Monday, December 26, 2016

How We spent Our Christmas

Summer has just begun here in Australia and Christmas Day was an abrupt introduction to the season. It was 36 C and cloudless. That's about 97 F for those who don't convert easily. Perfect time to go to the beach.

Melbourne is near the northern end of a large bay, Port Phillip Bay. It is about 50 km north to south and 40 km east to west. A big place. This bay opens on the Bass Strait, the body of water between Tasmania and the mainland of Australia. The opening is relatively narrow: 1100 m wide and 14 m deep. Extending from the eastern shore to form this opening is a narrow peninsula with one side open facing the bay and the other faces the sea.

On the ocean side is a beautiful beach. What you don't see are, of course, the endless flies. I still haven't figured out what these creatures do when humans aren't around!?

With the crystal clear sky, the calm ocean, and the sandy bottom, we were treated to the bluest ocean ever. A photograph can't do justice to the colors.

The water was cool but not icy. And perfectly clear.

The trick was getting to the beach from the parking lot at the top of this hill. The walk down wasn't bad, even with the cooler and bag of food for our Christmas feast. The path we took was a switch-back ramp. Coming up, however, was a killer. We were both pretty much done in from the roasting on the beach in the sun and climb. We sat in the truck in the AC for a while to recover.

But from the top of the hill the view is really impressive.

That black speck in the photo is a surfer. The ocean is so calm with only the long wavelength waves gently coming in (from Antartica?).

Around on the other side facing the bay, is a similar colorfest.

With the changing depth of the water, the color ranges from clear white sand to green to blue. What a wonderful place to be for Christmas!

Naturally, we weren't the only ones with this plan. The drive home was about 1.5 hours. However, the morning drive took nearly three hours in the bumper to bumper traffic. It was worth the effort, though. We had a great time and spent the holiday in a traditional Australian style. None that shivering in the cold for us, just roasting in the sun and taking in the sights.