Swimmers and surfers stay out of the water and boats tend not to leave their moorings and pens in the harbour when there is a strong easterly blow at Apollo Bay. A number of shipwrecks in the area have occurred on lee shores in conditions such as these. The sea conditions created by wind waves brought by strong easterlies differ in a number of respects from the conditions typically associated with large ocean swells from the south west. But both are a spectacle to behold.
Before the harbour and this breakwater were built, a single long jetty and anything tied up to it used to take the full force of seas such as this.
The harbour is a safe and peaceful location for boats and swimmers in conditions such as these.
Sea water does get past the wall, but it hasn’t got much punch left by the time it does. Swimming in the lee of this breakwater in strong easterly conditions is pleasant on two counts – the water is glassy, and there are periodical water drops pinging off our swimming caps from the spray of the larger waves which hit the breakwater. I had an early 1km swim in the harbour on the day this photo was taken.
The ocean has right of way where it intersects with pedestrians.
Marcus inspecting the breakwater.
No windsocks needed around here (even though there is one on the fish co-op)when there are boats moored from only the bow in these (largely) current-free waters.
Not all craft moored in the harbour fare equally well in an easterly blow. There is enough fetch across the harbour from east to west to create chop and whitecaps on the western side where these dinghies were tied up.
This is the harbour mouth as seen from the ocean side. The dark rocks on the left are the northern tip of the eastern breakwater. The sailing club rooms can be seen just left of the spray in the centre of the image. Such conditions probably go some way to explaining the absence of small boat activity at the time this photo was taken. I imagine it’s the actual harbour mouth with its shallow water, breaking waves and proximity to solid objects that would deter sailors more than the conditions out to sea.
The Kia Ora III safe in its pen near the harbour mouth. The rocks on the right are the northern tip of the eastern breakwater. Boats shown here had a bit more movement while moored in these conditions than the boats in pens further inside the harbour.
If you had to exit the harbour in a small boat, this would not be the precise moment to give it the gun and head out with all this white water on the starboard side (I’m not a formally qualified sailor, but I know my rights).
Taken from the middle of the road in front of my house. Nature’s way of saying ‘swim in the harbour today’.
I returned to the harbour after lunch when the tide was lower. The waves were performing on cue and the light was a bit brighter.
The western dredge buoy. On occasions, friends and I use this as a turn point on longer swims around the bay. It’s 300m from the harbour mouth, 500m from the beach in front of the SLSC and 600m from the steps to the beach at the end of my street (Tuxion).
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I was born in Perth Western Australia in July 1949.
I currently live in Apollo Bay Victoria.
View all posts by John Langmead
January 29, 2021 March 13, 2023
4 thoughts on “Rough seas in an easterly blow at Apollo Bay”
John, I love reading your posts and especially your photographs and while I dont reply to them all I do appreciate all your work.
I love the fact you have such a deep understanding of the area around Apollo Bay and the Otways. The ever changing sea always leaves me in awe.
Thanks for sharing your amazing experiences.
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Thanks very much Sue. I appreciate your comments. The call of the sea in this part of the world is indeed, for me, ‘….a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied…’
John, what a ferocious sight those onshore conditions have created at the foot of Cawood St. Your easterly winds are so dynamic compared to the onshore southerlies prevailing here at Waratah Bay. And all these photogenic sights in this mild and wet “summer”. We cannot pigeonhole you as a fair weather photographer, your images underscoring nature’s spectacular violence.
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The strong easterly certainly is one of nature’s colourful set pieces in this part of the world. It’s exhilarating to get out in such weather and to revisit my favourite vantage points. I find such weather and ocean conditions most invigorating.