Friday, December 14, 2007

DAY 69: Portland to Port Fairy

Thurs 13th December 2007
73 km @ 17.4 km/hr
Cloudy start / hot and hazy afternoon
Distance to date 4600 km (2875 miles)

I slept poorly last night due to things going bump in the night - wild animals of unknown origin making lots off booming throaty-type noises. This is surprising seeing as we are so close to the city - just a km. At one point something was tearing and chewing leaves from the tree right next to the tent, and I could also kind of see it’s silhouette through the tent wall - probably a 'roo or emu I would guess. I was afraid my single pair of cycling shorts would be chewed so eventually I got up and took everything off the line. Paranoid I know.

I would have liked more time to explore Portland but at least saw some of it yesterday, and there’s lots more ahead. I used the deserted ‘C’ road by the coast for the first 7km thinking that the main Highway 1 would be busier now I was to go back on it, but at this time it was very quiet. It did get busier later however, with quite a lot of lorries after noon or so, however there was a somewhat lumpy wide verge to escape their unwanted proximity. It is more comfortable on the main carriageway, especially with my sore bottom, but you have to watch the mirror. The land either side of the road is pretty open with arable and livestock farming all the way; some bush cover, but this was unnecessary today.
With the N wind on my left, in fact when I went into shelter one or two flies tagged along.
The road bends back to the south after a while so the side wind turned into a light tailwind which blew me into PF in just over 4 hours - almost an hour quicker than yesterday for the same distance.
At first sight PF seemed a bit of a run-down place, but after I’d explored it I kind of liked it - it has ‘character’ and an interesting coastline. I got a nice welcome at the YHA from owner/managers Alison and her Turkish husband Kadir. Alison went to live in Turkey for a while but they eventually decided to come and operate this backpacker hostel.
Port Fairy is a medium-sized fishing port and a few trawlers were docked. The riverside is tastefully developed and thankfully there is public access both sides, which is not always the case. The adjacent estuary hosted a variety of birds, including 2 types of Ibis (Australian White and straw-necked varieties); White Egret, Little Pied Cormorant (see pic below) etc.

Intense conversation in the kitchen over cooking dinner about environment and politics such that never got to sit down at all. Slept well.

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