SEPTEMBER ON THE BEACHES

A Little Pause

There’s been a delay in posting because of visitors, learning about beekeeping and preparing a beehive, travel about the state and trying to get my first issue of a local newsletter to the printer on time. But while it may seem I’m making my way excruciatingly slowly down the Western shore of the Derwent Estuary, I did in fact reach Piersons Point much earlier this year and so I’m playing catch up on this blog.

While writing, I’ve walked some beaches down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and on the South Arm Peninsula.

I can also report that from Cockle Creek to Couta Rocks the boobiala has been in brilliant yellow blossom. Epacrids and cyathodes have also been adding colour to the coastal landscape. There are a diverse range of sponges washing up on the Cowrie Point beaches and while the sand at Robbins Passage seems pale at first glance, a little digging reveals black sand lies just beneath those beautiful ripple marks the outgoing tide leaves far behind. The surf was big at Marrawah and at Mt Cameron West, a place I’ve long wanted to visit, we acquisced to aboriginal requests not to take dogs in, and we turned back.

This month I also got to know the sandhoppers at Sarah Ann Rocks (West Coast) far more intimately than I’d ever anticipated. If any beach was aptly named its Sarah Ann. That sand is rocking and hopping beneath your feet and unless you go digging you would probably never know.

The plover that gave me an in the face warning that I was not welcome on Red Chapel beach (see my last post) also  gave me reason to pause and think a little.  I phoned the Parks and Wildlife Service to report the broken gate but more than that, as a person who has long bewailed the dog apartheid on many of Tasmania’s beaches my walking has led me to the conclusion that during the prime breeding months in spring, we should all be avoiding the beaches, ceding tenure to the birds, so that they can enjoy their parenting without abandoning nests or succumbing to anxiety and alarm. After all, it’s we, not our dogs who are the most menacing of species and with the dunes eroding on many beaches, it’s a hard call for nesting birds to simply find a spot to lay an egg.

This is why over the next few months I’m exchanging my walking shoes for my bicycle. I’m hopping in my kayak and I’m hoisting my sails.  Walking, developing an intimacy with landscape, paying attention to it and asking questions of it has been exhilarating and has expanded my thinking but now I’m curious to experience small adventures out on the water.


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