The experience of sunrise is greatly enhanced by full immersion in cold ocean water. It is not possible to feel anything other than fully alive when greeting the day in this manner.
Indeed, in late August at Apollo Bay it is not possible to feel anything much at all after a lengthy ocean swim, apart from exhilaration. Fingers and toes cease sending messages to mission control, the gift of speech is reduced to short words only understandable if accompanied by sign language, and whistling is completely impossible until after the administration of hot tea or coffee. But the water on this day was 14°C, which is cool rather than cold.
Sunrise at Marengo in autumn
Moderate swell on Little Henty Reef off Hayley Point
Images from recent days in Apollo Bay doing stuff that requires only time – all within walking distance of home.
The New Holland Honeyeater and the House Sparrow
These birds literally flew between my camera lens and the surf break I was trying to focus on. They landed on cliff-top scrub that was just below my line of sight to the reef. As there were lengthy breaks between sets of waves, I wound the telephoto lens right back and took a few shots of these feathery little photo bombers from close quarters.
Ocean scenery & ocean swims
The first two swims were done in the conditions and at the times and locations shown in the photos with the sunrise and the steps. The third swim was done in calm water – I just love the photo (which showed the conditions about two kms south of where I swam).
Surf & Surfers
Seamus looking for speed as the lip started to throw out overhead. The other photo shows the end of the ride on this wave, with Australian fur seals relaxing on the reef in the background.
Tommy can certainly lay claim to paddling out and over an unbroken section of this interesting and unrideable wave. But the wave he was heading out to ride was on the break to his right as he paddled out (as shown top right), which while not quite as spectacular, was eminently rideable.
The third photo was taken as the wave was closing out, the ride was over, and Tommy decided to bail out over the back of the wave. The photo captured the moment when it appeared he was levitating from the deck of his board to achieve this exit.
Leroy is over 60 and surfs like a young bloke.
Angus is a young bloke who was giving it a red hot go on this day. Those are his feet in the air on the left as he decided against a duck dive on the board, and simply dived for depth relying on the leg rope to bring his surfboard with him. It was a solid wall of white water. The timing of his dive looked pretty good to me.
This is Angus completing a long ride by pulling on a bit of speed then shooting up the face of the fading wave and through the crest of white water for an exuberant airborne exit over the back.
As autumn turns to winter on the west coast of Victoria, the beaches are emptier, the wavs are bigger, the ocean is colder and the nights are longer. The awesomeness and beauty of nature seem to peak in winter. It may well be my favourite season. It certainly is at the moment.
Not so big Wednesday.
The forecast for Wednesday 29 May 2019 was for very big surf on the west coast. Surfers and photographers prepared and waited for the sun to rise on an epic swell (which inevitably, down the track, would have been dubbed ‘Big Wednesday’). Instead, it was just a solid wintry swell which arrived a couple of days before the official start of winter (Wednesday 29 May 2019).
The first ten photos below were taken facing south east from Marengo point, near Apollo Bay.
The Point at Marengo came alive in a solid autumn swell with waves that tested some of the young local surfers. There were reports of heavy hold downs and a lot of water moving around. Some of the younger surfers said they hadn’t seen it this big. From the little I saw, they handled it.
I arrived at the Point not long before sunset. Big waves were being ridden, bigger and unrideable waves were smashing in their wild way over adjacent Little Henty Reef, and even bigger waves were towering and breaking on the bombies at Outer Henty Reef 3kms offshore. Spray was hanging in the air. Light was rapidly fading. There was a silent but strong sense of spectacle.
The beaches at Apollo Bay provide endless beauty and joy, especially at dawn and dusk.