It seemed no matter how you braced yourself the torrent of air was just as determined to push you back. Try as one may, holding the camera/phone steady was bordering on impossible. I found a place to sit down, offered less wind resistance, bent over a little. Still the lens was twisting in my grasp.
Meanwhile, the sea below was in turmoil. The forecast big swell was trying to push the land over but the defiant conglomerate sent it in different directions. It was polygamous in its intentions, wherever there was a hole or crack it probed violently, at times roaring skyward with a frightening loud whoosh just below me.
Two headlands away, a few people on Snapper Point were watching the pounding seas as others strolled past. Further over is a notorious spot for rock fishermen; at one point 17 died in 7 years, although two were a bit quirky; one slipped and hit his head on a rock while another fell in the water while trying to take a discreet toilet break. It’s also a fact that most who’ve perished have been of Asian derivation, possibly unaware of just how dangerous the ocean can be.
Between Snapper Point and the next, unnamed, headland there’s Snapper Point Blowhole where pebbles were mined in the late ‘70s and a female Asian student’s body was recovered just a few years ago. At low tide, in calm seas, it can also be reached, though there have been rescues from here as well. Today the swell fills most of the cave and kawoomps back out as it hits the back walls.
I’d started over that side, briefly shooting where I’d been yesterday, but this time I opted for Bongon Head, one further north of the unnamed one and hardly ever visited, though a narrow track, overgrown with hardy windswept vegetation constantly brushing at your ankles, winds a twisted path towards the ocean,.
Looking north you can see Ghosties in the distance and its sand spit where, in the right conditions, an excellent surf wave can be had, while a little closer there are invisible caves sought out by adventurous souls at low tide on calm days.
It’s a tortured coast, but mesmerizing in a big sea, and today I was succumbing to its hypnotic effect. The constant irregular smashing of waves in all directions and the punishing roar demands your constant attention. A large swell wrecks itself on the point and spume reaches for the sky carrying the fine salt spray that drifts into my face, spurred on by the relentless southerly buster.
The salt water channels through a hole it’s blasted previously through the conglomerate, ever seeking to enlarge it before the rock merely becomes a pile of pebbles that make traversing these cliffs a dangerous pursuit if your feet roll on a couple of loose ones. Elsewhere, clefts in the cliff lead the breaking waves upwards, spewing towards the sky before succumbing to gravity in a shower of foam. The energy of the spent waves creates a turbulent washing machine effect as the water seeks to escape the narrow passages before the onrush of the next roller.
A shadow crossed over beside me. I didn’t have to look up to see what had caused it. A white bellied sea eagle had been around earlier, soaring upwards on the turbulence to gain the height advantage over its prey but it was so much quicker than normal. A small seal bobbed up just off the rocks and just as quickly disappeared. This was nature at its best and I loved it, despite the challenging conditions. It was one of those special days that you never forget.