This isn’t a hike and barely qualifies as a walk, but due to my ongoing neck fiasco (as per the previous entry) this is the best I can come up with at this time. On the weekend, Ben and I decided we had to take some pictures, so where else to go than Flinders Ocean Beach on the Mornington Peninsula, just a few hours drive from my home?
I’ve been going to this beach since 1969, so I’m quite familiar with it. Don’t laugh about the date, as my first visit may have been even earlier, but 1969 is the first time I remember being there. I seem to remember a lot happened that year. Man landing on the moon and mum being arrested for writing an abusive letter to her local priest, so as you can see, it was thrill a minute back then.
Before I get into the walk, I’ve just realised what phrase I constantly hear that I detest more than any I’ve ever heard. It’s the phrase, “Suck it up princess”. Never ever has a phrase wanted to make me deliver a slapping to the person saying it. It always seems to be said by complete tools who think they’re funny and cool at the same time, but unfortunately they’re neither. Will it ever pass on or will we be stuck with this phrase for a few more years yet?
That’s better. I’m afraid if a hiking entry has no actual walking in it, you’ll have to put up with some crap in between. When you look at the photo above, you’ll see the interesting thing about Flinders Beach and it’s the long line of rocks, which leads out at low tide which are perfect for fossicking.
We arrived late afternoon and headed off for a bit of a stroll on nice firm sand, taking in the peaceful surroundings. It was quiet on this occasion, but on other days it isn’t, as you have to contend with artillery firing above your head. Hang on, did you say artillery?
No, I didn’t say it, I wrote it, but yes, at one end of the beach on the headland is the West Head Gunnery range, which is used by the Royal Australian Navy to blast at targets getting towed behind planes. I’ve watched them firing before and haven’t seen a target remotely hit, so I’m thinking they should give the targets a miss, as they’re wasting money and just be content with blasting the ocean.
The other long standing traditional activity of visiting Flinders Beach is the amount of golf balls one will find. Up above on the cliffs is the Flinders Golf Course, which follows the ocean like a poor man’s Pebble Beach. I’ve a hunch the standard is a little lower than the players you will find on Pebble Beach, as I’m always astounded by the amount of balls I find on the actual sand.
This means some hack has perfected the atomic powered hook to somehow miss the fairway, open ground, cliffs and finally nail the beach. Besides shells, I guess one should be on the lookout for golf balls slamming into your head. Flinders Beach is so relaxing, isn’t it?
If I find one, I usually keep the balls, because if some bozo isn’t capable of keeping the ball at least 200 metres from where it’s meant to be, then I think they hardly deserve to retain the ball. I’m actually doing the community a service by protecting people from being sconned. Besides the aerial threats, Flinders is still a nice beach to walk along and we had a perfect day to do so.
It wasn’t time to give up on the golf angle though, as there’s a gully that leads off the beach into an area below the actual golf course. This is an area, which can only be summed up as something like Aladdin’s Cave, but with balls instead. Yep, it sounds a little risqué, but it’s definitely ‘Aladdin’s Balls’ and I’ll guarantee you if you walk into it, you’ll enter a realm of golf ball nirvana.
Ben and I walked up and without even remotely looking hard we found 13 golf balls just sitting in the open. How lazy can golfers be? The area we were standing in was no more than 20 feet from the fairway and the balls couldn’t be in a more obvious position if some punter wanted to actually look if his ball headed that way.
We were casually scooping them up when somehow I fell. Now, I wasn’t carrying a pack and I wasn’t even walking, but somehow I slipped on the grass and fell sideways and in the process of landing managed to throw my camera away. Even when not walking I seem to fall over. Whilst lying on my back recovering, I took my usual photo of where I was lying and what better photo than the one of the camera left abandoned on the hillside.
Ben was getting a laugh out of my pain, but I didn’t really need the fall with my gimp neck causing me grief. I lay there for a while recovering before stumbling to my feet, as the deep pockets in my pants were required for all the golf balls Ben kept finding.
As we were doing so a woman appeared from the fairway and I noted the traditional golfing look of white, middle aged, middle class, visor, white pants and white shoes topped off with a wacky phrase such as, “Have you got balls?” Okay, run that by me again? As she said that, I was positive she was clocking my package the whole time. I thought of coming up with the answer of, “Who? Us? What type of balls are we talking about anyway?” She continued, “Mine is a pink one”.
This was really starting to get weird, but I assume she was talking golf balls and with this statement we were in the clear. I had a pocket full of 12 white balls and one yellow one. You know those coloured ones people use so they don’t lose them? Well, the yellow one was sitting out in the open relaxing, waiting for its owner who obviously couldn’t be stuffed walking down into the gully. I replied, “No, pink balls down our way”. So, in traditional Flinders Golf Course style she didn’t look at all and walked back up to the fairway. Oh yeah, by the way, I actually think the word ‘balls’ has being mentioned in this paragraph more times than in a standard AC/DC song.
Well, it was time to head off with a pocket weighed down with balls and the thought the next time I come to Flinders I’m bound to find a pink one happily sitting out in the open uncollected. Getting back to the beach would be interesting, as on the way up I had avoided a simple entry along a gully from the beach to ‘Aladdin’s Balls’ as there was a pool of stagnant water in the way.
In avoidance, I ended up going cross country, ploughing through bushes to give me the illusion I was actually on a hike. It was definitely the harder way though, as Ben beat me by hours and as I came thumping out of some trees, he must have been so frightened to see this monster looming out of the bushes he took a picture that looks as if he’d spotted the Yeti instead. You know those Yeti photos? Completely out of focus? Well, here’s another one…
Ben assured me the way back around the stagnant water would be a breeze, so I thought I’d give it a go. He went first and zipped along an embankment and was back on the beach in a jiffy. Now it was my turn.
Where do reckon this is going? Well, I followed in the same footsteps as Ben took, but my extra beef caused part of the embankment to give way and my feet slipped into the water. Lucky I had my sandals on so it was no real drama. I employed the extreme David Blaine method and managed to rise out of the water and levitate the rest of the way back to dry land. Ben actually captured this without any blur at all.
I arrived back to the beach a little damp, but in one piece. The sun was getting low and we considered what to do next. The resounding decision was to head to nearby Cape Schanck for the millionth time, to try and capture a nice sunset with the lighthouse in the background. We took a few more pictures before heading off with our booty of balls.
There was more photographic work to do before we reached the car though, as nice shadows gave me the idea to take the traditional ‘self portrait waving shadow’ photo, which is the oldest trick in the book. Unfortunately a passer by destroyed the the Zen of the moment.
I trailed a Sooty Oystercatcher along the beach for a little bit and I was cursing the fact I’m just not packing a proper zoom lens to get close enough. I had to make do with his footprints in the wet sand, which is not exactly what I was looking for.
The low sun was giving some good reflections on the beach though and there was a final chance for a few more pictures.
Now it was time for Ben to take a picture of myself. I do maintain the anonymous method with blogging, as I don’t want people to recognise me for all sorts of reasons. I bet you’re now sitting there munching on a piece of fruit cake thinking, “Wow, is he Jimmy Hoffa, or maybe even DB Cooper? I know. He’s Lord Lucan!” Yes, yes, all good theories, but I think you’ll find I’m more likely to be George Bass than anyone else.
Now, you’re probably looking at this picture and wondering what’s going on, but don’t be too hasty in dismissing it. Pay attention to the detail in which this picture has plenty. First of all, peruse the limited edition Richard Gere toupée, which has adhesive qualities guaranteed to number 11 on the Beaufort Scale. So, as you can see my hair ‘Goes to Eleven’.
Next up is the Bolle safety glasses. They’re approved to the AS/NZS 1337 medium impact safety protection standard. These are the Flinders Beach special edition for combating rogue golf balls.
In my hand is my Canon 550D with an 18 – 135 EF-S lens and a polarizer attached. It’s had to put up with a lot of crap and knowing my walking method it’s days are probably numbered, so take some time to admire it.
I’m wearing a North Face jacket, which has taken me everywhere. From winter snow walking in Tasmania to weekends wearing nothing but the jacket during full re-enactments of the Karma Sutra, whilst covered in baby oil. Alas, I noticed a small hole in the sleeve, so I will be on the market for another one soon.
You will notice I’m wearing pants. There’s not much to say about this other than the bipolar hasn’t created any weird ‘pant free’ moments just yet.
Last, but not least are the marshmallows. Not just any marshmallows, as you can see these are the ‘big softie’ ones. This is what real hiking food is all about and what better way to reflect on them than the immortal quote by Alan Seeger, “I have a rendezvous with some marshmallows, at some disputed barricade.”
Oh yeah, the facial disguise has the correct technical name of the ‘blue tiger’. The fabric is soft, versatile and I use it on all my hikes, although one must remember to take it off when going to the bank.
I think that’s it? Time to head to Cape Schanck.
Yet another place I’ve been visiting for years and the photos tend to look exactly the same, as all of my previous attendances. Oh well, they make me happy looking at them, which is the main thing, so here we go.
Is that enough photos for now? I went mental there, but there’s something about the Cape Schanck lighthouse that gets me going. In fact it’s bound to reappear in the blog down the track, as I still don’t feel like I’ve nailed the perfect photo of it!
With that it was time to go home and reflect on an intense day of balls and more balls, creating a vast booty of balls…