The author's 20 years of seaside encounters, gleanings and meanderings
At its heart, this is a book of nature writing interleaved with significant sea-side moments in the author's life.
It covers over forty journeys on foot, in a kayak and by campervan to different parts of the South Coast of New South Wales over the last twenty years.
The broad and colourful tapestry includes observations of animals, plants, people, history, ship wrecks, ecology, lakes and islands.
There are encounters with cuckoos, terns, owls, snakes, sugar gliders, manta rays, dolphins, whales, emus, dingos, cicadas, ant lions, ticks, lace monitors, strangler figs and prickly pear as well as greenies, botanists, bushwalkers, young lovers, locals, park rangers and canoeists.
Shipwrecks like the Walter Hood, the SS Merimbula and the Sydney Cove are also covered. A re-enactment of the long, perilous journey along the coast by survivors of the Sydney Cove in 1797 is a central feature of the book.
It is contrasted by an adventurous recent walk of six days.
The body of the book is introduced by the author's formative years at the coast, especially in the Royal National Park between Sydney and Wollongong. The writing is poetic, personal, candid and richly descriptive.
Anecdotes, poems and photos bring every beach, rock pool, headland, river and lagoon to life. One can almost smell the bush and the ocean. Hand-drawn maps help orient the reader and fine, detailed drawings complement the text.
The comprehensive, annotated bibliography of over one hundred titles is a chapter in its own right. There is a handy index and an appendix listing large-scale maps between Jervis Bay and Eden. (Rear cover text).