18/3/16. Dave, our Warmshowers host, had told us when we arrived on Wednesday that the weather was expected to break on Friday and the online forecast on Thursday showed possible thunderstorms in the late morning.
Well…… they both undersold it! There was some rain at about 7 and then again about 9, so we moved only slowly. By 10.30 we were packed and ready to go but suddenly the wind got up, it turned dark and then the heavens opened. We scuttled back into our little granny annex, with the bikes under cover on the veranda, to watch the weather. The rain came down but the really amazing thing was the wind. Boy, did it blow! There were leaves and twigs “raining” down from the trees.
For the next 3.5 hours the rain came and went but the wind just blew and blew. At about 2 o’clock it started to look a bit more promising, and we had to get moving anyway, so we made a dash for it.
Originally we had two options for the ride- a short 18 km to Orbost or about 50 km to Nowa Nowa with the extra 30 km along a railtrail which we had been warned could get muddy when wet. The (very) late start and the rain made up our minds for us.
The road from Marlo to Orbost was across the Snowy River floodplain which Dave (he “caught” us just as we were leaving on his return from up the coast) told us is the second most fertile plain in the world after the Nile Delta with topsoil 100 feet deep. It (the road) was littered with debris from the storm including and some major branches which had been brought down. Given the scale of the damage we saw, we were grateful that we hadn’t been on the highway through the serious forests while the storm was blowing. On arriving at the campsite and talking about our experiences, we were told that someone had pulled in earlier with a smashed headlight as the result of an encounter with a falling branch on the highway!
Although the wind is not as strong as earlier, it is still blowing fiercely at 8 o’clock in the evening, so we have chosen a site as far from trees as we can and are hoping that our little tent doesn’t have a similar encounter!