"The Rip", also known as "The Heads", is a dangerous stretch of water in Victoria, Australia, connecting Port Phillip and Bass Strait. It is the only entrance for shipping into Port Phillip and hence into Melbourne. Because of large tidal flows through the relatively narrow channel from the bay to the ocean, and a high rocky seabed, The Rip has claimed many ships and lives. Geographically, it is the roughly triangular area of water between the land points of Point Nepean, Shortlands Bluff and Point Lonsdale, these 3 form The Heads.
The rip is generally considered to be located in the triangular area of water between the land points of Point Nepean, Shortlands Bluff and Point Lonsdale. The entrance between Point Lonsdale and Point Nepean is 3.5 km wide but the reefs projecting from these points reduce the navigable width to about 1 km. Within 800m outside the Heads, there is a shallow rocky flat known as the Rip Bank. The water deepens outside this flat to 30m and inside the Heads to as much as 90 m. This inequality of depth combined with tidal streams running up to 6 knots, causes the world-renowned dangerous conditions. The variation in seafloor depth within the rip itself can be anywhere from 100m to less than 5m amongst the rocky reefs and shoals.
Entering the heads of Port Phillip is a risky and dangerous procedure, with many sailors regarding it as one of the most dangerous shipping paths in the world.... Read More