Winter on the west coast of Victoria. Nowhere else I’d rather be. Noel and I rode our motorbikes from Melbourne down to Apollo Bay last Thursday. Between Lorne and Apollo Bay every point had large perfectly formed surf, and the diehard midweek surf crew were out in force having the time of their life in a swell memorable for its perfection and its power. I have seen bigger swells, but few more regular and perfectly formed. Parallel lines of swell were lined up from the horizon to the shore.
The afternoon light was beautiful, which combined with that swell would normally be my cue to take some photos. But the Great Ocean Road was mostly dry, there was very little traffic, the bikes were performing faultlessly and it seems we were both feeling on song. The beautiful rhythm of so many curves in succession, going smoothly through the gears with the exhaust note rising and falling as power was continually applied and reduced, picking lines carefully around the seemingly never ending corners, hands resting lightly on the handgrips, arms relaxed, knees lightly pressing into the fuel tank, back comfortably curved. That willing engine and the nimble handling of the mighty GS. You really have to have experienced it to understand it. While I was conscious of the surf and looking at it when possible, most of the time I was focusing exclusively on the next turn. But for once the choice was clear that I would not disturb the joyous rhythm of the ride for some photos. It was a conscious choice. The mellowing afternoon light, the perfect swell, the GOR seemingly draped over and around the landscape rather than cut into it, the motorbike swooping and diving and leaning in unbroken smooth motion around it all – there was a synchronicity to everything on that 44kms from Lorne to AB. Everything fitted with everything else. It’s a bit like singing tight and powerful three part harmonies with strong beautifully blending voices in that you can’t stop mid flight – you just have to finish the song.
Noel and I arrived in AB full of energy and enthusiasm as we usually are after such a ride. We pulled into the servo, Noel filled up, and without further ado we said goodbye and he rode back to Melbourne. I rode the last few hundred metres of the day up Cawood Street and parked the bike in the shed. I felt the tyres once the bike was parked – they were warmer than usual having had a good workout.
I then decided to grab the Nikon and the tele lens to see what the dying light of this beautiful day had to offer. Marengo was my choice because it was close and the hills are further west there which means the sun would not set early as it does along the south-facing coast east of Wild Dog Creek. As it turned out, the last half hour of sunlight had a lot to offer.
So, on Thursday, with no hint of things to come (these photos were taken only two days before the Saturday morning on which the photos in the post ‘The Henty firing in a big swell’ were taken), the elements bestowed this beautiful swell on the west coast of Victoria. While it’s winter, there was something autumnal about Thursday’s swell. Saturday’s swell though was pure winter.