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GD33-YJOT NOT reached 27/3/2004

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  • Ian G Kelly
    A decision had to be made ... to travel by ferry and mountain bike across 50 kilometres of unmade roads to possibly reach a dashpoint in mangrove swamp on the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2004
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      A decision had to be made ... to travel by ferry and mountain bike
      across 50 kilometres of unmade roads to possibly reach a dashpoint in
      mangrove swamp on the low tide border of exotic French Island in
      Westernport Bay or to travel by car, hire a boat and take my chances
      reaching this elusive dashpoint from the water's edge.

      I chose the latter and missed out - but I had a great day seeing parts
      of the Melbourne region that I had never visited previously. And I had
      contact with GeoffJ3191 by mobile phone as he made the dashpoint.

      I drove south-east from home along the Prince's Highway, turning south
      towards Philip Island along the South Gippsland Highway until I reached
      Tooradin, where a large sign proclaimed "Boats for Hire". This little
      town and harbour was at least 20 kilometres from the dashpoint and the
      boats were 3 metre "tinnies" with a high canvas awning for protection
      from the sun. They looked like a 1 metre swell would put them out of
      action, and their motors were only about 6 horsepower, not a good
      combination in the strong currents and conditions on Westernport Bay.

      On to the next town - Lang Lang. I turned off on to the Bass Highway and
      took the first right (Jetty Road) to Lang Lang Beach. At this point I
      rang GeoffJ3191 to check his position - he was 600 metres from the
      dashpoint but travelling slowly by mountain bike on the sandy track. I
      reached a Caravan Park at the end of the road and continued along the
      coast towards the nearest point until I came to a locked gate. Then I
      continued on foot to a point 3.59 kilometres from the dashpoint and rang
      Geoff again. He was 200 metres from zero.

      I used the binoculars and looked for landmarks as he continued on foot
      through the mangroves towards zero. I used the camera and binoculars to
      attempt to capture their images on the beach but the distance was too
      great. Then Geoff rang me back to tell me that he and Michael his son
      had reached 72 metres. There was great rejoicing from across the water,
      but I could tell that he was exhausted from the effort.

      I then drove back to the Bass highway and continued down the coast until
      I found the turnoff to Jam Jerrum - this was more like it as I reached
      the coast only about 3 kilometres from zero. I moved on foot onto the
      sand, then onto the mudflats. As it was low tide I was able to walk
      several hundred metres out into the bay, until I was 2.59 kilometres
      away. I rang Geoff again and they had finished lunch and were just about
      to emerge onto the beach on French Island. At this range I could see
      them clearly through the binoculars and they could see me waving
      futilely from the mudflat. They still had a 25 kilometre bike ride back
      to the ferry but they had reached the dashpoint. I had a 300 metre walk
      back to the car with no points, but it was exhilarating to be part of
      their success.

      I continued on further south to a town called Corinella where I had
      hoped to hire a boat closer to the dashpoint. No Hire Boats were
      available, and about 500 boat trailers were parked near the boat ramp
      where many fishermen had left them for the day. The traffic was like the
      middle of the city. I had a good look around this place, as it was one
      of the first British settlements in Victoria (the headland protecting
      the boat launching area was called Settlement Point, and there were
      several plaques indicating early historic events). The settlement only
      lasted two years, probably because of a lack of fresh water, and was
      only set up because the French explorer Baudin had sailed into
      Westernport Bay a year earlier, creating the name "French Island" and
      causing consternation amongst the early British settlers. The first
      Australian GeoDasher, Matthew Flinders, had raced Baudin to be the first
      navigator to sail around Australia and map the whole continent. He was
      also the first to lodge his dashing report as Baudin died before he
      could get back to France with his story. Otherwise I could be writing
      this report in French now.

      No points today Scout, but a great trip and some fascinating places
      visited.


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