Wednesday 26 August 2020
Photos courtesy of Lesley
Strange as it may seem for a relatively short local walk, Lesley’s stroll around the Cullendulla beach and boardwalk was a delight. Perhaps like a little food to a starving person, the pleasure of joining a group of friends for a walk and talk after so much absence made it sparkle for me.
The first surprise came as we walked onto the beach. Masses of ash and debris lay piled at the high tide mark, including stumps of large trees; reminders of fires & floods, with the water still brown, carrying brown-stained foam from the reaction of fresh and salt water churned by rough seas.
Then our eyes were drawn to the sparkling jewels of thousands of shells, with the population dominated by pippies of all sizes and colours. As we walked along, a greater variety appeared, with grim dark mussel and cone shells, brighter clam and delicately patterned snail, large abalone and river oyster, whelks and conches of many sizes and colours jostled for room on the crowded sand. The stand-outs to my eyes were the little scallop shells sparkling like bright gold in the morning sun, a few rare “razor clams” and the long thin shells of tube worms (known by kids as “finger nails”).
I could not resist collecting some of each species, and the group patiently indulged my childish delight. A harmony of tinkles added to the sensual pleasure, as many shells were rolled in the small waves. I could have spent hours looking through this treasure trove, as I haven’t seen such variety of sea shells for decades – easily over a dozen species.
We left the beach to join the boardwalk, meandering through forest with a large pond beside, until we came to the abrupt change from casuarina to mangrove. Then Heather quickly spotted delicate sprays of rat-tail orchids in flower, pointing them out as we went along. Back on the beach my eyes were everywhere, hoping to add another species to my collection, and then an easy walk back to the cars. In all, a very pleasant experience.