Monday, February 7, 2011

A windy day in Torquay

On 7 February, following two days of dramatic weather in Victoria, including disastrous flooding in parts of Melbourne and regional Victoria, I set off from Torquay for a Sunday paddle.

Tina, John, Gerry, May, Denis and Roger at the launch
Forecast conditions for the coast around Torquay were 15-20 knot winds from the South-West, with a top temperature of a chilly 19 degrees.

 The coast around Torquay runs generally South-West to North-East, meaning a strong head or tail wind. Rather than opt for a downwind paddle, John decided on the character-strengthening option of paddling into the wind before turning around for a downwind run back.

Our launching spot was sheltered from the wind, but whitecaps were evident to the South-West as I looked towards where we were paddling.
As the tide was low, waves were breaking in shallow water over the reef at Point Danger, and I took the easier option of paddling around the reef break at Point Danger with Dennis and May in their double.
After Point Danger, we enjoyed a temporary lull in the wind before conditions settled down to a solid 18 knot headwind with occasional higher gusts. There was not much swell, but seas of around 1.5 metres made for some interesting conditions.

Someone behind a wave
I tried to concentrate on my forward stroke, but while I managed to get the right muscles to do at least some of the work, it would appear that those muscles are in as poor shape as the rest of them, as I still found it hard going in the persistent headwind.

After Bells Beach, I hoped that the cliffs around Point Addis might offer us some respite from the wind, but it never happened and we stopped for lunch a few kilometres short of the Point.  

Lunch stop
Launching the divorce boat
My last view of Denis and May for some time
The return trip was fast, interesting and largely effortless. I got some short surfs on the moderate-sized seas and felt quite comfortable in the conditions.

On returning to Point Danger, I opted to paddle around the break. As we landed on the beach, instead of feeling satisfied that I had not been dunked in the briny all day, I felt like I should have tried a little harder. Next time...