It’s been a funny ol’ summer.
Pictures of a Premier holding a big shark hook.
Footage of tiger sharks shot and dragged along the side of a boat.
And a seal – miles away from where it should be – attracting thousands of people and leaving children in awe at Sorrento Beach.
It’s 10.30pm and those children – gathered earlier around the 2000kg visitor as the sun set – are in bed when lightning flashes behind Hillarys and the elephant seal, his back to the water, sleeps at the end of his second day ashore.
One woman is into her fifth visit, delighting in the photograph she took of the seal against a pink morning sky and another of it yawning with a girl in the background doing the same.
It’s a vigil with about 50 people and four wildlife officers.
Mobiles light the way and flash photography is discouraged out of ‘respect’ for the animal.
I meet Glen and her friends from the local Church of Christ, and three mates, one of them a restaurant ‘dishy’, down to see the spectacle and swim off the smell of detergent.
Another, a trainee air steward, has come to share his big news of signing a contract that day with Virgin.
All three are told of the seal’s bad breath, laugh and avoid standing down wind.
A guy brings his parents, girlfriends bring their boyfriends and boyfriends their girlfriends.
Numbers dwindle before midnight.
The wildlife officers stay.
The seal yawns, scratches, shifts.
And Perth hopes he’ll be here for a few days yet.