Wow. I think this beach has earned both jamie's and my opinion as the best beach in Australia so far. We arrived around lunch after a $25 taxI ride from the hotel to Henley Square. Because of the direction we approached the shore, I didn't get any glimpse of water until we were getting out of the cab.
What a view! The ocean was hues of blue and green, terminating far in the distance in an unbroken horizon. Four cafes drew the edges of Henley Square, the only local businesses within sight beyond a nail salon and hair boutique. Straight ahead of us was the Henley Jetty, and beyond that, the vast Jewel colored Indian Ocean.
They called what was really a pier, a jetty and that bothered me a bit, because I always thought of a jetty as a big pile of rocks that they build around inlets to protect boats, but this was literally just a fishing pier with no other observable function. Growing on the pylons underneath were beautiful bunches of what looked linke coral instead of the brown and black sharp looking barnacles I am used to seeing and the place where the tide receded only to cover a few hours later.
There were signs at the entrance to the pier and at intervals until the terminus. They declared: "Jumping Prohibited". Just a meter or so beyond one such sign, I saw a teenage boy climb up on to the railing and do a back flip before plunging roughly 3 meters to the ocean below with a squirm inducing splash. Glimpsing over the railing, the water was crystal clear, and the bottom of the sea was no more than a meter or two deep at most. Jamie wanted to jump too, but I said I wouldn't take a photo of him doing it so he changed his mind.
After we checked out the pier, we did a deck change into our togs and walked around on the shore a little while. Before hopping in the water. From up on the pier, the water looked positively tropical, but Jamie and I both had it in our mind it would be completely freezing because Adelaide is a much colder climate than Sydney. We were completely wrong, though. There is so little wave action along thew shore, and the water depth is so shallow for a long way out that it heats up very comfortably in the sunlight. There are pockets of cooler water and pockets of water that were disturbingly warm, but on the whole I would say it was much more comfortable than any of the Sydney beaches like Manly or Bondi.
Afterwards, Just as we were about to return to our spot on the beach to put on sunscreen, a small pod of dolphins swam by. I ran to grab my camera, and Jamie followed along the shore. Unfortunately, they didn't breach very often so I didn't get a good shot of them. In addition, there seems to be something funky going on with my zoom lens because it was refusing to autofocus and shots were coming out overexposed. Weird.
By the time we got back to our things, Jamie was also a little over exposed. His shoulders were a bit pink, but luckily neither of us got any more red than that once we put on the sunblock. Damn dolphins. Once we were covered in sunscreen, we both took a short unplanned nap in the sunlight. When we woke up it was a little overcast, which to be honest made it more pleasant. The ocean wasn't as pretty anymore, but it made the air temperature much more comfortable.
It was about 4:30 by that time, so we decided to pack up and check out one of the local cafes for an early dinner. The cafe we were originally interested in was closed until 6, so we went across the square and found a seat in front of a big reciprocating fan at "Zootz Bar and Grille"
We both wound up ordering the chicken burger. We probably should have only ordered one, because it was the size of my face and came with so many scallop fries (YUM!) that we could have easily fed a small family with 1 order.* In an unusual turn of events, Jamie couldn't finish his, but I completely cleaned my plate.
"I said I was hungry,"
You can check out all the photos from the trip on Flickr.
*Another highlight of Zootz, other than the generous portion sizes, was a totally kitsch old antique television set like your grandmother still has down in her basement. They had removed the cathode ray tube and replaced it with a fish tank. I will have one in my house.