Growing up in Melbourne I’ve always been close to the beach. Our family holidays were often coastal and featured a lot of swimming both in surf and the calmer waters of the bay. From about the age of 10 my parents joined us up to a sailing club in Safety Beach, and from then on, until I decided I was too old to spend Sunday’s with my parents, we were there every week from November to April, rain hail or shine.
For many years we camping in a rickety old caravan at the local caravan park – beginning with tents, moving to a canvas annex for us kids, and finally to our caravan’s final resting spot with its solid structure to house us all.
Safety Beach back then was quiet – not much went on – apart from the sailing club, the tackle/pizza shop and the fish’n’chip shop, most people passed it by.
Safety Beach was originally named Shark Bay, due to the many cattle farms in the area enticing sharks to the water. In the 60s, they changed the name to Safety Beach, because even though the farms had been shut down and shark sightings were rare, people were still afraid to go in the water. It worked – these days in the summer crowds flock to the area, erecting beach shelters and and spending warm days on the beach swimming in the clear, shallow waters.
Back in 2011 my parents uprooted and traded the caravan for a real house – they live a block back from the beach and it’s an ideal place to spend my holidays. I have swum countless laps and pounded up and down barefoot along the sand. It was the place I returned to after my first big Europe trip, a quiet, cold grey sea greeting me like a long lost friend.
Safety Beach is a lot more crowded now as people seek less populated areas than the hot spots of Rosebud and Sorrento, and to add to the appeal we even have a couple of coffee shops and yoga on the beach.
When it’s grey and overcast, the area is ideal for walking the dog along the foreshore; when it’s wild and windy, a brisk stroll blows the winter cobwebs away with the whitecaps; and when it’s hot as hell, it’s perfect to only have a 2 minute walk down to the water for a quick dip before returning to the quiet away from the crowds.
Safety Beach is my little slice of paradise. It will always be my favourite beach. And even though things have changed greatly over the years, and it may become more populated and less like a beachside country town, a little part of my heart will always yearn to be back here.