Ninety Mile Beach – Stage 3

Afternoon – 1 April 2017

After a relaxing break at Seaspray, I walked my bike back down the boardwalk onto the beach. It was 14:51, the sea was much angrier than that morning, the wind from the south was blustering with a few squally rain showers. Not the best beach going weather, however I was accompanied down the boardwalk by a family of four, all dressed in their Sunday bests, it was Saturday.  As we past the two lifeguards still rugged up in the their vehicle keeping an close eye on the beach, The seemly flustered mother, trying to straighten her young daughters dress, informed me they were running very late. Just then I looked up to see a group of people about 100m further on down south, stand huddled together on the beach.  I understand from earlier conversations with friendly Seaspray locals there was a wedding reception back at the Seaspray SLSC later that day. I felt a little sorry for the bride and groom about this time but glad I was turning north not south.

The low tide was not until 18:51, basically after sunset, I really had little choice but to push on and give it my best. The next few hours I spent more time getting off than on the bike. The afternoon was devoted to testing and trialling different methods of riding, mounting and dismounting, bike pushing and so on. I was learning to read the colour and texture of the sand by now, I could accurately interpret rideable sand ahead. I was also perfecting the art of mounting and dismounting the bike without stopping. Peddles positioned correctly, the correct gear selected, I could skip a stride and thrust the bike forward, at the same time, plant my feet on the peddles and away. Conversely as soon as I felt or recognised loose sand ahead, I would quickly dismount without losing momentum and resume pushing. This perfected method ensured I could maintain appropriate time, I just had to keep an eye out for rouge waves.

The plan was to try to reach Golden Beach before last light. Joanne had driven on ahead, along Shoreline Drive, that linked Seaspray and Golden Beach seaside settlements. Spread along behind this stretch of beach were camping grounds, (numbered C23 to C1) so this is one stretch of Ninety Mile where I saw the most people fishing than anywhere else.

I pushed on until 16:30 but only managed to completed 6km. I came up to a group of fishermen, I asking what camp number they were at, I didn’t get a suitable answer not very friendly at all. About 100m further on I then spoke to a very friendly group of fishermen who were camped  at C18. I spent several minutes having a restful and very pleasant chat with these guys. Things however didn’t get better with the riding, steeper beach profile combined with bigger waves due to the squally conditions meant there was very little and quite often no rideable sand. In many places, I resorted to pushing the bike on the loose sand above the high tide mark. My best option here was to seek areas that contained the densest collection of shells. Around 18:00 I came across a local resident, he told me I was still about 14km from Golden Beach. I rang Joanne and we arranged to meet on Shoreline Drive between Camps C14 and C12. Funny I could not find C13 not sure why. We loaded the bike on the back of the D-Max and drove up the road to Golden Beach for a fish and chip dinner. I washed, oiled the bike and we retired to Campsite C1 for the night.

Joanne’s Report

Set up camp at free beach side camp at Golden Beach – Nerida would be proud of me as I nearly bogged Ursula (My nickname for D-Max) in deep sand at the campsite BUT putting my 4×4 training skills to the test and leaving a few nice deep holes to warn the next driver coming in to stay clear of that patch of sand!!  Chris fell short of camp after dark so road crew to the rescue and I picked him up 3km down the road and of course bright and early next morning dropped him back to not “cheat’ on his mission to transverse 90 mile beach.

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