If you head out from Potato Point, and drive down the coast highway between Sydney and Melbourne for about 20 km, you come to a turnoff onto a dirt road winding through the bush. You drive beside Nangudga Lake till you reach a car park and picnic area. If you cross the grass to the rippled sand, you can follow the lake, gleaming clear and crystomint green, to the rocks fanging at the outlet to the sea. Across the curling waves, Baranguba lies lounging and long on the horizon. Behind the beach the dunes are low and grassed and bushy.
I have a conversation with a fisherman, laconic as such conversations usually are.
Me: Any luck?
Him: One salmon.
Me: A good feed.
A bit further along, I begin the same conversation with a woman on a deck chair, fishing rod between her knees.
Me: Any luck?
Her: I’m not really trying to catch anything. I’m just enjoying the sea and the sun. The rod’s just to please him. (indicating the salmon-catcher.)
I walk back down to the waterline and the hard sand. At the rocks, I encounter a conundrum. Where does a beach end? Usually the end is clearly marked by indubitable cliffage, and rocks that go under at high tide. At these rocks, the beach just seems to continue, but my beach bible (Beaches of Batemans Bay and the Eurobodalla Coast) calls the next stretch of sand to the north Nangudga Beach, which means I’ll need to return for another explore.
I head for the shade of the road, which is edged by casuarinas and banksias in yellow flower. Two sea eagles take off from a skeleton tree as I move towards them. When I return to the car, I find about twenty people picnicking in style, and two young Aboriginal men looking into the lake as if they had plans to catch something.