Australia

A Valentine’s Stroll on Coolum Beach


Happy Valentine’s Day! I wake early, Greg does not.

I head to the beach at about 6:30, and there are more people on it than there were yesterday afternoon – which means there are no more than 30. They are walking, running, fishing.

Early morning on the beach

At this point, we have finally passed the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The reef starts north of the tip of Cape York, the northernmost point in Australia, and ends about 150 kilometres south of Rockhampton. There are two immediately obvious consequences from being south: there are surf beaches, and the water is cooler, so there are no stingers to paralyze you.

We have promised ourselves a beach day, and that is what we have. We spend the day gloriously, alternating between lying on the beach and body surfing. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is, in my view, as relaxing as lying on a beach on a hot, hot day, listening to the crashing waves. This could be a place to come back to again and again.

Body surfing the day away

Greg is snoozing on the beach, and I go for a long walk, walking in the surf. All of a sudden I realize that I am surrounded by life. Crabs are scurrying sideways, and there are hundreds of clams rolling in the surf. I have never seen this before and watch with amazement as the clams open their shells by just a fraction, stick out their foot, pull themselves upright and burrow into the sand. And after a few seconds, they start spitting, shooting little streams out of the sand. And then it happens again: a big wave exposes them, and the whole process is repeated, probably happening every 5 minutes or so. I ran back to Greg, and made him come and watch too. It only seems to work if the clams are uncovered by the wave – we used our feet to expose a few, and they just sat there on the beach, doing nothing. We then moved them down so they would be in the next wave that rolled up, and sure enough, out came the little foot, upright they went, and then they were gone.

We celebrate Valentine’s Day with another wonderful home cooked dinner and bottle of merlot. We are very much appreciating cooking for ourselves after almost a month of restaurant food. Then we go back to the beach and walk. Again there is no moon, but tonight the sky is partly cloudy; although some stars are visible through the clouds, it is not a night for stargazing.

Being Valentine’s Day Night, the beach is full of couples strolling. This does not diminish our joy in walking in the surf, hand in hand.

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