Author: frankeeg

652. Thursday 29th November to Sunday 2nd December 2018. A walk along the beaches and clifftops followed by a long drive home visiting new locations…

Thursday 29th November

I WILL FINISH THE WEEK WITH A HUGE PHOTO POST.

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Looking towards Flynn’s Beach.
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The Cormorants know a good drying off spot. Nobody can sneak up on them here.

Today a chill wind was blowing and rain threatening all day.

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Rocky Beach was named because it was more rock than beach. Over the last 20 years the sand has built up considerably.

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Tony and I dropped Dawn at a shopping centre where we left his car. We then drove i30 to Flynns Beach.

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A little experiment here at Flynn’s Point. I converted to black and white but retained the grass colour.
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More padlocks in the cliffs above Flynn’s Point. Another experiment as I retained the sky and sea colour and all else is black and white.
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On cliffs above Rocky Beach
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In some places padlocks are a no no and councils and Main Roads workers use bolt cutters to remove them.
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Flagstaff Hill. Through the trees you can see the flagpole in the centre of the photo. Also in the trees is a bridge to take you to the knoll of a hill.
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Rocks at south end of Town Beach.

We left the car and began the coastal walk with much of it along clifftops  via several clifftops and beaches to Town Beach and the Hastings River mouth and long, long rock breakwater wall.

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The Town Beach wall and Breakwater wall are made with huge granite rocks. It has become somewhat fashionable to write family messages, love poems, memorials or whatever you want to write provided it is clean. A few years back the Council declared it would wage war on the perpetrators for defacing public property. The backlash against Council was enough for them to back peddle and leave the Iconic attraction alone.

Along a steep stairway a young Water Dragon was sitting on a step. It was his step and no way was he going to move. We stepped around him and stopped for photos and he continued to pose. He is a lovely Dragon.

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This Water Dragon was not intimidated by people walking up and down the stairs. He just fixed them with and inscrutable stare until they moved on.
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Paper daisies. These flowers -once upon a time in the dark recesses of global changes – were once native only on the nearby islands. With the lowering of the sea level the islands became part of the mainland. So did the flowers.

At town beach the strong cold south westerly wind was blowing the tops off the waves and making for some good surfing conditions at near full tide.

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The strong south westerly offshore wind was enough to hold the waves into a fast tight barrel enjoyed by surfers.
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Double take off. One goes right, one goes left. You can just see the weed lurking under the water.
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There was a lot of weed in the water. Enough to brush against a surfers legs while he was waiting for a wave and giving him a fear of SHARK!

It was cold though as every surfer was wearing a wet suit.

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Tight fast turns even in wet suits were enjoyed. The water temp was about 18 degrees with a chilly south westerly.
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There were some good surfers out there.

At the end of our walk at the Edmund Barton Centre is a statue in honour of Sir Edmund Barton, the first Prime Minister of Australia.

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Sir Edmund Barton, First Prime Minister of Australia.

It is sad to realise that the average citizen could not tell you the name of the first Prime Minister. Yet, and here is the sad part, the average US citizen can tell you the name of the first US President. Ironically the average Aussie could have a reasonably good guess as to the first US President but not the name of our first Prime Minister.

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Wharf at the Edmund Barton Centre Port Macquarie.

Tonight we went out to dinner for a Chinese Smorgasbord then it was back downtown to Edmund Barton Centre where the lighting of the Christmas tree and the street parade and fireworks took place.

A long and weary day.

Friday 30th November

Today started bright and sunny and the constant strong wind of the last 4 days was no longer evident.

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I thought this farmhouse was abandoned because of the condition of the walls and roof. It made a nice foreground bit of interest to the storm developing in the background.

We had a few things to take care of in the morning but after lunch we went on a road trip through Wauchope, the Kindee Valley

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I stepped out of the car to photograph an old farmhouse. A large thunderclap reminded me it was a bit exposed here so I took a photo of the brewing storm and jumped back in the car.
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We came around a corner and saw this scene of hills disappearing into hills with the low cloud and wisps of vapour rising from the trees and rain in the distance.

crossing the old Kindee Bridge,

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The mainly timber bridge over the Hastings River at Kindee. The storm had dumped a frightening amount of rain on the steep winding gravel roads we were driving on before we reached this location.
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Even the bridge supports are timber. Luckily the sun came out long enough for photos before the storm, or another one like the first, came back and threw around some wind rain and lighting.

built in 1936 as it crosses the Hastings River

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Hastings River Kindee.

and re-joined the Oxley Highway driving through Long Flat and back through Wauchope and on to Port Macquarie. As always seems to happen is we ran out of time and the weather was not suitable to explore Long Flat.

The Kindee Road is mostly gravel and winds up and down and around the hill country. We stopped a few times for photo opportunities especially when we saw an amazing storm building ahead of us. Soon that storm was dropping big fat raindrops and the sides of the road were soon filled with muddy brown running water winding down to Kindee Creek.

All in all a very nice Friday afternoon drive.

We still have not heard from the computer technician so rang them just before 5pm. They have not yet put the laptop on the test bench to look for the problem. Grrr! I know it is not my problem but this is poor service compared to what I am used to. They have had the laptop since Wednesday and promised results within 2 days.

Saturday 1st December

I was away from Port Macquarie around 9.30am. It was a lovely sunny day with a slight breeze. Later the slight breeze got a bit stronger. Coming from the north and bringing salty humidity. Of course this was not known to me as I was driving in air conditioned comfort. Once I stopped and stepped out of the car the gritty north easterly started slapping me around. The heat was tolerable but the humidity was uncomfortable.

My first stop was Shark Creek Bridge which was built around 1936 to replace an earlier bridge.

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Concrete bridge at Shark Creek. Not used since 1987.

In all the years I have travelled this section of highway I have promised myself to one day stop and have a look. Today was one day. The bridge was on the main highway and its design was set as a high arch bridge to allow cut sugar cane to be sent by barge to a mill further up the Clarence River. It replaced the earlier low level bridge which did not allow for barges to pass beneath. By the late seventies cane was no longer being shipped to the mill by barge and the bridge had outlived its usefulness. It was replaced by a new bridge in 1987. Ironically there will be a new highway which will bypass the drive along the Clarence River and is due to be completed by 2020.

Back on the road once more I saw a turnoff to two locations. One is Maclean, also on the Clarence and through which the highway once passed. An old bridge also spans the Clarence here.

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Bridge at McLean. Interestingly it is a two way bridge for only part of it. At each end it reverts to single lane allowing cars already on the bridge to give way to each other and other traffic in the middle.

The other location was Brooms Head on the coast.

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Looking North, Brooms Head.
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Brooms Head sheltered lagoon.

I have never been to Brooms Head so thought, “Why Not”. It is something like 27 Klms off the highway. It features a caravan park along a stretch of coast

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Part of the very popular campground, on the beach at Brooms Head.

with a lagoon formed by rocks and a reef along with a surf beach.

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Waves breaking over rocks into sheltered lagoon at Brooms Head.

At one end  is a headland with great views across the rocks and a beach in each to the north and south.

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Headland view at Brooms Head.

Once I stepped out of the air conditioned car the gritty salty humidity felt oppressive. Still, Donnis called me from frozen Canada and I was able to show her a video of the beach cliffs and rocks.

I still had time up my sleeve as I did not have to be home by a certain time and Queensland is an hour behind NSW.

After another 90 minutes I saw another coastal town I have never visited. Evans Head is just outside The Broadwater National Park.

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Main Beach at Evans Head.

This is another pretty out of the way beach town very popular with fishermen and campers. It sits at the mouth of the Evans River.

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Breakwater wall at Evans Head.

Both beaches produced a couple of Hmmm moments about a possible holiday there in the future. That said, South West Rocks a long way further south and which I visited on Monday feels more attractive and has more facilities.

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Rocky lagoon style swimming area at Evans Head.

Another two hours of driving, mostly at 110 Kph and I was home by 6.15pm. By the time I ate a light dinner, weariness caught up with me and I was struggling to stay awake after 8.30 pm.

Sunday 2nd December

Woke to a cool morning which was nice but it did not last long. The heatwave kicked in around mid- morning and the day just got grittier. Queensland is currently suffering over 100 bushfires and although not unprecedented was nonetheless not a usual situation. A fire was raging out of control on North Stradbroke Island and the air was thick with the smell of burning as well as a smokey haze hanging over the entire area. By mid afternoon the heat and humidity meant, stay indoors and turn on the air conditioning. Which I did. Once again by 8.30pm I was struggling to stay awake even though my bedroom was still not cooled by the AC I managed to fall asleep.

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651. Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th November 2018. More coastal visits and the mountain, North Brother…

Tuesday 27th November

Today we drove down the coast to Laurieton on the Camden Haven Inlet.

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The fishing traps have been here so long the rust is taking over but is a race against weeds,

On the way we passed through some beautiful beachside towns of Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills and North Haven. There is a Seafood Co-Op there and they sell fresh fish and chips.

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Lauriton Fish Jetty, Seafood shop and slipway.

You cannot get any fresher than locally caught Flathead which was my choice.

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Laurieton Slipway
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Pelicans can comfortably squat and sleep anywhere.

From there we drove up a steep and winding road to the top of one of three mountain peaks known as South Brother, Middle Brother and we were on North Brother.

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From atop North Brother Mountain can be seen the seaside towns of North Haven to the left, Laurieton in the centre and Dunbogan on the right.

These three peaks were sighted and named by Captain Cook in 1770.

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From North Brother can be seen a sailboat at sea. Basically camera is set on standard with no zoom settings.
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Mid range zoom settings.
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Full zoom. 48 times normal.

Coming back down we stopped at small beach just below a rugged cliff face known as Grants Head.

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Grants Headland.

I can just imagine being up early to catch the sunrise on the face of the cliff.271118 cliff1271118 cliff

Wednesday 28th November

We watched a black and ugly storm moving in quickly from the south west.

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Storm arriving over Port Macquarie.

It brought lots of lightning and thunder strong winds and brief but heavy rain. Later in the day a second storm front came through in much the same fashion. Short and sharp.

The weather was not much good to do anything. Tony was doing updates on his laptop, the first such update he has done since the purchase in 2016. Something did not go the way it orta and it would not boot. We took it to a computer repairer and will await a diagnosis.

650. Monday 26th November 2018. Day one of my road trip to Port Macquarie via South West Rocks, Trial Bay Gaol, Smokey Cape and arrival in Port…

Monday 26th November

I have taken so many photographs that the week will be split in three separate posts. There are 24 photos for today alone but they are well worth a look. As always if you have the ability to enlarge to full screen I suggest you do.

A good drive of well over 550 Klms today. I left home at 6am and stopped for breakfast at a McDonalds just over the border in NSW. The time difference is an hour later as they are on Eastern Daylight Savings Time whereas Queensland is in Eastern Standard Time. My mobile phone automatically switches time when I cross the border but the car clock remains on Queensland time. That is until further down the highway the dash clock/radio/ CD USB player and Bluetooth phone link decided to crash. I had to wait until I reached Grafton for a fuel stop that I was able to re-set the electronics. Later as I was nearing the town of Kempsey and was ahead of the mental schedule I had placed on myself, I noticed a sign to South West Rocks and Trial Bay Gaol. I have never been there and as I had some free time I turned off the highway.

I did not stop or explore the town of South West Rocks but continued through to Arakoon National Park and Trial Bay where the Heritage listed gaol ruins are located.

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Trial Bay Gaol.

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What first struck me was the beautiful location of the sheltered bay on one side and the open ocean on the other. The location is so picturesque with views of the rocks, ocean and beaches.

The prison construction was begun in 1887 and continued, according to financial constraints, in an on and off sort of way until prisoners were housed in 1893 when construction of a breakwater was begun. This was the first and only time in NSW when prisoners were used in a Public Works project. The breakwater, by 1903 was simply not being built as quickly as expected so the project was cancelled. It was decided at the same time to close the prison. The small spit of land was abandoned but later developers filled it with soil and shrubs and it is named Laggers Point. Hmmm! I wonder. A LAG is a name used to refer to prisoners.

The Trial Bay Gaol Beach and campground are as pretty as a picture.

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Trial Bay Gaol Beach
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Looking down onto the Trial Bay Gaol Beach with white sand and clear water.
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Trial Bay Gaol Beach with the remains of an old timber wharf. I cannot find any information about this structure.

Luckily I had packed a lunch and ate it in a nice picnic area at Laggers Point.

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Part of the Trial Bay Gaol day picnicers area on Laggers Point. Looking south. Being a Monday and pre holiday season I had the place almost to myself. There was a man in a motorhome and another on a motorcycle.
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Laggers Point Picnic area looking north.

Actually I only ate half as I was so excited about the scenery waiting to be photographed and I did not have all afternoon. Defining a beach as a stretch of sand longer than 20m, the University of Sydney’s Coastal Studies Unit has counted 10,645 of them along our continent’s vast coastline. Trial Bay Gaol Beach has been voted as the best beach in NSW to go camping. I will add my vote of yes as well.

I wished I had more time here to just explore, sit and relax and even camp here. I still had to get to Port Macquarie but first…I drove to another part of the headland to look at Little Bay which is also part of the National Park.

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Little Bay

This was another delightful stunningly beautiful location. Although it is a popular picnic and swimming place at high tide, today being Monday and low tide, nobody else was here. There is no Surf Lifesaving Patrols here but large signs warn it is an unpatrolled beach and there are treacherous rips and undercurrents.

I took another side track to the Overshot Dam which once supplied water to Trial Bay Gaol.

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Overshot Dam.

The views along the coast from the dam are spectacular.

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Coast looking north from Overshot.
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Coast looking south from Overshot.

The dam itself, while historically antique, is somewhat underwhelming. What fabulous sights to see in such a relatively small area. I wondered if the water back in the days of the gaol was as muddy and uninviting as it is today?

Wow! Can it get any better than this?

Yes.

I also saw a sign to Smokey Cape Lighthouse and set off along the 10 Klm drive through some interesting countryside to Captain Cook Lookout where the parking area is located.  Captain Cook first mentioned this cape in his log in 1770. His description is of a smokey cape and a number of fires along the headland. In one direction looks across the beach to Green Island, higher on the hill is the lighthouse and restored keepers cottages and looking to the south is the long expanse of the beach at South West Rocks all the way to

Hat Head.

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I got a bit carried away with the Smokey Cape Lighthouse so the next 5 photos are of the same place.

A steep pathway leads to the lighthouse. 261118 smokey cape1261118 smokey cape3261118 smoekey cape4Spare a thought for the keepers who would have had to make the climb several times a day to carry out their duties. What was quite surprising there was no fee to park or look at the lighthouse. There was no restaurant or take away store or public toilets nor a rubbish bin. I was reminded that the lighthouse at Byron Bay charges a fee for parking and has all those extra’s. I was quite happy there was just a lighthouse without all the commercial activity attached.

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Smokey Cape Keepers Cottages

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The lighthouse construction was completed and commenced operation in 1891. It is 140 metres above sea level.

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View over Keepers Cottage

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Beach at Smokey Cape where I was also carried away taking photos.

A couple of lighthouse ancillary sheds at the bottom of the steep hill are used as photographic displays.

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View from ancillary shed.

Although this visit was only meant as a side trip of a couple of hours it whetted my appetite for a return visit.

Somehow.

Somewhen.

I arrived at Tony and Dawn’s house by 4pm, New South Wales time which meant I had taken 9 hours for a 6 hour journey.

649. Sunday 25th November 2018. Venetian blind blues, walks along the Broadwater and Rock and Roll…

Monday 19th November

Today I continued the search which I have not mentioned before. In 2015 we bought venetian blinds for 7 windows in the house. We bought from Curtain Wonderland and installed ourselves. Two of the 7 blinds have a problem with the slat controller. It has stopped working and after taking the blinds down and removing the mechanism we found a little cog wheel in both has the teeth broken off. I called Curtain Wonderland and long story short, they do not keep spares. I started checking blind installers, retailers and repairers to find a spare parts supplier. I found one about a half hour drive away in Burleigh Waters. I will go there later in the week. Nobody else has spares and with so many different styles and brands and manufacturers it would be surprising to find spares at all. We may have to modify. Our only other option is to buy new venetians and at an average of $150 each I do not think so.

Tuesday 20th November

Now for something totally different. Today I went to Brisbane for the RACQ (Royal Automobile Club) AGM. The invite did not mention anything about food so I expected they may provide a cup of tea and scones after the AGM. I planned my trip to arrive an hour before and dined at a nearby McDonalds. On arrival at the AGM I discovered there were lashings of food for all those people who arrived early. I was too full to eat anything. Those scones jam and cream looked nice though.

The AGM followed the course of other AGM’s for other organisations I have attended. (Of course Queensland Country Credit Union had their AGM at the western Queensland Mining town of Mt.Isa. They put on the food and drink AFTER the AGM. Local members attended for the opportunity of imbibing lots of free booze.) They pat themselves on the back for all the things they have done during the year and which is written in the Annual Report. Still it was fun being welcomed by the Chairwoman of the Board, the CEO of the RACQ Roadside Assist arm and the CEO of the banking arm

Wednesday 21st November

In the morning I was at The Broadwater at 6am to experience another MORNING. Yeah I wrote that in capitals because morning on The Broadwater is capitol.

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Six am at The Lagoon on the Broadwater. This is why I like being here.

It was a hot humid windy day with an expected thunder storm in the afternoon.

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Southport across the Broadwater

It never arrived although the clouds built up and later in the evening I could see lightning to the west. A fresh weather forecast told us to expect thunder lightning wind rain and hail to arrive in the early hours of the morning. It did not arrive either.

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Storm clouds pushing the blue skies away.

In the afternoon I visited Australia Fair Shopping Centre to do a bit of shopping and enjoy a photo competition   https://www.australiafair.com.au/whats-happening/photography-competition-winners/

I also enjoyed the cool air conditioning while I was there. I wonder if everybody else was there to escape the heat and humidity?

 

Thursday 22nd November

No storm overnight. Losing faith in the weather forcasters.

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High tide at The Lagoon

6am at The Broadwater – again. This morning it is overcast and a cool wind is blowing but it is hot and humid. After a busy walk to Loder Creek and return I noticed once out of the breeze I suddenly felt the humidity and sweat began to form.

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The Broadwater

I also had another cheeky moment of taking a photo of The Lagoon at near high tide and sending it to Donnis. She spent all day yesterday on several flights to travel from Calgary to Prince Edward Island via Ottawa, Ontario and Hallifax, Nova Scotia. She called me about the photo.

Meanwhile back home I logged on to Facebook Picture a Day and found 34 Notifications. It will be a busy day.

A big storm rolled in after lunch. The usual noise and wind etc. I drove to Burleigh Waters for a part to repair the venetians. Alas. Even the specialist no longer has these parts. Grrr!

I am also planning some time away next week visiting friends Tony and Dawn at Port Macquarie NSW. I am looking forward to some exploring.

Friday 23rd November.

Tonight was the BIG NIGHT for which we have been learning to dance Rock and Roll. Wow! What a night. I actually got up and danced, not particularly fancy but well enough for people to notice and congratulate me. It also helped that two of the ladies I danced with are forgiving very accomplished dancers. The other was an equally forgiving partner, who like me is still learning. Yeah we made mistakes but only we noticed and we kept trying. Often it was just as enjoyable to watch the others who dance three, four or more times a week. Those that dance to what I would call freestyle are just amazing to watch.

I was a little more at home doing line dancing and seeing 20 or more dancers doing much the same step, except for freestylers (I am considered a freestyler and have been doing this for about 2 years) to a live rock band and bringing applause from the audience was satisfying.

I was home by 11.30 pm and looking forward to bed.

Saturday 24th November

Some days nature seems to be an attraction you cannot ignore. Several weeks ago a large number of baby birds were born in the park near my house. There were the baby plovers and ducks and even a few magpies. This last 10 days a young magpie has been following the mother as they walk up one side of our street, exploring small patches of grass then turning around and walk back along the other side. All the while the young bird is chirping constantly as if asking questions, just like a two year old child. The mother makes a sudden dart forward as if to catch a worm or bug then stops to allow the youngster to finish the action. It’s all very fascinating but the constant chirp, chirp, chirp for a couple of hours is distracting.

This afternoon was a bowls tournament followed by drinks and nibblies after which I was so tired and ready for bed.

Sunday 25th November

Awake at 5am so went and washed and vacuumed i30 ready for the road trip to Port Macquarie tomorrow. The rest of the day was spent finalising finances involved with Rock and Roll night. Everybody has been paid. It works out that including the cost of the band, raffle prizes and the marvellous supper came to $8.44 a head.

Early to bed tonight, early to rise tomorrow and an 8 hour drive to Port. See you next week.

648. Sunday 18th November 2018. The usual no routine, a walk along the Broadwater and a trip to Mt Tamborine…

Wednesday 14th November

So far this week I have done my usual of Rock and Roll lessons and Line Dancing and Table Tennis. The weather has been great.

Thursday 15th November

Woke at 5am and could not get back to sleep so I drove to The Lagoon on The Broadwater and went for a walk.

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The Lagoon at low tide. In less than an hour there were about 20 people swimming here and by midday it was crowded. High tide sees the sand groin on the right covered.

What an absolutely glorious morning. So glorious in fact that I decided to share. I use my Samsung Galaxy A3 to take a photo of the Lagoon and send to Donnis via Facebook Messenger to show her what she is missing over there in snowy Calgary. Within a minute she called me and I turned on the video camera to show her live footage of The Broadwater.

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The Lagoon on The Broadwater. lovely still water at low tide about 5.30 am.
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This one we call the dragon boat.

I know she loves the area.

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Calm water, sunrise, houseboat, canoe all framed by Casuarina.
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Pelicans are waking too. Their early morning chatter and making plans for the day.

Sunday 18th November

We had a big storm last night with thunder lightning strong winds and lots of rain. Other places got damage from hail but we escaped the worst of the storm. I took a drive to Mt Tamborine but it is a lot colder in the mountains and my shorts and Tshirt were not enough for the cool, mountain air.181118 heritage I noticed that the town of Tamborine does not include any big name businesses or franchises. Big supermarkets or food outlet chains do not exist here.  That is a good thing and a bad. Good that it gives a local a chance to maintain a business but at the expense of not being able to buy products in bulk and pass on savings. There are many people here who call themselves artisans or craftspersons or artists, photographers and so on.

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This tree was reported cut down over a century ago by timber cutters with a long bladed two person hand saw. Notice the moss and lichen.

Many people came here to escape what they call the rat race and live according to their state of mind. Unfortunately for many their state of  mind cannot keep up with the cost of living so many houses are for sale. The only people thriving are the real estate agents.

I also noticed that houses and fences etc have lots of moss or lichen growing. That is due to the high moisture laden humid air. Although the mountain location is cooler in summer it still produces a high humid and high rainfall every year. Trees and roof lines also have this thick carpet of green. Living so close to nature can be a good thing but the high cost of maintenance  also shows, as the houses has many trees growing around them. I shudder to think what would happen should a bushfire break out here.

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An old lichen and moss covered chair outside the house known as Bandicoot Cottage.

Before leaving I stopped at a lookout on the western side of town which overlooks Canungra and took the first Panoramic photo with my Panasonic FZ200.

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Panorama looking over Canungra Valley. Somewhere about 60 Klms over the cloud shrouded hills on the right is Brisbane.

I ate my prepared lunch and drove back down the mountain via an alternate, steeper route and went to Southport Beach to finish my lunch. Oops the clouds had rolled in, the wind picked up and it was just as cool here as in the mountains.

647. Sunday 11th November 2018. Melbourne Cup, Line Dancing, Rock and Roll lessons and Remembrance Day…

Tuesday 6th November

Melbourne Cup Day. The race that stops a nation. Well, if it does not completely stop the nation, most everybody is at a party somewhere and very few people are around to answer the phones or serve in the shops.

The Social Committee organised a Melbourne Cup Luncheon for 50 people. Instead of the usual cold roast chicken, coleslaw and a bread roll we went a few steps better. Committee Vice President Wayne spent the day doing a roast beef, potato bake, vegetables and a dessert of Pavlova and a choice of several fruits, cream and ice cream. He had chicken cooked and cut into 4 supplied from elsewhere. Our new Bay Marie’s were utilised and along with gravy there were seconds but no leftovers. We, that is Wayne, received lots of compliments. President Graham kept the ball rolling with games and constant patter and organising tables to take turns to be served. The new big screen Smart TV and our 6 speaker surround sound system ensured everybody could see and hear the race. We put a lot of effort into organising the event so it could go off smoothly and impress our residents. It did. It helps when we re-arrange tables and chairs for maximum seating. That is why we have several meetings and plan ahead including dry run with TV and sound system. There were lots of happy people. The air conditioning was put on early and temp set at 18 degrees. Overhead fans were kept on slow. Blinds were lowered to stop sunlight and reflected sunlight off the pool bringing heat into the clubhouse. It was needed as it was heat wave conditions outside.

Next comes the planning for our big Rock and Roll night where we expect 80 people plus a 50’s Rock and Roll band. Approximately half the attendees are from the Gold Coast Rockers. Eighty is about the maximum number we can comfortably cater for and provide tables and chairs so that everybody can get in and out without a crush. Sometimes we think we need a bigger clubhouse.

Wednesday 7th November

In the morning we had Line Dancing. We have so much fun every week.

To prepare for the big Rock n Roll Night, about a dozen of us are taking dance lessons. It seems we sort of forget what we did last week and spend about 15 minutes going through the basic steps once more Us guys are supposed to be the leader but with both male and female learning we are followers. It is not until we dance with real Rock and Rollers that we start to look almost the real deal.

Saturday 10th November

In the afternoon I played lawn bowls. Midway through the game one of the players tripped stepping down onto the green and cracked his head against the step. It was quite a loud thump and he was knocked unconscious for a short while and opened up a nasty wound to his scalp. Our in-village Ambo Barry ran home to get his Paramedic kit and applied first aid and wrapped his head in vinegar and brown paper. No not really but he did wrap the head in a swathe of bandages. The Ambulance arrived and the Paramedics commented that was the way a head wound should be dressed. Not bad considering Barry has been retired for more than a decade.

As the Ambulance was leaving via the back gate another was entering the front gate. Our oldest resident, Myrtle, who is 97 had a fall at home.

Eventually we got back into the game and my team lost. As usual.

Sunday 11th November

I was up at 5am and rode to the Broadwater then up and down the shared pathway beside water. What an absolutely magical place. Lots of people walking, jogging, cycling, scootering, pushing prams, wading in the water and swimming. I know I have said it before but I should get there more often.

Later in the morning we commemorated Remembrance Day at our Cenotaph.

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People arriving
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Getting ready for the 11am minute of silence, It was too hot for anybody to get dressed up…except Hardy and myself. I was dressed in All Black (No I am not a Kiwi) and my beret with regimental badge.

This year it was a bit unplanned, at least until the last moment but we still had 22 people attend.

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Barry, Wally, Louisa and Marilyn
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Graham assists our oldest male resident Wally.
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Wally raises the flag.

 

See you next week.

646. Sunday 4th November 2018. A quiet week, Donnis in Canada so I review years gone by…

Monday 29th October

Donnis flew out to Canada yesterday and I do not expect to hear from her for a day or two.

This date in 2011 we were in Mackay.

Up at first light for a walk around nearby The Gooseponds.

I noticed a strange fruit lying on the ground under an equally strange leaved tree. Another walker stopped to tell me she thought it was a Sausage Tree. What the…!!! Sausage Tree. Since childhood I always thought sausages were made by the butcher! A bit of research shows, in fact, it is a Sausage Tree. You would not want to eat the fruit which was very heavy and seems to have a skin as tough as Rhinoceros skin. The Google results explain better than me. http://waynesword.palomar.edu/sausage.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kigelia

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Sausage fruit tree

Tuesday 30th October.

Donnis has arrived in Calgary but jet lag has caught up with her.

This date in 2012 I was in Guyra NSW. I had only just arrived to take up house sitting duties.

The house I will start sitting duties in on Saturday was built somewhere around 1912 and had seen additions built on several times over the last 100 years. It was believed to be a haunted house, way back in 1921. See   http://weirdaustralia.com/2011/10/22/poltergeist-rocks-town-the-stone-throwing-ghost-of-guyra/

Hmmm! I am sleeping here, alone, for at least the next 4 weeks until Donnis returns. The current owners and their dog are quite comfortable and have had no weird experiences.

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View from haunted house at Guyra

Tuesday, quiet days just doin nuthin. Bonding with the dog Toto.

Went grocery shopping in Armidale. Nice town umm err city.

Wednesday 31st October

Donnis doing OK. Weather forecast tells me heatwave conditions will arrive for at least the next 5 days. My planned trip over the Great Dividing Range to Lamington National Park for photo opportunities has been put on hold until the weather cools or I find somebody foolish enough to join me.

This day in 2013 we were in Airlie Beach with what we thought was a brief 3 month sojourn. Little did we know our plans will change dramatically as the following comments show. We were camped at my sister Sandra’s house in Mackay.

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Shoal Point Sunset

Today was a slow day. We didn’t do nuffin” Well not quite. We did prepare WWWGO, TERIOS

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Terios and WWWGO at Boulder Creek.

and RALLYE

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My favourite Subaru Liberty AWD Rallye

for the trip to Airlie Beach.

I start work as a casual on Monday.

No, this is not the end of our travels. We will still have short trips, a bit like we did when we stayed at Culcairn NSW for three months in 2012. The work will allow us to finance some improvements to our houses and RALLYE and future longer travels in WWWGO.

Niece Jo-Elle, Shan’s daughter has been entered in a Barista competition. She was a little reluctant to attend as she thought she had no chance of winning. An excited Jo-Elle called Shan to say she had won! Woo Hoo Jo-Elle. Way to go girl. We have a champion Barista in our midst!

Thank you Shan for allowing us to set up camp at your house. We really appreciate spending time with you and the family. It was wonderful to have a friendly happy base in Mackay. In fact we have spent time with all three sisters and my brother over the last three years and we have enjoyed and appreciated the hospitality.

 

Thursday 1st November.

Today it was hot but nowhere near as hot as the forecasters led us to believe.

This day in 2014 we were in our village in Biggera Water.

I drove our Potential Buyer – of WWWGO – to the Coolangatta Airport for his flight home while Donnis attended a Tai Chi class. Tonight, while watching TV we heard two loud thumps on the wall outside the dining room window. I got a torch and shoes and went outside to investigate. Hmmm! A plant stand had been moved from the garden to under the window and a wheelie bin had been moved away from the window to make room for the plant stand. The plant stand had collapsed and fallen against the wall. Most likely from the weight of a person.

We have had an intruder!!! A prowler!!! A burglar casing the premises!!!

I walked two houses away to speak with the Home Owners Committee chairman. He was away but after I explained to his wife Julie what had happened she called security from the van park next door. Soon we had two men patrolling the streets. They also mentioned an intruder had been reported in the van park an hour before and they had a good description of the alleged perpetrator and this was passed to the Police. I joined the security guy in checking the fence line. Near the creek I was about to step on some rocks but decided to shine a torch on where I was about to step. Good thing I did as I almost trod on a snake. Although a Google search later showed it to be a non- venomous Childrens Python I am sure if I had trodden on the snake it would not have been happy and would have reacted. In turn I would not have been happy either.

Hmmm! An interesting night.

The intruder had stolen an Electric Outboard from a neighbor but being a silly criminal did not plan very well. He hoisted the motor onto the wall above our letter boxes where he thought nobody would see it. Security did see it so they and the Police waited. Sure enough within a short while the short on brains thief, returned, on the other side of the wall to collect his booty. Once he took the motor down the Police took him down too!

Friday 2nd November

It got hotter during the day so I stayed home and played photos with the several Facebook Photo Groups I am a member of.

On this day in 2015 we were at home in  Biggera Waters.

Donnis and I walked along the beach at The Broadwater.

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The Broadwater

During our walk we noticed what appeared to be a Cormorant (more commonly known in Oz as a Shag) and a Pelican, working together to catch fish. The Shag swam beside the Pelican then dived while the Pelican followed and suddenly dove its head underwater, returning with a beak of small fish. The Shag also surfaced with a small fish in its beak. This partnership went on for ages as we watched.

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Cormorant and Pelican working together.

In the evening, Iain, the son of long- time friend Greg T, arrived for the night. Greg who lives in Guyra has Parkinsons Disease and for the most part has been living in a dignified way with the terrible debilitating disease. Just recently he has been diagnosed with a form of fast acting Dementia and has been hospitalised. The hospital at Guyra has no facilities for such patients and transferred Greg to Armidale. They in turn have insufficient facilities and referred him to Tamworth. Now it seems they also have no bed and are referring Greg to Newcastle. This is terrible news as Armidale was only a half hour drive for the family. Tamworth on the other hand is a two hour drive whereas Newcastle is a five hour drive. We sure hope something can be sorted for the family.

Saturday 3rd November

Another hot day although nowhere near the record temperatures predicted. I had planned a walk along the surf beach but played lawn bowls instead.

On this day in 2016 I had nothing recorded in my diary notes. Nothing! Much the same as this year really.

Sunday 4th November

What can I say? Another hot day but so far none of the hot days has required air conditioning although I did turn on the fans.

On this day in 2017 we were at home preparing for the Melbourne Cup. Hmmm! We are doing the same this year.

Today we organised prize envelopes for each of the nine sweeps already completed and paid for. Tonight we discovered one of the favourite horses has been scratched.

Grrr! Now we have to re-do the prize envelopes and shift one person from each sweep into a new, as yet not fully subscribed sweep.

We also found our main catering and cooking person, Wayne, is in hospital with an infected foot from an injury last week. Hope all goes well for Wayne. Our fallback catering team of Marie and Lyn will take over the duties.

This year Wayne is doing ALL the catering for the Melbourne Cup. This year we bought some Bay Marie’s to keep the food hot for catering and serving.

 

645. Sunday 28th October 2018. Administration, Line Dancing, Rock and Roll lessons and the Co-Pilot flies out…

Monday 22nd October

Tony and Dawn left this morning.

An hour or so later Donnis said she had a medical appointment at Robina and would I drive her. Sure. After dropping her at the medico I went to the shopping centre as it was convenient to wait in air con and as well Doughnut King has a special of a cup of coffee and two doughnuts for $4. As I was walking in the centre, Tony and Dawn were walking out. What a coincidence. There are so many car parks attached to the centre and probably 20 different entrances. What are the odds of seeing them? They had decided to call in for some last minute shopping.

Hmmm! Rather interesting. We also bumped into Tony and Dawn at the end of August in the biggest shopping centre in Townsville. In that case we knew they had gone there but had expected they had left long before we arrived.

Table tennis tonight. Even with the AC turned on we still got a marvellous workout.

Tuesday 23rd October

Rock and Roll lessons tonight. Why Oh Why did I not learn to dance when I was younger? Our teachers are such patient people and what is a complicated series of steps to us is simple basics to them. Simple things like when and how to hold hands and when to release and how to place your feet in a simple 4 step beat. Although it all sounds simple and straight forward we finished the night feeling like we just had a workout at the gym.

Wednesday 24th October.

Another workout this morning with Line Dancing. I suppose the line dancing moves has also helped with the rock and roll lessons.

Sunday 28th October

Much of the intervening days has been filled with a good of nothing plus a generous amount of time planning.

Planning what???

I drove Donnis to the airport this morning. She has flown to Canada for a couple of months.

What can I say about this week other than what we usually do plus my new duties as Admininstrator of the US based Picture A Day Facebook Photo Group. I have a steep learning curve involving protocol, hierarchy, rules and group dynamics, vet, accept or decline potential new members. Oh yes, also have to review member photos and make comments.

Nice comments or sometimes ask members to withdraw photos which do not comply with rules. I suppose one day it will all be straight forward but for now it is time consuming.

It’s funny how I am involved in a photo group and have not had time to take photos this week.

644. Sunday 21st October 2018. Heavy rain, Tony and Dawn, Photo Surprise and Apple annoys me…grrr…

Monday 15th October

Rain. Heavy at times.

On this date in 2010. It was raining with a severe weather alert issued for more heavy rain, strong winds, lightning, thunder. Much the same as we have today.

Today, like in 2010 is a day to stay indoors and laze about.

Our new 75 inch smart tv arrived and has been hung on the wall at the clubhouse albeit without any connections to a DVD player, our six surround sound speakers nor internet connection or even basic Bluetooth. It arrived without an instruction book.

Hmmm. We have a steep learning curve ahead of us and I have waded in, sleeves rolled up and volunteered to sort it out.

Thursday 18th October

Once a month our Social Committee provides a morning tea get together. It is a bring a plate occasion where we also supply a birthday cake for those celebrating a birthday or couples an anniversary during the month. Often we arrange for an interesting guest speaker as well. Attendance has dropped off a little so this month we decided on a “breakfast” instead of morning tea or coffee. We charged $3 a head for a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages, tomato, mushrooms, toast and marmalade etc. As well we provided entertainment with a group of professional lady singers, dancers, actors, comediennes and entertainers. Lead lady is none other than Hazel Phillips known for her caberet style tv shows in the 70 and 80’s. No longer a spring chicken she still exudes style and ability to sing and handle a crowd. I included my fresh espresso coffee bar with help from another resident Shirley. The morning was a huge success which was almost a disaster when all the heating elements of several toasters, hot water urn, bay marie, coffee makers, stove, oven, pie warmer and electric frypan blew the fuses just as we turned on the AC. It looked like nothing would work until we reset the power after unplugging some of the equipment. The AC was needed desperately with the sun shining creating high humidity after overnight rain and about 60 people inside the clubhouse.

Friday 19th October

We went for a walk along the beach at The Broadwater. A large barge with a tractor and a digger arrived. 191018 bargeCouncil taped off an area where they will work. They are digging the inlet/outlet of the lagoon to allow the tidal water to flow freely at each change of tide.

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The owner of this catamaran did not realise the anger he caused by leaving the boat here, locked up, while he went away. Council had arranged to send in a big barge to carry out dredging works in this location. They had to work around the boat.
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Yes it is a catamaran although the length and breadth ratio is not good for a stable vessel. I was intrigued by what appears to be a home made anchor winch.
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Nice to know the Police patrol our waterways. Did you know if you lose your drivers licence you automatically lose your boat licence?
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All the paddle boards are tucked up on the little sand dun and padlocked to the fence.
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This is a classic case of the depth of keel far exceeds the depth of water under the keel. In cases like this a grounding is the result. Not a nice feeling if you are living aboard and sound asleep when you find the bottom. It is a good thing the bottom is sandy and not oyster encrusted rocks.
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This is the type of boat the Waterways Authority are concerned with. The rusting hulk is badly overloaded…among other problems.

Saturday 20th October

Our friends Tony and Dawn arrived on their way home in Port Macquarie from Mackay.

We made lots of crusty coated chicken for dinner. Including a glass or two of wine and a delightful dessert it was a wonderful evening with good friends.

Sunday 21st October

This morning I received a private Messenger invitation. I am a member of 9 Photographic sites worldwide. I try to post a photo to each site every day. One, Picture A Day is more helpful and friendlier than others. Unlike many Facebook sites, bad language and abusive and aggressive behaviour is not tolerated. Unlike some sites these conditions are enforced. I agree with the rules. When you are trying to showcase your photos, timely helpful advice and a sensible critique is sought and given. No negatives or making fun of a photo. So back to Messenger. It was an invite to join their Admin Team. Most of the Admin are based in USA and Canada with only one other from Australia. I was quite surprised and honoured with the invitation. I was so taken aback that I was unable to respond immediately. By tonight I had replied and said, YES. I was happy to say YES to this request unlike the Australian Government request a few months ago. Now I have to learn what Admin duties are and I am sure this will keep me busy most days.

While Donnis and Dawn spent time wandering around Harbourtown Shopping Centre, Tony and I drove to Robina Shopping Centre. We wanted to have a look at mobile phones as Tony’s old Apple can no longer be updated. It runs hot, needs charging daily and is slow. First I showed Tony how to round up sheep. Apple have released a new device of some sort so the sheep arrived in numbers at the new store in Robina. A man was casting from his iPad to a huge wall screen and teaching people who are young enough to know already, how to open Apps on an iPad. It seems Apple does not have an entry level phone or even a mid range phone. They only have phones near the top of the range which are expensive or phones which ARE the top of the range which are even more expensive. The cost is out of our league.

I have an ancient original release iPad which can no longer be updated and is unable to be used as an Internet search device. Apple could only offer to sell me a new device with the appropriate big price tag of course. My iPod Touch stopped working some years ago and was more expensive to fix. It was cheaper to buy a Smart Phone and have more facilities available to me. No way would I buy an Apple and all the road blocks and built in obslessence and an inability to add photos or music without having to open iTunes on my computer and import/sync from there. It seems in Apples eyes it is a crime to access iTunes from any computer other than the one you initially started with.

My old iPod Nano (or whatever the tiny device is called) also stopped working last month. I can no longer charge the battery.

Next we visited the Samsung store and a helpful young lady explained about the entry level phone, the mid range and top of the range phones all with a price tag to suit all budgets. We found a phone which suited Tony being in the right price bracket, is lighter but slightly bigger than his iPhone, has amazing battery life and short charging period and compared to his current phone is super fast. Now Tony is armed with lots of information to consider making a change OR not.

In the afternoon a huge summer storm rolled in dropping the temperature dramatically, lots of rain, wind, lightning and thunder. An hour later a brilliant sunset filled a cloudless sky.

Another great dinner with a couple of juicy fillet steaks.

Tomorrow Tony and Dawn leave for Port Macquarie.

642. Sunday 7th October 2018. Working on photo archives, photographing the Broadwater, World Parachute Championships and a wild Koala…

Friday 5th October

At first I thought, “I have not done anything this week”. Except, I have. The usual, table tennis and line dancing but I have spent a lot of time on the computer.

Firstly I have arranged many of my photos since 2007 in little folders of around 30 selected photos per folder. . One folder of 30 photos  are used in a presentation at an art meeting each Friday. Many of the photos have not been used in the blog before. It’s funny how looking back on those photos all these years later suddenly reveals something which did not catch my eye at the time.

As well I am a member of 8 different Facebook photo groups, some here in Australia and some overseas. I usually contribute a photo to each group every day. Each photo includes a name and usually a story that goes with it.

Today started fine and sunny but soon the predicted clouds rolled in, the wind picked up and the 30mm of rain looked certain to be a reality. I decided to drive to The Spit to take photos of the clouds over the sea and over the city. When almost at the Southport Bridge I noticed the big dark clouds huddled behind the city so I parked under the bridge and got creative.

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From Southport Bridge looking across two arms of the Nerang River.

Then I stopped at the fishing fleet wharf and created again.

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Prawn Trawler

It was then, I came to realise that something which was always there but I have not taken any notice of. The huge fenced off vacant land between the fishing fleet wharf and Sea World.

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This is only part of the huge plot of land the State Government will lease to the developer offering the best Integrated Resort Development.

Today I discovered this is Crown Land and the State Government has called for submissions for an Integrated Resort Development (whatever that means) on the site. The State Government already leases surrounding Crown Land to Village Roadshow (Sea World), Marina Mirage, Palazzo Versace and the Southport Yacht Club. Currently the mostly open land but with some trees on the shoreline is supposedly vacant.

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Across the Broadwater to Southport.
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Looking across the Broadwater to Labrador and those rain clouds teasing us.

People in campervans and pop tops and even people in tents erected under the trees are living there. Illegally of course. They all have multi- million dollar views – for free.

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Most of the fishing fleet is in port, probably because of the predicted bad weather and heavy rain which has so far not happened.
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Looking across the Broadwater from the fishing fleet jetties to Southport framed through a pair of Casuarina trees.

Many people live aboard their yachts, catamarans and houseboats in the water around the vacant site.

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A well fitted out permanent live aboard houseboat with Southport in the background. Those wonderful black rain clouds are promising much but delivering nothing.

Technically they can anchor here for up to 6 days but must then move on. Across the Broadwater is an approved anchorage of 24 hours before you must move. Boaties then move back to somewhere along the Spit for another 6 days. At least the boaties are monitored and controlled by Gold Coast Waterways Authority who send drones into the area to count and plot location of boats every day. The boaties must comply with a raft of regulations to stay in the area. One such regulation is the boat must have a waste water holding tank. The free campers have no controls or restrictions or sanitary waste collection and disposal. One boatie I spoke with has been in the area for 6 years and does the boat shuffle every week.

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This plastic dinghy had the outboard motor stolen a few weeks ago while the owner was doing volunteer work. Strangely the thief left the electric outboard. The battery is charged by the solar panel.
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A live aboard Tri Maran with the own er heading home.

The only drawback is the daily helicopter flights taking off and landing at Sea World every three minutes. It will be interesting to see what happens to these flights when the government approves and building of an IRD is completed.

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Across the Broadwater to Australia Fair Shopping Centre.

The promised rain, apart from a few valiant itinerant drops, failed to arrive.

I have a confession to make. Today I changed the “Scene” settings on the camera but left it in “scene” mode instead of switching back to Intelligent Auto or full manual. All 73 photos were taken in “Settings” mode so the usual default auto light, aperture, ISO  and f stop settings were not working. All the photos had a washed out almost pastel shades with insipid presentation, I had to use a photo editing App to put some colour back into the photos.

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More Broadwater views. This area has delightful clean sandy beaches.

Saturday 6th October.

Heavy rain or at least constant rain was predicted for today. It seems to be following a pattern. Rain is predicted but does not arrive.

The World Parachuting Championships kicked off today with a demo of mass jumpers landing on the beach at Surfers Paradise. It seems the rain which did not arrive was a bonus for the organisers. There are 46 nations attending and some big names and big talent will be here.

Sunday 7th October

The Drop Zone for the Championships is at Runaway Bay Sports Complex about 3 Klms from home. The small Southport Flying Club air strip will be used to ferry jumpers into the sky. It is about 2 Klms from home.

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This was a classy touchdown.

I drove to Runaway Bay and watched constant streams of people jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.

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Coming down on an angle at speed.
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Gently does it.

Some jumpers do 360 degree loops on their way down.

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You get a stiff neck always looking up for a jumpers when a trio sneaks in without you seeing them.

Some come in at amazing speed on an angle and suddenly they are on the ground and a few steps later are rolling up the parachute.

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Yay! Glad to be on the ground again and congratulating each other.

Others drop so fast almost vertically that you think they will surely crash when at the last moment they pull up quickly and also within a few paces they are on solid ground. I watched one jumper who seemed to just linger longer in the air than anybody else. The other jumpers stopped to watch somebody who is very good. The person seemed to float like a feather and landed so lightly they only took one step and was then rolling up their chute.

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Once landed jumpers are taken via golf buggy to a check in station to confirm their jump and then rest or get ready to catch a bus to the airstrip.

Later I drove to the airport to watch the drop planes arrive and depart.

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The jumper plane flies low over an access road to the airstrip.
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The jump plane is in the air quickly using only a third of the runway.
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Eager jumpers ready to board their jumper plane.

The small private road had a sign warning there was a Koala in the area. I was mighty chuffed to find the Koala within moments and there was nobody else around to share the discovery.

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My exciting Koala find.

It was high in a gum tree, Trying to photograph on hand held full zoom is difficult to hold the camera 100% steady so some lack of sharpness occurs. Regardless it was quite an exciting day to see a Koala and even better one who moved around as well and was aware of me.