Between Potato Point and Dalmeny is one of the longest beaches in the shire, the 7km long Dalmeny / Brou / Brush Beach, right on our doorstep, perfect for avoiding long stretches of the Christmas – New Year highway, and for providing J with a long walk on therapeutic sand.
On Saturday we park at Dalmeny, which is busy with tourists. In the camping area overlooking the beach men lounge in chairs, wearing only shorts, beer in one hand, mobile phone in the other. The lake crossing looks easy so we pad barefooted along grass to the stairs. We’re suddenly confronted by rocks, some home to oyster shells, and then a crossing with deep sand, in which I sink up to my knees. Since I’m carrying camera and shoulder bag, I seek J’s hand for balance, and we’re suddenly the recipients of “help the geriatrics” kindness. On the beach there are flags, unusual on our beaches, and a lifesaver’s kayak lying ready. People lounge about reading and acquiring skin cancer. Soon we’re past the crowds, walking an empty expanse of sand, at the other end of which we can see the Norfolk pines on the headland at Potato Point. I don’t take many photos, and post-process them in search of moodiness.
If you’re interested in Aboriginal memories of camping around the lake that enters the sea, the one that swallowed me up to my knee, read here.
On Sunday we decide to access the beach from the centre. We take the turnoff to Brou tip, and continue past it through gravel bed country and over savage corrugations which, combined with my driving, shake the bejesus out of the car. We pass the turnoff to Brou Lake and the spotted gum camping area, and find ourselves at the place where I used to picnic and explore on the way home from volunteering at Little Yuin preschool. At the foot of the stairs are creamy smooth rocks surrounded by pools of water, residue of the sea.
Despite a background hint of pink and orange, this does nothing to prepare us for the shock of colour that greets us as we head north.
This spectacular cliffage is 3 km from home if you walk along the beach, and yet “we’ve never seen it before”. This is becoming something of a refrain.
For Aboriginal memories of camping near Brou Lake, just north of where our stroll ended you can read this.