Apollo Bay

I recently retired from a career of 33 years, and Liz and I now call Apollo Bay home. These photos are a few random shots of everyday sights around this town.

Winter skies

This photo was taken looking south east across Mounts Bay, near Marengo. This bay is immediately south of Apollo Bay. It was a cold day with unstable moist air across the west of the state. Cumulus clouds were plentiful and even early in the day were showing signs of developing vertically, as precursors to heavy rain and thunderstorm. This developing cumulus cloud over the sea was an interesting addition to the layer of grey cumulus cloud from which it arose.
An hour or so after the first photo above was taken, large cumulus clouds developed over Apollo Bay, the hills to the east and Cape Patton. There were heavy rainshowers under the larger clouds. There was also a laser like beam of sunshine which angled out of the cloud to the sea south of Cape Patton.
In contrast to the straight ray of sunlight piercing the clouds (still visible in this photo), sunlight was cascading over the storm clouds to the sea.

High tide

This is the entrance to the Apollo Bay beach directly in front of the surf life saving club building. This was the peak of a 2.1m high tide (there have been higher tides). In contrast, after days of strong easterlies and big seas I have seen a drop from the boardwalk (under the sand and white water in the photo) of over 1m, with a warning sign accordingly. On a low tide, it can be a walk of 100m or so to the water’s edge from the point where this photo was taken.
The harbour at high tide. The larger of the two boats in the foreground (Moonlight) carried tourists on fishing and sightseeing trips for many years in the area. It was recently converted for its next chapter to operate as a cray boat. I recently saw it untying and heading out the harbour mouth on its first cray trip, with the deck loaded high with brand new cray pots.
The flat pavement area on the western side of the harbour is not a long way above peak high tide level. Despite being almost entirely enclosed with only a narrow entry, the water in the harbour is still subject to rising and falling slightly when large swell rolls through the bay the other side of the harbour walls. The risk of the pavement being cracked by water pressure from below must have been recognised in the construction, because a row of air vents covered with metal grates was installed approximately down the middle of the pavement.
On a high tide, as the sea surface gently rises and falls, air captured under the pavement is alternately compressed and released. The compressed air blows out of the vents through grates such as shown in the photo. At lower pressures, a column of air is expelled vertically with a faint and plaintive ‘wind in the rigging’ sound. At stronger pressures, spray and water can also be blown upwards with a strong wind sound. Children (and some adults) love this incidental little feature when it is operating.

Riding a wave

If there is a rideable wave anywhere near Apollo Bay, someone on one craft or another will be having a crack at riding it. My weapon of choice on this day was my 18 foot surf ski. I mounted the GoPro on the rear deck near the rudder shaft. This photos shows the ski punching through an approaching wave on the paddle out to near the harbour mouth for the 60″+ ride on an unbroken wave across the bay back to the beach.
I enjoy watching others surf, paddle, kite surf, windsurf or bodysurf and I sometimes paddle the ski out for a few waves myself when conditions are just right. Swell and waves are part of the heartbeat of this town. When there is a big swell and a strong south west wind, anyone in town who is outside or has a window open will hear the distant boom of surf breaking on the main beach and the reefs south of Marengo, which I seem to notice most and to best effect at night.
Turning left during the minute plus journey from the harbour mouth to the beach.
Enjoying the ride.

Australian fur seals

Australian fur seals can be viewed at any time on Little Henty Reef about 800m offshore at Marengo. Binoculars will help. This ageing male fur seal has most likely spent considerable time with the colony of 100 or so seals on Little Henty Reef. But for reasons known only to him he is now enjoying his retirement in Apollo Bay harbour. It has been suggested by more than a few locals that he has probably been ousted by a younger male on the reef, and has opted for the quiet life in the harbour. He sleeps for much of the day on the end of this pontoon. He slips into the harbour waters late afternoon presumably to feed in and out of the harbour, then returns to his pontoon.
More asleep than awake. I took this shot from some distance away with a telephoto lens.
This was not a roar in defence of territory or to ward of a perceived attacker. It was a long slow yawn which was immediately followed by resumption of sound sleeping. A telephoto lens was also used for this photo. His dental care plan may have been inadequate. And you just know that breath would be fishy or worse.
These trendy and well groomed crested terns were a capacity crowd on the pontoon occupied by the old seal on a particularly windy afternoon recently. He slept through the whole event.
I fear he may be losing a bit of weight as time goes on. He was once rounder and sleeker than he looks in this photo.

Little corellas

The Little Corella. Smaller than a sulphur crested cockatoo, but noisier and busier than most native birds around Apollo Bay. They seem to fly around in larger flocks than most other native birds in town.
Bored corella on the left longing for simultaneous contact with both wires as he has his ears talked off by his garrulous companion.
Canoodling corellas, or perhaps a secret being shared?
Young corella on the left being fed.
The moment you realise the story you are telling has either been heard before, or is just plain wide of the mark for your audience.

Quiet beauty

The peaceful walking path up to Marriners Lookout. (The lookout is named after a local family, not seafarers in general). The walker is rewarded where the track ends with uninterrupted coast and ocean views from Cape Patton to around past Marengo, from an elevation of 715 feet above seal level. The lookout has long been a takeoff site for hang gliders and paragliders.
The track to Marriners Lookout.
View from the roadside on the Great Ocean Road not far west of Apollo Bay, looking down a valley towards the coast.
A lot of rain falls in the Otway Ranges.

Looking back through time

From the top: meteor, starlit moonless night sky, cloud in the night sky, another meteor, the Milky Way, the Southern Cross and the two pointers (Alpha Centauri & Beta Centauri), low level layer of strato-cumulus cloud, horizon over the Southern Ocean, small surf breaking just offshore, rocks from a reef lining the shore between Skenes Creek and Apollo Bay. The night skies viewed from around Apollo Bay can be spectacular. Pitch blackness entirely out of sight of any ground lighting can readily be found on any moonless night, for those with some astrophotography in mind. Despite the coastal setting, the night skies can be wonderfully clear, and the Milky Way arching across the dome of the night sky is a sight to behold.
I like the thought that light from a star visible to the naked eye could originate from a star many light years away, and that it is entirely possible that the star may have ceased to exist many light years ago. Or at the very least, with light from distant stars I may simply be looking at how they appeared millions or billions of years ago. So looking at the night sky could involve looking back in time. Night skies at Apollo Bay have a way of putting things in perspective.

4 thoughts on “Apollo Bay

  1. That seal could have had a complete dental examination from that photo alone! You can almost smell his breath… 😂 I love the canoodling birds, too. 😍 I am definitely going for a walk up Marriners next time we’re in town, you’ve inspired me. Lovely photos and words as always Dad.


    1. Thanks Jess. Pleased you enjoyed these photos. You’ve been coming to this town for more years than you can remember. And Gus, Georgie and Harriet have been coming here since birth. Like you, I find this part of the world endlessly interesting and inspiring.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gratitude John, for your kind introduction to – Your Inspiring and Interesting Blog. I loved the beautiful pictures of Apollo Bay they flooded my mind with happy and Special Memories. Thank You, John, I am looking forward to
    enjoying many hours of Looking and Reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very nice to hear from you Mary. Thank you for your kind words about the blog – I’m delighted you are enjoying it and that it is bringing back happy memories for you.
      Best wishes


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