It was going to be a busy day for me, so I had to get down to the beach very early. A dark grey morning, very cold (in Aussie terms) but not too blustery. The sun was just rising behind the clouds. So early that even the lifesavers were still snuggled up in their warm beds, so the beach was completely unflagged - wild and free.
P.S. Some answers to your questions: The flags show where it is safe to swim. I shall try to capture some close-up vibrant blue when I see it, with pleasure. And yes I do indeed walk with Blue who loves the sand and waves (but is not allowed on the beach), will gladly swim in the coldest weather, but detests (with a passion) all skateboarders and cyclists who pass us by (there's a cement walkway along the sand).