At first I thought to myself: you know you're old when you prefer looking at marine life along a cliff walking trail to sunning on a trendy beach. Which is probably true but I've never really been one for trendy "see & be seen" places. So I wandered off the beaten path (or literally onto it) & it made my day.
All along the path are what I think are sandstone cliffs - they're smooth & solid & completely irregular & pockmarked, in all variations of tan/sand color. This one looked like a monkey face! (I took that for you, lu lu).
Unlike in America, Aussies seem to encourage exploration - all along the trail were breaks in the fence & even signs saying "if you touch the sea life, please out it back where you found it"! Back home it'd not only be fenced off but the sign would read "do not touch!" you better believe I took advantage of it.
Just outside Bondi, I walked out onto a rock ledge with thouands of pools of water; thousands of tiny ecosystems. I saw sea snails crawling around, little fish darting for safety, even one of those underwater Venus flytrap/anenome sorta things. There was even a tiny waterfall, which I, of course, stood under (only to realize later back on the trail that the source of the falls was covered in trash. Oh well, I won't die.)
A bit further along, there was an aboriginal rock carving/drawing of a whale with a fish inside it. Its hard to tell in the pic. there was a sign explaining it's from a myth of how the whale got its blowhole. Then I passed someones makeshift home junked together on the side of the cliff (pictured). Note the teddy bear. Weird.
Then came my absolutely favorite part, the place that turned my attitude around: MacKenzies Bay. None of my pictures do it justice. It was a steep drop from the trail to a flat, half-submerged group of rocks covered in seaweed, tiny shells, & crazy vegetation I've never seen. I wouldn't have gone down if there hadn't been a handful of people already enjoying it; even still I almost didn't - i hadn't yet completely shaken my cloudy mood. But thank God I did.
Pools of drinking-water clear water, ice cold even though shallow. Deeper tidal pools in brilliant aquamarine, lined with lush green grass-like seaweed. Inch tall cartoon trees or fuzzy towers of mossy green plants that seemed solid but squirted (spit?) water when stepped on. Areas of bright red seaweed & things I was afraid to step on. All the while, waves crashing over the rocks & swirling into the tidal pools.
It was so amazing & I felt like a curious, un-selfconcious 11 year old exploring it. To think: to some people, that's their local beach. So cool. People were jumping into the water but the current looked really strong so I stuck to wading.
I walked through & swam at so many beaches that were obviously only frequented by locals. It was great. I don't know why anyone would come to California beaches when you have water like this - clear, blue and full of life - at home.
In Bronte, there is a "Bogey Hole" which is a spot of ocean protected from the current by a natural rock barrier. Gorgeous clear water. Next to it is an "ocean bath" which is basically a pool filled with ocean water. I swam in both of them & saw the prettiest purple & yellow colored crab. I didn't have my camera on me but I watched it for a while.
Farther along the path is a massive cemetery right on the ocean.
After quite a few more beaches & cliffs & more stairs than I care to mention, I finally reached Coogee Beach. I'm not sure how many miles it is but it took me most of the day. To celebrate, I treated myself to the best fish n chips in Coogee, with lots of vinegar & salt and a Little Creatures Pale Ale (yup, ab, that was bc of the shirt you got me.) Yum.
The whole area reminded me of Montrey, CA. Similar foliage, the rock outcroppings & edge-of-the-world feel. Beautiful. What an unexpectedly great way to spend a day.
Today I am so grateful & happy for:
~ going where the locals go
~ being a dork who's into this stuff ;)
~ the joy really is in the journey