Old age is a shipwreck ~ Charles de Gaulle
The man who has experienced shipwreck shudders even at a calm sea ~ Ovid
I would not that death should take me asleep. I would not have him merely seize me, and only declare me to be dead, but win me, and overcome me. When I must shipwreck, I would do it in a sea, where mine impotency might have some excuse; not in a sullen weedy lake, where I could not have so much as exercise for my swimming ~ John Donne
I’d left most of the echinodermicide victims behind …
..and but for the odd tyre track or offshore cargo ship aiming at the Port of Brisbane — and, sadly, the inevitable plastic detritus among the flotsam — there were few signs of humankind.
Occasional birdsong from the bush to my left…
..or the tidal flats to my right were the only sounds.
Then, with the second storm front disappearing beyond the spine of the island, the next corpses came into view: big, iron carcasses whose beached skeletons are the last landmarks before the Sandhills:
As far as I know, these are genuine wrecks — victims, presumably, of bad weather a century or more ago:
Who doesn’t love a shipwreck? It’s fascinating to observe the reclamation of these mighty steam-ship bones by oysters and barnacles and weed:
Starfish score a last-minute reprieve from beaching in the shaded pools beneath the hull:
For the great cylindrical boilers, death by rust is inevitable, but they’re not going down without a fight:
Looking towards Brisbane, with welcome swathes of blue showing through the grey:
I poked around with one eye focused on the viewfinder, till at last the building glare made view-finding almost impossible; the sun was out now, bright and harsh, and I left the Viking-longship prow of the first wreck behind, and moved on to the second…
..with its corroding boiler the only real shade on offer as I sought a spot for a lunch break:
I assembled a cheese-and-tomato sandwich — parmesan, since you ask: it will keep for many days in a pack if wrapped in brown paper — and downed half a litre of water, a quarter of my supply, knowing I could top up at the Sandhills.
I pondered the impermanence of things. The deck of this vessel must have seemed reassuringly solid and incorruptible beneath the numerous feet that once pounded along it. And now…
Well, we all go back to the earth, don’t we? And I always go back to the food bag for a Snickers dessert. Meanwhile, curious, scuttling crabs poked their stalky eyes over the barnacled ribs of my temporary kitchen…
..and above, a pair of mighty wings beat the warming air as the lord of this section of beach prowled its domain:
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote