I went on a little weekend away this past Saturday and Sunday. Some friends from the little small-group I’m a part of decided to rent a holiday house for two nights down at the end of the Mornington Peninsula. Like a crooked finger, the Peninsula arcs all the way down the eastern edge of Port Philip Bay, until it’s just a narrow ridge of land a few miles wide. Because my folks live on the Peninsula I feel that it’s really just an extension of Melbourne, but in perspective the end of the peninsula is a good two-hour drive from downtown Melbourne. Perhaps because, in true Melbourne fashion, the suburbs barely seem to break on the way down, it feels part of the GMA. Nonetheless, the atmosphere down near Sorrento is totally different- a relaxed, pretty, beachside ambience that during the summer is festive and joyful, and during the winter is a little cooler, but still somehow uplifting compared to the spreading expanses of the bungalow’d Eastern Suburbs.
On Sunday I joined a couple of friends for a walk along the Sorrento back beach. This end of the peninsula, there are bay-side beaches, and back beaches. The former are sandy, gently-sloping strips often many miles long, relatively underpopulated and opening onto the calm, clear waters of the bay. Yachts are moored at jetties and during the summer, kids splash in the shallows while parents watch patiently from laid-out beach-towels. The latter, however, are a lot more fun. Facing onto the southern Ocean, they are steep and rocky, lined with broken cliffs and washed-out stacks, wave-cut platforms and crumbling stumps, all being gradually swallowed by heaving breakers. On a calm day, the waves break onto the jagged coastline with predictable regularity, foaming where they strike outcrops. When the weather is up, the back-beaches offer some of the most exciting seascapes in the area.
Sorrento is one of Victoria’s posher seaside resorts and so the back-beach is usually pretty populated. In fact there was an open-topped Porsche Cayenne in the parking lot that morning. Alright for some. But the place still manages to feel rugged and just a little adventurous. A scramble along the rock-pools offers a certain nostalgia, the simplicity of the seaside offering an almost Victorian experience (the era, not the State). Sadly for me, the winter light was variable and largely uncooperative, and the sun slipped behind a bank of cloud about a minute after I pulled into the parking-lot, foiling most of my subsequent attempts at capturing the landscape. I swapped lenses out (gingerly in the brisk sea air) and replaced my 16-35mm with my 85mm f/1.8 portrait lens and shot some candids of my promenading companions instead, chosing to practice my portraiture skills and expose them to the intrusion of a paparazzo. They were very patient with me, and I got a few snaps I was pleased with which I might share on another post.