Today, I’ve decided to fictionalise a day at the beach we had over summer…
It was a hot summer’s day. One where we could enjoy it for what it was without work or school commitments, no house hunting or sports activities, just me and my two boys. The sun was piercing on our sun screened covered skin, the sand burning the soles of our feet. My boys swiftly ran into the sea water to save their burning soles as I was left to de-robe out of my red cami and khaki shorts to reveal my two piece swimwear.
At first the sea water was soothing to my soles and skin, but the more my body’s temperature decreased from the touch of the cool salt water lapping at it from each wave, the more I tried to keep more of my body dry. But the waves didn’t let up, they wanted to refresh me, refresh me from the searing summer heat, and even though I resisted it, I allowed it. Once it lapped up against my shoulders, I was defeated by the waves in a good way… I had succumbed to its strength to lure me in and simply relax.
The beach we found ourselves at was absolute bliss. A stretch of beautiful white sand speckled with colourful bathing boxes with leafy tree-scapes and cliff faces surrounding the foreshore. Both the sand and the sea were scattered with people enjoying the thirty-seven degree Celsius day, but it wasn’t crowded. It was enough to know we had our own space, unlike the stampedes the city beaches were accustomed to on such a magnificent day. It was magical.
My 10 year old red haired hero and my 8 year old cheeky charmer left me behind as they braved the half metre swell of this bayside beach. The sea floor started with rough pebbly shell-encrusted sand and became deeper as we walked on a rocky reef. I caught up quickly with a bouncy ball in my hand so that we could play games in the water. My little one had lost the ability to stand up in the water, so I led him to a sandbank beyond the reef so we could play. The sandbank was amazing. Crystal clear waters, smooth silky sand without a blemish and the water only rose to my waist. It was far away from the beach to feel like we weren’t on anyone’s toes, but close enough so we could easily get back and keep an eye on our belongings. We had a panoramic view of the breathtaking coastline, a luxury speedboat only one hundred or so metres away from us anchored for fishing and the sweet buzz of jet skis adding an aural contentment to the ambience.
As we positioned ourselves on the sandbank for a game of catch, I stepped on something. Something rough. I looked down and it was a starfish. I pointed it out to the boys, but the waves kept splashing over it making it hard to see. It made us wary about what other things we could step on.
The boys had a ball playing in the waves, dive catching for the ball and doing overthrows and under throws to make each other work to get the ball. Our positions kept moving around the sandbank as the ball went too far to the right or left, or over our heads.
I went for one catch, and my foot tripped over something. That’s weird. Why would that be there? I reached under and pulled at it. But it didn’t budge. It was a rope attached to the sea floor. How did that get there?
“Hey guys. Come here, look what I’ve found?”
“What?” they said simultaneously as they ran in slow motion in the water.
As they approached and I didn’t need to shout, I told them what I found.
“Who wants to go under and see what it’s attached to?” I asked.
“I will!” said my eager ten year old, as he dived under to dig away at the sand for as long as he could hold his breath.
He popped his head up.
“I dug up only a few handfuls and struck something metal. See? Feel with your feet.” he said breathlessly.
I put my foot against the edge of where the rope was attached and there was a checker plate flat surface. We tried to clear more of the surface with our feet, but it seemed to be going both wide and long with no end in sight.
“Do you think we should wait until the tide is down to investigate more?” I asked.
“What do you think it could be? my red-head asked.
“I don’t know. It could be a secret passageway, some treasure, something illegal.”
The curiosity got the better of us, and we decided to stay and watch the tide fall away to get a better chance of tugging at the sea-weed riddled rope to see if the metal will come away from the sea floor.
We waited six hours and watched the sun set over the glistening waves. People had long gone home with only a few stragglers left, walking their dogs along the foreshore. We waited for them to be far enough away as we walked back into the water. We could see the rope swaying amidst the waves, so it would be just the right timing to tug at it to reveal what is beyond.
The three of us went out into the water as the sky turned orange and pink. The sea lapped at our ankles as our toes sunk softly into the sand. We found the rope and the three of us held onto it waiting for the right time. We stood in a tug of war pose, me at the end to take the full brunt. The waves came in, and then went out.
“Go!” I yelled, as we pulled with all our might to lift the metal off the ground. The water came up too quickly for us to make any impact.
We let go, a little breathless waiting for the next chance. We picked up the rope as the tide went back out and pulled again in synch with each other. It moved. But not enough. We knew we had to put a little more oomph into it to make it happen.
“Are you ready guys? We can do it, the biggest pull ever.”
“Ok Mum. We’re going to do it!” my eager 10 year old said.
“Go!” we pulled and pulled and the metal slid across the sand lifting and flipping over.
It was a piece of rusted metal, like a sign. The other side was embossed with the words “The Seacatcher 1763”
“WOW! Do you know what this could be guys?” I asked my boys.
“What?” they said in harmony, disappointed that there wasn’t a gold box or a secret passageway underneath.
“This could be a piece of history. It could re-write our history books. You know Captain Cook found Australia in 1770, well this is from a ship earlier than when he first arrived, in an area that he never came to, and it’s in English. An Englishman could have been on our shores before Cook even thought about it.”
“What does that mean for us?” my treasure hunter 10 year old asked.
“If we could get this to someone of importance – the police, a historian, someone, we might get a reward for finding something new about Australia’s history.”
His ears perked up. “A reward?”
“Yes. I have no idea what type of reward, but it would be something. But at the same time, it would be nice just to be recognised to have found this piece of metal. Are you guys OK to stay here while I go call the water police to get them over?”
“Yes Mum. Go call them.” my 8 year old said.
I went back to the shore and called the water police. They told me that it wasn’t a piece of history, but something else and they told me to leave it alone. I knew my boys would be disappointed.
I went back to them to explain.
“Hey guys, the water police aren’t coming?”
“What not? Don’t they want the piece of history?” my 8 year old asked.
“No, well it actually isn’t a piece of history. It’s a prop for a television show they are recording here on the beach tomorrow. The water police knew it was here, and they have told us not to touch it. I’m surprised they left it here all day and night without anyone watching over it.”
“Well they should leave things lying around like this. Someone could get hurt.” my 10 year old said.
“I know. But at least we had a bit of an adventure. We found out about something we didn’t know about, and we did some investigating and got to the bottom of it.”
“I guess. We did have fun at the beach all day,” my red head said.
“Let’s go get some fish n chips to celebrate our fun day,” I said.
So we walked up to the beach, grabbed our belongings and walked slowly up the dune to the streets edge and found the fish n chip shop still open ready for my ravaging family to feast on some local seafood. It was a good day… no, it was a great day.