Halfway to low tide

Everywhere there are reminders of time. The sun rises and sets, tides come in and out at all hours of the day and night, the moon passes through its phases, seasons are marked by solstices and equinoxes, and the movement of constellations across the sky witnesses the passing of seconds and minutes, into days and years. Flowers bloom, leaves fall, life comes and go.

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Ancient eye

It might have been halfway to low tide that it was abandoned, but when I arrived the flood tide was reaching its peak. Not far from the water’s edge I looked down and espied a wrist watch, neatly fold on its band with mother of pearl face reflecting the sky.

The place was deserted, and the next large wave might cast it into a crevice to be lost forever. I looked out to sea macabrely half expecting that a body might be floating or a person might be swimming distantly to a futile future. Gratified that the sea was empty as the rocks of people, I determined that finder’s law must apply and saved the timepiece.

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The big and little hand

Temporality and its markers hasten the prescience that mortality means becoming a memory lost to time, like a missing watch suspends our capacity to observe moments drifting past. The possibility of death after learning I had cancer, did not make me believe that life was vanishing before my eyes, but rather that I would wash with each passing year from the memories of others.

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Wash

Death and its shadow never seems far away. I have been always rushing to do things, or defend things, and have been fearful of passing. Phrases such as “walking on” or “swimming beyond” are more appealing euphemisms to me. I am less worried about eternity’s breath now, although some things make me anxious. It is good to slow and take a breath. The world isn’t going away. Kilimanjaro and the Himalayas will still be there. I might never see them, but this feeling I was fading out of history and would soon become a lost memory troubles me less. I feel a lot more assured that I might be forgotten, but perhaps a little less slowly than I anticipated. Time to let go.

A friend recently wrote to me: “What you will take away from your time at work [and life] will be the satisfaction that you made a difference in a great many lives. There are people who will remember that you once helped them when it counted, and that made their lives possible.”

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Diamond heart

Recently our son graduated, and daughter earlier this year. He will be 25 in February and she 24 in the middle of the year. I am feeling a lot older and that life passes, moves forward and eclipses us. I am enjoying watching my wisdom seem to grow or acceptance of ageing a bit more at times.

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Mask

It is time to make some more photos.

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Waves still crash

All photos taken at Bass Point with a Chamonix 045F1 View Camera, Nikkor-SW 90mm f/8 and Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S 150mm lenses, and Shanghai 100 film and developed in PMK.

 

 

Bombo

It has been about a year since I have been to Bombo. On my last visit I rolled my ankle on a rock, breaking a bone in my foot. Lately we have had heavy weather, so in a break between downpours, I headed to the old quarry at Bombo hoping that waves might be breaking over the sea walls.

Waves on columns
Waves on columns

Bombo seemingly was named after Thumbon, a local indigenous leader, at the time of the settlement of the Kiama district. When the railway was first built south from Sydney, it stopped just north of Kiama at Bombo, where the basalt quarries provided blue metal for concrete, building railway lines and roads.

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Old basalt quarry

Bombo headland has geological formations of hexagonal basalt columns of international significance, abutting sandstone formations, which have reversed magnetic polarities from a time when the North and South Magnetic Poles were reversed. Rocks of Permian age throughout the world show a reversed polarity and this unique formation is used for “intercontinental paleomagnetic correlation of Late Palaeozoic rock sequences.”

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Quarry pools

Quarrying began at Bombo headland in the 1880s. Basalt was carried to Sydney by dozens of small vessels known as the Stone Fleet until the railway line was built. The Irish miners employed to quarry the basalt, left rock columns and walls adjacent to the ocean protecting the works from the onslaught of the sea.

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Pool and pillars

Today part of the old quarry is used for a sewerage plant, but that is largely concealed from the coastal walk that wends its way around the headland from Kiama via Bombo to the surf break known locally as The Boneyard, and then on to Jones Beach and Minnamurra.

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Watchtower

On most days the headland is deserted, with the exception of seabirds watching for fish from the columns, just above the waves which pound along the walls.

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Hexed

Here and there a few broken columns reveal their hexagonal structure. Where waves crash through gaps, it seems as though the fortress wall has been breached.

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Window

The break in the wall opens a window to the ocean, clouds and the swirling tides.

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Foaming sea

On occasions the surging sea rushes over these formations, and once I got struck by water falling over the other side. Although the headland resembles a ruined fortress, or rock amphitheater for waves with seabirds as an audience, local children seemingly also call it Toothbrush Island.

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Toothbrush Island

Wave action shots were taken using Kodak TMax 400, except for the last one in series, which was made using Fomopan 100 along with the rest, using Toyo-View 45CF field camera with Nikkor-SW 90mm f/8 lens, and Tiffen Y12 filter. The film sheets were developed in a mix of Xtol (1:2) and Adonal (1:200).