Dune damage at Lyall Bay

Lyall Bay is a long sandy beach hemmed in by human constructions - at one end the airport, along its length a concrete wall which contains the sand dunes and separates them from the footpath and busy road, and at the far end some houses built almost on the rocky shore.  Of course, the concrete wall doesn't contain the sand, which is blown in flurries up the roads when the southerly wind is in force. 

Attempts to anchor and protect the dunes have been made - they are roped off and little signs tell us to use designated walkways to get on to the beach, in an attempt to protect the dunes and the grasses - especially the pingao, a golden-coloured native sand sedge which has been fostered along the coast in more recent years. These roped-in areas are usually well clear of high tide, but the southerly swell has been washing right up to the dunes, no respecter of the barrier.

When I took this photograph the wind was still strong - you get some idea of it from the flattening of the grasses and the way they point away from the prevailing wind.  It was already evident that the contours of the beach were changing - as they often do with the dynamic weather the beach is exposed to - with a hollowing out near the usual water line and a heaping of sand up around the posts and ropes.

But after the winds lessened and the sea subsided somewhat, the damage was much more evident:

"Save our dunes" indeed - sand and seaweed washed up around the post, scouring and erosion within the protected area.

The long roots of the pingao, which help to secure the dunes, now exposed and vulnerable.

The harsh bright sunlight reveals the extent of the erosion, not only care of the storm but also because intrepid people out walking on the beach, despite the storm, dodged the waves by clambering over the already battered dunes.  We, too, are forces of nature!