Late afternoon Sunday. Hot. At Blairgowrie beach, the tide was out. Children played on the sand, paddled in the shallows, splashed and shrieked. A southerly breeze meant it wasn't any hotter than it could have been.
The sky had been clear all day, but earlier in the afternoon I had noticed a grey smear to the south, over Bass Strait. Over a couple of hours the smear came closer and pixillated. Then it came down from the sand dunes and drifted across the north-facing beach in shards of something white and wet and tingling. The cloud cover was on the ground. I have never seen anything like it, at least not in these conditions. It was like being hosed with the sprayer set to a fine mist. It was like standing in rain that hadn't rained yet. In fact, it was exactly that.
Half an hour later, we left the bay beach and turned the car south, crossed two kilometres of peninsula and drove into the carpark at the ocean side to get a better view. Here, the unbroken cloud mass was rolling in on an onshore breeze. We walked down onto the sand. Visibility was probably a hundred, maybe two hundred metres. The sun was just the outline of a white ball. There was no colour anywhere, just wet whiteness. Surfers loomed into sight, black figures in mercury. It looked like a blizzard. Either that or scene three, take two from Endless Summer. But there was no music soundtrack, only the surf roaring.
It was six o'clock. We drove back to the beach house and cooked dinner and watched wisps of cloud getting snagged on the ti-tree.