After watching my niece Orla play Aussie Rules last Sunday morning at Malabar’s Pioneers Park, we wandered through the streets till we reached the ocean pool where two girls about 9 and 10 were daring each other to jump in.
“One, two, three,” they kept counting down till eventually they leapt off the edge and into the water looking crystal clear and sparkling in the sun.
A man finished his laps and lifted his body over the side as a little Jack Russell darted along the edge and bodies lay on the concrete, soaking up the unusually warm winter sun.
I felt like we’d jumped through one of Dick Van Dyke’s chalk paintings in Mary Poppins and landed in an idyllic scene with the water looking so inviting, pristine and clean.
In days gone by Malabar Beach and ocean pool didn’t have a good reputation for clean water largely due to the sewerage outfall but this improved when the deep water sewer outfall was constructed and the outfall was emptied 4.2 kilometres out to sea. While occasionally there have been problems with stormwater, in 1999 Malabar’s beach and ocean pool were declared crystal clear.
On Sunday, the water looked so inviting I wished I’d packed my cossie but then I remembered that the aim of our visit was to walk along the coast and get some practice in for our trek in the Flinders Ranges in a couple of weeks.
So instead of swimming I had to console myself with looking and taking photos of all the lovely elements of this ocean pool which dates back to the 1890s.
In 1909, it was described as a ‘large swimming basin…containing buoyant seawater of varying depth and it gave recurrent pleasure to visitors and residents.
It’s view across to the headland and out to sea, it’s curves and lines and textures and signs.
And it’s gradations of blue and green.
The curves and colours and shapes on the rock face around the pool and blalala.
I walked around the edge and snapped away from every angle and direction of light – close up and far away as the two little girls jumped in and out and squealed in delight.
And then Bruce said it was time to get on our way – time to start our walk to Little Bay.
So up we trekked along the edge of Randwick Golf Course – pausing every now and again to let the golfers have right of way.
Gazing down at fisherman perched on the edge of rocks.
We walked on and on by the magnificent coastline by pools forming on the rocks, wild freesias and flannel flowers and curvaceous rocks till we reached the first of two beautiful beaches at the start of Little Bay where it seemed like we’d stumbled on a summer’s day.
Swimmers waded in, and other bodies staked out spots among the rocks. A crane pranced and showed among the mossy green rocks, turning and twisting and then flying off.
At St Michael’s golf course we checked out the new development around the old Coast Hospital also known as Prince Henry Hospital – and heard someone call out: “Look a whale.”
We followed them to the fence and looked out to sea and in the distance I could just make out the movement of the whale.
On the way back we clung to the coast and stopped around each point to look out to the sea where a mother and baby were having fun in the way south to Antarctica.
And then we were back at Malabar Rock Pool where the three little girls had gone – replaced by an older chap in a red cap doing his afternoon laps.
The tide had subsided a bit so I did another walk around the circumference of the pool and on the way out took a photo of the plaque commemorating the restoration of the pool and its officially opening by Bob Carr on ??
When we walked away we both agreed that we felt like we’d spent the day in paradise.!
In days gone by
In days gone by Malabar Rock Pool couldn’t be counted on to be clean because of the sewerage treatment plant on the headland.
It had a bad name for dirty water but in recent years they’ve improved the treatment plant and the water quality is usually clearn.
On Sunday it looked crystal clear, pristine and I wished I’d packed my cossie when I left the house.
But the aim of the the game was we were walking, not swimming – to practice for our trek in the Flinders Ranges in a couple of weeks.
From magical Malabar to lovely Little Bay