The tide was on the way out, much like summer. The sky was still blue, and the sand was still golden. The sea sparkled in the sun, but it was not the brilliant blue sparkle you might find earlier in the year, no, it was the green and silvery sparkle of a lower sun and an impending winter. There wasn’t the vibrant smug joy of summer, today there was a degree of melancholy at what we are losing. But at the same time there was also a feeling of gratitude for this lovely day at the beach.
Dozens of seagull floated on the water, from time to time ducking their heads into the water, some of the more energetic birds flapping their wings and lifting off a foot or two from the water, before plunging below the surface, coming up – if they were lucky – with a tasty morsel in their beaks. A bikini clad teenager and her boyfriend lay on the sand, shaded from the wind with its hint of winter chill. Toddlers paddled and played at the water’s edge, their mothers keeping a watchful eye. Mothers with younger children pushed their pushchairs (strollers) three abreast along the footpath at Oriental Bay, as the occasional mid-afternoon jogger ran by. An enthusiastic teenage boy swam out to the pontoon, but didn’t linger. A kayaker took off across the harbour, paddling vigorously. And a tall ship sailed in, majestic with its huge masts and sails.
And people of all ages sat on the benches along the edge of the beach, enjoying an ice-cream or gelato. Mine was passionfruit.