We have been packing a few outings into our recent weekends. Most notably, we have actually been to the beach. I know this may not sound very eventful, especially during Australian summer, but there are all sorts of barriers that usually prevent our beach attendance.
|Hillarys Marina, late afternoon|
For starters, Mr Bite and I share an unhelpful ability to burn within 15 minutes of sun exposure. Sun cream is no guarantee of avoiding this outcome. Going to the beach during the middle of the day is pretty much never going to happen.
Early mornings would help from a sun perspective, but Mr B. is quite committed to sleeping in on the weekends. His optimal rising time comes sometime after 9.45am. The sun is a good few hours ahead of him.
At the other end of the day, I don't always feel like going to the beach by evening. In addition to water, beaches inevitably involve sand. Sand is messy. It gets in the car afterwards, and somehow always tracks into the house. I have to be in the right mood for it!
Even if we navigate my beach hesitations, late afternoon and evening can bring challenges in the choice of beach. Most of our local options become quite rough from mid-afternoon onwards, as the sea breeze rolls in and calm waters turn choppy. Waves are not, in and of themselves, a huge barrier. However, the final challenge in our beach attendance is a preference for keeping our heads dry when we swim. I am aware of how pathetic this sounds! It stems from a shared tendency toward blocked ears and/or ear infections, and a lifetime of learning that such experiences are hastened by regular submersion of ears in water. Rough water requires some willingness to dive under waves, and that is an activity that requires a wet head.
|Hillarys Marina; slides in the ocean and definitely no waves|
In all, we are really not beach people and probably shouldn't qualify as Australians at all. And yet - we have gone to the beach twice in the last two weeks. The same tally applies for the whole summer, and indeed the whole of the last year!, but I am still quite impressed with our efforts.
If you are going to go to the beach in Perth, there is one location guaranteed to satisfy even the most hesitant of swimmers. Hillarys Marina, pictured above, is a collection of shops and restaurants jutting out from the coast roughly 20km north of Perth. It is where my jumbo bike ride took me to on New Year's Day. There is a small beach protected by the Marina, understandably very popular with families. There are even some water slides on a pontoon for older children to swim out to.
Luckily, adults frequent Hillarys too and you can swim far enough out to reach deep water and avoid the crowded shoreline. In fact, if you do so, you can monitor people eating and drinking within the Marina itself, quite a fun experience when you're splashing about below them.
On our first visit (pictures above), we swam at roughly 5pm, when it was still very sunny. On our second, we waited until later, not entering the water until 6.30pm. The photos below were taken after that swim, and show the difference 2 hours can make in terms of lighting.
After our second visit, we picked up Grill'd burgers for dinner, staying true to our order favourites (in my case, the veganised Field of Dreams field mushroom burger). I think if I always followed swimming with Grill'd, I might swim quite regularly. For now, I suspect I have had my water fun for this summer. With our next summer scheduled for the UK, I may have even had it for quite some time!
Are you a beach (or swimming) person? I loved swimming as a child but rarely go these days.