A very different walk this time, not along the beach but along a bush track above the ocean, at least to begin with. Geologically, we were in search of basalt, silcrete and sandstone.
Sometimes the track was close to the water. We dropped over the edge briefly, to what appeared to be our first sighting of sandstone. In this new geological world, we lack all certainty, unless we have a named photograph of that particular rock formation.
An echidna made its way across in front of us, snout seeking out ants. It decided we were neither ants nor very interesting and pushed itself into the bank, presenting its rear end with neatly arranged gold-tipped quills for our inspection.
We finally followed, for once, an easy track down to the beach. We began by exploring a dry creek bed. There we found strange formations of rocks arranged almost like a freestone wall. We puzzled over them until we saw one with a chunk out of it, leaving shiny smooth fine grained black: almost certainly basalt. We were far less certain about the crumbly lower levels, with rounded rocks poking out.
Then we walked along the beach to rocks normally covered but now revealed because the sand has been cut away dramatically by high seas. They were puzzling. Some were obviously basalt, chipped away to a smooth black edge. Others were pocked right through. One presumably rogue piece, an escapee from somewhere else, looked like layered marble – if not rogue, then completely mystifying.
The rock platform, backed by bush partially hiding similar formations to those in the creek, was black basalt, lava flow in the Middle Oligocene Age, 28 million years ago (if we've read our notes correctly.)
We left the beach, and came to a headland giving us a spectacular view down the coast beyond Meringo towards Mullimburra and Cathedral Rocks. J found what he was sure were odd pieces of silcrete, some of them possibly shaped by Aboriginal tool makers. At pretty well the same place we saw signs of colonial occupation: an old post and rail fence, meticulous in its rough craftsmanship. We followed it to our end point, Meringo Lagoon, without finding either absolute geological certainty or the silcrete quarry that lies somewhere along the dreaming track.
As we headed back along the track to the car I spotted the climax of a diverse walk: a tall elegant orchid, with perfect flowers and very long sepals, against the background of the sea: Diuris punctata or the purple donkey orchid.
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