A Sandy Beach Almanac

You've landed at Sandy Beach, NSW, Australia: Lat. -30.15331, Long. 153.19960, UT +10:00 – local map & zoom Google map. I live in a cabin on this beach, 25 kilometres north of the traffic and shops of Coffs Harbour, 600 km north of Sydney. My intention is to post observations of Nature and life within 1 km (1,000 paces) of my South Pacific home.


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Friday, January 07, 2005

My desk smells like a fish market

And that's one of my favourite smells in the whole world. When life from the sea is fresh, nothing can beat the fragrance, to my mind.

The seaweed in this picture is fresh from the water's edge, still wet. The white one is a beautiful, feathery creation, like an expensive, ferny lace. See that one I'm holding? Little glistening beads like a rose quartz necklace. That's it in the picture below, too.

The wind has shifted (see the weather report in the sidebar, although of courseit will have changed by the time you do). As I write, it's about 28kph and from the SSE -- the South-south-east -- and that means it's blowing briskly, but as it's 26 degrees in temp, my stroll was gorgeous.

The SSE breeze, or anything with an 'E' in it, means it's coming off the South Pacific, or, more precisely, the Tasman Sea, which is the south-western segment of the South Pacific Ocean that laps on Sandy Beach. And when the wind comes offshore from the east, especially after a period of onshore breezes such as we've been having, it brings with it all sorts of fascinating things that wash up on the sand and rocks. Lots of seaweed today. Most obviously, kelp, which grows amidst the plate coral beds and other marine environments in this area, attracting all sorts of creatures, such as the protected marine turtles.

The beach has a touch of that nice fish market aroma today, but in a couple of days it might not be so fresh, especially if you get close to the kelp. It's not so much the seaweed that's responsible, however. That tends to dry out in the sun and sand, much like a beachcomber's skin. The real reason for the rich pong of two-day-old kelp is the little barnacles and other creatures rotting. And on that pleasant note, I'll sign off for today.

(Yes, I'll take the seaweed outside. The fresh seafood fragrance is already starting to go off like a bucket of prawns in the hot sun -- it doesn't take long in this climate. Just visit any primary school classroom in summer and you'll get the idea.)


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