Two Mile Reef (also known as Easter Reef) is located a short distance (but a long paddle) offshore just around the corner west of the entrance to Port Campbell bay. On its day, it is considered by many to produce the largest wave on the Victorian west coast.
On 4 May 2016 having looked at the swell forecasts, weather forecasts and a few other pieces of guesswork on the internet, I decided it could well be worth the two and a half hour drive from Melbourne to Port Campbell to see Two Mile reef in action.
It was worth the drive.
In terms of big seas in this area, I can recall a day when I witnessed the white water being being launched higher above the cliffs than was occurring on 4 May 2016. That day was 2 July 2008 when gale force winds and big seas combined to launch white water well above clifftop height. The white water rising above the cliffs was clearly visible from the car window on the Great Ocean Road. I have posted some photos taken in the area that day on a post on this blog called, descriptively if not imaginatively, ‘Wild weather & a big swell on the coast west of Cape Otway‘. But it’s the green water not the white water which excites the surfer.
I have never seen a day on the west coast of Victoria with a raw surfable swell as big as the one I saw this day. There was a surprise bonus for my efforts in that well known big wave surfer Ross Clarke Jones had also made the trip to Two Mile that day, and was out there towing into a few. What impressed me more than RCJ’s efforts though was the local crew who paddled out from Port Campbell, paddled for and caught more than a few massive waves, got caught inside more than once, took more than a few on the head involving some longish hold downs, then paddled back to Port Campbell beach.
My vantage point for watching and taking these photos was the clifftop above Two Mile. Save for the last photo in this post, I have followed the pattern of wider shot, then cropped detail of the same shot to allow better appreciation and estimation of the size of these waves.
These photos were taken on an old digital SLR I owned at the time (a Nikon), with only a small zoom lens (my telephoto lens having ended its active service on a rock shelf when I went arse up trying to walk as fast as a Southern Right whale was swimming by at close quarters). Accordingly the resolution etc is nothing like my current camera and telephoto lens could have produced. But I had to work with what I had. A photograph can be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it can be of considerable interest for its documentary value, and if the stars align it can be both. These photos are merely in the documentary category. Please focus on the content, not the composition, exposure, colour saturation, resolution and the like.
I decided to post these photos of the swell of 4 May 2016 because my last post on this blog caused more than one conversation with friends on the west coast as to big swell events in years gone by. Of course I was compelled to mention 4 May 2016 at Two Mile.
So here are a few snaps taken on that day. I would be particularly interested in your estimation of the height of the wave faces as depicted. I know reasonable people can differ on this topic. I ask that you avoid the surfer’s macho wave height estimate method, which involves looking at a wave with a 20 foot face, and conceding dryly that it’s possibly a solid 10-12 footer. For my money, the distance you fall if you lose it on the lip is a fair and reasonable distance to call wave face height.
Many readers of this blog find it and access it via Facebook. Some comment on a particular post under the Facebook link to the blog, rather than on the blog itself. It’s great to get feedback on the blog and I enjoy reading all comments. But a comment on Facebook and the post on my blog to which it relates quickly become separated.
At the foot of each post you will find one of the following two options for posting a comment (note: the images following this paragraph are screen shots of the links, not the active comments links themselves). This keeps a particular post and the comments on it together, and also permits responsive replies to comments, and conversations. I view this as one of the big advantages of a blog – the opportunity for a leisurely and undisturbed conversation away from the noise and clamour of FB.
So please feel free to leave your view in the comments section of this post as to just how big you estimate these wave faces to be. I have a view, but I’ll keep it to myself for the time being so as not to interfere with your estimation process. I would also be most interested to hear if you have witnessed a bigger swell on the west coast of Victoria.