For a family that lives in a surf-town we are a bit of an anomaly given we don’t surf. Not that we have anything against surfing; Alex loves snorkelling and we’ve both tried surfing in the past, but we’re just not drawn to it. I’ll admit the idea of being up close and personal with sharks largely puts me off, but I am also nowhere near fit and strong enough to surf. Body surf? Yes, I can do that (in a clumsy fashion), but paddling out through the waves with a board and then catching waves and standing up and falling off and doing it over and over again? Not so keen.
Still, we are at the beach every other day and do “surf checks” just like the surfers do – except we are looking for exactly the opposite conditions to what they are seeking. Pumping waves and huge swells? No, thanks. Flat-as-a-tack ocean and low tide rock pools for the little ones to explore? Yes, please.
We found just those conditions last week on one of our regular late-afternoon beach trips and I’m so glad I took the camera along. Perfect light, perfect conditions for the little girls and just the best way to wind down after a hot day: Them, splashing in the shallows and climbing rocks. Me, photographing the beauty all around me.
Melli, she-of- boundless-energy, has already told me she wants to be a surfer, so at some point either Alex or I will have to give it another go – or at least enrol her for surfing lessons (enrol with her, in fact!). She’s a strong swimmer, so living this close to surfing beaches it’s inevitable she will surf. In the meantime we explore the edges, instructing the girls on the tides and currents, letting them feel the power of the ocean safely and get to know this coastal environment in ways other than with a board (yet).
They are learning about the cuttlefish and jellies washed up on the shore; little fishes in the shallow rock pools and crabs scuttling their way across the sand… learning to deeply love and feel an affinity with this natural world.
On this particular afternoon Alex explained how the rocks were formed and Melli’s eyes lit up at the mention of volcanoes. That last photo is of the two girls deep in play -pretending that each wave from the incoming tide is a surge of hot lava.
What a playground we have…
Have you been rock-pooling this summer?