This morning I took a walk down at the Breakwater at the small harbour on the edge of town. Although it’s only 5 minutes drive from my house I haven’t been down there for months.
The first thing I saw when I arrived was men exercising horses in the calm waters of Lady Bay behind the Breakwater. (the bay takes it name from the first documented ship to visit this region, the Lady Nelson which sailed along this southern coast of Australia in 1800.) I felt for a moment that I stepped back in time to those early days.
Walking on past them I took photos of the wider view –
The concrete Breakwater on the right hand side of the photo above was constructed in the 1880s to create a safe harbour and protection from the wild winter storms of the Southern Ocean. Prior to it’s construction at least 17 ships were wrecked in Lady Bay.
Just past the Breakwater are the strange domes that functioned as an aquarium from the 1970s to the 1990s. I didn’t live in the area then but have heard the aquarium housed large squid, octopus and local fish. As there are no explanatory signs at these domes they mystify many a tourist – perhaps more fanciful visitors imagine them to be the homes of a little known colony of sea faring gnomes.
On the far side of the domes there is another stretch of water that is separated from the ocean by Middle Island. This island features in the children’s movie Odd Ball and is the place where Fairy Penguins are protected from foxes by Mareema sheep dogs.
A shallow river feeds into this waterway. I arrived there just as two workmen were setting up. As I walked past they turned on some kind of compressor and began repairing the footbridge with rivet guns.
To get away from the noise I walked up river. The water was very still and seagulls stood silent and unmoving in the illusory reflected world.
It is not possible to walk very far along the river before it becomes a marshy wetland.
Turning round I wandered back to my car through a dreamy world that still somehow carried memories of other, slower times despite the noise of workmen and of the cars driving in with the day’s influx of tourists.