Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 17, 2013

The angry sea

The sea at Main Beach on the Gold Coast looks calm and peaceful right now.






Not long ago the seas were huge and destructive waves swept away sand from the beach, leaving steep cliffs.









This is not the first time it has happened. There have been cyclones and heavy seas regularly over the years and the beach gets battered. I can remember 1967 when the houses along the edge of the sea lost metres from their properties.  Huge waves created by a cyclone took away most of the front yard of our friend while we stood watching in horror.

At that time the council created rock walls in an attempt to keep back the seas. Some of those rocks have been exposed in the last bout of destruction.

The sand usually builds up again slowly and the beach recovers. There are lots of high rise reasons to hope the sea stays calm for a while to allow some sand to return.




  1. Some of these images look like paintings. The colors are beautiful. But they are scary too…I don’t believe I’ve ever seen high-rises so close to the water’s edge. It gives on a very strange feeling…

    • My father worked on the first high rise building in Surfers Paradise more than 50 years ago. They keep appearing.
      We have an apartment in a building across the road from the beach, so I hope the sea stays where it is.

  2. Great photos Deb. We were struck by how little land separated the prized ‘beach front’ properties from a life on the ocean waves. That last photo, apart from being really good, seems somewhat prescient.

    • Some of those houses are very close to the edge. Back in 1967 a couple of houses near Narrowneck were almost washed away.

  3. As you said, Debra, this happens regularly along the Gold Coast. We can still remember the big erosion further south, at Palm Beach, back in 1974 or 75… quite a few houses almost fell into the sea!

    • Houses probably should never have been built so close to the edge, but it is a bit late now.

  4. This is so scary, but why do they build there still… Your photographs are amazing dear Debra, especially the reflection fascinated me. Thank you dear, love, nia

    • So far the sea has stayed away from the houses. The high rise buildings in Surfers Paradise have a road between them and the sea, so they are not quite as close as they appear in the photo.

  5. It’s amazing how much damage an angry sea can inflict …

    • We thought the rough seas were very exciting when we were children…we didn’t have to worry about our property disappearing.

  6. We had the same sort of thing happen on our coast in South Africa, a few years ago. We had a 10 foot drop down to the beach and had to build steps. The sand has mostly come back again, but the high tides caused huge devastation to some of the beach houses further along. Their swimming pools were washed away and their gardens are now very small.

    • It happens every few years. If you build so close to the sea there is a risk.

  7. Do they truck sand back in to repair the damage Deb?

    • They do if it gets really bad. With a bit of luck some sand will come back.

  8. It’s amazing how powerful the sea is. Sorry for the beach to disappear. Hope it’s built back again soon. In southern Florida they used to pump sand in from further out at sea bottom to reconstruct eroded beaches.

    Hugs from Ecuador.

    • I’m sure the council in Surfers would do everything necessary to protect property.

  9. I remember well those after-effects following the calm after angry seas. Those photos reveal well the devastations in the wake of a storm. Again, you have an eye for such intricate detail, Deb. Those pandana trees are great survivors, along with others. It was interesting to see such long, strong roots exposed to the elements. I love the picture of the little yellow life-saver post amongst the palm trees and the last photo of the mirror-like reflections of the high rise apartments which shows clearly modernity versus nature. Your pictures clearly tell a story. Again, a pleasure to view your blog!

    • We used go have fun after the heavy seas when we were children collecting things washed up on the beach. We found some amazing stuff.

  10. Hi Debra. I never cease to be impressed by your photos. Just beautiful.
    Mother nature – we cannot fight it

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