Cape to Cape Day 03 – Moses Rock to Ellensbrook
Seas of Sea Spurges
The trail once again dropped down to the beach where we were greeted by the fresh, invigorating salty air brought in by the sea breeze. The path curved inwards for a brief sojourn in-between sand dunes that obstructed our view of the sea. The sand dunes here were completely infested with Sea spurges (Euphorbia paralias).Sea spurges are weeds that colonise bare sand and native dune vegetation. It produces large numbers of seeds that are both salt-tolerant and survive a long while, allowing it to spread and be dispersed by ocean currents. It tends to reduce floral diversity and degrades fauna habitats, disrupting many native species (a lot of which are endangered shorebirds) that use sand pits for nesting. I was tempted to pull out a few of the Sea Splurges that I came upon initially but I quickly dismissed the idea after realising how many there were scattered around the dunes. Handling the plants with bare hands could also be considered a potential hazard since the plant oozes a milky-white latex that is toxic and can burn exposed skin if the stems of the plant are broken.The trail began to narrow and ascend up to another lookout overlooking the violent breaking of the surf as another pod of Common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) gracefully rode the waves. The path then dipped back down and brought us right up to the shoreline that was littered with rocks. I clambered up a few of the larger ones and got up close and personal to the awesome power of the ocean as it smashed up against the rocks and filled the air with salty spray, with some jets reaching almost 10 metres high! I noticed then that the air was filled with waves of its own as the strong gusts of the sea breeze carried away the spray in ripples. With salt-saturated lungs, I hopped back down and continued on with a smile as the roar of the surf and the hiss of the suds receded back into the distance.The path lead inland once again and uphill past red-speckled boulders that littered the path. The sand here had turned a deep dark brown and reminded me of the black volcanic dust that is strewn across the base of the Bromo caldera.Trickling through these giant red monoliths was a little brook that had unnaturally black water. I was fascinated but wasn't really able to explore the area much as the other two had just trudged straight through, fatigue having sapped all the wonder and fascination from them.The path jumped back into the woods right before opening up into vast areas of shrubbery once again (and of course amazing views of the coastline over the cliffs). We clambered down the rocks and the small town of Gracetown greeted us as we rounded the corner, past a surreal patch of smoked trees before joining on to the road to Cowaramup Bay.