Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bay of Islands and Martyr's Bay (Or Uncle Harry rides again)

Deb and I slept in at Warnambool, after all it was the weekend and sleeping in is not something I often get to do in my line of work. It was after 10:00 before we were properly on the road again.

From Warnambool it is about 10 km back toward Melbourne before you reach the western end of the Great Ocean Road. The first section of road runs through very lush (by Australian standards) countryside, mainly dairy farms. For this first section you have no glimpse of the coast. Then suddenly as you come around a corner you catch sight of the ocean framed by a bay of very rugged cliffs.A little further and the road reaches the coast at the Bay of Islands. Words are not sufficient to describe the beauty of this spot. Even photographs only give a hint. The coastline here is sheer limestone cliffs carved into surreal shapes by the weather off the Southern Ocean, south of this coast there is nothing but waves all the way to Antarctica.
We spent some time here walking along paths that led to various lookouts. There was a strong wind blowing, so strong it was hard to hold the camera steady enough. With the wind clouds flitted across the sky continually changing the light and the colours of the ocean and the land.
The bay is filled with limestone stacks and islets of varying sizes and shapes, all shaped and tormented by the sea and wind.
The ocean batters, cuts and undercuts the soft stone.
This stack is so undermined it looks as if it is ready to topple.
This stack has an arch cut through its base.

Despite the rugged terrain this is apparently a reasonably popular launching place. This very steep boat ramp virtually runs down the cliff to the bay. There were obviously no boats out today but judging by the size of the car park it must get busy here sometimes.
I followed the ramp to the bottom and took a few photos looking up at the cliffs.

Back in the car, a few minutes drive east you arrive at Martyrs Bay. How the bay was given its name is not documented, but the local folklore is that in pioneering days the men from the local aboriginal tribe were murdered by being driven over the cliffs near here. There are local legends of this sort in many places around the Australia. Unfortunately, given the nature of European settlement and documented massacres in other areas, it seems likely some of these stories are true.
Despite a possibly bloody history this is also a spectacularly beautiful spot, the contrasting colours of the water, limestone and sky taking my breath away.

The wind continued to blow a gale causing the ocean to get rougher and rougher, although the day was still gloriously sunny.
Once again Uncle Harry has reached the end of his tether and will have to sign off to the evening.

Meanwhile Al needs to get back to editing his manuscript:

Next: A nursery rhyme and a few dark and mysterious caverns.

A taste:


image_of_purity said...

dear allan...i was so happy to see your beautiful picture,thank you for sharing such a beautiful view..i don't think i can afford to go there...hehe

hmsgofita said...

Al, beautiful pictures and details. Thanks for sharing.

hmsgofita said...

PS, I have an award for you!

Shelli said...

sounds wonderful!

Lit and Life said...

Al--get to work! Uncle Harry--thanks for the great photos; what a beautiful country!

Melanie said...

These are gorgeous pics! It certainly is beautiful.

ParaJunkee said...

Wonderful pics, Al. Thanks for sharing.

Al said...

Hi Image,
You are welcome, perhaps one day.

Hi Heather,
You are most welcome!
Thank you for the award!

Hi Shelli,
Thanks for commenting, it is a very special part of the World.

Hi Melanie,
thanks, it is really spectacular, makes it east to take good pics.

Hi Rachel,
thanks for that. You are most welcome.

Last but not least:
Hi Kitty,
Thanks for the prod.
Uncle harry says you're welcome (and a lot of other things about me that I won't repeat just now)