Monday 14th October
Another blistering hot day with high humidity. Hmmm! Perhaps blisteringly hot is not an apt description. 31° is not hot compared to other places around the state but nonetheless any more than a few minutes in the direct sunlight sure makes a scant piece of shade look attractive. After three days in the tropics we have found the heat and humidity just a bit overbearing. How did we manage to live here so long?
In the early evening Donnis boarded a Greyhound bus bound for Airlie Beach. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airlie_Beach,_Queensland She had called her friend Karen to say she would visit on Wednesday but Karen is leaving on Wednesday. So… the bus trip is to give them time to catch up.
Tuesday 15th October
I saw doctor Chris whom I have known since 1987 and who was part of my squash team way back in those days when I was an “athlete”!!! Chris re-confirmed I have a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage of the eye and it will gradually disappear over the next week or two. He also burned a skin cancer off my left shoulder.
Wednesday 16th October
Another hot and sweaty day. How did we put up with this humidity for so many years? Will we be able to cope as summer approaches.
I drove to Airlie Beach and met with Donnis. We then saw our tax agent and finally completed our tax returns with two weeks before the closing date.
We stopped at a shopping centre for a coffee and within minutes of leaving the car Donnis met and stopped to talk with people she knows. While she was talking some motorhome friends, John and Lorraine S walked by.
Then we had an appointment with the real estate agent at our house. Gasp shock horror! No wonder the house has not sold! Our tenants can best be described as “hoarders” and filled all the front, back and side yards with broken down cars, boats and motorcycles. It looks like a junk yard!!! The house presentation is so disappointing I could not even stop to think about taking photos.
The other reason for being here was to drop off some accumulated weighty things we have been carrying around for three years and which we have never used or no longer need.
We also caught up with next door neighbour Stan W and then visited a friend from Spain, Julia and her two children. After that visit we went back to Karens house on the hill above Cannonvale. Karen has gone to Townsville and kindly offered her house for our use.
When we married on 28th February 2010 we used Karens house as a base for a reception.
Thursday 17th October
We woke to a crisp morning in the beautiful Whitsundays in the house on the hill overlooking Pioneer Bay. After breakfast we locked the house and drove to Cannonvale Beach
where Donnis had decided to carry out a farewell ceremony. She has been carrying the ashes of her lifelong friend Darlene who died earlier this year. Darlene had always planned to visit Donnis in Airlie Beach but never did. We held a little farewell ceremony on the rocks overlooking the bay. By coincidence the iconic Tall Ship, the schooner Whitsunday Magic was aground on a sandbar just a few hundred metres offshore. It had run aground in a storm in May this year. http://www.whitsundaytimes.com.au/news/whitsunday-icon-loses-her-magic/1772209/ (this vessel is one which I organised insurance for in my past occupation. It is sad to see it come to such a tragic end)
I heard more of the story from staff at Oceanic Marine Risks. It seems a wealthy businessman from Brisbane bought the boat to turn it into a cruising restaurant on the Brisbane River. The boat was at the Shute Harbour jetty being prepared for the voyage when it sank during a wild storm in January. The boat was salvaged and moved to a mooring at Cannonvale because in the interim the businessman was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Once more the boat was readied and during another wild storm in May, dragged anchor and ran aground and has been there ever since. Harbours and Marine issued orders to move the vessel but the owner has other problems on his mind. The diesel and oil have been removed while negotiations about its ultimate fate are sorted. In the meantime every day and every tide and every storm are doing more and more damage.
Donnis chose this location to scatter Darlenes ashes into the Coral Sea because:
Darlene had always wanted to visit this area.
The beach, particularly the rocks is a special place for Donnis as she often came here to sit in peaceful solitude.
We were married on the beach.
The final resting place of the schooner seemed a poignant symbolism that it is also Darlenes final resting place in Oz.
This is a beautiful place.
After the ceremonial scattering of ashes
we visited Oceanic Marine Risks, my old employer where I was chuffed to have Simone squeal with delight and run across the office to give me a hug. I caught up with the remainder of the staff including Maria the managing director.
Next we visited John and Lorraine S who we bumped into yesterday then drove the nursing home at Proserpine to visit George a past aged care patient of Donnis who has been following our adventures for the past three years.
Finally we made it back to Sandra’s house tired but really happy we packed so much into the last two days.
Friday 18th October
Tonight we took grandson Anakin to the movies to see the 3D version of Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. We have seen several 3D movies and we think this one is up there with Avatar…not as good but way out in front of the others we have seen. If you get a chance, go and see it.
Saturday 19th October
We are freedom camping with our home CMCA Chapter, The Sugarloafers, at Boulder Creek, about 30 Klms north of Mackay.
Dinner was a finger food pot luck where each rig brought something to the table. There was plenty of food but old Wally and wife Joan probably went to the most trouble cooking fresh caught Mackeral and chips. As usual Donnis made too much, especially Sushi which she was surprised to find all these retired type people are not altogether culinary explorers or adventurers. (We had lots of sushi, marinated chicken wings, three banana cakes and an apple pie as leftovers for the next few days)This camp site has enough room to hold around 30 rigs. A local cane farmer has a wire haired terrier dog called Rex. Rex greets every new arrival with a sort of whimpering impersonation of speech and hangs around camp waiting for a handout. The owner comes to camp and collects Rex to take him home. Half an hour later Rex is back in camp again. Rex greeted us when we arrived and we watched him as he greeted later arrivals. The number of campers Rex has greeted in his lifetime must be astronomical. Every camper had a Rex story to tell.
Sunday 20th October
It rained, heavily but briefly, during the night. I leapt out of bed to close the roof hatch and the door. It was then I noticed good ole Rex asleep on our camp recliner. During the morning the Sugarloafers had a mid morning smoko
followed by a meeting and by 11.30 they had all departed – except for John and Lorraine S. Although almost all the Sugarloafers are retired and have nowhere special or urgent waiting for them at home, it seems they needed to be home for some reason.
Donnis and John had another swim in the chilly fresh water of Boulder Creek
before we had a dinner of leftovers from the night before…lots of smoked salmon sushi and cold chicken wings.
This is a delightful place to camp, even if I have said so before.
PS. My bloody eye has cleared.