Rockaway Beach

Yes, Rockaway Beach actually exists, it’s not just a catchy Ramones song.

Rockaway Beach is on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens, New York City. In 2015 it was voted best beach in New York City.

But it hasn’t always been plain sailing. The boardwalk was badly damaged by hurricane Sandy in 2012 and part of the beach was closed in 2018 due to erosion.

I would love to visit this beach some day.



Porpoise Spit / Coolangatta

Recently I re-watched the 1994 Australian film Muriel’s Wedding and was struck by the familiarity of the fictional setting of Porpoise Spit as Muriel’s hometown.  Upon investigation I discovered that the hometown scenes were filmed at Tweed Heads, and in various parts of the Gold Coast including Coolangatta beach and Surfers Paradise, beaches I have visited a few times in recent years as I have family living nearby.

Coolangatta is the beach that can be seen in the background as Rhonda and Muriel drive around saying goodbye to their hometown at the end of this scene.

Coolangatta 2013

Cloudy Coolangatta in 2013

Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach is a popular place to visit in Rio de Janero, Brazil.

Photograph from here

Helo Pinheiro is an Ipaneman woman who inspired one of my favourite songs ever, ‘The Girl From Ipanema’, a bossa nova jazz standard written in 1962 that now has with hundreds and hundreds of recorded versions. Here is the fabulous first ever one…

Despite it’s beauty and fame due to the song, poor waste management and treatment means that pollutants are dumped into the sea at Ipanema Beach causing concern for ecologists.This is due to the fact that millions of homes are not properly connected to waste treatment systems, and in addition, rubbish is swept into the sea.

Ipanema Beach photo ITVPhoto is a screenshot from an ITV video found here

Apparently the word ‘Ipanema’ comes from an extinct language of the native Tupi people and means ‘stinky lake’ or ‘bad water’ a definition that is unfortunately prophetic. Coastal pollution is a global problem and none of it is acceptable but it seems even more tragic that a beach known for its beauty is also becoming known for its accumulating waste. When will we learn?

Photograph from Huffington Post


Studland Bay

Studland Bay, Dorset, UK is owned by the National Trust so there is little development on the dunes and by the look of this photo, the beach seems relatively pristine. I would just love visit and stroll along here, perhaps singing a song a bit like this… ‘look at the stars / look how they shine for you…’

Studland Bay photo Trip AdvisorPhoto of Studland Bay courtesy of Trip Advisor found here

What’s so great about Studland Bay? Apart from its seemingly untouched dunes (which I absolutely adore – give me a ‘pure’ beach anyday!) it is the location of the Coldplay music video ‘Yellow’.

It’s a fabulous song – enhanced by the one-shot video of a solitary figure strolling in slow motion along a deserted beach as the light (post-production trickery apparently) changes from dark grey to light grey, fortunately never once even flirting with a hint of ‘yellow’ as we might expect from the song title. Interesting, though, that in the photograph above the sand is in fact golden (yellow?) whereas in the video the weather dulls it down considerably.

Suits my feelings about life at this point – solitary, slow-motion, grey with a touch of hope from time to time. Learning to accept the past and that we are all flawed, we all cause and feel pain, we are all heroes and villains, all day long.


Redondo Beach in LA

Haven’t swum for ages… but perhaps I can still be a bit beachy (nearly) every day, (or some days), by finding out about a beach somewhere, sometime (perhaps in summertime) from time to time. Doesn’t have to be a beach as it is now, in the present, because now is weird. Blink and you miss it. And, how soon is now? (He’s the son, and the heir, of a shyness that is criminally vulgar. He’s the son, and heir, of nothing in particular). Thinking Morrissey may have been a beach-goer I tried to find out what his favourite beach might be as that could make an interesting starting point for the revitalised ‘beachaday’ blog. Perhaps Redondo Beach? Maybe? In 2004 he covered a 1975 song of that name by Patti Smith.


Photo of Redondo Beach in the 1970s from here

Photo of Redondo Beach in 2015 by Steve McCrank from here. The palms look ok but I’m not too keen on the power ‘plant’ that sprung up behind them.

And here’s the Morrissey / Patti Smith song. Spoiler alert… it’s sad. No surprises there.

Redondo Beach is in Los Angeles, California, just left of the headland in the satellite photo below. The modified coastline on the right is Terminal Island next to Long Beach.

According to Wikipedia, Redondo Beach had a population of 603 in 1890 and has a population of about 70,000 today. The population expansion is in part due to the region attracting immigrants in the early 1900s and it is now a mixture of several European cultures as well as African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific people from Samoa and the Hawaiian Islands. It also has a ‘sizable’ Native American community. Sounds interesting, I’d love to go there!

It’s also mentioned in the BEACH BOYS song Surfin’ USA.


Shifting gear

I want to write this – but now I’m (finally) all set to go (actually managed to login, then added an update to the ‘about’ page) nothing is happening.

Fear? Inertia? Cbf after all?

But the last couple of months have been different.

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Cracks in the pavement

It is now August. It has been a difficult year, caught up in two completely different and totally bizarre situations that have thoroughly tested my boundaries and my faith in humanity.  I found myself searching for support and (re)discovered 12-step fellowship meetings. I have been a reluctant and semi-checked-out ‘participant’ in many meetings at various times over the past 15 years but this year I actually took it seriously and now, several months later, I am finding that these fellowship meetings are actually helpful.

That’s why the last couple of months have been different. I am able to identify my boundaries and limits, then separate myself from difficult situations in order to care for myself. And,  I feel comforted by these fellowships and by the wisdom they offer.

I have found comfort in ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) literature, CoDA (Codependents Anonymous) literature and meetings, Al-Anon literature (especially ‘How Al-Anon works‘) and meetings, and AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. Unfortunately there aren’t any ACA meetings nearby but I might work towards starting one up.

That’s enough for today.

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Blue sky beyond

Except this – which appears to be a slightly different version of the ACA laundry list (from here – scroll down, scroll right down).

Anyway, item number 7 stands out particularly for me today. Plus 4 and 15, always. And others too, of course. Most of them, in fact.

As stated by Adult Children of Alcoholics themselves

1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures;

2. We became approval seekers and lost our own identity in the process;

3. We are frightened by angry people and personal criticism;

4. We either became alcoholics, married them, or found another compulsive personality, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our need for and expectation of abandonment;

5. We live life from the viewpoint of helping and seeking victims, and we are attracted by that weakness in our relationships;

6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than with ourselves;

7. We suffer guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves; instead, we give in to others;

8. We confuse love with pity and tend to “love” people we can pity and rescue;

9. We have suppressed our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or to honestly express our feelings. Rationalization seems far easier;

10. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem. We sometimes compensate for this sense of inferiority by trying to appear superior;

11. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment. We will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience the pain of abandonment;

12. We became para-alcoholic, taking on the characteristics of alcoholism even though we did not pick up the drink;

13. We became compulsive and obsessive in our behavior;

14. We are unknowingly trying to recreate the chaotic lifestyle with which we are familiar;

15. We are afraid of intimacy and have difficulty forming close intimate relationships;

16. We became aware of feelings which seem to separate us from others, and we find ourselves depressed. Depression is endemic in dysfunctional families

Copyright 2002 Janet Geringer Woititz.

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Still swimming

Got bored the two time strands – past and present – and catching up with the past. Got bored with taking photos at Pt Chevalier beach, I have a ridiculous number of them. But that doesn’t mean I won’t carry on catching up, but at a certain point I will run out of photos because I haven’t taken one for ages. And, then there’s no catching up to do because if there’s no photo, there’s no record of the swim. I’ve been going to Pt Chevalier beach nearly every day since about October last year. Except for the times I was at Agnes Waters in Queensland. Yes, you read correctly, that’s Queensland, in Australia!!! I have read that if you use more than three exclamation marks in a row, it shows you are a bit unhinged. Agnes Waters is a beautiful beach. I was there a month ago. Stupidly hot climate. Very warm water. Lovely swims. I have photos, somewhere… here are some. Totally unedited, so the colours and definition are a bit flat.


Agnes Waters waters – hazy with smoke because there was a bush fire nearby


Agnes Waters Surfer


Early morning sunshine from the lookout point on our last day there

Swam today at Pt Chevalier beach, midday tide, sunny, lots of people. Didn’t make to the beach until well after high tide. The outgoing tidal current is strong so I decided not to swim to the buoy. Yes, that’s a development. We have been swimming to the buoy. There are three buoys actually, we have swum to two of them.

Sometimes I swim to the closest buoy by myself. That’s 15 minutes swimming each way, 30 minutes total. It might not sound like much but to me it’s epic. When I first tried seriously swimming freestyle again a couple of years ago I could barely manage five strokes without losing breath. Before that I tended to swim backstroke but now I mainly swim freestyle. So, I can swim for 30 minutes without getting tired.

And I’m reading lots these days. Glad I can. Brain function seems to be improving, finally. Read a Tim Winton novel last week. Currently reading Joan Didion’s ‘Year of Magical Thinking’. Plus lots of poetry. Language poets, and modernists. Missing when I was an undergraduate studying English literature. Same old story really – I didn’t realise how lucky I was. Would love to be studying literature now. I have a much greater understanding of the things they write about. Many of the works we read were written by people who are a similar age to what I am now (which is top secret, by the way). When you are twenty-something it is difficult to get a grasp on many of the big issues like death, ageing, the weirdness of time and memory, the importance of appreciating sunsets and even clouds…

I currently have a schoolgirl crush on this poem:

in a station of the metro

It is verbless. And I love it. Impressionism. Imagism. Modernism.

And I LOVE this one too…

red wheelbarrow

William Carlos Williams. For some reason I missed out on the modernists when I was at uni. I did virtually every other poetry class but had a bad attitude towards them. Thought they were boring. ‘glazed with rain water’ … ‘Petals on a wet, black bough’ … soooo impressionistic, but in a unambiguous, clear way.


Stayed overnight at Surfers Paradise while in Australia over a year ago. It was epic. The beach itself is truly amazing, fully deserving the hubris. Pity about all that though, can’t quite believe just how many super high buildings have been constructed just meters from the Pacific Ocean. Speculation. Property boom. Investment. Expectation. Policy. Employment. Momentum. Tunnel vision. Storms. Erosion. It isn’t so strange when you remember that these high-rise buildings are made with concrete and glass, which is just sand after all. Sand castles.


Surfers looking towards the south – eroded dunes on the right


Surfers looking north


Surfers Promenade

I think that living in Surfers would give you a weird sense of being on holiday everyday due to being cushioned by sunshine, soft white sand and serviced apartments.


Surfers swash

This photo makes me feel a little dizzy. That moment has gone. The water is still there but no longer arranged in that way, the particles have shifted, as they are always shifting. Like sands through the hourglass.

Didn’t actually swim in the Surfers surf though, I wasn’t obsessed with swimming back then like I am now. And, speaking of now, things are warming up and I’ve been swimming regularly for the last month or so at Pt Chevalier beach. Twice yesterday and the day before (early and late tides). Haven’t been taking any photos though. None. Can’t be bothered. Plenty from the recent past to wrangle with. Too many. It’s ridiculous.

Just realised I haven’t edited any of the photos in this post. Usually I would alter the brightness, contrast, saturation etc to polish up the details. Particularly to the swash photo. Perhaps I will do that and then post it next time (for comparison) and then link it to this. Perhaps I could do a post about swash.

On time

This photograph reminds me of the Odyssey. Or something. The little boat is all by itself, yet appears to have several people on board. Alone but not alone. Perhaps these are Ancient Greek waters. The dingy could be a small Ancient Greek fishing vessel propelled by Ancient Greek oars. The people on board could be wearing Ancient Greek robes and carrying Ancient Greek spears and shields – just in case. Or this little boat could be transporting a few furtive Vikings from Norway to England as they survey the coast and plan future battles.

High tide is getting later and later in the day. This was taken yesterday just after 5pm. These late tides are a bit of a challenge with shorter days and cooler temperatures. Daylight savings ended at the beginning of April so it is dark by about 6pm these days.

Solitary little boat floats near Pt Chevalier beach on the upper Waitemata Harbour April 16 2015

Solitary little boat floats near Pt Chevalier beach on the upper Waitemata Harbour April 16 2015

Daylight savings gives us a tiny taste of time travel. A whole hour. Reading is time travel. Any reading. The older the text, the further the travel. This blog has two time-threads running through it. The present, and the past. Present swims, and past swims that I have photographed but haven’t written about. Both of these threads are chronological. The present is always chronological and it gets mixed up with the past which is also chronological but only sometimes. I’d like to catch the past up to the present so there are no past photographs and swims left in the past. But they are all in the past. Even the present is in the past by the time I write about it. So, it is all in the past. And who cares about chronology. Well, I do. I love chronology. Cause and effect. The order of things. This happened, and then that. Events influence each other. Experiences shape us. Life seems to be a conflicted position a person sits in and is both being moulded by external forces and attempting to mould them.

Chronos is the father of Zeus, the father of all Gods. Time is the father of everything. Time marches on. Time is linear and time is circular. Trauma alters the relationship with time. Time is constant but to the traumatised it is excessively fast or excruciatingly slow. The head spins. Moments become hours. Hours disappear. Time is pain. The wish is for time to rewind back to the idyllic conditions before the trauma.

In relation to the thread detailing the swims of the distant past, the next batch of photographs were taken at Surfers Paradise in Australia. I’m going to write about that in the next blog then come back to this one and create a link that will travel forward in time. Kind of. Another thread I left hanging was mentioning that the Cricket World Cup final was currently being fought out between New Zealand and Australia. Well it didn’t turn out to be much of a fight. The Australians wiped the floor with the New Zealand cricketers. A game like that is not particularly pleasant to watch. Not so much because ‘my’ team lost, but because there was very little tension. I really felt for the New Zealand team when the inevitable loss became evident. I felt their pain and felt for them a bit more as they had to stick it out right to the end.

April swimming and the end of the Odyssey

There has been a cold snap as we fall deeper into autumn but somehow I have still managed to swim every day. Yesterday I was suffering the third day of the worst headache ever (complete with nausea) and was quite unsure about whether to brave a cold swim but despite the odds it completely cleared out the aches and pains.

Still swimmable

Still swimmable but there weren’t many swimmers at Pt Chevalier beach on April 15 2015

I am particularly proud of the swim I had on Monday the 13th of April. When I arrived at the beach I discovered there was an incredibly strong wind blowing straight onshore and no one in the water so I decided not to swim but walked along the beach instead. My jacket was virtually useless in the strong cold wind. I was about to go home when a fellow swimmer arrived and encouraged me to give it a go. It was more difficult than usual to get into the sea but worth the effort. I was tossed about the waves in a manner that reminded me of a west coast surf beach but this felt a bit safer because there wasn’t a dangerous undertow pulling me out into deep water.

A stormy day with strident westerly onshore winds kept most swimmers away from Pt Chevalier beach on April 13th

A stormy day with strident onshore winds kept swimmers away from Pt Chevalier beach on April 13 2015

Prior to the cold snap from Monday to yesterday the weather has been surprisingly warm and calm for this time of the year. Here are a few photographs from the last couple of weeks.

Autumn paddle boarders at Pt Chevalier beach

Autumn paddle boarders at Pt Chevalier beach in early April 2015

Looking north west as the sun goes down.

Sun is about to set at Pt Chevalier beach

Sun is about to set at Pt Chevalier beach in early April 2015

The composition of the following photograph could be said to be somewhat boring as it is very static and based around the rule of thirds but I quite like how the sky/air sea/water and sand/earth contrast with each other and have different textures, and how the light/fire interacts with each part.

A very calm morning at Pt Chevalier beach

A very calm morning at Pt Chevalier beach in April 2015

The following photograph reminds me of pictures I have seen of the coast in England. It could make a lovely watercolour painting. The red and white sail seems to erase everything behind it and takes on the appearance of a (triangluar) door to another world.

Love the red and white sail on the small yacht.

Pt Chevalier beach in autumn 2015. Love the red and white sail on the tiny yacht.

Oh, and I finished reading Homer’s Odyssey. It is surprisingly cinematic. A beautifully written action movie. Odysseus is the (original) hero. The ultimate, prototypical hero. The parallel action sequences are quite striking and remind me of parallel editing in films showing two (or more) things occurring simultaneously building towards a climax. Plus there was the added tension of dramatic irony where the reader knows things that the characters in the story do not. ‘We’ know that the beggar is actually Odysseus, but the characters don’t know it for a while. And it totally amazes me that we can get inside the head of someone who was alive almost 3,000 years ago.