Day 4 Apollo Bay to Aireys Inlet

Community Highlights Oceania Day 4 Apollo Bay to Aireys Inlet

We decided to make an early start today with wind and rain forecast for the afternoon. At about 11pm last night, the wind made an early appearance. It was strong enough to wake me from a deep post ride slumber and it made me wonder if we might have to make alternative arrangements for the day, like trying to negotiate a VLine bus to Airleys.
By the time the sun came up, the wind had settled a little and the gales of the night before were replaced with a striking sunrise. See pic below for evidence.

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We had a quick breakfast and set off around 830 hoping to beat the return of the Apollo Bay tornado. The first stretch of the ride was pretty flat and the northerly wind was being broken by the escarpment along the coastline. The occasional gully provided us with a sense that the wind still had plenty of challenges to offer.
The sky was a bit grey but that made the scenery more dramatic. There's some nice lookouts along this stretch of the road and all of them have easy access.

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Not too long after going through the small settlement of Wye River you'll come across the memorial to the Barque WB Godfrey Memorial. Whatever you do, don't miss this stop and be sure to read the information board. It's chilling stuff. In short, way back in March 1891, the Barque WB Godfrey was sailing between San Fran and Melbourne. The good ship Godfrey came a cropper amidst heavy bushfire smoke that obscured visibility. All passengers and the crew survived, so what's the big deal I hear you say.
In April 1891, the barquentine Chittor turned up at the site of the wreck to salvage timber and other cargo from the wreck. This sounds a lot like looting to me, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and stick with the word salvage. Five crew approached the wreck of the Godfrey in a row boat and, you guessed it, they capsized and two of the crew lost their lives.
Now at this point, the story just keeps getting weirder. In June, another operator attempted a salvage, but their the row boat capsized and one of the crew drowned. You'd think by this stage, the shipwreck site might have been classed as a no go zone for salvage teams. Back in the 1890s risk management wasn't even an idea, so lo and behold another crew arrive ready to salvage the remains of the Godfrey. this time the good ship Clara approached with some caution and unleashed the usual team of salvage experts in a row boat. Third time luck lucky? Nope. The rowboat capsized and one of its occupants was caught in the surf while the other two made it safely to shore. The captain of the ship, a man by the name of TJ Gortley, decided to help out, his flailing crew member V Godfrey, who strangely enough shared his surname with the name of the ship that originally sank at the site. Captain Gortley was brave to plunge into the surging water, but unfortunately he couldn't swim, so both he and Godfrey ended up in Davey Jones locker. From my research, it seems that after this third attempt, the salvage experts gave up on the Barque WB Godfrey. If the tide is anywhere on the low side, you'll see some remnants of the Barque WB Godfrey jutting above the surface. Today the anchor was clearly visible and the plaque indicates you can also see the canon and a few other bits when the tide is down. There's a memorial to Captain Gortley and V Godfrey which, as you will see in the picture below, is currently home to a huge mushroom.

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After that sobering experience, we set off for Lorne along some quite exposed sections of the Great Ocean Road which offered no protection from the northerly. Again there's some good lookouts which provide excellent views of the coast and some pretty inlets which are really worth a stop.

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It was now a cruisy 10km into Lorne and the traffic was not too bad, apart from one truck driver who thought it might be a you beaut idea to sit on my tail through some tight corners on a downhill section. When we made it to Lorne, we came across a cafe called Lorne Central which is a great place for lunch. We met a group of three women outside Lorne Central who were following in our tracks. One of them was on the wrong side, or right side depending on your view, of 70 and you had to admire her attitude. I said to her 'We are all mad', she replied, 'I call us inspirational.' I suspect she's right!
There's also the 'new' Golden Age cinema in Lorne. It's an old art deco joint which has been taken over by the people from Golden Age in Sydney. As a fan of the Sydney cinema, I suspect Lorne has struck it lucky.

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We then pushed on to Aireys Inlet. This segment can be a little challenging. There's a couple of relatively small climbs, but if you've been across the Otways you'll hardly notice the ascent. The challenging bit comes from the traffic on this segment. After a few days of relative peace, you'll certainly notice a difference here. It's a pretty narrow stretch of road and the shoulders are either non existent or covered in forest debris. Hold your line on the downhill segments and look ahead on the climbs; it can be really difficult to keep as far left as the drivers desire. There's also quite a few big trucks here, so keep your eyes and ears open.
Just as we arrived in Aireys, the wind picked up and we even copped a decent shower of rain. Onwards and upwards to Geelong tomorrow with a nasty headwind forecast.

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This featured blog entry was written by djscooterman from the blog Cycling the Great Ocean Road.
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By djscooterman

Posted Thu, May 30, 2024 | Australia | Comments