Australia, Beach & Coastal Walking, Streams, Creeks & Rivers
Comments 17

What I Did at the Seaside: An Aimless Thousand Miles #2

Here we are, folks, second instalment of my three-parter about my five-month, 1,000-mile-plus multi-day-walk Sandgate (mostly) perambulation, or 5M1K+MDWS(M)P#2.

No dreary saga of psychological turmoil this time, and the extra space (I try — and often fail — to keep my posts under 1,000 words, for my comfort as well as yours) means I can provide a little background info in the picture captions.

Once again, the pictures are presented chronologically.

5M1K+MDWS(M)P#3 coming in three days’ time…


CAST AWAY, CABBAGE TREE CREEK. There’s an excellent pun in there if you care to look.


THREE’S A CROWD. Same spot, a minute or two later. That was a beautiful morning’s walk.


SWIMMER CRAB IN RETREAT. Shorncliffe Pier in the distance. I’ve been nipped by these guys before and it’s always alarming.You can see my ripples as I traversed this tidal pool while the crustacean zig-zagged away, claws extended, on high alert.


PACK UP YOUR TOYS & GO HOME. A kite-surfer walks his ride into shore at dusk, with the waters of an incoming tide to my rear.


MOLLUSCAN CONDOMINIUM. On the mudflats at Sandgate, softly illuminated by a rising sun. I use the word “mudflats” as that’s the one everyone uses, but I feel it my civic duty to report, since”mud” has negative connotations for most, that this is in fact wet sand, composed largely of crushed shells. There’s a difference: this “mud” for the most part isn’t sticky or malodorous.


YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE. How freakin’ sweet.


DAWN FOAM, SHORNCLIFFE. I don’t have a telephoto, so during this fun little stage when I was experimenting with freezing breaking waves (whereas in low light it’s more about getting that nice flossy sheen from moving water), I had to get right up close to where these little waves were hitting the rocks, squeeze off a few shots and pull the camera back behind my head before (ideally) it got splashed. I used my older camera as it’s four years old or so and hence more expendable (or would be if I had a job).


SEEDPOD SHADOWS. If anyone knows what this weed is, I’d be grateful. It grows along the the shore in patches, and the seedpods resemble canola or mustard or some type of brassica.


EGRET UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT. Baxter’s Jetty, at the mouth of Cabbage Tree Creek, and yes, I believe it’s the same little egret (for that is the species) I wrote about once before. This was dawn, when the colours of the rails and the water complement each other best.


JELLYFISH PIE. I just can’t get enough jellyfish pictures — I must have hundreds. Not many critters look so damned beautiful in death. Only Alice Cooper comes close.


HERE COMES THE SUN. Baxter’s Jetty again. I’m always looking for new angles. Usually I like having it to myself but sometimes I’m happy to share.


DAWN PATROL. There it is again — gawd, I’m such a creature of habit. As I can’t zoom in, my style is often about stepping back and allowing my subjects to inhabit their surroundings. Oh yeah, that’s an egret, but I think this one is a great egret rather than a little.


FISHING FLOTSAM. I presume this fell from a fishing boat. Did you know that flotsam & jetsam have defined differences, with jetsam under maritime law being intentionally jettisoned objects?


SUNRISE PILGRIM. Sometimes I play with the timer & tripod like this. I don’t think of them as selfies, since my purpose is to add some human scale or point of reference etc, rather than show off my pouting beauty to an adoring collection of followers. Also, it’s fun, and I get bored easily.


CRAB BALLS. A fresh tunnel has appeared on the flats overnight. And here comes the tide. Ever think about the wondrous ability of crabs to stay underground and un-drowned beneath the tide? One day they will rule us all.


SALTY REFRESHMENT. Says this site, “Seagulls can drink both fresh and salt water… [They] have a special pair of glands right above their eyes which is specially designed to flush the salt from their systems through openings in the bill.” That’s Shorncliffe Pier, currently closed to traffic while it undergoes a $20 million restoration.


ALWAYS START THE DAY WITH A GOOD BREAKFAST. An elderly Asian man and what looked like his daughter smiled at me as I passed their picnic table at Shorncliffe. I hung around trying to photograph the Torresian crows which inhabit this cotton tree grove, at least when humans are eating there. I love crows but they’re too smart to photograph with ease. When those humans got up to walk down to the water, this enterprising fellow moved in and starting helping itself to their spread, one beady eye watching me. I confess I let it have its way for a while, and I admit also that I was laughing at its fearlessness. But when it removed the foil covering the delicious-looking freshly-baked cake and pulled some items to the ground, I was overcome with both guilt & fantasies of Cake As Reward. I ran down to the water and warned them — she thanked me as they rushed back up. But I was not rewarded with cake, and next time the crow and I will work something out…


WHAT WICKEDNESS HAS OCCURRED HERE? At the Sandgate waterfront at dawn, a gruelling handful of metres from the nearest garbage can. People like this give alcoholism a bad name.


BUTCHERBIRD, SANDGATE MARINA. Dawn. This guy can often be found perching on the fence or one of the craft beyond.


ANOTHER CABBAGE TREE SUNRISE. Tide’s in, obviously. In the distance you can make out the Port of Brisbane at the Brisbane River mouth.


COAST-WATCHER. Every sunrise is different, all are beautiful, and some are truly magnificent.


PALM TREES AT SANDGATE YACHT CLUB. You guessed it: dawn. I had walked past those trees perhaps a thousand times without ever really noticing them. Sometimes you just look up and go, “Wow.”


A PEACEFUL SHORNCLIFFE MORNING. Underneath one of the numerous old figs that are synonymous with the suburb.


SUNRISE FIGS, SHORNCLIFFE. Same morning, same fig (on the left). Usually with my lenses I have to get close to the subject — but sometimes it pays to step back.

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote


  1. “Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
    ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

    Your photographs are transcendent. No way around it.

    Having always lived where we go to the ocean to watch sunset, it is a stretch for my mind to understand that your photos are those of sunrises. When I look at your photos, I am at a sunrise and a sunset simultaneously. My emotions are sunset emotions despite knowing that the sun is rising. Maybe that is why the Thoreau quote came to mind.

    I know I’ve written about this before, but I’m still joyfully disoriented by the idea of sunrises at the ocean. Even more baffling for me was visiting my sister who lives in Mississippi on the Gulf Coast where one stands looking out at the ocean horizon while the sun rises at the far east end of the beach and sets at the far west end of the beach. I’m probably repeating myself. Oh well.


    I can hear Bob Dylan singing “That Lucky Old Sun.”

    Up in the mornin’, out on the job
    Work like the devil for my pay
    But that lucky old sun has nothin’ to do
    But roll around Heaven all day

    • Thanks, Am. I’ll take “transcendent”! It’s probably the word I’ve been looking for to describe what I’m trying to get in my pictures. I definitely feel a “oneness” and sense of majesty when I’m in places like this at times like this.

      One cool thing about this area is that I often get to enjoy sunsets from the water’s edge as well — at low tide, by walking out and looking back at the sky changing inland beyond this town and the city.

      I got hold of the new/old Bob Dylan recently. It’s definitely better than I expected, and he does put his mark on those Sinatras, but it’s all so slow and smoky and almost whispered. Like to try it on a good stereo late at night with a couple of glasses of wine (sadly I’m off the booze again — three weeks now).

      • Listening to ‘Shadows’ again right now as the rain buckets down (I’m under a covered bridge in the park, which feels appropriate), and I’m liking it more, especially the way he makes the songs sound like his own. Don’t know if you read this in Wikipedia or elsewhere:

        Dylan prepared each session by listening to the Sinatra recordings, according to Schmitt, who noted:
        “He would listen to the songs over and over and get Sinatra’s intention on what he was doing with the song. Then he would only do two or three takes on each tune, but he would make it his own. It had nothing to do with Sinatra. He’d just learn what the song was about and whatever. It was an interesting way to work.”

      • I’ve been listening to “Shadows in the Night” in my car while I’m driving around town doing errands and meeting with friends on my days off from studying. That works for me. I played “That Lucky Old Sun” for an 85-year-young sober alcoholic friend from Minnesota who asked if I could give her a ride to a memorial service. Before playing the song for her at the beginning of the 1/2 hour ride from the ferry dock to town, I asked if she liked the music of Frank Sinatra. She was neutral. Then I asked if she liked the music of Bob Dylan, and she said that her children had listened to Bob Dylan. She had a decidedly positive emotional response to Bob Dylan singing “That Lucky Old Sun” and thanked me heartily for playing it for her. We talked for the rest of the ride into town. Thanks for posting the excerpt from the Wikipedia article. Bob Dylan really has made those songs his own. I can imagine how his voice would sound from under a covered bridge with rain falling. He is on the soundtrack of so many of our lives (-:

  2. A stunning set of pictures again. Too many to pick a favourite although you know I have a fondness for blue jellyfish so I have to mention the pie one. It’s true – not many creatures look so darn beautiful in death. Having lived on a farm and in the outback I’ve seen a lot of ugly, bloated maggot-infested deaths.

    Your comment about crabs surviving the tide reminded me of something. I visited some tranquil rock pools down south recently that contained delicate plants and creatures. A few hours before, the same pools were being buffeted by huge waves. It made me wonder how they could survive the onslaught. It also made me ponder human lives and what people have to go through sometimes.

    I’m glad the spark seems to be coming back into your life. I’m enjoying the humour. 🙂

    • Good point about those rock pools. The ocean and its edges are such mysterious worlds.

      Hope you’re getting some of this rain. The only sandbags I’ve seen in the local area were all around the kids’ playground on the waterfront!

      • We had about 100mm from the first weather system and now it’s pouring this morning from the ex-cyclone rain depression There could be a few interesting finds on your beach after the effects of the cyclone have passed. No sandbags at our place just yet. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Cabbage Tree (Cordyline australis) | Find Me A Cure

  4. Goat, I swear I am utterly in awe of your eye for the spectacular! These I must say are among your very best! I love the early morning shots and sunsets especially. I hope you don’t mind the occasional borrowing of photos? They really help illustrate mood in poetry and the like for my blog posts. But if you prefer I not, I will oblige of course. Cheers!

    • Hey Paula, sorry for the late reply. I usually don’t/can’t look at my blog after posting until I have to face the next post! I have a weird condition where I feel sick with shame and embarrassment about producing such rubbish most times after I publish! Kate is constantly bemused by this. I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t recall being mocked or otherwise discouraged as a child — just no confidence for some reason!

      Anyway, feel free to use any images you like, just put a little credit on there. Thanks for the kind words.

      • Thanks for the nice words. I know it’s weird, but even some fairly straightforward-looking posts take ages to put together (latest one, which just might come out today, has taken at least three or four attempts now)…and I feel good about them right afterwards, but then often feel like I’ve failed. I know, I know: Shakespeare it ain’t! If I could put the picture sup with no words, I would, but it would be hard work renaming the blog!

    • Cheers, Barb. Looking forward to Summer’s end (I hear rumours) so I can resume a serious walking/photography regimen to spice up my rather bland days. I rarely do more than three or four miles lately.

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