Snorkelling is a simple pleasure. These rock pools near Apollo Bay offer beautiful and easily accessible underwater scenery all year round, when there is a low tide and the swell is not big. The minimum equipment list is small: mask, snorkel, fins, and of course a wetsuit. My swims here are usually solo. The underwater reef environment is always captivating. The water clarity in the pools varies between clear and exceptionally clear.
I never notice time passing when snorkelling here, unless an incoming tide interrupts my reverie with a nudge, or I eventually have my first shiver, or daylight begins to fade. I don’t do any spearfishing. I do take a few photos.
The Great Ocean Road between Aireys Inlet and Port Campbell could well have been made with motorbikes in mind. It is a joy to head east or west from Apollo Bay on the motorbike around the long succession of what are by now very familiar curves – another simple pleasure.
It is not difficult to find a time when the roads have little or no traffic on them. But of course there are always hazards on the GOR, for which due allowance must be made.
The BMW R1200GS is particularly well suited to the GOR. I ride it in all weather. I bought the GS new about 13 years ago. It still goes as well as the day I bought it. Given its age and mileage, its current value would be a lot less than the amount required to purchase of a flash new push bike. But that doesn’t matter because I wouldn’t sell it at any price. Whenever I look at it parked in my shed it just radiates great memories of rides. I have never had a ride on it that I didn’t enjoy. I have no plans to retire it any time soon.
The fuel tank capacity is a mere 20 litres, which is more than enough for a day’s touring along the GOR, starting and finishing at Apollo Bay. The great majority of the 235,000kms now on its odometer are solo kms.
Onshore winds blowing up and over the coastal hills around Apollo Bay can provide very good conditions for hang gliding. The ideal wind strength for my hang glider on this coast is around 15 knots, but winds in the 12-18 knot range (which are not gusting), will also see me cancel most other activities to go flying. Winds in this range do not occur daily or even weekly, but it is part of the fun to keep a close eye on weather patterns and the wind until a day with flyable conditions dawns. The eve of such a day usually sees me checking gear, charging radio batteries and examining weather forecasts. Living within sight of the launch site means that I get to fly when the wind is right. The window of suitable wind strength and direction can be as short as 30-40 minutes, or it can last all day.
The basic equipment list to fly like a bird is short: hang glider, harness and helmet.
I can see my favourite launch location from the back deck of my house.
Two hours of flying pleasure is the relevant performance figure for this flight. But my instruments also recorded that I flew 54.7kms in this time, and that my maximum groundspeed was 42.1 knots.
Silently and effortlessly soaring the coastal hills for a couple of hours in smooth air is peaceful and exhilarating. There’s really nothing else like it.