Wednesday 26th April
Yesterday was an early 4am start and a long emotional day. Today was a quiet relaxing day capped off with a pleasant afternoon walk on the Southport Beach. In the morning Ken and I drove to The Spit planning on a walk on the beach but rain decided it had other plans for us. We did see a well equipped boat with strange racks set above the small cuddy cabin. Those racks can carry 6 surfboards and of course, the surf riders. The Straddie Surf Taxi https://www.facebook.com/straddiesurftaxi/ takes surf riders from The Spit across the swift current, deep water, shark infested heavy marine traffic of the Gold Coast Seaway to the South Stradbroke Island, one of the best right hand breaks on the Gold Coast. He charges $7 for the two way trip. The alternative is a long paddle and a climb, in barefeet over the northern breakwall and at the end of a session a return walk and paddle. No wonder the South Straddie break is so popular (crowded) compared to a few years ago. The popular taxi service begins at 6am on most mornings, weather permitting.
While at The Spit Ken and I pondered on why the seaway bar is now safe compared to a few years ago and where does the sand pumping station deposit the sand? The investigation revealed an unexpected answer to both questions and a dozen more besides. The history of the sand pumping station, The Spit, The Gold Coast Seaway and the southern tip of South Stradbroke Island are all explained at this wonderful web site http://www.gcwa.qld.gov.au/blog/read/?i=6
Simply, the sand is pumped off the beach, underground to a slurry pit then pumped under the Gold Coast Seaway and deposited on South Stradbroke Island. The feat of engineering, a world first, created the Gold Coast Seaway (also officially, now the mouth of the Nerang River), created all the sand hills bushland and parklands of The Spit and created a southern extension of South Stradbroke. It really is worth a read and viewing of the video. I never knew any of this history.
The results are a huge area of land gradually being made available for public and commercial use. Although the work to create this new land and river mouth, the gargantuan task was little known or understood by locals. Indeed at the time, 1983 to 1986 many locals opposed the undertaking. Now the entire new beaches and parklands, even Seaworld and its attached accommodation, the many parks and boating facilities are taken for granted. Even the man made sand island, Wavebreak Island was at the centre of a heated battle in 2015 between some locals and a proposed development to turn the island into a residential area, resort, shopping centre, casino, parklands, marina and tour ship terminal with a bridge between Labrador and the island. Alas that proposal got knocked on the head.
Thursday 27th April
We went for a drive and ended up at Burleigh Heads. As we approached Burleigh I commented it would be nice to stop and take a walk through the National Park but only if we could find a parking spot. Normally parking here is like winning the lottery. Well, today we won the lottery.
The lower walk around the foreshore to Tallabudgera Creek was closed while some works are being carried out by council. Enlarging the carpark perhaps???
The alternate walk climbs steadily through large rocks and heavily timbered woodland.
The rocks are the result of ancient lava flows creating similar formations as other basalt columns found at Fingal Head just across the border in NSW. The huge jumbled rocks are known to be unstable and walkers are advised to take care and be aware of their surroundings especially during periods of prolonged wet weather.
The Burleigh Heads is a great spot to just sit and look at the sea and Surfers Paradise in the distance. People come here to take in the ambience, to play guitar, sing, do yoga, meditate, eat and simply picnic or ooh and aah to the surf riders when the big swells roll in.
Tonight we joined Kens sister, Kirsty for dinner at Southport Yacht Club. Lovely spot looking over the SYC marina and Marina Versace a little further away..
Donnis and I had crumbed Barramundi for dinner.
Friday 28th April.
Today we met my cousin Lynne who I have not seen for at least 50 years. We have not seen each other since we lived in the Sydney suburb of Balmain. We moved to Riverwood and then to Maroubra while her family moved to Birchgrove. Our two families now lived a long way apart and we could no longer walk to each others house. From then on our families were busy with our lives and we no longer kept in touch. My most vivid memory of childhood with cousins so close was when television first came to Australia in September 1956. People would stand in the street outside an electrical store to watch grainy black and white TV.
Lynnes family was one of the first families in Balmain to own a TV. From then on we went to their house every Monday night to watch TV. I Love Lucy was our favourite. For years I kept a list of TV shows watched in date order, time and name of show in a school exercise book. That is how novel TV was in those days. We met Lynne and her husband Allan at North Burleigh Surf Life Saving Club for coffee. (Coincidence – we were at Burleigh yesterday) It was a wonderful meeting, all too short of course. Hopefully we will have many more opportunities to meet again. Another coincidence, we bumped into Wal and Lynn, friends from our village who were at the club for lunch.
I received a call from the Dept of Defence, office of Honours and Awards. Dads medals have been issued but not yet released. They first went to engraving and will be mailed in the near future.
Tonight we had Barramundi at the village Fish n Chip night. Wow! Barra, two nights in a row!
Sunday 30th April.
I was awake early and went for a bike ride around and around and around our village. I saw a hot air balloon to the west
then spied another, closer, in the south.
It seemed to be coming toward our village and falling lower. By the time I grabbed the camera it was over the village and I could plainly see and hear the gas heater which helps the balloon to rise.
Yes it rose but still looked as though it was struggling to gain or maintain height.
I lost sight of it over the rooftops near Runaway Bay.
A hot air balloon came down in a residential area of the Gold Coast on 13th April this year. Perhaps this one did the same.
Next week we begin some more travel.