The sun is shining, the air is cool and there’s a gentle sea breeze. It’s an absolutely perfect day for a long run/walk. I ride my motorbike 20km along fun dirt roads to Wreck Rock. I’ve never been there before so it seems like a good place to start today’s adventure. The beach is gorgeous with clear water and small waves rolling in crisply around the rocks. I run down the beach towards Wreck Rock itself, which I climb up to look up the beach towards Agnes Waters. Little do I know just now that my run/walk will take me all the way up there.
The beach sand is soft and more gravelly than I am used to around Brisbane. It’s almost as though there are more rocks here in the sea and not enough time or force to allow the water to break them down. I realise quite quickly that I’m going to have a serious workout today; something for which I will probably be grateful during the Surf Coast Century trail run in September. But while the beach is tough on my legs, it is food for my soul. To my right the clear water stretches far out to the horizon while orange coloured sand dunes roll down towards me from my left.
After I leave Wreck Rock, I have much of the beach to myself. It gives me the space I crave to be alone with my thoughts. A space that allows me to observe the simple beauty that Mother Nature provides.
I’m running on joy as I make my way up the beach. I have no destination in mind, other than to continue for about two hours before turning around. In the past I would have been anxious to ensure my training was exactly that: training. But today, as I prepare to tackle my first real 100km ultra in September, I am simply focused on the experience. I walk and run as my body allows, and take the time to walk up the dunes to find pretty places from which to view the beach.
Before long I reach a large rocky headland. Looking back I can see I’ve travelled a long way and that Wreck Rock is but a mere speck on the horizon. I don’t know how far I’ve travelled but I still feel fresh after almost two hours on the move so I decide not to turn around just yet. Instead I scramble up the rocks to the grassy slope where I can see some flattened grass. As the grasses around the headland don’t look like kangaroo fodder, I guess that the grass has been flattened by people, which means there will be a path or roadway higher up. I scramble up in bare feet (my feet are too sandy to put my shoes on). The grass is dry and the ground underneath is rocky but it feels so good to stand on bare earth. I come to the road at the top of the headland and follow it into Agnes Water. From here I run down the main road and back onto the sandy Deepwater National Park road.
The Deepwater road makes for challenging but beautiful travel. The sand is deep enough in places that I sink until my entire foot is covered. Yet, in others, it is totally runnable. Visually, I am surrounded by masses of contrast: deep glossy green and spikey palm groves nestle between tall smooth grey gums that tower so high I need to crane my neck to see their leaves and yellow-flowering wattles whose messy branches contrast their beautiful sweet scent.
It takes me four hours to complete my circuit. I estimate that I’ve travelled somewhere between 25-30km (15-18 miles). I’ve enjoyed the experience and didn’t really hit the wall until about 3:45 into my adventure, which bodes well for the Surf Coast Century. On my return to Wreck Rock beach, I sit down in the cold sea water to cool my now aching legs in the hope of a speedy recovery.
The little black tip shark’s tail fin and tail cut through the water not far from shore. It was doing spins and moving with agitation. I couldn’t see it’s body from where I stood on the beach; that would come later as I moved closer to this fascinating but scary creature of the sea. As I walked closer, I noticed a lump moving on the shore and the seagull standing nearby. The seagull seemed confused and frustrated as he stared at the large flapping lump. The seagull didn’t actually make a move towards the lump; the scavenger of the beach actually seemed a little confused as to what to do.
Suddenly I recognised the lump as a fish. It had probably swum too close to shore to escape the black tip’s hunger and found itself washed onto the beach where the seagull was trying to work out how to carry this quarry that was many times the seagull’s weight and size. And that’s when I stepped into this food triangle, snatching the fish from under the seagull’s nose as the black tip shark searched the small waves in a frenzy.
And that’s how I came to carry a large fresh mullet down the beach for 7km from where I caught it back to camp. It tasted absolutely delicious fried on the campground barbecue and served on top of a simple leafy salad.
As for the story of how I came to be 7km from camp? Well, I have entered the 100km Surf Coast Century trail run in September. I find ultra running and endurance events useful in trying to work out whether the answer really is 42. This afternoon I went out on a 3 hour run/walk training session from Amity to Adder Rock and back. I followed sandy 4WD tracks behind the dunes for a while before running on the packed sand of low tide collecting pippies that I thought I would eat for dinner. I caught the fish at about 2:35 into my run/walk and just walked my way back after that. Even without the fish, it was a magnificent and magical afternoon:
Do you see the butterfly?
Beach grasses blowing in the wind.
The view back towards Amity from Adder Rock.
I just love random driftwood and dead trees on the beach; they make fantastic shapes.