Oh my gawd, you are going to be so over pictures of the sea by the time this blog is finished! And guess what? There’ll probably be more!
Backtracking a little, yesterday we also visited Loch Ard Gorge, so named for the ship that beached itself on an island close by in the 1870s, tipping out two survivors who found themselves washed up on the beach in the gorge.
Young Tom was able to climb up the embankment to reach safety and organise a rescue party (a bit inappropriate IMHO, but he probably needed a stiff drink!) but there were no other survivors. Plenty of stuff to salvage from the ship though, including an earthernware peacock statue, which the newly minted Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village in Warrnambool purchased for $4,500 in the mid-1970s, and which is now worth about $4M smackers. Good investment, eh?
Apparently, millions of tourists come here every year and I’m sure 10% of the yearly quota had visited recently, judging by the amount of footprints on the beach. Most of them had scarpered by early evening leaving only a handful lurking on the actual beach taking selfies and giving V signs (for victory - “I made it down all those bloody steps”??). Staying on top of the cliffs made the tourists (and the steps) easy to avoid.
Once upon a time, there was an arch formation in the sea next to the gorge, but in 2009 its middle collapsed leaving two separate pillars. 'The Archway' thus became 'Tom & Eva' – the two survivors from the Loch Ard shipwreck.
Next, a brief stop at The Arch to drink in the fact that it’s still standing. This imaginatively named place will no doubt be the next thing to fall apart given that chunks of it are starting to fall off. The sea does have a habit of eroding the environment in these parts.
Once upon a time, London Bridge was really a bridge. Not in the ‘massive structure to carry traffic across Sydney Harbour’ sense of bridge, but in the sense that there was a hole in the rock face that the sea could move through and punters could walk across the ‘bridge’ at the top of that rock face, from the mainland to the little island at sea formed by the ‘bridge’. Of course, this was all about 25 years ago, until a sizeable chunk of that rock cracked, crumbled and fell into the sea, thus making an actual island....with a couple of people stranded on it. (Jeeves....bring the helicopter!)
Once upon a time, you could nip down the stairs to the sinkhole that is The Grotto, and wander right through the hole in the rock face to stand and watch the sea. If the tide was in, you’d probably get wet. I guess some idiots must’ve gotten themselves swept out to sea (or possibly just got their shiny sequin-embossed favourite travelling tracksuit pants wet, and threatened to sue) because now there’s a wall designed to prevent further ingress to the rock ledge. Of course some people ignore the wall and clamber over, whereas others just sit on it and take 3,725 photos of themselves doing a duck pout, with the sea in the background. And because the steps leading down to the Grotto are quite narrow and the area behind the wall quite small, it’s not unusual for a line of tourists to form back up the steps, phones in hand, all awaiting their turn.
I miss the old days.
And to finish the seaside adventures, The Bay of Islands Coastal park, so called because it's a bay....with islands. It stretches from Peterborough almost to Warrnambool and some parts of the beach are accessible. The islands are mostly rock stacks but some of them are pretty big, so I'm not going to quibble about the 'island' status. But once they've all fallen into the sea, I want this place renamed without delay!