The old iron and timber jetty at Catherine Hill Bay hasn’t been used for coal loading for more than a decade. One year ago as the result of a firestorm, flames spewing from the old mine entrance destroyed the jetty’s aging timber, leaving only its rusting iron and concrete structure still standing.
Today, for some, its blackened bones rise up from the deep blue like some long extinct dinosaur well past its use-by-date, needing to be torn down: but not for me - for me it’s this monumental real life version of abstract expressionism; a modern masterpiece in Catho’s rare and priceless collection of visual delights.
And also not without use, it seems, for some of the younger more adventurous locals: high fences, barbwire, and barricades no impediment to the derring-do of these intrepid souls. A leap of somewhere between sixty and eighty feet from the old crane perched high atop the jetty, into the cold blue sea below. Then a precarious ascent via knotted ropes, over barricades and through holes cut in corrugated iron, so they might once again leap from the top. I can’t help wonder; what are they thinking? Maybe it’s best not to know.
Anyway, as long as kids-will-be-kids, and people have eyes to see beauty in the prosaic, the jetty remains, at least in my eyes, a great deal more than just useful.
*photo credit Hayley Wood (my daughter)