Two organized mass beach cleans and no doubt countless 2 minute beach cleans have almost cleared Elberry Beach of the wreckage from the destroyed kiosk at Shoalstone Pool and the devastated conservatory of the Breakwater Bistro. And now the large piles of bin bags and general waste are being hauled away bit by bit, day by day. That leaves just a remodeled beach, several piles of scrap wood and a couple of tree trunks, and I have intentions towards some of that, which is in part why I am back.
Today the beach is also sheltered form the wicked chill breeze, well mostly, it is in the far corner where I am getting changed anyway and I’m in the sunshine too. I swam here yesterday and the sea was quite calm but there was nowhere out of the breeze and no sunshine either. No surprise then that I am here to take full advantage of the change of fortunes.
In the way that it happens my eyes begin to tune in to the glass fragments amongst the pebbles as I am changing and the broken bucket I picked up starts to fill: clink, clink, clink. The more you look the more you see in green, brown and ‘clear’, some frosted, some fresh faced with sharp edges. I have picked up sea glass here before but this is madness and I begin to wonder what storm process brought so much to the surface of the beach. I also wonder how soon it will be before I tread on a sharp bit.
I am glad then to be buoyed up by the aquamarine water, but it feels considerably colder than yesterday despite the sunshine or maybe that’s it, the contrast with the warm beach simply makes the water feel colder. I have gone no more than ½ way along the beach than the first walker stops to stare.
I zig-zag back and forth along the beach twice, it takes a little over 20 minutes to cover about 700m with progress slowed by the photo opportunities offered by such a perfect setting. Yesterday I swam further out and did 500m but at a substantially faster rate. Today though I now have 2 fan clubs, one gathered on and around the bench on the headland, the other sat on the pebbles.
I stagger back up the beach with the small rounded stones digging painfully into my numbed feet. I’m also cold and strip off disregarding the fan club. I’m the same pink shade as a boiled lobster and shivering like a leaf, it’s not a pretty sight but both times I shoot a glance at my fan club the woman is watching me right back. God knows why, it cannot be a pretty sight as I fight my damp clammy skin into clingy clothes. But then I’m done.
I hoist a length of wood onto one shoulder and grab the bucket with it’s collection of glass and general litter in the other and stamp my warming way back to the car.