Cast Ashore — a novelette in 15 chapters

Cast Ashore: Chapter 14

Cruel Sea

Steve Fendt
7 min readNov 11, 2023


Sea view on a cloudy day, sun breaking through clouds, shafts of sunlight on water
‘Sea Light’ — author image

Nothing will ever be the same again.

The tide is well into the ebb when I step out onto my deck in the grey half-light. Earth is pinned between the equinoctial sun and the full moon; the two astral bodies work in tandem to draw up big tides. These ‘spring’ tides of autumn seem to bring most flotsam ashore, so I’m eager to profit from this one.

I walk the beach between the two promontories with their rock platforms. Despite the high hopes, my harvest is disappointing. I decide to venture much farther than usual: around the far eastern headland, which has just been freed by the receding tide.

The black rocks are wet, slick and covered in algae, so I watch my step, testing each foothold before shifting my weight. Occasionally I need a hand, too. Painfully sharp-shelled limpets and tiny seed mussels underfoot add to the difficulty. It’s a task which requires concentration, so I barely have time to look up.

At last I stand on the firm, gritty sand of a cove far narrower than the Skeleton Creek beaches. A tiny rivulet of water trickles and splashes from the high cliff behind. It pools at the base of the rock and runs in a narrow, straight channel to the sea, neatly bisecting the little beach.



Steve Fendt Short stories, serial fiction, memoirs of a possibly quasi-true nature. Stories of the Australian beach and bush.