Impressions of a wide river, grassed esplanades and tall palm trees, walkers, runners, and sailing craft of all descriptions and colours.
I wondered about the triangular red, white and yellow sails on the paddle skis and came to the conclusion that apart from adding wind power to the paddling, their function must be to add visibility to the hundreds of hired boats flitting between all the other rivercraft.
A cool, chic blond on a jetski
The following morning it was a late brunch in Hastings Street, the main shopping strip with its high end designer shops, boutiques and beautiful people ambling along the pavements in all their bronzed, toned and skimpy bikini-ed glory. Next it was on to Main Beach, just a hop and a skip away from the shops. You drive up a gentle rise, turn into the parking lot and after a very short walk the beach is revealed, nestled snugly into the curve of Laguna Bay, sheltered by the forested headland.
Walking tracks wind past the clean white sands where crowds of families and beach umbrellas add brilliant touches of colour to the pastel tones while surfboards and paddle skis are an indication of the fact that this small beach enjoys good good surf
The familiar sight of the red and yellow clothing of the comfortingly vigilant beach lifesavers.
After spending a short time people-gazing from the comfort of one of the plentiful wooden benches, we decided that we needed a good walk after all the days of sitting in a car.
The walking trail leads past the beach and winds up and along the headland, parallel to the sea.
Gabs and the grandkids scrambled across the rocks to search for small, smooth pebbles which Kierie had decided that he would like to decorate with the dots and patterns which we had seen in some exquisite Aboriginal paintings. Journal in hand, he leapt from rock to rock with the agility and confidence that only the young enjoy, while the rest of us ventured somewhat more cautiously across the uneven terrain.
The perfect specimens found, we continued on our way. It's a bit of a steep walk, for me anyway, but well worth the effort. From the path you catch glimpses of the turquoise sea below, framed by strange spiky-leaved plants with what I assume are large air roots.
Fragile craft on an endless blue ocean.
At last we arrived at the top of the headland and the aptly named Boiling Pot.
"Ronaldo" and his grandfather. Kierie's favourite holiday outfit, a shirt with his hero's name on the back, brought all the way from South Africa along with a precious Soccer World Cup football. He's skilled and and disciplined soccer player and we're hoping that he'll make the family fortune one day!
After a family photo session and, in my case, a rest to cool off because, in spite of the overcast skies, it was surprisingly hot and humid walking through the forest, Aidan and I decided to walk slowly back towards the beach while the rest of the family continued along the trail. Our reward for this laziness was to see a small family of koalas sleeping peacefully in the trees, the first time I've actually seen them in the wild. I find it endearing that Australians, who must after all be so accustomed to the little animals, still pause to enjoy the sigt and obligingly point them out to passers-by - something similar to what happens in Cape Town when the whales return to calve in False Bay during spring. Traffic always comes to a standstill (sometimes almost too abruptly) and the sidewalks fill up with groups of people gazing raptly out to sea. It's heartwarming that, in spite of the crazy rush of modern life, people are so mesmerized by the frolics of these magnificent leviathans, that schedules are abandoned and life slows down for a while.
Back at our apartment in the late afternoon, relaxing dips were taken in our private jacuzzi on the roof and then, you've guessed it - we set up the barbecue. More hot tubbing later and it was agreed that there are few experiences as luxurious as lying back in a tub of hot water, sipping from a glass of cold white wine, and gazing up at a velvet dark night sky, studded with a multitude of stars.