South Coast Wilderness Walks 2022 Volume 2


The date on the map is from the first time we did this walk…see link later

We had a wonderful sunny day by the seaside today, doing a 12km hike of gorgeous coastline. Though we were only away for the day, it really feels like we’ve been on a much-needed mini-holiday, and I thought I’d share the scenery and some of the remarkable things we saw today.

This is Jess at the start of the walk.

She’s been super excited since yesterday night about our outing, since she understands words for walking, going somewhere in the car, and that there will be swimming opportunities (which she loves). In Jess-speak that’s walkies, broom-broom and splish respectively – onomatopoeia is helpful and so is repetition around those activities, so that now, for instance, if you say “broom-broom” she will leap around and start herding you to the door and then wait expectantly near the hatch, and if you say “splish” she will look around for water and go swim if possible. As Jess is 10 and slowing down a bit, we realise time is getting short and we want her to have as many lovely long walks with us as possible. ♥

The general coastline:

You end up going from beach to beach around a point and it’s just totally splendid scenery and geology. This has got to be one of my favourite coastal walks anywhere, and goodness knows we are spoilt for choice on the South Coast.

Brett and I felt as if we were the only people left in the world for much of today’s hike, because we met nobody else for the whole three-and-a-half hours, and the landscape is so primal and pristine.

We filmed a wonderful example of the power of the sea on the South Coast today. These are the waves that wash unwary rock fishermen into the sea, and then even strong swimmers have low chances of getting back to shore safely, which is why we have regular deaths from this…

There was a huge treat when we came to our picnic stop near Point Irwin. Brett was pointing at the sea. We couldn’t make out what it was at first. It almost looked like dolphins, which are commonly encountered along this coast, but the fin shapes were wrong and there were so many of them close together…

Since we’ve done and documented this exact walk once before, we didn’t take a proper camera with us today, so the photo isn’t very clear as these critters were quite a way from us and we couldn’t get closer to them. There are a few more photos in the complete-photo slideshow which I will link to later.

After a while it dawned on us what they were. We’d never seen this in real life before – but we had seen it on a David Attenborough documentary years ago. They were seals sunning themselves in the water, most of them floating sideways and upside-down, and what we were seeing were not fins but flippers!

We were watching this while eating apples from our own garden and drinking iced coffees made from local fresh milk the cow owner delivers to us once a week – quite a memorable picnic. It was lunchtime, but we’d already brunched in Denmark on the way through, at the award-winning bakery there – a pepper pie and princess slice for Brett, a seafood pie and beesting for me – a big treat because so well made and because these are not things I make at home. We still had one item each from that bakery in our backpack – a fruit-custard tart with a spelt crust brushed in dark chocolate (to deliciously keep the custard from making the pastry soggy, pure genius and I do that with all my own fruit tarts these days too), and a cherry-coconut slice for Brett – but we saved them for later!

Soon we were climbing to the highest point of this walk, into typical granite country:

The views west opened up from there and were amazing. That’s Rame Head in the middle distance, with Point Nuyts far in the distance.

And then we saw whales blowing a little way offshore! Today just had everything…

In the second video you can see seagulls flocking over to where the whales are.

We couldn’t make out if they were Humpbacks or Southern Right Whales, as they were far away and not coming out of the water enough. Both migrate around our coast this time of year. But if I had to guess I would say they were Humpbacks, because of the incredible almost trumpeting noise they were making at one point clearing their blowholes. It was a big sound and one I’d not heard before in years of whalewatching!

The ever-changing geology and scenery on this walk is just astonishing. It is so extraordinary…

We came to a little cove that was literally boiling with waves and I took a film. Brett volunteered to be in it so viewers could get a sense of the scale of these waves…

People say the Atlantic on the West Coast of Ireland is powerful, but the Southern Ocean has an enormous uninterrupted fetch right to the Antarctic and our South Coast is situated in the Roaring Forties. When you walk along this coast the ground shakes beneath your feet, like an earthquake. It’s hard to describe the sheer power of the huge pounding waves here, but it is reflected too in the grandness of the coastal scenery, which has been hammered with this huge force for many thousands of years.

It’s an amazing coast.

The remaining coastline photos are from the last beach along before the Bibbulmun Track veered back into the dunes, from where we then returned via a shortcut track to Peaceful Bay, rather than continuing to Rame Head Hut, which walk we have done previously and is in our hiking diary here if anyone wants to see that.

This is a truly magical beach.

The photo below is my favourite from today.

The dog really enjoyed this outing.

We played in the water and Brett caught it; we have a kind of water ballet sequence where the dog and I were just enjoying the sea and waves. I’ve included this because it’s worth just looking at the play of waves and imagining how magnificent it is to be part of this scenery just for a while. No wonder I’m doing a spontaneous wavedance, regardless of that entire dance thing not being my strong suit exactly.

Then we all had afternoon tea in this lovely spot at the end of the beach:

After that I had truly joyous splash in the water with Jess, playing tag with each other and egging each other on to chase waves. We didn’t get any photos of that, but it will remain a golden memory of Jess and me for years to come – the fun and the scenery and the beautiful afternoon light…

We feel so privileged to live here and be able to walk in such magnificent places, many hours from major cities, literally at the edge of the world. ♥

A complete-photo slideshow of today can be accessed via this link – then use the right arrows to go forward!

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