Day: September 10, 2018

638. Sunday 9th September 2018. Mackay and family visits…

Many photos this week.

Monday 3rd September

We had a lay day today. That was a good thing because I needed to rest from lack of sleep Saturday night and after a long day yesterday. As well I still have the dreaded head cold which has taken hold. Runny nose, plus a cotton wool head feeling and headache. Hmmm! Was it only May this year when I last had a head cold? Other than that I cannot recall the last time I had a cold.

In the afternoon we drove Sandi to the airport for her flight to Cairns.

Tuesday 4th September

It is another hot Spring day here in Mackay.

In order to stave off cabin fever we went for a drive to 1. buy some fuel and 2. have a look around the beaches of Mackay. Have they changed much? No not at all. Unfortunately the approaches to the beaches, usually via a park are dry. In this drought it is the best you can expect as the grass is dry, brown and crackly. The approach to what should be the premier beach of Mackay, Harbour Beach, passes through a dismal and untidy industrial area and some dry scrub over sand dunes. The nice tar sealed road ends at the Surf Club and the road along the beach, laughably called East Point Drive is a lumpy bumpy pot holed, sand boggy excuse. The roadside is littered with rubbish and even used as an oil dump in places. The road ends at the entrance to the Pioneer River and should be a pristine location. It is not. It is used by hoons in their four wheel drives and in the wet manage to make deep mud filled trenches. No improvements have been made to this road at least since 1986. (It seems the land is owned by the Mackay Harbour Board, not Mackay City Council, not the State Government and not Main Roads Dept. The Harbour Board has not spent any money on maintaining the road .)

We stopped at the picturesque Mackay Marina but roadworks are being carried out so vehicle access is denied. Pedestrian and cyclists are permitted. A plaque at the entrance to the rockwall declares the wall was damaged by cyclone Ului in 2010 and Cyclone Dylan in 2014. Repairs to the wall were completed in 2015 and the road was re-opened. Cyclone Debbie in 2017 again caused damage to the rock wall and parts of the marina itself. The road along the marina surrounding rockwall has been closed ever since. Repairs are still being carried out with a constant flow of trucks loaded with basalt blocks from a nearby quarry.

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I had to reverse the photo to understand this. The catamaran is called “BLONDE MOMENT”. I wonder if buying a new catamaran was the blonde moment.

We also took a drive along Mt Basset Road to the weather observation complex at Radar Hill Lookout.

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Mackay Bureau of Meteorology and weather station atop Mt Bassett Lookout.

Much of the city and inner suburbs of Mackay is built in on or around mangroves.

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View from Mt Bassett to Mackay City. Mangroves and Pioneer River are in the foreground. Note the building storm clouds.

Many creeks feed into the arms of the convoluted Pioneer River. The river does flood, especially in cyclonic conditions but so far the two modern high level bridges have stood up to the task. It is easy to see much of the mangroves surrounding the city from the Mt Bassett Lookout.

The streets of the city and inner suburbs often flood during periods of heavy rain and high tide. The city is criss crossed with flood easement canals with non return valves. It is often these valves which help create localised flooding as a high or King tide tends to keep the valves closed. Rainwater backs up and soon a flood begins.

While out and about we watched building storm clouds, black and ominous, creeping along the coast.

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Looking to the east from Mt Bassett Lookout. Those ships in the path of the building storm are waiting to load coal from Hay Point Coal Terminal to the south. About 2 dozen ships were waiting.

The sky was soon overcast, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped.

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View from Mt Bassett overlooking Mackay Harbour to the north.

I cooked up a big batch of Chicken Massaman Curry. Daughter Averyl joined Donnis, Dave and myself. Great curry although a little mild and sweeter than the Yellow Chicken Curry I did last week. It had a distinct bite and made my nose run and lips numb.

A little drizzle of rain before we went to bed. Is that all we are going to get out of that big black clouds earlier today?

Wednesday 5th September.

Happy Birthday to me!.

During the night the rain thundered down prompting us to jump out of bed and close all the windows. Wow! That was some rain which continued for ages. I hope they got some of this rain out west where it is desperately needed.

According to the news reports and Facebook pages, we received over 100mm overnight.

In the afternoon we went to visit friends Len and Lyn at Slade Point. We have been friends for many years since we originally joined the Mackay Sugarloafers chapter of the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia. We no longer have a motorhome and cancelled our membership several years ago. Len & Lyn still have their campervan and are still members of the CMCA but no longer attend meetings.

Tonight we went to watch Shelby play Netball. Her team was undefeated – until tonight. They lost by one point. The other team came out with a winning attitude and took Shelby’s team by surprise. By the end of the first quarter they were down by 7 points. They made up the deficit and matched the other team point for point but ran out of time.

Thursday 6th September

Today we visited niece Kelly and young son Ollie and grandfather Mike.

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Mike and Kelly work with bees. Oh and that’s me.

It was a nice visit and we learnt more about bee keeping. Kelly and partner Jason have a number eof beehives including Native Bees. They collect and sell honey and are called Beecasia Honey. I learned something new today. I always thought Native Bees to be stingless. Of the 1600 known native bee species, only 11 are stingless. I also learned that the native bee sting is nothing like the painful sting inflicted by European Bees. Apart from producing and selling honey they also create bees wax cloth which can be used and re-used instead of say, plastic film. https://www.facebook.com/Bee-casia-Honey-145037879555168/

Kelly also showed me photos of a recent fishing trip to Reliance Creek where they came across a group of baby Crocodiles. They were able to scoop one out of the water and examine the youngster. It is rare to come across young crocs in the wild without a mumma watching from nearby.

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Ollie holding a baby crocodile found in Reliance Creek. Note the mangroves behind him.

Usually they know how to stay hidden. After they had a chance to examine the young croc it was released back into the water. Kelly, that was a magnificent find. I know you have spent many years fishing in Reliance Creek. I have too. We knew there were crocs there but have never encountered them before.

Afterwards we drove to Shoal Point for a marathon walk along the beach. It was low tide and the sand goes on an on and on.

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View of Little Green Island from the hill at Shoal Point. On days of very low tide you can walk to the island through calf deep water…and back again if you do not dawdle. The island is privately owned and has a fresh water supply from an underground spring.
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View from the hill at Shoal Point looking north to Cape Hillsborough.

At low tide the millions of Blue Soldier Crabs emerge from under the sand to feed on the miniscule amounts of detritus in the sand, leaving rounded pellets of discarded sand behind them. It is amazing to watch these little crab marching across the sand. As my shadow appears over them they stop and instantly burrow into the sand.

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Just a small number of Soldier Crabs going about the business of finding a meal. Look along beaches anywhere along along most of Australia’s coastline and you will see millions of these .
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This is what an adult Soldier Crab looks like. Imagine hundreds and thousands of these walking across the beach rolling up tiny pellets of sand to extract nutrients.

Once upon a time I could drive the 4WD along the beach to Reliance Creek.

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Mangrove trees will take root in almost any environment and maintain the struggle to survive and capture more ground and create a bulwark against the ocean. The roots spread out like fingers and detritus and leaves build up around those roots and in turn attract more sand and leaves and slowly build a soil platform around itself.
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Remains of what was once a strong and healthy Melaleuca (Paperbark) forest. Slowly the shape of the coast changed due to shifting currents and many many cyclones. In the background you can see a combination of Melaleuca and Mangroves retaliating in trying to win back what was once land.
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Did this chair wash up from a storm or was it placed here? To me it is facing in the wrong direction.

Now, successive cyclones over several years has eroded the sand and exposed the mangroves all of which are dead and their slim trunks stick out of the ground like tall thick stubbles of wheat.

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This was once a mangrove forest which has been overwhelmed by the sea and will slow decay and form a muddy peat like base which will also be fertile ground for future mangroves.

The mangroves have been fighting a battle with the sea over untold millenia. The mangroves try to reclaim land from the sea while the sea tries to wrestle back what belongs to it. It is a constant battle and looking at the sand it is easy to see ancient beds of rotted trees similar to peat slowly turning to mud mixed with sand.

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This is the remains of an ancient mangrove forest now a muddy peat base.

It is no longer possible to drive now that the sand is gone. Even walking among the fingers of mangrove stumps and muddy peat requires care where your feet are placed. In one peat/mud zone was the remains of a late model 4WD where an incautious and most likely inexperienced driver came to grief.

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Jut some poor unfortunate teenage driver who borrowed his Dad’s car to impress his mates with his driving ability had to abandon it in the mud. How he managed to drive it this far through tree, rock, mangrove and mud obstacles is a mystery. Perhaps he was a skilled driver after all. The ocean was more skilled.

Later I learned the Mitsubishi Pajero 4WD was borrowed by a teenage boy. Worse, he borrowed from his Dad. The car got stuck in the mud and could not be retrieved and has been flushed out by two high tides a day for the last 12 months.

Friday 7th September

Today we took a quick walk around Bucasia Boat Ramp on Eimeo Creek

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A couple of boats tied up n the mangroves on a muddy bottom at the Bucasia Boat Ramp end of Eimeo Creek. The one on the left was unfortunate in that it took on water and sank and became stuck in the mud. The owner managed to pump out the hull and refloat…temporarily. The hulls had became damaged and continued to take on water. There is a sign on the boat that it is a danger to navigation and must be moved. The boat on the right is still being used as a live aboard.
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Bucasia Boat Ramp end of Eimeo Creek. This is also a live aboard although you would need to time arrival and departure. That mud is thick and deep and smelly.
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More live aboards at Bucasia Boat Ramp at Eimeo Creek.

then visited Mike and Kelly. We learned a bit more about Native Bees. Most of them are single and do not swarm or have a queen. They do not make honey. They are however very good at pollinating. Beekeepers tend to make Bee Housing or Bee Hotels just to have these busy little bees in their area. Each “hole” in the hotel will be a home to a single native bee.

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A single Native Bee Hotel. Single native bees do not swarm, do not have a Queen, do not build a nest and do not make honey. They do pollinate so are still a gardeners friend. Installing one of these will attract single Native Bees.

Tonight we caught up with my daughter Melissa and her husband Steve. We went to a local Mackay Japanese style restaurant called Bing Nomiya. It has a reputation for good food. When we arrived it was fully booked out. Not a table to spare. OK thats good. We ordered. An hour later we had not been served but people at nearby tables who arrived after us were eating. Hmmm! That’s not good. We complained. They told us we had only ordered 30 minutes before!!! WTF. That was not true. But had we ordered 30 minutes before you would expect to at least have had the entree served within 10 minutes! As it turned out we were not impressed with the food. It is not as good as the Kabachi Ya Japanese Restaurant we have on the Gold CoastThe only good thing about the poor service was we got to spend more time with Melissa and Steve to catch up since our last visit. Melissa is very busy and in big demand tending to the needs of horses. She has a business trimming the hooves of horses and providing a massage and or Chiropractic attention to horses. To keep up with the demand she usually has to work weekends.

Saturday 8th September

Today we visited the Go Wake Cable Park http://gowakemackay.com.au/ to watch Anakin in his wakeboard competition. Anakin is in the Intermediate Class and only only joined the sport this year. We were quite amazed to watch the Novice Class and the children, as young as 7 perform jumps and twists. They look so light and seem to perform their stunts in slow motion.

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Look at the size of this boy. He barely has enough weight to make a splash.

Anakin threw himself into the competition despite having an injured back and despite having received acupuncture treatment earlier today.

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Anakin waits for his heat to begin.
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and he gets away to a flying start in heat 2.

In his final round he had a fall and landed badly and found he was in considerable pain.

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Anakin performing a loop in his first heat.
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Anakin performing an even better backward somersault in heat 2.

Hmmm! I see more physio, Chiro and Acupuncture in his life in the coming weeks.

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Anakin doing a power turn to line up and gather speed for the ramp.
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Anakin slides onto a rail.
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Staying on the rail for its full length is a challenge.

Afterwards we retired to daughter Averyls house where we had dinner and surprise surprise she baked a Carrot Cake for my birthday. Awwww. Gee Wizz. Thank you. We had a pleasant afternoon and dinner with Donnis, Averyl, granddaughter Shelby and grandson Anakin

Later back at Sandra’s house Dave and I sat up late working on a project on his computer. We over indulged in chocolate bullets and I over indulged more than Dave.

Sunday 9th September

Woke to an upset stomach. So upset I did not feel like breakfast. I am convinced this is the bodies revenge for over indulging on chocolate bullets.

For that reason today was a bit quiet. Dave was at Big Boys Toys promoting Shannons Insurance while Sandi was taking part in a walk for World Suicide Prevention.

Donnis and I stayed home. I had a sleep and after Donnis had lunch we went to Eimeo Beach for a walk in the fresh air and strong breeze.

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Probably the most sought after beachside location in Mackay. This house address is Mango Ave and is the only house right on the point with multi million dollar views. Somehow it has escaped serious cyclone damage.

It did nothing to settle my stomch but I did come home and have another sleep.

Tonight we had a family dinner. Besides Sandi, Dave Donnis and myself we were joined by Daves daughter Emily and her husband Bill and their two children.

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Bria an almost 3 year old ball of uncontrolled energy. She likes chocolate…who doesn’t.

We plan to hit the road tomorrow morning and cover at least 500 Klms before we stop for the night.

Thanks Sandi and Dave for looking after us.