There was a good swell running the other evening with a light offshore wind, which drew me to Marengo Point to take photos of waves breaking over the reef there. From my usual vantage point half way up a small cliff, I could see Marengo beach and its relatively protected waters to my left and the swell from the Southern Ocean crashing on the outside of Little Henty Reef to my right.
The contrast between the quietude of the fisherman and his dog, and the glorious motion and might of the swell crashing on the reef was striking.
The kelpie was most attentive to the fisherman, even though not a word or signal passed between them as far as I could tell. It’s what kelpies do. They are life enthusiasts. At this moment, life for this kelpie was about fishing, and he gave it one hundred percent of his attention. I learned a little later that this fisherman and his kelpie are inseparable mates of long standing.
Notice the kelpie’s front right paw raised in the pointing position. More accurately perhaps, given this is a dog bred for working with sheep and cattle, it’s a variation on the motionless leg-raised stance such dogs use when concentrating and giving sheep ‘the eye’.
Fishing from the rocks yielded nothing, and fishing from the beach was no worse. The dog remained permanently alert and engaged.
Australian kelpie in his prime returning to his camp site on the headland after completing all fishing duties. The beauty of the last moments of sunlight before the sun disappeared behind the hills seemed to stop the kelpie in his tracks for a moment. Either that, or he had a sense of style and moment and simply struck a pose for me.
Meanwhile, 150 metres away this was going on. I’ve seen larger swells, but any swell of around this size or more keeps me spellbound.
Little Henty Reef has some very interesting underwater features, which do things like this to waves.
Part of the reef can be seen temporarily exposed on the middle left of the image.
Beginners’ barrel. A most unusual formation on a breaking wave.
Massive manes on these charging waves, blown back by the light northerly.
The curtain falls, but the show goes on. The pretexts people might say they have for coming to the sea are many and varied. But the common denominator for all is simply being in the presence of the sea. It matters not whether the wave or the fish is caught, nor whether contentment, awe, terror or tranquility is dispensed by the ocean at any given moment. What matters is that humans feel better for answering the call of the sea.