The tail end of Storm Henry has swept by and swimming is again a possibility, though the sea remains rough. But, with the wind from the south-west the shore under the high cliffs at Kelly’s Cove should be more sheltered than elsewhere.
In the end though I head for Old Mill Bay on the other side of the little headland. The bay cuts sharply back into the high cliff with a small jumble of rocks that passes as a beach of sorts, but more interesting are the headlands. On the one side the rocks are cut into deep gullies, but on the other there is a wall of rock stretching out to sea and where it spurs off the land a long, straight, sea cave.
The rocks create a funnel and the waves sloosh into the cave entrance. There seems to be more sand piled up than when I was last here and the floor rises steeply to the back of the tunnel making it shorter than I remember. The walls have been sand polished and, looking back to the entrance, are black and glistening. The cave forks just inside the entrance but today the right hand tunnel is piled with sand just beyond the big boulder that half blocks the entrance. There is very little point in exploring that.
Back in the sea I swim through a gap in the rocks and out into the open sea. The waves bounce me up and down and the clouds mask out the sun, backlit they have the colour of burnished brass, it all looks a little ominous.
I swim slowly back against the tide, the swell has picked up. My way out involves making my way along a narrow sheltered gulley which it seems has become much less sheltered than when I got in 20 minutes ago. A waves sucks away and the water level drops rapidly beneath me, whilst at the far end of the gulley the next wave breaks through a gap in the rocks and chases the out going wave, surging along the gulley and cascading over the lips of momentarily exposed steps.
It is surging my way.
Preoccupied as I am with the spectacle and the thought that I am going to have to get out elsewhere I fail to realise that the wave is now running unseen down the outside of the rocks and when it reaches the low bit …. it is going to burst through and ….. about a million gallons of water dump over me.
Now however is the moment. The gulley is full of briefly stationary water and I swim as rapidly as I can to my get out point, reaching it just a moment before the water begins to drain away. Fun it may be, but I’m also sort of glad I’m out of it.