MACKEREL MADNESS

A KAYAKER HEADS OUT

There is a chill in the air today that you can feel when the sun goes behind a cloud but everyone is out to catch what little they can of Summer now it’s finally here. On Garrarus Beach this evening the kayaks are pulled up on the sand and a barbeque  puffs blue fragrant smoke that fills the air like incense. Another kayaker heads out under the yellow triangle of Burkes Rock, that is glowing now in the evening sun and a wetsuited swimmer emerges from the water by friends playing in the shallows.

I slip quickly into my swimsuit feeling the delicious chill air on my skin and head towards the water. I slide into it fast and it is like silk, rippling ahead of me, cyan and petrol blue shot through with yellow under the clay cliffs. I swim a while and then turn on my back and kick a fountain of foam into the air. Sheep Island is a black silhouette now, the pale sky visible through its sea arch.

When I come out I dress quickly and sip on some peppermint tea. The fish are jumping with mackerel hunting down sprats, a small silvery fish, some of whom end up on the beach in an attempt to escape their tormentors leaving the seaweed bejewelled with their shining corpses when the tide recedes.

The terns are dive bombing the water, dropping and twisting, tearing ragged knots in the sea with their blade-like wings, precision instruments of death. The gulls are less balletic as they land on the water and peck about.

On the beach the fishing rods come out. A bandy-legged man scores two mackerel and all of a sudden an extended Asian family appear around him as if by magic.

Soon there are silvery mackerel flopping on the beach and the sprats are flickering at the frilled edge of the sea. A friend who stops to chat tells me her daughter had tried to throw them back in but there were too many. The Asian family are more prosaic as  young and old are collecting the sprats in a red bucket.

My toes are starting to chill now and the sea is turning white under the milky western sky. Its time to go barefoot and salty up the beach and home for tea.

TIME FOR TEA

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