All that and a Naked German too – Beach No 29: Flint & Steel (24 November 2013)

If I were ranking the best named beaches Flint & Steel would be near the top. That I can’t find anything explaining the source of that fantastic moniker adds mystery – maks it even better. I can tell you it was already called Flint & Steel by 1832.

Flint & Steel was an exciting beach for me for three four five reasons:

One, it was the first beach of the 2013/2014 season.

Two, it was the first beach I visited after the demise of my marriage

Three, it was the first beach I was visiting with my old mate Laura whom I was grateful to have back, and more central in my life, since the demise of my marriage.

Four, the beach is called Flint & Steel – which is awesome

Five, there was a fine looking German boy (well, mid-to-late 20s) doing what Germans do – enjoying a nackt (nude) swim. He was there with his girlfriend/wife – and, physically anyway, she had nothing to complain about.

It was an utterly perfect day – sunny and warm but not too hot.

We drove to the Resolute Bay Picnic Area car park, on the Lambert Peninsula, in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and before heading for Flint & Steel Beach we visited Red Hand Cave. It’s a rock shelter with a 5,000 year old Aboriginal hand stencil. To be reminded of a wholly different life that was lived right here so recently, and which had been so lived for so long, is always grounding and connecting yet saddening and remorse-inducing – a reminder of our tenuous place on earth and the damage we do to one another (with intentional cruelty or ignorant carelessness). Live now – the future is unknown.

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We began the walk down to the beach. It was pleasant – shaded with occasional views of Broken Bay, Lion Rock and Patonga on the opposite shore – and, in part, steep. The return trip would be a thigh-burner.

Flint & Steel, like all of these northern non-surf beaches I’ve visited so far, is a shallow-curve of maize-coloured sand buffering the bush from the bay. It collects driftwood and man-made detritus from the soft waves – waves driven as much by the wake of boats as tide and winds.

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There was a young family on the beach and the aforementioned German couple. We walked to the far end and took up comfortable spots on the rocks from which to enjoy the sandwiches Laura had brought and the sight of the nackt German as he came and went from the water.

It was a lazy, summery late Spring Sunday. Other visitors came and went from the beach; all manner of boats cruised or rushed past. In due course it was time for a swim for Laura and a wade for me – the water was still a bit cool for me.  But Laura strode purposefully into the water up to her neck, plunged in, and floated about. It is the most wonderful sort of nothing – to be in gentle salt water, floating or wading, looking back at the sand and the bush (and the nackt German) under a Sydney-spring-blue sky with the sun glittering off the greenish water.

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As expected the climb back to the plateau and the car is a rigorous effort. We stopped for a salty selfie and to visit with a big-ol’ goanna.

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Flint & Steel was 44 km (27 miles) from my suburb of Concord. It’s in the Hornsby Local Government Area, the Hornsby State Electorate (Matt Kean, Liberal) and the Federal Division of Mackellar (Bronwyn Bishop, Liberal).

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