Monday 29th July
A quiet day for a change. No driving up the valley, up the coast down the coast. No visiting historical sights or looking for abandoned houses.
Today I collected Sandi and Dave from the airport. They have returned from 3 weeks doing hiking and sight- seeing in Italy. They have come back bearing new phrases such, Ciao. Or Espresso. Or Limoncello. It seems they have also brought back a Mediterranean way of eating, especially Dave who was a Pizza fanatic before he left but has gone to a new level of pizza. It seems a new version of Balsamic Vinegar has captured his tastebuds. Sandi also brought back some blisters on her feet she did not have when she left.
The bottle of Limoncello in a bottle shaped like the high heeled boot of Italy they brought me was a pleasant surprise. I like Limoncello.
Thursday 1st August
Today I took a drive to Campwin Beach which is on the other side of the inlet to Grasstree Beach which I visited last week.
There are some pretty amazing expensive houses and duplexes and holiday cottages here.
I am not sure why. The views are not all that spectacular, the beaches are ordinary, there is no surf but I understand the fishing is good – if you have a boat and can go offshore.
Next stop was Sarina Beach which is also a bit ordinary and with a strong south easterly blowing . It was not a pleasant day on the beach.
However I did go for a walk which is what I needed. Sarina has a substantial surf club premises but unlike the busy clubs on the Gold Coast do not have sufficient local population to have a restaurant or even a coffee shop.
Next was the Sarina Inlet which once upon a time also hosted a large fishing fleet.
Like Grasstree Beach they have all but gone.
The inlet here is much larger and deeper but the boat ramp is a bit old.
Back in 2005 the local community built the Sarina Inlet Trail which starts near the old fishing fleet jetties and continues behind the line of mangroves beneath a hill until it exits at the inlet beach.
It is only a few hundred Klms but an interesting walk and one which took a lot of effort by locals to clear and line with rocks.
After the walk I drove to the top of the hill overlooking the inlet and was surprised to find the Captain E P Blackwood RN lookout and memorial plaque as he first sailed into this inlet in the survey ship HMS “FLY” in 1770. The plaque also covers a time capsule intended to be opened in 2070, 100 years after the capsule was “buried” in 1970. I would like to see the opening. I only have to wait another 51 years. The entire hillside is covered in wild vegetation except where members of the historical society have kept the path and staircase trimmed.
Friday 2nd August
Today was the long drive to Townsville to visit my daughter Shelley and her family.
I turned off the highway at Proserpine to visit Airlie Beach where our house is undergoing a big tidy up and facelift. Nobody was working today but at least I could see the work that has been done. I was a bit disappointed as I expected to see workers cleaning the roof of accumulated eucalyptus oil, pressure cleaned, base coat and two coats on both house and the garage. The house external walls will also have a few coats of paint to match the new roof colour.
After a coffee and a toasted ham cheese and tomato sandwich at McDonalds I resumed the trip calling in to see my daughter and the house full of kids and friends before I continued a few Klms to stay with a friend, Karen, in her big empty house. It was a long and tiring trip of over 400 Klms so I should sleep well tonight. I arrived in Townsville to a downpour of rain which has been threatening all day.
Karen is a wonderful hostess, ensures I am well fed and have a comfortable bed and is a good communicator.
Saturday 3rd August
After Karen gave me a giant breakfast of bacon n eggs I drove to Shelley’s house where Mathew was waiting excitedly for me so we could go to Ninja Parc.
Ninja Parc is a place designed on the TV series Australian Ninja. It is a challenging circuit for all ages. Mathew has a season pass and although he struggles with most of the equipment, he continues to try and try and try. He tried to the point of a lather of sweat and near exhaustion but at least it used up much of the excess energy he has.
Georgia on the other hand felt it was all too boring and just wanted to go to Hogs Breath for lunch…which we did. Actually I think Hogs Breath is quite a good alternative to McDonalds as they have now extended their weekday $9.90 lunch to every day. The menu has about six offerings but from my point of view the Beer Battered Whiting Fillets and Sweet Potato Wedges was more than enough as it was quite filling.
Dinner at Karens and I fell asleep on the lounge watching TV.
Sunday 4th August
Another long drive from Townsville to Mackay.
Tomorrow I fly home to the Gold Coast.