Behind me a voice called out from the shore. "They're still here, you know."
The man gazed out at the horizon and squinted into the hazy distance of a calm ocean. Up to 2 feet in size, Giant Australian Cuttlefish
, on their yearly spawning migration, gather around Whyalla from May to August.
Rocky shore at the Point Lowly Lighthouse
I stood knee deep in the shallow sea and reflexively stole a glance at the clear water. Unbidden, memories of sudden wildlife encounters while on landscape shoots flickered to mind. An inquisitive seal, periscope - poking its head out of choppy waters near Port Elliott
last Winter. A stingray, arrhymogenically brushing past my feet in Kingscote and gliding into reeds at dusk.
The murmuring, burbling water around my legs yielded no such surprises. Rocks. Seaweed. Driftwood. Algae.
Rocks and Water at the Point Lowly Lighthouse near Whyalla in South Australia
And serenity, for while ordinarily I would be approaching a state of near panic at the dying light, scrambling as maniacally as possible to fire off as many frames with as many different compositions as I would be able to manage, the shore around Point Lowly Lighthouse, half an hour's drive north east of Whyalla, invites tranquillity and reflection. Quietude. An unmistakable Wabi-Sabi. Primal echoes of an Oceanic Feeling perhaps.
The solitude is broken only by *Dan, a friendly local who had walked up to me on the beach and, having briefly recounted the history of the area and kindly offered to show me a good spot to view Cuttlefish in the morning, is now companionably staring inland in the direction of the Whyalla steelworks, where superheated steam, like fairy floss, billows skyward.
Standing almost 23 metres high, the Point Lowly lighthouse was constructed in 1883, deactivated in 1993 and reactivated as a tourist attraction 2 years later. Its original purpose was to help ships navigate Spencer Gulf safely to the port towns of Port Augusta and Port Pirie. More information is available here
The Point Lowly Lighthouse at Sunset
Now it's a tourist attraction and historical site, visited chiefly for the faint romantic resonance of when the aforementioned towns were more critical to maritime commerce than today. Small charming cottages are available for rent at its base.
It's nice to reflect on these things; idle musings on impermanence and inevitability interrupted only by the rhythmic gurgle of waves breaking on rocks and the distant cry of squabbling gulls.
The dying sun ceded dominion over the sky.
Fading rays of light shimmered across the unknowable sea. The lighthouse light, which had until then winked feebly every 5 seconds, grew brighter against a sky darkening against the milieu of countless twinkling stars.
I cautiously rose from the water. It's a short 10 minute walk from the base of the Lighthouse to an empty carpark. Another day had ended, but I had come without expectations and left without regrets. Gravel crunched under wheels.
The briny scent of seawater filled the car.
*Real name withheld.