Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Lollygagging part 2

Part 2 -
TUESDAY June 3rd
Back at Lakes we berthed once again at a red dock for a day. Dave had some work coming so we figured we could afford it for a few days, then we'd turn around to the white docks instead. Because there were very few visitors at the moment, we could stay on the white docks for more than the allotted 48 hours, so that was great, and only $12 a day with power. Again, not a lot was doing. The following day the weather had brightened so we figured it was a good time to turn the boat around just using ropes and tie her up to the white dock, which was only about 30' away. As luck would have it, three guys who were on the dock at the time (two from another vessel that was tied up there) helped out and it was poetry in motion to see Venture gently pulled out from the red berths and swung about to face the other way and then have her pulled up alongside the high, white docks right below a ladder and the power outlet. Awesome!
The Cunninghame Arm entrance not far from the bar entrance to the entire Gippsland Lakes system
In the afternoon, we again were doing our normal nothingness and minding our own business when we heard large engines close by. Another huge petrol guzzling, super polluting, over the top penis boat (oops, sorry, a little PI there... let's say gigantic leisure boat) was heading in to the berths. This was nothing unusual as large leisure boats seemed to be a fairly regular visitation to the docks. Dave, being the nice guy that he is, headed onto our deck and was about to ask if they needed a hand when I heard a yell and BANG! I was in the V berth and felt Venture shudder and rock and dashed up top to see what had happened. The rich dick had not allowed for the wind and drifted straight into our bow. I was angry and Dave was anxious and ran over and asked if I thought he had hit us. A resounding YES was my answer. I became even more angry when I noticed the driver's girlfriend/wife, who was idly standing on the berth, appearing to completely disregard what had just happened. Some people are just so rude, words fail me. In a way though, I wish he had hit us harder. His hull would have torn like tissue paper as our bowsprit crunched into it. Luckily there was no damage to either vessel but I hope it taught him a lesson. Idiot.

It was a little drizzly and chilly so we slothed about on the boat and spent the morning ringing caravan parks, trying to find better shower facilities. We'd tried the public shower again and realised that it was just too bloody cold. So, ringing around the traps we found that some had no separate shower blocks, just en-suites in their cabins. Others were just rude and basically said a flat out 'no', even though we had offered to pay. We almost gave up when it was decided that we'd go to the indoor swimming pool and have a swim at the same time. We'd rung them several days before but it was a few kilometres away and I was still a little precious about the whole bum bone, pain, ouchie thing but I really wanted a HOT shower. Okay, decision made. Aquadome, here we come!
The swimming pool was great. Heated, indoors, uncrowded. Ahhhhh. Dave did get told off though by a very stern female life guard, for diving in (because we both wear glasses, and of course were not wearing them, we both missed the large 'No Diving' sign at the end of the big pool). A good hour and a half was spent swimming about and then a wonderful hot shower afterwards. It certainly warmed the cockles. We rode back to the boat as dusk was approaching. It had been a really nice afternoon.

The following day however, I realised I had done a very bad thing when I found that I couldn't lift either arm. I had swum a lot of laps but it was something I hadn't done for years and so my shoulders decided to show me that it was too much, too soon and collaborated in showing their objection by both freezing up at the same time. The swine! It took a good couple of hours of manipulation and coercion to get movement into them again. I hate my joints!

To forget the pain I was in and because the weather was not too bad, we chose to ride the bikes across the large footbridge to the walking/cycle paths on the other side of the river and follow the path to the bar entrance. It was an easy 1 and a half kilometres ride to the bridge and because it was a Friday there didn't seem to be too many people about until we reached the other side where a rowdy gaggle of primary school kids cackled and jostled outside the large kiosk whilst their teachers tried to keep order. Rather than get caught up with them we headed down to the beach and looked around at... the beach, albeit a very long beach... 90 miles to be exact, hence the name 90 Mile Beach.

The footbridge to the Cunninghame Arm Spit looking back towards Lakes
A chilly wind blows at 90 Mile Beach. Dave taking photos of the life guard tower
Life guard tower at 90 Mile Beach

Just one of the many swans hanging around the kiosk waiting for a feed.
Okay, not much to see here so we took we took a look at the trail that led to the bar. It seemed to be all sand so we locked the bikes up outside of the kiosk and walked. However, after about 500metres the sand turned to solid dirt so we turned around and got the bikes. The man who ran the kiosk simply smiled when we said we'd changed our mind and would ride the trail. We found out why. 
Hard going.... from this.....
...to this.... and back again and again for 2.5 kilometres
The bikes were exhausted so we gave them a rest with a view.
Yes, the path was sand, then solid, leafy dirt, and then it became sand again, with steps thrown in occasionally for good measure before becoming solid again. It became hard going and I could imagine the kiosk owner laughing his socks off. Eventually we came to another sandy spot so Dave went on a reconnaissance mission and reported back that the news wasn't good. It was a long sandy path. Impossible for the treadlies so we abandoned the idea of riding and locked the bikes up at a small lookout. 
Aaaaaand... off we go again, this time on foot. It was actually a lovely trek right down the centre of the spit, made just a little difficult at times and the path seemed to constantly change every few hundred metres from a long sandy stretch that needed to be trudged along to a long compacted dirt stretch that was a gentle stroll, with a boardwalk thrown in every now and then for good measure. At times it felt as though we were a hundred miles from civilisation even though the whole walk was only around 2.5 kilometres each way. It was quiet and peaceful and really quite interesting. 

There was some really beautiful lichens and mosses along the paths.
Native loquats?
Fairies would feel right at home.
I won't waffle on about what we did, but rather will post some nice photos and a little history along the way.
Old flagstaff which is still used as a navigation aid to the entrance.
The original shipwreck bell which is still in use today
These are the leads that must be lined up for safe passage over the bar
A boat safely coming through the bar at slack tide although there was a fast rip.
Difficult to see but there are opposing currents meeting each other as the tide flowed out
Swim here? No way!

At the bar entrance reading about 'The Long, Long Walk.'
The Long, Long Walk... read below as this is difficult to see.
  **! HISTORY LESSON......

During February of 1797, the vessel ‘Sydney Cove’ was wrecked at the Furneaux Islands in Bass Strait. On 27 February, seventeen of the survivors set off in the ship’s longboat towards Sydney for help. The longboat was washed ashore near here, and the group, headed by the supercargo William Clarke and the first mate Hugh Thompson was forced to walk north along the coast towards Sydney.
The party of 17 set out on March 15, and after a walk of almost two months during which period many died from exhaustion and starvation reached Wattamolla near Sydney on 15 May 1797. Of this group, only three survived the journey.
This remarkable walk was the first known European exploration of the south eastern coast of Australia and marked the first contact between Aboriginals and Europeans in this area. In 1997 this journey was re-enacted by the Scout Associations of Victoria and New South Wales, following the original diary and dates of the event. Artefacts from the wreck of the ‘Sydney Cove’ were carried on this journey and placed with the remains of the Captain, Guy Hamilton, in Sydney. **

Lady Harriet's Barge


The 'Lady Harriet' was one of the early steamers on the Gippsland Lakes. She towed barges carrying an assortment of goods up the Tambo River. Her principal barge fell into disuse and lay rotting in the mud off Bullock Island until 1995 when the owners of the barge donated her to the Historical Society. The barge has been partially restored and is now on permanent display at the New Works site.**

Some of the artefacts that are part of New Works Village.
More artefacts. Sadly many of them are rusting away to nothing.
 On the way back we took a different route along the river side of the inlet where there was still a long sandy beach and along which the restored historic houses stand. At times it was difficult going as the shrubs and bushes and trees grew right out to the water's edge and if dry feet were desirable, then wrestling through branches was the only way to go. I managed to come back with only a few twigs and leaves in my hair. 

Some of the original cottages (though some have been radically updated over the years)
More cottages.... there are perhaps 15 - 20 cottages along the lake shore.
A lonely swing. No longer used


The New Works cottages are surviving links with the construction of the Entrance. Built to house the construction workers and fishermen, this little township in the dunes was for a short time named after the first contractor, John Carpenter. On licence from the Crown, the cottages have for many years been restricted to same family ownership, and have been passed down through the generations. This significant social history is documented in the Society's publication Carpentertown: "The New Works Cottages at Lakes Entrance". Unfortunately, several of the buildings have been demolished. The sites of the harbour master and engineer's residences are now only barren areas scattered with rubble, empty reminders of more industrious times.**

The intrepid explorer!
To each his own... pole that is.
Looking across the Cunninghame arm towards Venture.... that's her mast
We continued along the beach until we figured we were somewhere near where we'd left the bikes, then Dave went bush and I stayed on the flat beach because those ever sneaky knee goblins had awoken and were trying to grind my knees to a halt. Some imps had even taken up residence in my ankles but they'd have to bugger off because soon I'd be on the bike again and it was like my anti gremlin shield where nothing hurt apart from my butt, but that's due to a hard bike seat and a cocked up coccyx not butt pucks. 
We eventually found our bikes and had to wheel them back along the sandy path to the kiosk and then ride the 1.5 kilometres back to the boat. Seriously, if this stuff isn't making me fit, I don't know what will!

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