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 among the rocky reefs and shoals.
Giants of the Bay Race
It is site of the Giants of the Bay Race, a 30 km (18.6 mile) open water swimming competition from Portarlington to Pt Lonsdale in Victoria, Australia. The race, one of the longest open water swims in the world, caters for solo swimmers and teams of 2, 4 or 6 swimmers. The second annual race will be held on 9 March 2013. Solo swimmers must pre-qualify.