambered all over the wreck.

Then I wandered along the deserted beach to the next cove, all pristine sand and crystal blue water, and saw nary a soul there either.

Writing-wise, I got a fair bit done — although I also managed some downtime as well. I think I tend to get a bit obsessed with being ‘productive’ all the time, needing to feel as though I’m making every hour count for something.

Yet it’s good sometimes to do nothing at all. On Saturday afternoon I let two hours slide by, and I have no idea at all what I was doing. Just sitting on the couch. Mulling. Dreaming. Relaxing.

It really was such a lovely weekend.

***

In other events of the past couple of weeks, I took my niece and nephew to see he movie How to train your dragon 2, which was a lot of fun. I really like some of the incidental dialogue in those movies — in this one, there’s a lovely scene between Hiccup and Astrid near the beginning, which illustrates their relationship brilliantly.

Another small thing that stood out for me was the way they deal with Hiccup’s — the hero — prosthetic foot. It’s not over-dramatised; it simply is. A great acknowledgement of disability and diversity.

And the animation of Toothless, Hiccup’s dragon. He is so adorable and totally the star of the show. Really reminds me of my devilcat.

I was intending to write a full post about the movie, it being fantasy and all, but it doesn’t look I’m going to get to it. Suffice to say I enjoyed it a lot. The story is much bigger and more serious than in the first movie, and I think they did a pretty good job.

The beachfront beckons

Melbourne on a Spring evening, viewed from Elwood.

Here in Melbourne, Australia, Spring is well underway after a miserable, wet Winter. As the days lengthen and the evenings grow warmer, the temptation to venture out into the evening is strong. Beckoned by the balmy air and lingering sunshine, I find myself donning track-pants and runners and heading down the driveway.

I’m lucky enough to live only a couple of kilometres from the beach, so it’s little effort to head for the beachfront, especially if I’m accompanied by one of my friends so I can combine conversation with my constitutional.

The above photo of Melbourne was taken on Monday this week as we paced along the beachfront path through the southern suburb of Elwood. I’ve walked this way many times, but I don’t think I’d ever before stopped to notice — or appreciate — this view of the city. The evening light was hitting the buildings just so, and with the waters of Port Phillip Bay in the foreground it looked particularly lovely.

I find evening walks ideal for unwinding after a long day at work — much better than staring at the TV in a stupour. Fresh air and exercise are one of the best things to get those creative juices flowing. And views of the beach — the choppy water, the waves, the sand, the gulls, even the old-ish stone wall — definitely feed the muse.

Evening walks along the beachfront is my inspiration of the week. Who else finds the coast fires their soul?

The beach has many faces

I’ve just returned from spending the Easter long weekend at our family holiday house down at Phillip Island. At least once every visit I like to walk into town (Cowes) along the beach for breakfast. And every time I make this little half-hour pilgrimage for coffee and eggs, I find myself marvelling at the many different faces of our beach.

The phrase “shifting sands” may be a cliche, but it is also true. Although our leisurely route takes us past familiar markers — concrete boat ramp… rocky outcrop and around the point… storm water drain by the camping ground… rickety timber boat ramp — each takes on a new and fascinating personality with every encounter.

Some days, the storm water drain has carved out a creek, requiring us to clamber up the grassy hill above where the pipes come out to avoid getting our feet wet.

The rocks on the point may be mostly covered, or standing proud in jagged relief. Sometimes, the timber boat ramp stands a metre above the sand, requiring a big step up and a heady jump down… or else the sand might have built right up to the platform so that we barely notice it’s there.

Sometimes the seaweed covers the beach like a fungal disease; other times the golden sand is pristine and clean.

Yet some facets of the beach are constant too. The seagulls usually flock around the water’s edges, while the endangered plovers patrol the beach in pairs to protect their nesting ground. The wild beach grasses thrust up through the sand in clumps. And always the waves roll in, incessant and irregular, relentless and timeless.

There is nothing quite like the continuously shifting beach landscape to remind us of the shear everyday beauty and power of nature. The winds and ocean tides swirl and pound and shape endessly — stamping their authority on the world irrespective of whether we witness it or not.

I love the beach for all these reasons, but often feel humbled by it too. What emotions does the beach inspire in you? Does the wild beauty of a remote beach appeal — or are you more likely to be found on a beach towel soaking up rays?