Friday, January 25, 2008

The Shipwreck Coast

Day: 121
Portland to Warrnambool
Time: 6:14:00
Distance: 99.11 k
Avg Speed: 15.8 kph
Terrain: Flat
Location: 38˚ 23’ 40.3” S, 142˚ 29’ 18.2” E

It’s too bad we had to get up early today – we really liked our sweet pad in Portland. The road was calling and we needed to pound out 100 k to Warrnambool. We are on a bit more of a schedule than New Zealand and wanted to set ourselves up to be riding the Great Ocean Rd starting tomorrow. The weather report called for more winds from the east and south and we were prepared for a long day. Fortunately, the wind was more like a breeze until we got just outside our destination.
The Great Ocean Rd has been a goal for us since we decided to include Australia in our travels. It’s touted as one of the prettiest coastlines in the world and is on every suggested itinerary in our Cycling Australia book. For just about 300 kilometers we should be treated to some awesome scenery. Beginning as a track when the telegraph line between Victoria and Tasmania was built in 1859, the road itself was constructed between 1918 and 1932. Without much funding, the project succeeded with returning WWI servicemen and Depression era workers.
The coastline is also known for many shipwrecks during the 1800s. Over 160 ships have wrecked in the area from Port Fairy to Apollo Bay (west to east). Ships traveling to or from the east coast of Australia had to navigate Bass Straight and the going was treacherous to say the least. Today there are a few automated lighthouses and some very large wind machines to guide the way.
Tonight we’re back in the tent. We miss our friends in Portland, but are grateful for the time they shared with us.
See you,

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