This place is called The Bluff. It is famous amongst surfers but for a long time the select few who knew about it kept it a secret. Then one day some national magazine published a story about The Bluff and now they come here from all over the world, mostly in winter when storms from the Indian Ocean build a swell that you can ride.
I am here for the day with my kids. I am on holiday. It is rugged and empty this land of mine. I grew up a hundred miles from here.
Once there was a great battle out to sea and Australia’s mightiest warship was sunk with no survivors. The Germans came ashore here in lifeboats; they camped in the caves on the beach. When I was a boy, my friend’s grandfather told me how men from our town got in trucks and headed for the spot over rough bush tracks. They brought the local policeman and some guns but when they arrived the Germans were glad to see them. “They only had one Luger and they’d shot a sheep to eat,” he told me.
From the top of The Bluff I can see my kids far below me playing on the beach. There is a wind blowing from the desert behind me and the smell of the bush like the smell of youth. I think of all my cares. I think of my life in the big city a thousand miles from here.
I watch the surfers. They wait for the swell to rise then they throw themselves and their boards into the sea through a narrow gap in the rocks. It is the only way to get past the sharp and acned shelves that line the cliffs. Then they head out to where the perfect waves roll all the way from India.
Beyond the break, some of them are resting on their boards. They are watching the beach and cliffs through salty eyes. Surfers know that this is life made perfect. They can see me high on this rock, tied to the shore, fastened to my million little worries.
“You are spoiling this place,” I tell myself. I stand up and start the hazardous descent to my obligations.
I know some of the surfers will be watching me. Maybe they understand. Maybe they understand better than anyone.
Surfers know they have to come back to shore.