You wouldn't think that the whitest sand in the world was to be found a convenient three hour drive from home. A quick Google search however confirmed a small beach on NSW's South Coast holds the title beating St. Barts, Tahiti, the Maldives and more exotic locations to hold this sandy crown.
The gods/universe/world (take your pick) have a funny way of letting you know when a break is needed. It had been little over a month since we had started working officially on Magnolia Mountain full time and on more days than not we were guilty of over-doing it in the studio. The week leading up to this road trip held day after consistent day of ceramic failures; cups were being pulled from the kiln with acne, glazes were not working and a bad batch of clay meant we had to crush 50 pieces of unfired tumblers and start again. However, a campsite booking placed days before this week of defeat committed us to packing the car, albeit in grey moods, and heading off to camp beneath the shelter of tea trees next to the sea.
Our morning drive started through perfectly normal Sunday traffic. We headed down the coast via key locales for second breakfasts, stopping in Berry for lunch and to pick up the most minimal of food supplies - including the necessities of two lamingtons and two emergency ration croissants.
Arriving at Cave Beach we found ourselves lone campers. Fortuitously the school holiday adventure families had evacuated the campsite the week before, leaving an empty arcadian setting dotted with kangaroos grazing and sea eagles floating on the thermals overhead. We set about making camp, during which we found the docile appearing kangaroos to be more assertive than nature intended. Steadily encroaching on our personal space they quickly surrounded us - a marsupial army keen on raiding our supplies of sourdough and comté. Resorting to stashing our food in our tent and with the shadows of dusk falling we escaped to explore the swamp and beaches of Booderee National Park and capture footage of the southern coast stars.
We returned in pitch darkness to our campsite and discovered two things; Mark had lost our car keys and the kangaroos had left the campsite. Their presence replaced by a possum who, after following us from the swamp bush, proceeded to repeatedly ambush our dinner until we had finished. The hours passed, our bottle of pinot slowly emptied and the fading Milky Way signalled it was time for us to retrieve our camera from its time-lapse duties on the beach. Armed with our iPhone torches we retraced our steps along the bush path and back over the swamp's sea inlet where Mark triumphantly found his keys nestled amongst the reeds in steadily rising tidal water.
We awoke the next morning from a night of fractured sleep and found our feet had encountered the same possum, who had tried to enter our tent from both sides for a midnight snuggle. Listening to the morning birds and thinking about breakfast we realised in our minimal camp packing we had forgotten to include a billy - so no campfire porridge could be made. Smugly we remembered the two croissants and settled on our favourite breakfast of black coffee and pastry, enjoyed whilst consulting our bird book on the local avian species darting around us. The New Holland Honeyeater, Variegated Fairy Wren and Silvereye now added to our birding list.
By mid morning we had made it back to Hyams Beach; on our visit the day prior we found the white shore too polluted with weekend tourists. The sun shone brightly and after comparing mental notes of its sand to the sandy grey of our campground's beach we concluded the sand was probably the whitest we had seen. It was also one of the noisiest, the sand squeaking with each step we took. Mark insisted we take a dip in the sea in order to cleanse the pottery disaster week from us and to start our week anew, afresh and freezing.