Another glorious winter Sunday, J in search of geological certainties, specifically the identification of gabbro-diorite, I idling along companionably. While he chips at boulders between Coila Lake and the beach with his geological hammer, I walk the edge of the lake, drawing in the mountains in the distance; a pair of plump pied oyster catchers; prickly sand plants, red and green succulents, and thin straps of dried weed; and its slightly mucky edge with a thick outline of foam; . I note a sign pointing to the Dreaming Track and conceive a future walk along the 5 kilometres to Bingie Headland.
Then we head, of course, for more rocks, along the sand bar, which has already taken the print of many feet, avian and human. Coila Lake is an ICOLL (Intermittently Closed and Open Lakes and Lagoons), like many along this coast. It’s astonishing to think that not all that long ago (and I’m not talking geological time) the sea was rushing into the lake and that the monster sandbar has formed again since then.
Shells gleam in heaps, thicker than last week’s scattering on a beach south of here, which I claimed then to be unique.
I sit on a convenient rock, feet dangling, and note the patterns: plaits, circles, square boxes, bubbles, clefts, intrusions. and the blue sea behind..
Tuross is noted for its Norfolk pines, and we walk through a grove of them, past a war memorial and the inevitable challenged lone pine from Gallipoli, that foundation place of an Australian myth. I no longer regard the pines as invaders: pollen analysis identifies their presence in Gondwana rainforest, as it adapted to a drying-out climate.
We descend onto the rocks of Plantation Beach, through grass and along sandy pathways and look down the coast to the pine trees of Potato Point, Gulaga lounging on the horizon. The rocks here, whatever they’re made of, have straight lines of pinkish rhyolite striping through, straight and parallel. We have been preceded by a professional geologist, David Blake who died in a cycling accident after a stellar career investigating rocks in Iceland, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and central and northern Australia. His memorial plaque is accompanied by a ten cent piece, a geologist’s way of identifying scale.
Then it’s back to Coila Lake, a bit further round the shoreline, where you can look towards the sandbar where this morning’s adventure began.