Thursday, December 24, 2015

E Is For Unendurable: Flies On The George Bass Coastal Walk

Yowza, almost a month since my last blog post. What can I blame but some general busyness of late coupled with an even more generalized lack of inspiration. The busyness is declining, but I can't say much for the inspiration so the next few blog posts, catching up on recent trips may not be my most inspired.

The George Bass Coastal Walk is only a short jaunt - seven kilometres one way - from Shelley Beach near Kilcunda to Punchbowl Reserve to the west. It was a hot and fly blown day when I dropped Doug off at Punchbowl Reserve and drove down to Shelley Beach to park. As is usual on these "through" walks, I started from one end, Doug from the other and we would, hopefully, cross paths in the middle. In all the times we have done this, there has only been one time when we did not meet somewhere along the walk. 

 Views along the track

The first thing I noticed strolling west along a good track from Shelley Beach was just how many flies there were. The little blighters did not number in the hundreds, more like the thousands, possibly the millions. There was a plague of flies, crawling up your nose, into your ears, worming under your sun-glasses to soak in the wetness of your eye-balls, and settling in enormous numbers all over your body giving you that creepy crawly sensation associated with narcotic drug withdrawal. It's the sort of thing that could drive you crazy.

Perhaps it is my Aussie heritage, but, I actually find flies relatively easy to ignore. Maybe all the summer barbeques with my family where we ate charred sausages with towels over our heads to keep the buggars at bay developed some mediocre ability to disregard them unless they get in my eyes or ears. No-one can stand flies in their eyes or ears.

Deserted, apart from the flies

Anyway, I strolled along. It was quite windy, a hot wind, and somehow not strong enough to blow the flies away so I moved along the track with the drone of flies like a small but incessant motor accompanying me. The track is very pleasant, and, if you are in the area, I'd recommend it. You amble up and down small hills always looking out over the ocean. There are small cliffs, caves, arches, and tiny little deserted coves tucked away between headlands. The only vehicle access is to either end of the track (Shelley Beach or Punchbowl Road) and, as the average Australian can barely stagger from the couch to fridge to crack another tinny, you will undoubtedly be alone. 

All the flies must make good eating for stumpy
 the lizard seen on the track

About three kilometres from Punchbowl Road I met Doug, wide eyed and delirious from fly exposure. Doug grew up in Canada where flies are not so numerous and he has not developed the thick skin required to tolerate these creeping, crawling, flying instruments of torture. I'm not exaggerating when I say that his eyes were rolling back in his head. He looked like some kind of male, heavily aged version of Regan in The Exorcist. Unfortunately, I had no crosses and no garlic, in fact, nothing with which to offer relief from the flies. We passed, he stumbled off muttering and plucking at his skin while I ambled nonchalantly towards Punchbowl Road.

Before I close this blog post, I'll describe the walk in Doug's words: "The north winds to 20 knots were of no help, only blowing all the flies between here and Mildura into my eyes. I would rate this experience an E; truly unbearable." A walk best done, perhaps, when the flies are less numerous. 

 Arch along the coast

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