Samantha is trying to fatten me up. She buys me a meat pie for lunch. The pie is hot and crispy, filled with almost a paste of minced beef floating in slimy gravy. Mmm, just like the pies I used to eat at school. I slather it with tomato sauce.
An hour later I’m lying on the couch watching tv news reports of the massive earthquake in Chile. “Let’s go to Bondi” says Samantha. “We can’t go to Bondi. It’s closed. There’s a tsunami coming,” I point out. “Oh nonsense,” says Samantha. “Well can I just lie here and digest this pie for a while longer?” I reply.
At Bondi beach the tide is bizarrely low. So low that there is a large sandbank exposed in the surf. Menacing clouds hang above the bay. Every few yards there are big yellow signs planted in the sand saying “No Swimming. Dangerous Conditions.” Crowds of people stand on the shore staring out to the horizon, many are in the water. The hard sand is criss-crossed with the tyre tracks left by patrolling sand buggies. It seems that the lifeguards have given up trying to hold back a tidal wave of idiots like us. They have retreated to the promenade. Small children are building sandcastles and paddling in the waves. A coach-load of Korean tourists gang at the water’s edge, taking photographs of one another with their trousers rolled up.
“Do you want to go in?” asks Samantha. “No. There’s a tsunami coming.” She gives me a look. “Anyway, it’s too shallow.”
“There’s a deep bit,” says Samantha, pointing to a dark trench with a roiling rip running through it. “OK,” she sighs, “let’s go to Camp Cove.”
Camp Cove is a tiny harbour beach tucked inside South Head. Most of the shoreline is lined with gazillion-dollar houses. There are access points to the beach at each end. A barricade blocks our way: “Beach Closed. Tsunami Warning”. We stroll on through and dive into the cool harbour as giant raindrops begin to bubble the surface of the water.