The musical accompaniment to Honeymoon Beach one Saturday in November is the sound of the ocean and the ear-drilling shrilling of cicadas, that sound of summer and exams.
I walk down a track to the cosy beach, both headlands curling round to embrace it. A burly man is body-surfing, towel draped over a rounded rock, and offshore a couple of men in a tinny are trying to catch breakfast. It’s a few beaches up from Bingi Bingi where we’ve spent the last two weekends, and we’re hopeful that what we see here geologically will confirm what we learnt there.
The southern rock platform has been doused by the receding tide, but is oddly unslippery. Six dykes cut across it close to shore, of not immediately identifiable rock, a light browny colour between the darker rock into which it has long since intruded.
J does a daunting clamber to get further, and I decide to look for a track across the grassy headland. It’s not easy to find and I’m going higher and higher, so I abort and amble along the beach to the north. I pass an outcrop of rectangular columns and squarish chunks, honeycombed in places, with ledges and human-added piles of grey pebbles and elegant driftwood.
I expect to find more of the same at the other end. I’m in for a surprise.
Everywhere, embedded in rough-textured brownish rock, are dark ovoid shapes. What in the history of the earth has happened here?
I move beyond the first astonishing sight, heading towards the castellations at the end of the beach. I looking at a slanting reddish rockface, and decide I want to go up it. There are plenty of footholds and I sidle past coastal rosemary onto a sandy track where all I need to do is keep an eye open for snakes and make sure I don’t become foot-entangled in grass. Then I’m high above the sea, looking down on pools surfaced with Neptune’s beads and an easily accessible cove, which I leave for the next day when I see J hovering near the car.
On Sunday, we return and do indeed move around the rocks to the north, after restartlement by those rounded rocks. As always, what looked like easy access to the next beach turns out to be a number of rocky ridges poking out into the ocean. I negotiate the first one, feeling very pleased with my new-found steady-feet, and sit in contemplation while J, again, ventures on. Sea grasses swirl with each roll of the waves, distant figures walk along next week’s beach, and sharp edges have me moving in search of a less uncomfortable perch.
I’m so proud of my clambering I actually commission J to document my descent of the slant-rock back to Honeymoon Beach: not quite Everest, but something I could not have done a month ago.