Afternoon, 5 April 2017
Having cycled, pushed, walked my way from the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach 123.7km (76.9mls) to Lake Entrance, I only had 8km to complete this longest of mile beach. I expect there will be many exciting and challenging mile beaches to come however Ninety Mile is likely one of the most memorable.
For this last 8km section, the final stage, Joanne had planned to join me. However just a few minutes after arriving at Lake Entrance, we received a phone call advising that our caravan would be ready for pickup on Friday in Melbourne. As this was Wednesday, funds would had to be transferred into the caravan dealership bank account that day to ensure money would be cleared in time to take delivery of the caravan on Friday. Let’s just say the banking facilities in Lake Entrance did not go as smoothly as Joanne expected, so we were forced to altered our plans slightly for both of us to the complete the last section of Ninety Mile Beach.
I caught the water taxi without Joanne, to Flagstaff Jetty which was on the northern side of the Entrance arriving there a 13:30. There were no bikes for the last 8km section, as the tide was coming in and sand conditions at this end of the beach, meant riding was out of the question anyway.
I walked 3km from the northern side of the Entrance to the Lake Entrance S.L.S.C. beach tower. Joanne by this time had completed all the financial arrangements associated with the caravan and had walked across the adjacent footbridge in time to meet me on the beach. She had purchased two ice-creams so we could celebrate in style the final stage of this epic journey.
By far this was the most populated section of beach I had experienced. There were sunbathing people, intermingled with children playing in the sand, swimmers (between the flags of course) and fishermen. It felt a bit strange having to share the beach, not so much with Joanne, but all these other people, it really felt weird, even surreal. One other strange thing, there were thousands of small dead fish scattered all along this section of beach, I suspect this was bi-catch cast overboard from a passing commercial fishing vessel. About four miles from the northern end we stumbled across the first bit of beach art for the whole ninety miles of beach. This art I award a 5.5 out of 10. The simplicity in geometry with very careful positioning of the poles height, width and alignment to the surroundings was cleverly constructed. There was a sense of beauty that in some way reminded me of Christo and Jeanne-Claude “Running Fence” .
Joanne was a good trooper joining me for this last section, it was fitting given all the work and support she had contributed to this adventure that she was there to be part of the final and closing stage. We reached the end at 17:04 where we opened a small packet of hummus dip and eat it with chips. We sat for a few minutes on the rocks discussing what had been achieved over the last few days and some of the highs and low we had encountered. We also discussed what might lay ahead for the two of us over the next two and half years of travel around Australia and what adventures that might unfold. We sat there as the sun set over the township of Lakes Entrance. I just thought for a moment,
‘Ninety Mile Beach complete, now there is a good chance I might just get the rest done’.
However, our thoughts and attention now have to switch to taking delivery of our newly built caravan in Melbourne that Friday and then returning to Canberra to be with our daughter Renee while she recovers from her tonsillectomy.