SURF LIFE SAVING AUSTRALIA LISTS SHARKS, WINDS, STRONG CURRENTS AND TOPOGRAPHIC RIPS as hazards at Half Moon Bay. In spite of these, and a recorded average of 18 rescues per year, the beach receives a general hazard rating of 3/10, placing it in the "least hazardous" category. Beach hazards is a concept foreign to me, having lived most of my life in an archipelago of warm, relatively calm shores. Save for typhoon-tormented days at least, Philippine beaches aren't known to pose much danger to beach-goers.
Half Moon Bay, located south of Melbourne, takes its name from its crescent shape. The bay faces north in the southern corner, west in the northern section, and is interrupted midway by the prominent rocks and cliffs of Red Bluff. Rich in iron oxide, Red Bluff's burnt-orange formation is notable on its own, but extra dramatic when interfacing with the sea. Frothy, glassy waves spill, plunge and surge against its scattered rocks, turned a deeper tan by saturation with water. The crashing sound seems rhythmic and constant, but the waves appear different each time.
The internet is awash with tracks of ocean wave sounds. But it's a singular sensation to actually walk on a rocky shore, wary of the beautiful, possibly hazardous spills and surges that could sweep in forcefully at any moment. Contemporary life is designed so that majority of our interactions are comfortable, convenient and predictable. It's good to be reminded that the best of nature isn't a product of contemporary design, or human design at all. And oh, how remarkable its force could be.
Red Bluff at Half Moon Bay, Victoria. Photos by Lady San Pedro and Jaime Sese.