February – Bateman’s Bay

We drove to the beach and threw ourselves into the murky, muddy ocean. The sky was thick with mist and haze, the air almost as murky as the water. The sand was like clay and the shoreline was dotted with stones. It was a strange beach but it was nice. Katie and I went to Bateman’s Bay the weekend after Heywire primary because I needed to be in the ocean, murky or otherwise. It made me miss home a little, and the crystalline perfectwater I’d spent summer in but the salt penetrated my sinuses and made some attempt at attacking the lingering cold I’d come down with mid-Summit. I needed the ocean.

We ate fish and chips down by the water, with little boats bobbing nearby. I bought Katie a scallop/potato cake because they don’t have them in WA? She got angry because it was just a circle of smashed up potato and I had to explain that the salty blandness was the whole appeal. She didn’t get it. I didn’t mind.

For dinner we ate Thai in bed in a lovely bed and breakfast on top of a hill. We drank a bottle of pink wine and stayed up too late and talked too much. It was cathartic but exhausting. I think perhaps there are two kinds of long distance friendship. There are the kinds when you see each other face-to-face and it feels like you were never apart and for those brief days it seems like you see each other all the time, like this is how it always is. And then there are the friendship where, in person you feel the full weight of the distance and the time that’s separated you, and you cram every missed moment into a few brief days, covering everything, all at once.

In the morning we went to the ocean again. Tall strange islands loomed through the mist and the rocky shore was buffeted by waves. I made Katie walk along the shore with me. “We can paddle,” I said. She insisted that “paddling” means swimming and I had to explain that it means walking in the water up to your knees. I let the waves wash up my thighs as high as I could without actually getting in and it was quiet and spooky and good.
In high school I had an argument with a friend who insisted there was no point going to the beach if it wasn’t sunny. What was the point, she said, if it was too cold to swim? Ignoring the fact that it is never too cold to swim if you’re in NSW, I passionately defended the joys of chilly, blustery beaches. There are few things more romantic than trekking through windswept coastal heath or walking along a misty, rocky beach.

There’s a beauty in gothic beaches and opaque, murky waves. There’s a beauty in a dense, overwhelming weekend like the one Katie and I spent in Bateman’s Bay, that compresses months of friendship into hours.

My goal for 2017 is to go somewhere every month. 
Preferably out of the city. Preferably to spend time with people I love.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year