Saturday, December 25, 2010


(Bondi on Christmas morning, taken with K's iphone - there's Santa standing next to the coloured umbrella near the blue shelter - you'll need a few clicks)

It has been years since I've been in the sea. We were in the city for Christmas and woke early - early enough to give the dogs a long run in the park and the streets still looked deserted as we cruised around looking for a decent cup of coffee. The air was hardly moving but quite clean and the warmth of the sun was palpable, and yet it wasn't really hot. Some days the early heat betrays what the day will be like and that's too hot, too burning to stay outside. But today there was a welcoming seductive warmth and we found ourselves, almost magnetically, driving down Bondi Road. Lets check the beach K had said as the car was already well on its way there.

There's that sweep left at the end of the road as the sea comes into view and the sky meets the horizon, electric sky blue over deep green sea. And the sand glares white at you. Bondi doesn't look half bad. The parade is dressed with an impressive line of palms, the grassy slopes are still nicely green and the height restrictions have worked - not only are there no tall blocks, but the buildings that are there are the ones that have always been there. Stunted as if by the salt spray. Everything the same, without much grunge, shining in the morning sun.

It was meant to be a drive by, except we found a park in the spot where we always used to park, had rummaged through the boot for togs and towels, and were leaning on the promenade rail in minutes. It was absolutely stunning in every sense - sight of course, but the sound of the waves and the smell in your nose and the feel of the concrete and grit under your feet before they sink into the finest sand in the world. It's the sand at Bondi alone that elevates it into a class of its own.

Whether Christmas morning or not, there was goodwill about. Happy happy. Families, singles, couples, tourists, all ages, all sizes and all colours. And far from crowded, at least not yet. We dropped our things near the red and yellow sufboard and walked through that strange mix at the water's edge - some going in, slowly; some running out, hair wet, cosies clinging, faces beaming; some standing ankle deep talking; some walking; the odd careful jogger; children sitting beneath parents in the wet sand - until you felt that first sting of wet cold on your legs.

I takes me about five waves to make it in - no, I'm not a runner diver. You just have to keep going, turning sideways into each wave, and by wave four I'm wet waist down and wanting to leave, until wave five leaves no option but to dive under it. You're in. Tingling all over. Foam is all around, bubbling frothy salty foam which dissolves and clears and now you can see how green and clear the water is. Look sideways, left right, look back to shore, see who's out further, get ready here it comes, dive under again, come up through the foam, look sideways....

And again there's that wonderful feeling of being together with all these people you don't know but with whom you are now sharing one of life's greatest pleasures - going back to the sea.


Smorg said...

Hear. Hear! Happy Christmas and 2011 to you and yours indeed. Thanks for spreading the good will around! ;o)

wanderer said...

Greetings Smorg and all the best for Christmas and 2011 to you all. Happy days.