Cronulla Sunrise – Travel Tales

Posted on 26th Aug 2012 by ian under Travel Tales | No Comments »

It’s Cronulla Beach.  It’s Saturday morning.  It’s 5:27a.m.  In my usual neck of the woods that would be considered early but when I have a room with a balcony at Rydges Cronulla, overlooking the beach and out to the Pacific and the east, well, I’m not going to miss the sunrise!

A silhouette flotilla of container ships and oil tankers sit close to the horizon travelling north.  The sun is still threatening its inevitable arrival but much of the suburb is already awake.

With a backdrop of birdsong, dogs are being walked on leads along the esplanade, a few fishing boats bob, black against grey.  Cars, with headlights reflecting, swish through last night’s rain.

Half a dozen hopeful surfers are out, waiting. There’s a small set of waves, near the shore, breaking left to right, with either a missed roll for the surfers or and a five second gentle ride.  This must be a very addictive pastime.  Even I can see from where I am  that there will be a lot more sitting than standing and I can do that from my balcony without getting wet, and with a cup of tea.

Seagulls squawk and run at the foamy tide.  Couples and singles stroll the promenade above the damp, hard sand.  Joggers pound the footpath.  Fitness and body image is important in surf culture.  It is a suburb where few gym memberships lapse.  Botox and spray tans without six-pack body tone just look, well, so fake.

5:55a.m.  The sun arrives.  In large, orange spectacular fashion.

Dolphins are arching off the break, just meters behind the surfers.  The swell is still small but ride time has increased around eight seconds.  Do they know something I don’t?  There are now board riders off Wanda Beach, Eloura, North Cronulla and ‘The Point’ off the main beach, all calmly laying claim to their own piece of salty real estate.

I’m starting to see the addiction.  It’s a mental state and nothing to do with endorphins.  Dammit.  I’m envious.  I want to be closer to those dolphins, closer to the sound of the crashing waves, closer to nature.  Perhaps closer to myself.  Yoga, meditation and fitness.  That’s a fine old healthy mix.

It’s can be a funny place, “The Shire”.  As a kid growing up in rural Gundagai we would holiday in Cronulla twice a year.  That was a month, every year, at the beach.  But unless you are born there, you could never call it ‘home’.

This is not at all threatening, by the way. Visitors are more than welcome and happily tolerated.  They are just not seen as the luckiest in this Lucky Country.  The locals know that the visitors keep the shops open and jobs happening… which indirectly gives more time to surf and more money for beer.

You see, only they understand the draw of the sand and sea, the knowing nod of a neighbor and that having blonde hair, blue eyes, a tattoo of the Southern Cross and a bit of bling can actually equal ‘happiness’.

The sun is now up and throwing out some rays.  The waves are well-formed and delivering gentle, rewarding rides.  You can feel he day gathering purpose.  Time for a juice and fruit breakfast on the terrace downstairs, even closer to the ocean.  Louis Armstrong comes to mind, and I think to myself…