Back to the good old days when we have lots of photos to share.
Monday 3rd October
Today, for something different I walked around the park at the Biggera Creek end of our village.
We have a strong population of many kinds of birds who live on or around the property. A large family of ducks is produced each year.
Several fly off but mamma and poppa produce at least ten new ducklings each year. They quite often walk in a group along our street.
A pair of stupid Masked Lapwings (more commonly called a Plover) have made a nest in the short grass of the park. They had started a nest earlier but the gardeners had covered the nest on the ground with soil and grass cuttings to encourage grass growth. Undeterred the birds started a new nest. They have two eggs. Both take turns sitting on the nest or defending against intruders. The birds have a viscous spur on each wing and they will swoop and screech to move you away. If you do not move they will dive bomb and use the spur if necessary.
Magpies are also very protective of their nest although for most of the year they are pleasant company.
live here as do a family of Lorikeets. A pair of Oyster Catchers has moved in also. One has a foot severed and walks with a limp.
Noisy Minahs, Butcherbirds, Willy Wagtails, Magpie larks, Currawongs, Honeyeaters of all descriptions, Friarbirds, Kookaburra’s, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Herons, Egrets and Ibis are seen here regularly.
Wednesday 5th October.
Whenever we travel we have a planned optimum departure time …8am, an expected departure time…9am and a most likely worst case scenario departure time…10am. Usually it works out to be worst case. Today we were on the road between optimum and expected. We must have set a new record. Cruising along the M1 at 110 Kph I thought what a lovely day. Then suddenly we were part of a crawl of traffic. As soon as we managed to get moving again we encountered roadworks. Dozens of them in fact. What started as a pleasant 4 hour drive turned to a 6.5 hour drive. We stopped at Urangan for the night. Urangan is a suburb of the Hervey Bay area. Hervey Bay continues to grow and spread across the land. It seems many retirees live here and for good reason. The climate is comfortable, the fishing is good and there is plenty of shopping, dentists, doctors, hospitals, clubs, coffee shops and restaurants. What more do you need?
We took a walk around Urangan Pier.
It was built between 1913 and 1917 for the purpose of exporting sugar, timber and coal. The original length was 1107 metres and was sturdily built for the train hauling goods to waiting ships. In 1985 the pier was closed and 239 metres of a dog leg section of the pier was removed. The pier was handed to the local council. The train tracks were removed, another 220 metres was added to its length and opened to the public. Today it is an invigorating walk to the end and fishing rod holders are installed along its length with fish cleaning stations dotted in a few places. Local fishermen just love it.
An interesting feature along the foreshore walk is a waterproof concrete seawall. The wall was built to keep King tides and tidal surges from crossing into nearby houses and businesses. Even the stairway to the beach is built in such a way as you have to walk up steps to the height of the seawall before stepping down to the beach.
We took time to walk around the Great Sandy Straits Marina. One interesting feature on a marina deck is an old whale harpoon gun.
There was once a whaling station on this stretch of coast. This gun is about all that is left. These days whale watching tours is one of the big drawcards operating out of the marina.
The reason for being here was to meet my friend Les A. We have not seen each other since second year of high school…57 years ago. We re-connected when I joined Facebook a few months ago. Over a couple of beers and dinner Les and I tried to fill in the missing gaps in our lives while Donnis talked with Les partner Lyn. The night was filled with many “do you remember when” questions. I really enjoyed catching up with Les and meshing our memories. Donnis and Lyn noted that we must have been a pair of mischievous kids getting into trouble. It was all just boyish enthusiasm and exploration in the Sydney suburb of Balmain. In those days we could just about go anywhere provided we were home for dinner.
One strong memory was when we were 12 and had just received our first push bikes. We rode from Balmain to Lane Cove National Park, a distance of 16 Klms…just because we could. Then we rode around the park and home again.
Thanks for the meet up Les. I hope we can do it again soon.
Thursday 6th October
Before leaving Hervey Bay we called in to visit Les & Lyn. We were away by close to the “worst case scenario” time mentioned yesterday. We had the usual toilet, fuel and food stops along the way. We stopped at Childers for a late coffee break. Childers is the site where in 2000 a fire at the backpackers hostel killed 15 people. The fire was deliberately lit and the offender was sentenced to life imprisonment. Over the years we have driven through or stopped at Childers and the fire is always discussed. It was a tragic event. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Childers_Palace_Backpackers_Hostel_fire
The 10 hour journey saw us stop at Miriam Vale for lunch, fuel at Rockhampton and a final rest stop at Clairview on the ocean as the sun was setting behind the beach.
It was well and truly dark when we arrived at the Eimeo home of Sandy and Dave who were kind enough to delay dinner until we arrived at 7.30pm.
Bed was a real welcome.
Friday 7th October
A lazy day in the cool of Sandi’s house. Today as soon as we walked outside, the heat hit us like a slap in the face. It was a not too subtle reminder of why we left the heat of the tropics to live on the Gold Coast. While outside it was stinky hot, inside it was cool with a sea breeze wafting through the house. In the evening we visited with my daughter Averyl and grandchildren Shelby-Rose and Anakin.
Saturday 8th October
We joined Sandi for a coffee at Woodmans Axe a popular funky coffee shop which seem to be all the rage around towns and cities these days. Make the ordering process complicated and slow, make the surroundings noisy, the seating uncomfortable and serve the coffee luke warm and you have a winner. The man who started this shop now has several open or in the process of opening in Brisbane and Townsville. http://www.woodmansaxe.com/ Sandi likes her coffee but her daughter Jo-Elle works here.
We then joined sister Enid at the Mackay Lagoons a free family friendly water park near the city centre. Also present was niece Kelly and her two children Cooper and Oliver. In the afternoon we collected Anakin and went to the Mackay Showgrounds to have a look at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Fair. Anakin, Donnis and I joined the African Drumming Group for a few sessions of thumping good fun. No mental health issues here. https://www.facebook.com/Mackay-African-Drumming-793908574008366/
When night fell we drove to Mackay Harbour for a walk around the breakwater.
Sunday 9th October
Niece Kelly offered her home for us to have a family get together today.
Each family took a dish or two which ensured a wonderful barbecue lunch with lots of side dishes, desserts and cheeses.
The two young boys, Cooper and Oliver called Donnis and I their friends and wanted us to play with them. That was rather flattering as there is a huge difference in their ages and mine.
In the later afternoon we walked across the street to Bucasia Beach where the two boys threw themselves into the water and chased Donnis around trying to splash her. Sandra also threw herself into the warm tropical waters.
It was a great afternoon spent with lots of family members including my daughter Averyl and her two children, sister Enid with her two children and four grandchildren and sister Sandra and her daughter.