After packing up at Holey Plains State Park, Marija and I headed to Golden Beach on the coast. We had booked in to stay for two nights at Whale Cottage at Golden Beach. As we drove along the Longford-Loch Sport Road we came across the emu below, feeding in a paddock very close to the roadside.
We soon arrived in Golden Beach and booked in to Whale Cottage. We were in the upstairs section and had our own little balcony. Sadly there was not much of a view of the ocean as there are coastal plants running all the way along the coastline, which form part of the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.
It was an incredibly windy afternoon, but Marija and I decided to stick to our plan of activating the Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park VKFF-0951. Prior to heading there were enjoyed some great views of the coastline and the beach at Golden Beach and Paradise Beach.
We travelled south west out of Golden Beach along Shoreline Drive, towards Seaspray. It was now about 5.15 p.m. local Victorian time, and it was slow going as there was a lot of wildlife on the road, including kangaroos and echidnas.
We soon reached the little town of Seaspray. We stopped to have a look at the carving of dolphins made from a 80 year old Cyprus pine at the Seaspray Caravan Park. It is the work of John Brady.
We also checked out the beach at Seaspray, with a handful of guys taking advantage of the wind and para sailing.
The Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park covers about 5 km of coastline which runs alongside the slender strip of sand dunes that protect the Gippsland Lakes. The park which is 2,750 hectares in size, harbours more animals per square metre than most other marine habitats in the world. A scientific survey of 10 square metres, revealed some 803 species of life.
The park extends along 5 km of the coastline and offshore approximately for three nauticala miles to the limit of Victorian waters.
One of the more interesting marine life to find in the park is the Common Stargazer, one of the largest fish found near reefs on the underwater sandy plains. It can be found lying almost buried, motionless, with only it’s eyes and mouth peering out of the sand. Its cavernous mouth consumes unsuspecting fish and crustaceans in one gulp.
We parked the Toyota Hi Lux in the carpark at the end of Todd Street in Seapsray and started packing the backpacks. The only way to access the park is to cross the Merriman Creek and then walk about 500 metres down the beach.
Fortunately the mouth of the Merriman Creek was not totally open to the sea, which meant we did not have to wade through the creek.
Despite it being very windy, the beach was very impressive. Not surprising, we were the only ones on the beach braving the conditions.
This was going to be a very quick activation as conditions on the beach were less than idea. We stretched out the 20/40/80m linked dipole and it did not take long for a very big flex to develop in the 7m squid pole due to the high winds.
Marija and I called CQ on 7.144 which was answered by Gerard VK2IO with a beautiful 5/9 signal, followed by Les VK5KLV and then Barry VK5KBJ. Despite band conditions being quite good, we struggled to get out 10 contacts, requiring the help of John VK5BJE and his second call of VK5PF.
Once we had our 10 contacts in the log, and had qualified the park for VKFF, we lowered the squid pole and inserted the 80m legs and headed off to 3.610. Only one station was logged on 80, that being Peter VK3PF. I am sure there would have been a lot more, but the wind was really stirring up the sand and it was a struggle to keep the squid pole up, and a struggle to keep the fine sand out of the transceiver.
Thanks to everyone who called us during this quick activation. The park has only been activated a handful of times previously, so next time were are in the area we will definitely return for another activation. Hopefully under better weather conditions!
Marija and I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
We worked the following station on 80m SSB:-
ABC Gippsland, 2017, <http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2013/05/17/3761620.htm>, viewed 22nd November 2017
Parks Victoria, 2013, ‘Ninety Mile Beach Marine National Park Visitor Guide’.