I walked every street in Woy Woy

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Walk #29 - Tea tree forest

(Walked 1st of July 2005)

Overcast again now but when I set off on my walk this morning it was a clear as a bell. Just as well I took a jumper. It got overcast and windy again towards the end of my walk and my neck got quite chilly.

Palm Beach Ferry
(Big version) Wagstaffe, Lobster Beach and Box Head on the left. Barrenjoey Head in the middle. Lion Island and Patonga Ridge on the right. Palm Beach ferry in the centre. And that bloody seagull followed me all the way along the foreshore.

The Birds
(Big version)

Went along The Esplanade from Ettalong. The sun was still out then and I got off a whole roll of film on that one street. Mostly on the beach actually. There's numerous foot access thingies down to the beach and I kept nipping down them. Think I got a nice one of Lion Island. It was looking very close and was nicely lit by the sun against the background of Patonga Ridge.

Tea tree forest
(Big version)

Came across a tiny forest of tea trees on the dunes. A native Australian tree with tiny tough leaves and white flowers. There were maybe two dozen trees in a rough rectangle and within the forest the sand was smooth and almost bare. It was pleasantly shady with a nice spot to sit (on a plastic bag) and look at the sun on Lobster Beach opposite.

Watched the ferry leave Ferry Street and skirt round the sandbars then off to Pittwater. Must've been the Palm Beach ferry. There's normally only one sandbar and its size fluctuates according to the weather. Today there was two sandbars because of all that wind yesterday. The spray was jumping high over at Barrenjoey Head and on Lion Island and at the base of the cliff on the end of Patonga Ridge. The edge of the surf was littered with soggy bits of debris. Lost hankies, a piece of fishing net, that sort of thing. All along the footpaths there were small twigs and the ends off branches and, inexplicably, a pair of clean blue knickers. I say in explicably because they were too close to the beach to have blown off a clothesline and ended up there. Relic of a midnight shag on the beach perhaps.

Came across a dog and owner where Ettalong Beach comes to a corner and Umina Beach starts. The owner was friendly and yummily upholstered. The dog was a lovely four year old called Seth. Staffordshire terrier crossed with pitbull. He was playing soccer in the surf but took the time to look into the lens and grin at me. Hope the pictures of him came out.

Seth in front of Lobster Beach
(Big version)


Back up to the road after giving Seth's ball a few kicks, and round onto Broken Bay Road. All along The Esplanade the houses are 1940s and 1970s to the present. A mixed bunch. Broken Bay Road is the same but with more Dear Old Things quietly fossilising behind the lace curtains and jungle-like lawn.

Between The Esplanade and Broken Bay Road there's a park marked on my map. With the map being 15 years old and land near the water selling like it does, I was expecting the park to be gone. But it was still there. Well maintained and well used too by the look of it. In the middle there was a small carpark, a brick loo and a small two-storey clubhouse. To the right of that it was all grass with a few small clumps of trees and a slide in the far corner. Good spot to run a dog or a small child to exhaustion. To the left it was all asphalt netball courts. There was pedestrian access from beside the clubhouse to The Esplanade and a view of the end of the tea tree forest and, beyond that, across to Kourung Point at Wagstaffe. A rather pleasant little view.

I sat on the bench in front of the clubhouse for a few minutes. It was clouding over again but there was still some sun. Every backyard that backed onto the park between Lagoon and Palm streets had a few palms in it. (No mystery how Palm Street got its name). The name of the park was Lemon Grove. Not many lemon trees to be seen in the backyards facing it. Perhaps there was an orchard there once though I don't know how lemon trees would do so close to the beach. Maybe someone just fancied the name. Made a note for my big research trip to the library.

The sound of the wind in the palms was excellent. I let it fill up my ears and the sun warm my face while I gazed over the netball courts to Blackwall Mountain. It's actually a triangular hill but from the park it looks squarish. It wasn't so far away that I couldn't see the big old gums tossing in the wind on top of it. On the right hand end of the Mountain the Club loomed. Blot on the bloody landscape that thing. It's not terribly offensive in itself. It's white and has many many balconies. Nothing out of the ordinary for a beachside hotel and club-for-all-seasons. But it's the biggest thing on the Peninsula and it's too bloody white and you can see the bastard for miles.

Anyways, my neck was getting cold again at the back where the sun couldn't get at it. I got back on my feet. There were two more pedestrian access thingies at the Mountain end of the park. I went up the steep soggy one. Not slipping on the wet leaves and sliding back down on my face was a near thing. My shoes were still squelching for a few dozen yards after it.

It wasn't far to the end of Broken Bay Road. As I came round the corner my bus was at the stop and I ran about 20 yards to get it. Ten minutes later my face was still warm from that run. But when I started this walkies thing in March a run like that would've had me sagging against my fellow pedestrians with the blood pounding in my ears and them asking if I needed an ambulance.

Next walk


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