Mercer Bay

Mercer Bay

A long incline through native bush eventually broke to reveal an expense of blue, dusty toi tois and early autumn sun. Below us was an empty black expanse of sand, enclosed by gentle sloping cliffs and volcanic rock; regiments of breaking waves lined up across the mouth of the bay.

We steadily scrambled down the gentle side of the cliff, flanked by gorse and flax. Our sliding, dusty feet found their way to dry rocks and the reassurance of ropes, one after another, left by a well-meaning local well before.

Reaching the beach, relief and rest took the form of untouched volcanic sand, damp with the retreating tide. As always, the fine black sand found its way into everything, and settled indiscriminately amongst sandwiches, skin and hair.

The cliff curved to the right, with a cave opening at its foot. With each swell and wave, a low roar filled the darkness, followed by surging water to fill chamber after chamber. Perseverance (admittedly not mine) led to a cavernous vault, it’s volcanic form reaching up to the sky above.

Long, stretching shadows and golden light signal quietly that it’s time to leave; we pack our things and head back to the track. I always find it odd that going up has so much more purpose and satisfaction than a descent, maybe because it’s always harder and thus more rewarding - or maybe people just innately love a climb and what it represents in our subconscious. We reach the top, dustier than ever, and head home.