336. Sunday 29th September 2013. We arrive in Noosa and the fireworks begin…

Monday 23rd September

Up early for my usual exercise except this morning when I went to walk on the beach I started jogging. Yeah! It felt good. Better even than a walk along the beach. There was a cold wind blowing out of the south east but I was soon warmed by the jogging.

After breakfast we drove Alecia to Brisbane for her flight to Sydney. But first, a side visit to her aunt uncle and cousins. She has not seen them for at least a decade and it has been longer since Donnis has seen them.

Then it was on to the airport drop Alecia and head back to the Gold Coast. On reflection it would seem like a no activity day but we were both worn out by the time had dinner.

Tuesday 24th September

We were on the road by 10am and joined the M1 to travel about 234 Klms north to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Somehow I missed the Sunshine Coast Motorway exit but turned at Yandina and followed a road through the pretty Yandina Valley to Coolum Beach and instead of joining the Sunshine Coast Motorway we followed the coastal road through to Noosa Heads.

We parked in the street outside sister Enid’s house and joined her husband Ken for lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing. This will be our home for the next 12 days or more.

The television reception on their TV was constantly dropping in and out, probably due to the strong winds or more likely a weak tuner in the TV or even a combination of the two. We installed our Dick Smith special set top box and viola there was a strong TV signal with no dropouts. Problem solved, they need a set top box to boost the signal to their TV.

Wednesday 25th September

Ken took us to Sunshine Beach in the morning. By 9am it was quite hot. The type of hot which turns the sand into a bed of hot coals and walking on the sand becomes a series of ouch ouch ouches! We had our first of the season venture into the surf. In fact it was more of a struggle against the undertow and the rip (cross current) than a surf. The water was too deep for the waves to break well enough for a surf.

A group of young people, about 300 of them, looking happy and expectant of the day’s activities, came trudging along the beach. We guess they may belong to a church youth group as they all wore different coloured T-shirts with the same logo.

Shortly after the group passed by, a couple of whales cruised by about 300 metres offshore. They were easy to see as a large and a smaller whale, probably mother and calf.

Thursday 26th September

We took Ken to Cooroy at midday to catch a train to Gladstone where he will be working for the next three weeks. At sunset Donnis and I walked along Noosa Beach. It was our first day of relaxation.

These street light covers are made from cast bronze and are created in the shape of an iconic dried Banksia cone.

These street light covers are made from cast bronze and are created in the shape of an iconic dried Banksia cone.

A lady named May Gibbs wrote and illustrated a series of books about the adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Gumnut babies. The first book was published in 1918 and the last 1949. As a child my mother read the stories to me. In turn I read the stories to my children. The books are still favourites and still available today. The books have villians, the Banksia Men. These men are modelled on the dried pods of the giant Banksia flower. See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snugglepot_and_Cuddlepie and http://www.bookworld.com.au/book/the-complete-adventures-of-snugglepot-and-cuddlepie/3438727/

A lady named May Gibbs wrote and illustrated a series of books about the adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Gumnut babies. The first book was published in 1918 and the last 1949. As a child my mother read the stories to me. In turn I read the stories to my children. The books are still favourites and still available today. The books have villians, the Banksia Men. These men are modelled on the dried pods of the giant Banksia flower. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snugglepot_and_Cuddlepie and http://www.bookworld.com.au/book/the-complete-adventures-of-snugglepot-and-cuddlepie/3438727/

A dry Banksia cone.

A dry Banksia cone.

Friday 27th September

The CO-PILOT had an acupuncturist appointment at Kawana this afternoon. As the trip is around 100Klm return we visited friends Joan and George who live in  a retirement village on Kawana Island.

Saturday 28th September.

This is the day we have been planning for around three months. The culmination of the Brisbane Festival, RiverFire,  http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/as-brisbane-gears-up-for-riverfire-2013-plan-your-best-viewing-spot/story-fnihsrf2-1226727722861 was our destination today.   https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151599153332522    The return trip by road was 310 klms and we arrived home just after midnight, on the last of our stay awake energy. We were booked on the MV “MORETON ESCAPE” for a 7 hour cruise on Brisbane River.

This was our transport for the evening. The boat came right up onto the beach and we stepped aboard.

This was our transport for the evening. The boat came right up onto the beach and we stepped aboard.

Pre- dinner snacks is served.

Pre- dinner snacks is served.

The vessel is a car ferry with a smallish air conditioned passenger lounge and several open air decks plus of course the car deck where most of the passengers, the entertainment and the food was served. It carries a maximum of 300 passengers. The cruise included snacks, dinner, a band and solo entertainers. The cruise along the river was slow and peaceful while we saw crowds building up along the shore.

The "PACIFIC DAWN" has a tugboat at bow and stern ready to move it out into mid stream. By the time it got underway the passengers would not have seen the fireworks. Incidentally those little dots along the top deck are passengers.

The “PACIFIC DAWN” has a tugboat at bow and stern ready to move it out into mid stream. By the time it got underway the passengers would not have seen the fireworks. Incidentally those little dots along the top deck are passengers.

Surprisingly, although it should not have been surprising, this huge vessel anchored at the shortest reach of the river at one of our favourite Brisbane locations, Kangaroo Point.

This flotilla of boats, large and small was constantly being enlarged by the arrival of even more boats for the final hour up until the fireworks began.

This flotilla of boats, large and small was constantly being enlarged by the arrival of even more boats for the final hour up until the fireworks began.

We were in sight of two of these fireworks barges several of which were located on the river. A larger barge in front of SouthBank was control central while other fireworks locfations were atop the tallest city buildings and across the Story Bridge.

We were in sight of two of these fireworks barges several of which were located on the river. A larger barge in front of SouthBank was control central while other fireworks locations were atop the tallest city buildings and across the Story Bridge.

The Blackhawk helicopters were awesome, hoveringh over the river sending sprays of water over boat and shoreside spectators.

The Blackhawk helicopters were awesome, hoveringh over the river sending sprays of water over boat and shoreside spectators.

See the spray?

See the spray?

From here we could see two fireworks barges, the Story Bridge and several of the tallest Brisbane buildings from which co-ordinated fireworks would be fired. During the trip RAAF Blackhawk helicopters buzzed the river which by now was a traffic jam of small and large craft anchored waiting for the spectacular. The choppers came in low over the water and sent a spray of water over passengers and people on the shore. Then a pair of RAAF Super Hornets flew over the city and along the river. The precision flying was announced by the noise of the aircraft flying so fast that by the time we heard them they were past us.

Another of the many passenger boats with happy  tourists.

Another of the many passenger boats with happy tourists.

This is the Kookaburra Queen. The 3 hour cruise for the lower decks was $185 while the top deck was $220.

This is the Kookaburra Queen. The 3 hour cruise for the lower decks was $185 while the top deck was $220.

Chopper and paddlewheeler.

Chopper and paddlewheeler.

The Police launch, “BRETT HANDRAN” cruised by, slowly and so close you could see the people on board and gasp, gasp, what the? Was that, surely not, could it really be? Centre deck and all officers a respectable distance away from what appeared to be, HRH Prince Harry. Now we knew Harry is coming to OZ for a visit but we did not know he was already here. Hmmm! On checking Google, Harry is not expected to visit OZ until October so who was that look alike with the same HRH mannerisms and dressed in battle dress standing on the bridge?

Police Launch with "Harry" aboard.

Police Launch with “Harry” aboard.

We dined on the lower car deck and listened to the excellent entertainers

One of several entertainers on the night.

One of several entertainers on the night.

Waiting for the signal for RiverFire to begin.

Waiting for the signal for RiverFire to begin.

then as the sky darkened when at 7pm a lone Super Hornet blasted its way across the city and along the river dropping starburst fireworks from the fuselage and the 20 minute fireworks spectacular began.

The firts of twenty minutes of fireworks.

The first of twenty minutes of fireworks.

Gasp! Where to look? From our vantage point on the top deck we could look in several directions and watch the show.280913 fireworks4 280913 fireworks3

This view of the fireworks is looking over the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and the Queensland University of Technology. It appears to be on fire.

This view of the fireworks is looking over the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and the Queensland University of Technology. It appears to be on fire.

Each direction, although co-ordinated, had a slightly different show in pauses of the main spectacular. The finale was just awesome and extracted a huge round of applause from the boats and the half million people strung out along the river banks and along high rise apartments.

Fireworks from barge and buildings were co-ordinated.

Fireworks from barge and buildings were co-ordinated.

Whew! Wow! This was what we planned and paid only $85 to enjoy. The weather started out with rain in the morning but turned into a brilliant afternoon and night.

The Story Bridge lit up with LED lights which change in a routine which can be set to almost any colour in the spectrum.

The Story Bridge lit up with LED lights which change in a routine which can be set to almost any colour in the spectrum.

The weather was mild enough to not require a jacket. The passengers, young and old also enjoyed the entertainers on the car deck especially as we were arriving at our landing place as two women singers sang I Still Call Australia Home. The performance raised the hair on the back of my neck. I do not know who any of the performers were but they were top class and held the audience spellbound. Also holding us spellbound was the skippers intricate manouvering of the huge vessel through a bevy of small boats anchored in stupid positions just off the access beach. The skipper got a huge round of applause as well.

What a night!

Sunday 29th September

Can you believe we slept in???

Well, at least until 7am.

We took a stroll to the Noosa Sunday morning Farmers Market where we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a muffin made with non-wheat products. I would have been quite happy with a wheat and gluten product at half the price but we have to experience these things. I am always amazed at these places which sell “alternate’ products or sell “organic” produce which looks like the bugs got to the fruit first, or the growth is stunted and then they charge twice the price!

The morning was hot, around 32° but by lunchtime the clouds began to roll in and thunder rumbled before rain began and the temp dropped to 15° in an hour.

Hmmm! The trip to the beach was cancelled and we spent time watching TV. (and falling asleep…still tired from the late night

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