WEDNESDAY MARCH 12th Apollo Bay
Blaaaargh!! The overnight trip to Apollo Bay was horrible. The seas were, as Dave put it, confused. Oh really!? You think?? An accurate representation would be ... Sea: "Shall I go this way or that way? ... Ohhhh I just don't know. Maybe I should try a bit of a wave this way.... or maybe the other way. Less swell? More swell? Oh hell .... lets have a whole heap of watery fun and just do all of it ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!" There was very little wind so we basically had to motor sail the entire way whilst bobbling about like a ping pong ball in a kiddies wading pool filled with puppies. I did end up sleeping quite a bit, which seems to be my way of coping with my cowardliness of night sailing but I also did my obligatory watches, albeit in my dressing gown. Yes that's right people.... in my big, blue, fluffy dressing gown. Possibly not the safest attire to wear in the middle of the ocean but it sure was comfy. Dave, of course, was his usual calm and capable self.
Photo: Rough water overnight. Yuck.
I also now realise I have to invest in some Paihia Bombs or, now that I know the ingredients, at least take the components that make them up as I was seasick yet again. I really feel for Dave having to empty the bucket of my abject purges. I'm not sure I'll ever really enjoy travelling overnight but I know that sometimes it's going to be inevitable.
However, once the sun came up and we rounded the bend, all became a little bit better with the world as we approached Apollo Bay. The town setting is just gorgeous, situated halfway along the Great Ocean Road and nestled between Cape Otway and the lowest slopes of the beautiful Otway ranges, it looked like an image from a picture book, with long sweeping sandy beaches hugging the small curved bay, the hills behind gently rising to a clear blue sky.
Photo: Gorgeous view of the bay. Of course this pic was taken on land, not the boat
Dave rang ahead to let the marina know of our approach and to find a berth or place to tie up only to be told that there was very little room and that we'd likely have to tie up to pylons along the marina wall. The marina area inside the breakwater was quite small and we found that all of the mooring buoys as well as the berths were indeed full. Not what we were hoping for that's for sure. As we got nearer to the pylon wall we were greeted by the bloke Dave had spoken to who, after seeing the boat, said that we'd be much better off tied up to the public walkway between the two private docks, so off we tootled again and within 15 minutes we were tied off, boiling the kettle and talking to some of the audience that had seen us coming in. We had admirers wherever we went ... okay WE didn't, Venture did.
Photo: Venture at berth
After a well deserved hot beverage and an equally well deserved rest, Dave got the bikes out and we pedalled our way to the marina office and collected the key to the ATCO hut toilet/shower, which was public during the day and thus, made you feel just a little guilty if you happened to want a shower between 8.30am and 4.30pm. A quick look at the beaches over the top of the stoned up marina walls and it was back to the boat. As we came down the ramp to the boat, we looked down only to see a small stingray and fish in the water. We would have to check it out more thoroughly, when my brain had recovered. I was glad to stop.
Mind you, we found out from night one just how noisy this berth was going to be. The dock and the boat moved at different times when even the slightest swell came in, which caused the fenders, which were pushed up hard against the dock, to squeak and grind against the dock. It sounded like a rubber fetish orgy gone wrong.
THURSDAY MARCH 13th
And in the immortal words of Monty Python's Flying Circus.... "And now for something completely different!" There are some lessons you learn whilst on a boat and lesson #53 is, beware boiling coffee when wearing shorts.....
While I lay warm, cosy and semi conscious in bed, good ol' Cap'n Tweaky did his usual morning routine of readying weetbix and coffee for breakfast upstairs in the cockpit. The coffee was usually made without milk and then once he had it outside, the milk was poured in when he'd done the weetbix. This particular morning however, all didn't go according to plan. Now normally I don't hear much during his breakfast routine but on this day I could hear all kinds of thumping and water pumps going on and off and murmuring and more thumping and pumps and the odd 'ow'. After a few minutes of this I figured I was awake for good so went to see what the hell was going on that so disturbed my slumber. Dave sat in the cockpit with the shower nozzle running on his leg and wetting a cloth. He had apparently done as he always did and stepped over the coffee while he moved around the table but this morning the left leg of his shorts somehow caught the cup, tipping it sideways and he ended up copping the scalding, sans milk coffee down the inside of his right knee and thigh. Oh no! Poor Cap'n Tweaky.... whatever should I do? I went downstairs and did the only right and proper thing.... grabbed the camera and took photos and then looked for something to put on his burns. Unfortunately I came to discover that burn stuff is lacking so basically he just had to keep it cool and suffer in his jocks. I'll get something from a chemist later.
Photo: Cap'n Tweaky and his red right leg. Ouchy!
During the rest of the morning I kept myself awake by making a toothbrush/toothpaste holder out of polymer clay and oven baking it. It actually turned out pretty well but I now realise that Sculpey clay can be quite brittle when baked and will be looking for stronger stuff. In the meantime though, I sealed it and painted it twice with Aliphatic, which is a clear top coat that is used on the boat's woodwork, and that has strengthened it nicely and at least I know it won't get waterlogged. I was ever smart enough to put some drain/cleaning holes in it for when that gross slimy gunk gets in the bottom of it. Oh and I made Dave several cups of coffee, all with a little cold water added, just in case.
Photo: My toothbrush holder!
We stayed on the boat for the rest of the day and caught up on a few bits and pieces that needed seeing to as well as catching up on a whole lot of sleep later in the day at a quarter past nana-nap-time. (These overnights screw badly with my body clock, which is set to slumber mode anyway.)
FRIDAY MARCH 14th,
With the bikes unloaded and put together, and with a sunny day ahead of us, it was time to check out the town of Apollo Bay and go food shopping The going was fairly level (apart from the first ¼ kilometre which was really up). Once we got around into the main precinct we found that the foreshore around the bay is lovely, with wide open grassed areas, playgrounds and views. For such a small town, there seemed to be a lot of shops but at this time we decided to leave the exploration and just do the mundane but essential stock up. And besides, we'd left the cameras behind.
But before we go on, here is the brief history lesson for today.....
The first recorded sighting of the area was made by Lieutenant Grant on 8 December 1800 on his voyage through Bass Strait in the Lady Nelson but the bay itself was named by Captain James Loutit in 1845 when he sheltered his vessel, the Apollo, from a storm.
The township of Krambruk, meaning Sandy Place in the language of the local Gadubanud people was established in 1877, and a school was open by 1880. Krambruk was officially renamed Apollo Bay on 2 May 1898. Access to the area was initially only possibly by sea but with the upgrade of the road to the town in 1927 and the completion of the Great Ocean Road in 1932, the town became a tourist destination and an important fishing port.
Apollo Bay began as a small whaling station, and was soon after overtaken by timber logging which was in turn was replaced by farming in the 1880s. The town is now best known for its music festival, arts and tourism. In winter to spring, during their migration season, Southern Right Whales come to the area mainly to breed, to give birth their calves and eventually enter the warmer, calm waters of South Australia. Humpbacks are also seen occasionally.
By afternoon the weather had become gorgeous so after dropping the shopping off it was back to town to take photos. The carved wooden sculptures that we had seen previously were widespread along the foreshore park areas and really gorgeous. Bus loads of tourists flocked to the town and I bought some really groovy pants.
Photos: Some of the beautiful wooden sculptures and totems.
We followed this up with a walk along the beautiful sandy beaches. The air was so fresh, you could taste it but there was one thing I noticed about this beach.... there wasn't a single shell on it. Not even tiny ones.
Photos: The main beach stretching around the coast.
When we got back that afternoon we had a little bit of a look around the actual dock, which not only had marine plants and corals growing from the underside, but was its own little eco system. The water was spotlessly clean and clear so fish were easy to see. Small reef fish darted in and out of the growth but the prettiest and most awwwwwww of them all was a little smiling puffer fish. We managed to some film of it before it went all shy on us.
However, as cute as that was, there are some creatures that just creep me out, especially when they appear unexpectedly inside the boat, like the giant thing that was big enough to feel (despite wearing a top and cardigan) when it landed on my unsuspecting back that evening while I was sitting at my computer. After some slightly less than composed beckoning and a little high pitched squealing Dave, who was sitting in the cockpit, figured there was a problem, especially when I started saying getitoff, getitoff!! It was only made worse when Dave started saying "Keep still, don't move" because it confirms suspicions that something horrendous is lurking upon your personage. As it turned out, it was one of the largest grasshoppers I have ever seen, and the only black one. After 3 or 4 lunges it was finally within Dave's grip and dispatched out the door to hopefully live a happier life away from my crawling flesh. I'm not normally that cringy with grasshoppers but this one took me by surprise. Not a good thing to do when someone thinks that you're a huge moth.
SATURDAY MARCH 15th
The day was wet and miserable from start to finish so nothing to report here people except that I was informed by Cap'n Spoiler that we had completely missed the 12 Apostles and quite a sizeable chunk of the Great Ocean Road whilst we were coming to Apollo Bay. They had been off to the left sometime around midnight during the trip. Not happy Jan as it was one thing I really wanted to see. In fact, to put it fairly, I was pissed off. Oh well... I figure they'll still be there when we're able to visit by car.. :)
SUNDAY MARCH 16th
It was a little less wet this morning so a trip to the local Farmer's Market was in order. I'm not sure what I was expecting but it did turn out a bit disappointing. I was hoping to stock up on some nice fresh veg but most people were selling jams and preserves and knitted items. The only thing we bought were candy coated macadamias and cashews. The rest we ended up buying at the supermarket.
MONDAY MARCH 17th
Rain again... doin' nothin'! Tonight the boat wore almost all of the totally delicious nuts that we'd bought when Dave tipped them into a container, shook it, and the lid flew off (and wouldn't you know it, I hadn't vacuumed the floor so it was covered in hair and dirt and sand... sigh). Just the smell of them made me drool and now the bin was enjoying them. *sob*
TUESDAY MARCH 18th
The last day here started beautifully with the resident friendly geese coming over for a visit and a little bread snackage (not too much because I know it's not good for them). It made my morning standing there in my pyjamas tossing breakfast bites to the not-so-wild-life. The geese didn't like the fact that the seagulls also wanted a piece of the action and more than one or two of the gulls had their wings tweaked and snapped at.
Photo: Geese! (and the odd hanger-on seagull)
After that little interlude the day was overcast but not raining and so we rode towards a different part of the beach behind the absolutely immaculate golf course. We left the bikes up top and walked down to the beach below, where the Wye river met the sea. The waves pounded just off of the almost deserted sands but a strong undertow must have been present because by the time they reached the shore, those huge waves were barely a lick at my feet.
Photo: Where the river meets the sea.
Photo: Big seas.... little licks
Photo: The Old Man and the Sea
We walked the beach as far as we could and when we reached the breakwater we climbed up it and followed a narrow walking track at the edge of the golf course back to the bikes. The golf course gave us the most magnificent views of the bay and the marina with the Otways framing the whole scene. If the weather had been nicer and we didn't have to ready the boat for leaving in the morning, we may have even gone for a game of golf.
Photos: The gorgeous views from the golf club