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.


15 thoughts on “Mayday

  1. Nick Shiroma

    You add to my happiness! I can see and feel the force of the winds making everything horizontal. Being alive! Thanks Julie 🤗

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I’m delighted to add to your happiness, Nick. I added a couple of ‘day after’ photos to my blog – showing the incredible coastal erosion at our local beach.

  2. Camilla Loveridge

    Thank you for that trip, Julie! I do hope the Indiana Tea House survives a horrible redevelopment… what next! Love Camilla

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Mark

    Great photos, Julie, of the ‘once in a decade’ wild storm (as the news over here described it). The birds seem to be thoroughly enjoying it all. Hope your house remained leak-free throughout.

  4. anna warren portfolio

    I do love the drama of a big storm, especially if I don’t have to be out in it, but they can bring such devastation. Storms are the essence of the power of nature over puny human beings. Its hard to believe the foolhardiness of the person on the breakwater – really dicing with death out there. Your photos give a great tour of the impact of the storm – the only thing missing is the sound. I imagine it would have been very loud. Thank you for the virtual journey!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Anna, Matthew took a video on his phone, and yes, the sound was ROARING. I enjoyed being out in the weather but had to keep rushing back to the car every time the showers came over which was very often indeed. It was extremely invigorating – and I’ve never felt wind that strong in Perth before. My gosh, it was like Wellington! I wasn’t the only person sight-seeing in Cottlesloe. Heaps of people were there, you could hardly get into the car park. People wanted to see that force of nature.

      1. anna warren portfolio

        Your later pictures of the erosion make a stark statement on the power of the weather – amazing how quickly this can happen. I’m hoping it is much more peaceful again today! And I meant to mention how much I like the photos of the cranes (rigs?) – such wonderful shapes, stalking across the horizon.

      2. juliepodstolski Post author

        Our Fremantle cranes are pretty neat. They get drawn and painted a lot by numerous artists (including me in days gone by).
        The erosion has been quite catastrophic up and down the coastline.
        As for me, I cleaned the salt off our windows AGAIN (only did this job three weeks ago). More weather on the way this weekend. Still, that’s winter living by the coast. Mustn’t grumble.

  5. Brigitte Shaw

    They are great photos Julie. That person on the rocks ….. daring, risking life, very silly! Hopefully your house survived any damage.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Brigitte, we did escape damage at our house, thankfully. There appeared to be very little damage in our area though huge coastal erosion. However in other parts of Perth and the state, there was considerable damage to property.
      Indeed, that person on the rocks must have had a death wish!

  6. Robyn Varpins

    thanks for sharing this, I feel more in touch with my neighborhood. And happy to be home in the safe and dry. Viva la storm.

  7. vaskodagama

    Dear Julie, By the way of the storm I saw beautiful place, where you live. There is very pity, not to see it in real. All the best, Tomek    

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hello Tomek, It is very nice to read your message to me. Indeed, I do live in a beautiful part of the world. What a pity it is so very far away from all my Polish relations! At least Magda Rusinowicz has been here, but she is the only one.
      Love from your 1st cousin, Julie


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