Month: November 2016

521. A heatwave begins and we explore our wildlife photos…

Heatwave conditions were predicted to begin today and last through until next Monday.

Now that we have finally completed installation of the awning covers on every window, the hot weather will be a good test. By pulling all the shade awnings down to the bottom edge of the window it puts shade on the windows and dramatically reduces the heat coming in through those windows. By leaving the garage door open only 300 mm allows for the breeze to blow through and into the house via the laundry. Combined with insulation in the ceiling and the fans on low the house is quite cool. So, instead of going to the beach or playing lawn bowls the idea is to stay inside and just relax, stay cool and not exert ourselves in the heat.

As I start to write these words, clouds have rolled in and thunder can be heard nearby. It is becoming dark outside.

Here is a wonderful chance to review our photos for some which have not previously been published. Today we are looking at our animal photos.

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HENRY the Polar Bear.

First photo in the collection is a Polar Bear. I shot this at the Gold Coast Seaworld in late 2014. In fact it was about this same time of year. It included an afternoon storm of dark clouds, strong winds, hail, rain, thunder and lightning. This, if you can believe it, is the young cub, Henry. His mum, Lia, was in an adjoining enclosure. Most park visitors came to see this young fellow, Henry, who was born at the park in 2013. Since I took the photo, Henry has achieved International travel having moved to Ontario Canada Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in October 2015.

 

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Unknown Butterfly. Can readers help identify this?

I found this beautiful Butterfly in an Indigenous garden display at Morven in western Queensland late in October 2010. Like many indigenous endeavours they all start off with great intentions but when the allocated donated funds are no longer available there is nobody to maintain the gardens.  Although the gardens were well laid out with native shrubs and other artefacts there was no information available to explain what was what and the place was in a state of neglect. In fact there was nothing anywhere in town to explain that the garden was there. It was not considered something worth visiting. I found it just by walking around the half dozen streets which make up the town and stumbled on it by accident. Obviously the Butterfly was also a visitor and after speaking with locals I was still none the wiser as to what type of Butterfly it was. Maybe a reader can identify it for me.

 

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Australian Ring Neck Parrot.

Also in October 2010 we came upon this Australian Ring Neck Parrot in, of all places, Lightning Ridge NSW. This was our first visit to LR and was destined not to be our last. I do not know why but LR has an appeal…to us…and many others. There are four subspecies of this parrot and this one from Central Western NSW is the only one which has a bluish colouring rather than distinctive green of the other three.

 

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Emu…For our overseas readers the name is pronounced…Eem You.

October 2010 was a busy time in our travel calendar. We were located at Burke, western NSW and in the red sand backroads looking for native wildflowers and fauna. One of the great sightings was the Emu which can be seen in their thousands. Although we constantly saw Emu all day, like all wildlife are hard to photograph as they just do not sit still and pose. All wildlife will stop, look around, feed, look around, move around or move on but they are always in motion. The Emu also likes to move in bush, where, with its natural colouring, can blend in.

 

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Brahminy Kite.

We saw this Brahminy Kite (also known as the Red -Backed Sea Eagle) at Bucasia Beach on Eimeo Creek tropical Queensland in June 2011. They are found mainly on the coast and in inland wetlands where they feed on dead fish and other prey. (I have seen them catch live fish too) Adults have a reddish-brown plumage and a contrasting white head and breast which make’s them easy to distinguish from other birds of prey. They are sometimes described as a medium sized bird of prey – Raptor – but in my experience are as big as, if not bigger than, a Wedge Tailed Eagle.

 

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Oyster Catcher.

The furtive and nervous Oyster Catchers can be seen almost anywhere along the estuary mud flats on Australia’s coast. This one we saw at the somewhat remote location of Miara north of Rockhampton on the estuary mud flats of Yandaran Creek in April 2014. Miara Caravan Park exists for serious fisher folk wanting to get to lucrative fishing grounds quickly. I find the name Oyster Catcher rather strange as oysters do not move all that quickly in order to be caught. I think the name should be Oyster Finder.

 

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Welcome Swallow.

Australia’s most widespread swallow, the Welcome Swallow can be seen fluttering, swooping and gliding in search of flying insects in almost any habitat, between city buildings, over farmland paddocks, in deserts, wetlands, forests and grasslands and every habitat in between. Sometimes they even occur at sea — the name ‘Welcome’ swallow comes from sailors who knew that the sight of a swallow meant that land was not far away. Swallows build their mud nests in many different situations, though most noticeably beneath bridges and on the walls of buildings. This pair was sighted on farmland at Finch Hatton west of Mackay, Qld in October 2011.

 

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Black Swans.

April 2009 we were at Coles Bay in Tasmania. At Moulting Lagoon was huge flock of wonderful Black Swans. The Black Swan is the largest waterbird in Australia. The white feathers can only be seen when it is flying or as in this case just flapping around for the fun of it. Graceful in flight and when paddling around on the water, it is a clumsy bird when walking on land. Until 1697 all Swans were thought to be white. A visiting Dutch Ship caught two specimens in what is now the Swan River, Perth, Western Australia. Both birds died on the voyage back to Holland. Here is an interesting fact – refer to http://panique.com.au/trishansoz/animals/black-swan.html  it is estimated that up to 25% of Black Swan Couples are homosexual!!!

 

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Black Skink. For some reason it is also known as a Land Mullet.

Often the first sighting of a Black Skink is the large, long black tail sliding under a bush or leaves. Bushwalkers first reaction is that they have come across a deadly Black Snake.  In fact the Black Skink, like all Skinks, are usually non aggressive. We saw this specimen while bushwalking at Springbrook in the Gold Coast Hinterland in March 2015. Like all good city people walking in the bush we also thought it was a deadly black snake at first. The overseas tourist in front of us went panic paralysed while screaming they had been attacked by a black snake. In fact the Skink was trying to get away and hide from the noisy people.

 

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Pelicans.

We see Pelicans everywhere on a daily basis. Mostly we see them on the coast but have found them in river locations hundreds of kilometres from the coast. These Pelicans were located at Lakes Entrance in Victoria in May 2009 when we were returning from Tasmania. They are a big bird and to a young child can appear threatening. In fact they are quite tame and can often be approached to within a metre or two. They enjoy being hand fed.

 

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520. Sunday 27th November 2016. Alecia arrives from Canada and we visit Hastings Point…

Hmmm!

Now what did we do this week?

Apart from activities such as lawn bowls, Tai Chi, Line Dancing…ummm no, we did not line dance this week…dental appointment, table tennis, aqua exercise, cycling to Southport Bridge and back, fish n chip night with bingo, re-organising the house and garden, several trips to the hardware store, Masters, which is going out of business, putting up Christmas lights, it was a quiet week.

Whew!

Sunday 27th November

Donnis daughter, Alecia, arrived from Canada early this afternoon. Her plan was to stay awake until our bedtime so she could sleep all night and fall into a regular day and night rhythm. Well, alrighty then.

After we collected her from Coolangatta Airport, we drove 30 minutes to the south and into New South Wales, in particular Hastings Point to visit our friend Glenda who has gone camping there. Hastings Point is a small but popular beachside town in northern NSW near the border towns of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. School holidays, weekends and public holidays see the two caravan parks and holiday units explode with holiday makers.

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Bridge at Hastings Point spanning the Cudgera Creek estuary.

One caravan park is an upmarket Big 4 with expensive caravan or tent sites. The other is part of a collective of seven parks run by Tweed Coast Holiday Parks and has less of the bells and whistles of the Big 4. The rates are a lot less as well. No kids playground, jumping castles, adventure pool or kids club here. This was just what Glenda wanted to test out her new tent and first time at camping. The Cudgera Creek tributary is a safe and ideal place for families to enjoy.

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Cudgera Creek estuary at low tide.
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Cudgera Creek estuary.

Many of the old fibro or weatherboard holiday homes in ideal locations have been bought out, torn down and luxury homes or holiday units built. Many of the tired old houses are still the domain of a few locals, surfers or visiting fishermen. It will not be long before the area is transformed into a hotspot of new homes. We had a short visit and walked along Cudgera Creek.

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Alecia Glenda and Donnis with friends of Glenda cool off in Cudgera Creek.

before driving back to Bilinga a suburb near the Coolangatta Airport. The https://www.rslartunion.com.au/Draw341 has an entire apartment block, furnished and valued at $4,000,000 as a prize in its Art Union. The apartment block consists of 4 two bedroom apartments and one penthouse entire floor of 5 bedrooms, all with views of the beach which is just a few steps away. This prize located at Bilinga is drawn on 23rd December and would make a wonderful Christmas gift…for us! Donnis and Alecia bought tickets. Maybe this is our lucky week. On Friday I won $50 at bingo and tonight won $50 on a $4 scratch ticket.

After a seafood dinner, Alecia fell asleep on the lounge. So far her plan is working.

Looking forward to a new week.

519. Sunday 20th November 2016.Super Moon, a visit to Brisbane, external awnings and much ado about crab meat…

Monday 14th November

Two weeks ago we visited the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium at, Umm err, Brisbane. One of the resident Astronomers encouraged us to watch the so called Super Moon tonight. The moon will make its closest approach to the earth in 68 years. Its approach will be 14% closer than normal. It will be as close as 360,000 Klms instead of the roughly 400,000 Klms distance it is usually. The next time this happens will be in 2034. The close proximity also has an effect on our tides. On my push bike ride yesterday and today which co-incidentally was at high tide I noticed the water level in our creek and nearby Broadwater was higher than usual and one result is the higher tide also picked up a lot of rubbish which normally sits above the mean high tide level.

Tonight, accompanied by friends Marilyn and Barry from our village we went to Broadwater Parklands to watch the Super Moon rise.

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Donnis Marilyn and Barry at the moon viewing.
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Donnis getting into the photo action.

In some respects this was not the ideal location. 141116-moon2Watching from Main Beach would have given us a full bodied red moon rising but without anything, except the ocean, as perspective.141116-moon141116-moon1141116-moon4141116-moon3 At first cloud cover hid the rising moon but soon we could see it in a brilliant yellow hue with the Mares clearly visible. Then the reflection of the moonlight across the water was beautiful. We were not alone as the Broadwater was busy with many people using the picnic and barbecue facilities to have a moon watching family event.

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Even the seagulls lined up to see the moon rising.

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It was delightful in the balmy evening being a part of what turned out to be an almost community event.141116-canoe

Tuesday 15th November

Donnis was using our Dyson DC Motorhead 22 vacuum cleaner when it went “POP” and stopped working. We called Dyson and they have a repair centre in Brisbane.

Donnis airline pilot son, Errol, called to say he would be flying into Brisbane on an overnighter and would we be free for dinner. Here was a chance to drop off the Dyson for a quote and catch up with Errol at the same time.

Arriving at Dyson we were told our old cleaner, bought around 2008 or 2009 would be retired at the end of the year and parts will no longer be available. Theoretically once repaired with a new motor we might get another five or six years use from it. Alternately Dyson offered us a 20% discount on a latest model…with a price tag near enough to $1,000 which discourages us from that option. We are now waiting on a repair quote.

Sigh!

Dinner with Errol at the Urban Hotel at Spring Hill was a relaxed event although the tiny servings of food with big price tags were a disappointment. As we arrived at the hotel I realised I stayed here, overnight, way back in the New Year of 2001 after returning from Norfolk Island. I took a photo of a hot air balloon with my first digital camera the Panasonic DMC FZ7.

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A hot air balloon over Brisbane January 2001. One of the first photos taken with my first digital camera.Taken at dawn from my hotel room at The Urban on my return from Norfolk Island

 

Wednesday 16th November

I was given some roll up awnings with hoods a few weeks ago. The hoods were rusted and the material was beginning to rot. I sanded the hoods and gave them two liberal coats of rust converter primer followed by two coats of rust proof paint. We sourced material from Masters Hardware which is closing down. The material was part of outdoor awnings and we got the three sets for $170. Sourcing new material from another supplier would have cost $400 for enough material for only two awning sets. Over a couple of days we put up the hoods and took the material off the bought awnings and transferred it to the existing awnings. Finally today I worked out how to increase the tension on the internal spring which helps keep the awning material tightly in place. We are pleased with the result and now feel confident the awnings can be lowered and the window left open without fear of the rain blowing in the windows.

Thursday 17th November

I felt like making a Crab and Sweet Corn Egg Flower soup. The easiest method is to use a can of Crab Meat. Aldi, Coles and Woolworths all sell canned crab meat. Country of origin is, in all cases, Vietnam. Fish products and frozen food products from South East Asia are suspect. Woollies has a tub of crab meat in the deli section for twice the price but country of origin is Indonesia. The imitation crab meat sold in the fresh seafood section at the supermarkets is made in Thailand. My only other option is to buy Australian Blue Swimmer crabs from the Seafood Markets at $30 + per kilo and spend ages cracking the shells and extracting the meat. That’s an expensive soup! What happened to the days when our canned seafood came from Australia, USA, Canada or Norway??? Anybody know where I can buy canned crab meat not sourced from SE Asia?

Friday 18th November

I contacted a number of speciality deli’s on the Gold Coast asking for canned crab meat. Either they did not stock it or if they did it came from Vietnam.

Sigh!!!

Saturday 19th November

One of my table tennis opponents mentioned the Seafood store across the road sells crab meat. Today we went to the store and noticed the fresh whole fish, fish fillets, crabs, prawns, mussels, scallops, oysters, calamari etc were all packed in ice. The encouraging sign stated “All products are Wild Caught and Product of Australia”unless signed otherwise.  (We are also a little cautious about locally farmed seafood – it does not taste as good as the wild product and is susceptible to diseases and pests which, like the fish, are trapped in the enclosure). We found a 270 gram tub of Crab Meat behind a glass counter. The helpful man read the label. “Product of Vietnam”. “Packed in Vietnam”.

Why are we concerned about products from South East Asia? When citizens (from Europe, England, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand) travel to South East Asian countries they are warned about,

1. Drinking the local water.

2. Drinks with ice cubes and

3. Eating salads which are usually washed with local water.

Water in those countries is often contaminated and not filtered or treated to a safe standard. We do not want to get sick by eating canned or tub crab meat which has been cooked but is then packed in local (South East Asian) brine.  Besides we want to support our local seafood industry. The helpful man pointed to local wild caught, Three Spot Crabs. At $8.50 a kilo it sounded OK. He even offered to crack the crabs and clean them for us. For the same price, $8.90 we got four crabs and much more than 270 gram of crab meat. All we had to do was spend an hour separating the meat from the shell and we were good to go. Donnis had made a genuine chicken broth earlier in the week and we had all the other ingredients on hand. All the recipes I found on line used a canned or semi fresh tub of crab meat. None used fresh crab and none, naturally said what to do with the claws and legs. After making the soup which included the legs, swimmers and claws, I drizzled a beaten egg into the saucepan. (This is the egg flower) The soup and legs and claws were served in big bowls so once the soup was finished we could crack the claws and legs and suck out the juicy meat. The soup was, as expected, delicious.

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A bowl of Crab, Sweet Corn and Egg Flower soup.

518. Sunday 13th November 2016. USA shock election result, a summer storm and lawn bowls to round out the week…

Monday 7th November

What a mad day. Sometime between waking and breakfast Donnis decided we would pressure wash the house with our Gerni. First wash was with Sugar Soap which was followed by a clean water rinse. So much dust was cleaned off the house it was hard to believe it had become so dirty. Of course building the high rise units next door does generate airborne dust and dirt. Two sets of units have already been built and most sold and are occupied. The third building ground works commenced last week which means noise and dust for another seven or eight months. After that is completed there is another four blocks to be built.

Sigh!

Tuesday 8th November

Normally Donnis rides the pushbike to Southport Aquatic Centre for Aqua Training with her friend Betty. This morning Betty was unable to attend and the wind was so fearsome we thought it unwise for Donnis to ride on public roads. I drove her to the centre then continued on to The Spit just to watch whatever was happening out on the water.

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Southport from The Spit.
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Southport beyond Wavebreak Island.

I was interested to see if a group of kayakers, paddling against the wind would somehow make it to Wavebreak Island.

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Brave kayak paddlers.

They did.

A large and powerful motor cruiser appeared to be carrying out sea trials and came awfully close to the rocks as it made turn after turn.

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Large cruiser doing sea trials.

Wednesday 9th November

Woke at 5am with a feeling of apprehension. I could not put my finger on the cause of the apprehension. Then it dawned on me. Today is the beginning of what is likely to be months of after -shock when the results of the US Presidential elections are known. Depending on those results one candidate – if he loses- will question every aspect of every polling station and drag out the already obnoxious political point scoring he has been doing for months. The other candidate will get free reign to declare a no fly zone in Syria thereby escalating the cold war with Russia. Conversely if one candidate comes up Trumps then the rest of the world will look for ways for leaving this planet as he has no decency and is an outright chauvinistic bully. World leaders will not tolerate bullying.

Yep. That will be the reason for my disquiet. Either way the results will not be good.

I wrote those comments just after breakfast. Within 12 hours the worst fears of half the world and half the USA were fulfilled. Donald Trump is President Elect and Hillary Clinton declared defeat. $32 billion wiped off the Australian share market in 12 hours!

Saturday 12th November

In the afternoon a big storm blew through the Gold Coast. Strong winds, daylight turns to night, hail, rain, thunder and lightning. Oooh I love a good summer storm. As the storm hit we were installing a new ceiling fan and our friend Graham was in the ceiling with just a tiny LED torch to find his way around.

Sunday 13th November.

I keep recalling how I vowed, many times, to never take up Lawn Bowls. I broke that vow several months ago. Today most of the village players travelled to Musgrave Hill Bowls Club to play on a real grass court. It was a very hot day, somewhere about 36 degrees and high humidity a legacy of yesterday’s heavy rain After the bowls, which my team won, the best part of the day was a cold beer in the air conditioned club rooms.

Last week I mentioned how we were planning a holiday. That has now been set in concrete. We have booked and paid for a cruise of 14 days in February. Those three months will pass quickly.Really looking forward to the cruise.

Tomorrow night we plan on being at the Broadwater Parklands to watch the Super Moon rise.

517. Sunday 6th November 2016. Halloween, a break-in, Melbourne Cup, and a cruise to Vanuatu…

Monday 31st October.

In the afternoon I booked a holiday for early 2017. Looking forward to an adventure. More on that as the time approaches.

All Hallows Eve or Halloween as it is known. This dimwit custom was never celebrated in Oz until a few years ago. Now it has been imported from the northern hemisphere. Why do we need this stupid pagan custom here?

Thank goodness we live in a gated community and the kids cannot get in Hehehehehe!

Tuesday 1st November.

I spoke too soon.

Somebody (from the evidence, it seems children are the culprits) jumped a fence somewhere and broke into our neighbours garage and rifled through every drawer in the storage area. They also opened a fridge and freezer looking for…something! Naturally, being in a hurry, they left the fridge and freezer doors open… frozen food defrosted. I was on my way for a bike ride at 6am when I noticed a bowls bag with the bowls and other bowls bits n pieces scattered on a neighbours lawn. I knew something was wrong but at 6am there was nobody around. Within a few minutes two neighbours appeared and one said her garage was ransacked and I realised who the bowls belong to. The other neighbour mentioned that late the night before she thought she had heard a sound like someone jumping from a fence. A few minutes later she came looking for me. She had accidentally set off our clubhouse alarm and found a rear wall of our library had been kicked in. Apart from damage at the house and the clubhouse, nothing of value had been taken.

Maybe it was their trick and were looking for treats.

Even in a gated community it pays to lock up.

Sigh!!!

At lunch time our social committee put on a Melbourne Cup luncheon and a prize for best dressed man and woman. We watched the big race and socialised.

Wednesday 2nd November

I had an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon who put the steel plate in my wrist in August 2015. He was pleased with my progress and although I still have some discomfort from time to time we both agree there is no need to surgically remove the plate. Yahoo! That was my last visit with the surgeon.

Friday 4th November

I always vowed that I would never play lawn bowls. That is until I played a fun day and realised how physically involved it is. Today 18 bowlers from our village visited another over 50’s resort at Emerald Gardens, Coombabah for a friendly competition. I have only ever bowled on our green and was surprised to find their green is made from a different material and is much, much, faster than our synthetic grass. Adapting to a faster green was a challenge…which we lost.

Sigh!

Sunday 6th November

My sister Bev and husband Peter flew from Sydney to Brisbane this morning. We drove to the airport to collect them. They are booked on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, “LEGEND OF THE SEAS”. It leaves from the Port of Brisbane Cruise Terminal at Hamilton for a Rock n Roll cruise to Vanuatu and return.

We first drove to Mt Coot-Tha to show them Brisbane city laid out below.

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The Mt Coot-Tha lookout and restauarnat overlooking Brisbane.
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Bev, Pete and Donnis at Mt coot-Tha.

Then we drove to New Farm to visit The Powerhouse and have an early lunch at one of the two, supposedly five star restaurants. That was a bit disappointing as the restaurant prices were five star but the serving sizes and food itself was way below. Add to that it was hot and noisy and the music was set way too high for comfortable dining.

We chose the Powerhouse as there is usually an interesting art display or a music event.    http://brisbanepowerhouse.org/?gclid=CjwKEAiA6YDBBRDwtpTQnYzx5lASJAC57ObMP__ewVOaILDLEb3vpx5sLMCqrvqpr1Mf6GgexwXYyxoCJc_w_wcB#

Today there was nothing to see except the busy Brisbane River. As the name implies, The Powerhouse was an umm err, Powerhouse. Built in 1927 and de-commissioned in 1977. Most of the original building façade has been retained as well as many of the original walls and levels internally. These rooms and levels are frequently used for special artistic displays and or musical events.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brisbane_Powerhouse

We drove to the Port of Brisbane cruise ship terminal    https://www.portbris.com.au/shipping-operations/shipping-schedule  and said farewell to Bev n Pete as they dropped off their luggage and joined the long line of people going through the boarding, customs and immigration process.

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From the Port of Brisbane can be seen the huge Gateway Bridge. This is a toll bridge.

We walked to the new viewing platform and were pleasantly surprised by the new shopping centre and street full of custom eating places clustered around the cruise ship terminal. The food here was about one third of the prices at the Powerhouse. This is where we should have come for lunch.

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Legend of the Seas. The outside cabins above the lifeboat deck have a balconey while those outside cabins below the lifeboats only have a fixed porthole. Inner cabins do not see any daylight. Note the pallets of supplies waiting to be moved aboard.
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There is one small loading deck on each side of the ship. Supplies were lined up along the wharf while two forklifts put two pallets on each platform. The crew pushed buttons for the platform to slide back into the ship then low to the floor. Crew with only a single hand operated fork lift would take the pallet and move it to storage. It seemed to be a never ending process and more supplies were arriving as soon as pallets were loaded on the platform.
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The Captain of the ship has to do a lot of running around on the bridge to steer the ship and see where he is going. Sometimes it is nice to just get out on your own little viewing platform (one on each side of the bridge deck) to sit and enjoy the breeze.
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Without being on the other side of the river to get a full photo of the ship here is a lifeboat photo instead.

Donnis son Peter, called to say he was home from New Guinea where he has been working for the last 6 months and invited us to call in on our way home. We were pleasantly surprised to find Peter’s son Chris was there for the weekend as well.

It was a long day of driving, city traffic and was great to catch up with Bev n Pete and Pete and Chris.

516. Sunday 30th October 2016. Camera problems, a sick BIL, Oktoberfest and a Travel Expo…

Monday 24th October

BIL Ken came to stay overnight while on his way to visit his son in Newcastle.

In the morning we took my camera to a repair man to remove a tiny fleck of dust which has entered the zoom bellows and landed on the internal screen. That speck is appearing on most of my photos. (Mostly I can edit out the dark smudge but not always) We had an early lunch and a snooze before getting ready for a game of bowls. Just as it was time to leave, Ken had severe pains in his chest which were getting worse with almost every breath. I drove him to Gold Coast University Hospital where they soon had him being tested for vital signs, ECG, blood tests and X-Rays. Turns out Ken has a mild case of Pneumonia and a lung infection.

Tuesday 25th October

After a good night’s sleep, antibiotics kicking in and some pain killers Ken was ready to resume his journey to his next stop at my brother Allans house in Forster a couple of hours north of Newcastle.

Wednesday 26th October

In the morning we did our Line Dancing practise then I went to play bowls.

In the evening the village put on an Octoberfest dinner of various German Sausage and Sauerkraut with a few Aussie salads to round out the meal. Dessert was Apple Struedel. I bought some German Bier. The Rock n Roll band were back and even some of the rockers returned for a great night of good company, food, music, dancing and talking. Well, there was not much talking as the band drowned out conversation. We had a great night.

Thursday 27th October

Air Canada has introduced a new service from Vancouver to Brisbane direct a couple of times a week. A family friend of Donnis, Dana, is a Hostess on this new service and we caught up with her in Brisbane.

First up we had coffee at the Mt Cooth- Tha lookout. Afterwards we visited the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.

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My camera is still being repaifred. these photos were taken with my Samsung A3.The Brisbane Planetarium and Obsevatory. The observatory is still in use but the ambient light reflecting from the city detracts from the experience.

As we walked around the circular, museum like hallway, a man caught up with us to say we are talking too loudly and there was a presentation going on next door. It turns out he is one of three Astronomers at the Planetarium. He was gracious enough to spend time with us explaining things about the exhibits and giving a private talk about the cosmos.

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Photo taken with the Samsung A3.This is a replica of the moon landing suit worn by Neil Armstrong when he went for a walk on the moon in July 1969. The replica includes smudges of moon dust and really looks like the authentic original.

From there we chose a place on the map at random for lunch. It turns out that Hamilton is a well to do suburb with houses on Hamilton Hill overlooking a reach of the Brisbane River being worth in the millions of dollars. After dropping Dana at her accommodation, The Brisbane Mariott, we joined the afternoon peak hour traffic crawl for the drive home.

Friday 28th October

After a game of bowls in the afternoon I spent a couple of hours dismantling a couple of retractable awnings donated by a neighbour. I plan on re-painting the metal hood and replacing the canvas for two windows which are on the weather side of our house. We had an early dinner and went to Bingo at the clubhouse. Here was another opportunity for a couple of drinks, some socialising and win a few dollars.

Saturday 29th October

In the morning I bought a sander to cut back the rusty spots on the awning hoods and in readiness for sanding the patches I have made on the walls when I find the energy and inclination to paint the interior of our house. In the afternoon I played bowls and had happy hour at the clubhouse. Sigh!

Sunday 30th October.

In the morning we went to the Gold Coast Travel Expo   http://www.travelexpo.net.au/travel-expo/gold-coast

I attended the Travel Expo in February 2015 and felt a bit bored after a half hour. This time Donnis was with me and we collectively became bored after a half hour. There were no special deals which interested us and the little video presentations were little more than the same information and photos which are in the travel brochures.

We have a busy week to look forward to,