Saturday, August 13, 2016

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky

This past week, to celebrate my birthday, E took me to Fraser Island. This is the largest sand island in the world and it is located about 4.5 hours from Toowoomba, north of Brisbane. We reached the island by ferry.

We've never visited a resort before, so arriving at the Kingfisher Bay resort was a a bit out of our usual experience. Our luggage was taken at on the mainland and put on truck. We and the truck travelled to Fraser Island and were met with a tram to take us to reception. After a brief intro to the place, we were given room key-cards and went to the room. Our luggage was delivered to our rooms. Pretty nice, eh?

We spent our first afternoon on the beach. Since we are located on the landward side of the island, we  took advantage and enjoyed the sunset over the bay.

 In the golden colors and light at the low angle, mundane features along the shore take on an interesting, more abstract, character. Sometimes the footprints seems to be depressions in the sand and sometimes they appear to raised above it. The dark "rock" is called coffee rock. It is not really rock at all. From Wikipedia:

Coffee rock is the common name for the rock-like formations of indurated sands that were formed from ancient river sediments of the Pleistocene age.
Exposed Coffee Rock on the beaches Fraser Island is more likely the beds of old lakes in the sand dunes when the sea level was lower. In places it is peat-like and embedded with wood ranging from small twigs to large tree trunks up to 1200mm in diameter, with some evidence of fire on the wood before being assembled.
It is the neared thing to rock on the island. I believe that on the far northern end, there are a couple real rocks left over from a very ancient volcano. The rest is simply sand.

The dead trees near the beach-forest line have a very interesting grain and in the light, take on an appearance similar to that of a meandering river.

The pits along the shore, we're told, are formed by rays making sleeping places at night by flapping against the sand to displace it.

Even the place where wet sand is dropped is interesting is the evening sunshine.

But, of course, the magic of the dying day is the show the sun puts on over the water and sand. To provide contrast, there were sailboats moored near shore.

For those of you in the northern hemisphere, seeing the sun just now probably makes you feel hotter. But, for us, the warmth of the afternoon sun is a welcome change from the cooler temperatures of later winter.

In the images below, you get a sense of how empty this beach is. Yes, there were people about, but not many out on the shore at this hour.

It is refreshing to visit the beach and be almost alone and enjoy the feels of the sun, the sound of wind and the smell of the sea.

Interestingly, the smell is the not the smell you find in many places along the shore in other parts of the world. There, one finds decaying bits in the sand, sometimes loamy soil near the shore, and often seaweed and other vegetation exposed at low tide. Not here. What you find here is sand. Simply sand. Everywhere.