Sun on the water (Ussher to Vrilia)

Waking at 5:45 to my alarm, I wandered out to the small cliffs above the beach, cautiously. Raman had spotted a big eye in the little lagoon just behind the beach and some big belly slide marks leading out into the sea last night. From my vantage point on the low cliffs I could see in the soft early morning light the makes from the resident lizard.


Coen (11 of 69)

My first long exposure, softening the waves and brightening an otherwise dim view south over the waves.



Sitting atop the cliffs my thoughts drifted, moments of the past five months coming and going, the journey south ahead of me, back to the waves washing at the beach in front of me and…those lizard marks.


I had quite a while there on the cliff before the sun emerged from the broken clouds.


Coen (12 of 69)

Sunrise on the 2nd of October, 2013, east over the Coral Sea.

A close look at the lower left of the frame reveals some of the “lizard” marks.


After a slow breakfast and pack up, we headed west.


Close to the point the track winds under thick vegetation, at times in a complete tunnel.

Close to the point the track winds under thick vegetation, at times in a complete tunnel.


Back into the dryer vegetation of the inland sections of the cape.

Back into the dryer vegetation of the inland sections of the cape.


The track out to Vrilia was sandy but good fun. I am getting used to my new pogo stick. Its manageable so far. Although one does have to be very careful not to hit big bumps hard or there is a serious risk of being thrown off. I have a very stiff spring in the rear of the bike to handle significant weight. When this is compressed by a large bump and there is no restraint (from the shock absorber) the spring returns the compression with gusto often lifting the entire back of the bike and wheel off the ground.


Once at Vrilia the road continues up the beach. The tide was low when we arrived, it was also lunch time. After the lunch we rested a while in the shade, struggling to muster the will to pull back on our gear. I suspect it is in the high thirties today. Certainly the hottest thus far. It may well be closer to 40. Laying around in the shade really seemed much more appealing.


Later in the avo some clouds began to build and the heat eased up a little. We pulled our gear back on to make a move up the beach. Its about 12km that the track follows the beach to reach the camp site we had in mind.


Riding up the beach was easy, just stick to the hard pack sand that the tide gets wet every tide cycle. Only trouble was the tide wasn’t out. In fact it was quite a long way in and there wasn’t much hard pack sand to ride on. As we got further up the beach, perhaps 4km, the water was so far in I actually hit a little patch of it, spraying salt water up over my bike. Salt water is nasty stuck for machines. I had not intended to do this. There was no hard pack left to ride on so I shifted my track up in the softer sand. Out at Cape Melvile I rode in soft sand on the beach although this time I was carrying my full gear. The idea is basically the fast the better, lean back and keep the power on.

I came off the hard pack at about 80 in fourth gear hard on the throttle. I immediately felt the bike bog in and the engine come under heavy load. This is where all that torque from the big 685cc single cylinder comes in. But it wasn’t enough. I shifted to 3rd, at 6,000RPM. Despite the very quick gear change the speed took a dive. Full throttle in third and the bike was still bogging in. I knew I was buggered by this stage but I quickly shifted back to 2nd again at high RPM and full throttle, the bike was now swerving around quite a bit due to the lack of speed to keep the sand hard and very shortly I was back to first and then stopped. There’s no way I am going any further in this without letting down my tires.




Sinking Mawson

Sinking Mawson


Sunken Mawson

Sunken Mawson


I decided that attempting to continue with lowered tire pressures was unwise. It was time to bail on the beach and return south to where we weathered the heat of the day.

Letting our tires down and pushing each other we managed to get the bikes back to the firmer sand. Its still very hot and getting stuck in sand is hard work. I am drinking as much as I can but I think it is coming out faster than I am putting it in.


Back at our lunch spot we decided to set up camp. We had a nice view of the water and there were fish jumping around the rocks at the headland.


Just south of the spot we pitched the tents.

Just south of the spot we pitched the tents.


I caught some bait and tried fishing to no avail although I was able to catch some crabs for dinner to supplement the pasta Raman had on.

Although the crabs were small they tasted fantastic.


Late in the avo we had a game of Yaniv and almost left it too late for the photograph.


The setting of the sun over the Gulf of Carpentaria, 2nd October, 2013

The setting of the sun over the Gulf of Carpentaria, 2nd October, 2013


Raman's detail of the set

Raman’s detail of the set


There we have it, we witnessed the sun’s rise over the water on the east coast and it’s set over the water on the west coast on the very same day.

2 Responses to Sun on the water (Ussher to Vrilia)

  1. David Holmgren October 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Mawson sunken in deed. Lovely long exposure pre sunrise.

  2. Lorelei October 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    So very cool.

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