Today in Western Australia we are having a storm. My camera and I head out to see what’s happening. First stop is my local beach – South Beach. Usually this is a big wide beach where dogs and people frolic but today the surf is right up to the dunes – in fact – eroding them before my eyes.
Where we usually sit having coffee is, on this May day, a maelstrom of spray!
Some time last night the waves had ripped off the top of the sea wall. The sandstone blocks sprawl on the lawn like fallen soldiers.
In Fremantle the tide surges right up to the buildings at Bathers Beach.
I drive a few minutes further up the coast to Cottlesloe. Have a look at the disappearing man. Now you see him – now you don’t.
….and from another viewpoint. It looks like he is taking photos. (I presume he is a he. A woman wouldn’t be that daft.)
Each time I get out of my car I can hardly stand up straight due to the force of the westerly winds. I dodge squally showers to watch Cottlesloe Beach being consumed by the tide. (Historic Indiana Teahouse on the left will presently be swallowed up too – disappearing into a modern awful-looking redevelopment.)
From Cottlesloe one gets a wide southern view back to the port of Fremantle. All down the coast the storm-driven tide is battering and eroding land.
I drive back through East Fremantle following Swan River to Point Walter. As you can see by the jetty, the river is experiencing ‘acqua alta’.
The enormous sand spit which is the main feature of Point Walter is thoroughly submerged. For most of the year you can walk across the sand spit as far as the little island on the left of the photo below. (Not that you should walk right to the end – because birds nest there.) A curtain of rain sweeps across the river.
In East Fremantle the local black swans are busy scrutinizing the water.
They come over in case I have a treat for them. (I don’t.)
One of them has a big stretch.
What is normally parkland is, at this moment, river.
Finally I drive homewards, stopping at East Street jetty to visit wing-aerating cormorant and darter. The darter yawns as I photograph him.
The Bureau of Meteorology says this is an unusual and wide-reaching storm. Not a typical May day.
Postscript: Aftermath – photos of our beach the next day.