The sun was declining as we arrived at Morgans Beach, a sandy strip looked over by a steep dune just north of Cape Jervis.
In the lee of the car we struck fire to cook the evenings meal. Conversations sparking up here and there intruded upon by swirling smoke.
As the night dug itself in we settled into swags and the lulling lap of sea.
The morning broke bright and so did I. With cliff top occupying my gaze and the knowledge that I would spend the day exploring the coastline to the north I was eager to get into it.
Our group divided itself into walkers and kayakers. As they took to the water we trudged upwards through the thick sand to the birds eye view above the beach. From here we followed the rise and fall between hilltop and beach, making our own track over rarely visited headland. Limp, rusty fence lines with fading threats to trespassers segmented the landscape here and there. In our wayfinding we looked for least resistance following the contours of the gold-grass hills its seeds gathering in our socks and our eyes skinned for lurking snakes.
At times we were above the cliffs with tumbling views down the to water. Here and there we caught glimpses of the kayakers nibbling at the coastline. Inland stood a strip of wind turbines, their fixed blades turning with mechanical grace but always outdone by the fine adjusting wings of kites and eagles, their eyes grazing for prey.
With the last of the turbines behind us we descended to “Investigate Bay” where perched on rocks we lunched and considered our return route. We elected to stay at sea level and see if it was possible to return to Morgan’s entirely by the waters edge. The tide was out and with time stashed up a sleeve our hands were free to scramble and hop a return route over the rocks. We moved swiftly, occasionally slowing to wade through or spider above where the sea had swallowed dry land, until we came to a pebbly beach and a gap in the rocks too big to cross.
We assessed our options, which narrowed to scrambling upwards on loose ground to an unknown above or return via the way we came. We took both options and paired off on opposite courses. Iain and Lennart vertically to the turbines and Shane and I on the horizontal return to Investigate Bay. Initially I had marked a possible return from the bay via one of the creeks that pinched the hills together but thinking we might re-unite with the others we ascended to the turbines. There is something monolithically awesome about the turbines but in contrast to the time sculpted landscape upon which they stood their stature is greatly reduced. Looking north at the distant hills and rocky cliffs I marked a waypoint in my mind to explore further another time. With no sign of the others we headed south on the farm track uncertain if they had managed to scale the fragile hill face. On the road the going was swift and we soon had the hill above Morgan’s in our sights. Also in our sights were Lennart and Iain, distant figures descending the steep ridge the western sun doing likewise above them.
Shane and I skirted the hem of a wood lot passing stacked dams and electric fences and came out at a bay where we rested, ate chocolate and waited for the others. Boats of fishermen circled elusive fish, bbq smells drifting from their decks. No sign of the others, we climbed the final hill, (the one I had woken to in the morning) and gazed down on our camp.
Tresh was tending the fire, gathering heat for the billy, wet suits were drying on bonnets and his smile indicated a satisfying day playing with the water. Over the radio the cricket announcers assured us that Australia was well on top in the first ashes test. The day had ended well for all. Our group was reunited and the tales of our exploring shared out. (Ewan)