Monday 28th October.
Good golly Miss Mollie!!!
It was another hot day and the threatening rain clouds at 5.30 am produced no rain.
At 9am our Mackay Real Estate agent arranged for us to have a look through our house at Shoal Point.
The first thing we noticed was the broken timber slat venetian blinds on four windows. We also found the towel rails in both bathrooms had been knocked off the walls. The shower rose in one bathroom was broken and on the shower floor. Some of the curtains were showing signs of wear and some of our quartz halogen down lights had been replaced by fluorescent globes and some globes have blown. Finally the kitchen range hood is falling out of its fitting.
&%^$#@ hell! The managing agent is supposed to tell us about items needing repair or replacement.
We went to Bunnings where we bought a curtain rod then visited Spotlight where we bought a set of block out curtains and returned to the house. We took down the broken venetian blinds, installed blackout curtains in the master bedroom and re-attached towel rails in both bathrooms and arranged for an electrician to sort out the light fittings and install a new range hood in the kitchen. We were so impressed with the block out curtains we drove back to Spotlight where we bought more curtains, a set of aluminum venetians and at Bunnings we found the shower head we forgot on the first visit. Then it was back to the house, install the shower head, the two sets of curtains and the venetians. When finished with those tasks I then adjusted the self-closer on the security screen and we finished our day after dark.
Today deserved a beer!!!
Tuesday 29th October
We went back to the house to finish the block out curtains and review items of concern then sent a rocket email telling the agent we are unhappy with what they have not done.
We went for a walk to our beach…Bucasia… and met three retired gents with their BloKarts http://www.blokart.com.au/ We had a conversation about how much fun they have riding the beach in their karts.
In the afternoon we took the Subaru for a drive to Shoal Point to watch the sunset. I think at this point I should mention our beaches. Firstly the beaches of Bucasia and Shoal Point are not like the beaches at say, The Gold Coast or Bondi. The Gold Coast and Bondi beaches are cleaned every morning. The sand is swept up where it is homogenized, pasteurized, vacuumed, swept, cleaned and respread in a whiter than white soft powdery sand with nothing to show the passage of tide, weather, people or time. Our local beaches on the other hand are as nature presents them, including wind-blown leaves and grass and tide deposited seaweed, shells, dead fish and other sea life along with flotsam and jetsam of the everyday life of the sea. They are honest to goodness beaches with hard packed sand along with a mix of muddy sand from nearby creek systems. In many cases, last night’s footprints and yesterday’s sand castles are still intact.
Just before we went on our drive to Shoal Point I checked my mobile phone, which, as often happens, I put it down and do something else. Of course I always miss a call. This is the call I have been waiting on since Saturday. I have been waiting on this call and an email with an employment offer formal agreement. Now we have the agreement and a confirmed start date we have decided to hit the road on Thursday with Flame Tree Village as our destination. I will write more about Flame Tree later.
On our walk we met an elderly retired couple. Hmmm! Some people might say WE are an elderly retired couple but I would respond by saying “We resemble that comment.” Umm Err should that be “we resent that comment?” The retired couple bought a house on a bend of land at Shoal Point thirty years ago from a builder who was going through the final stages of a Riches to Rags lifestyle. I recall the house thirty years ago when it was still owned by the builder and he kept his seaplane in his yard, tied to a palm tree. All he needed to do was untie, turn the plane around, start the motor, taxi to the water and he was away. He also kept his yacht at Mackay Harbour. He sailed around the world twice in that yacht, the voyages taking seven years. We sat on log chairs around a log table made from a Melalueca tree which a neighbor cut down earlier this year. Sacrilege I say, a crime against nature but at least some of the tree was saved and still serving a useful purpose.
Once more we arrived home after dark.
Wednesday 30th October
Today was a slow day. We didn’t do nuffin” Well not quite. We did prepare WWWGO, TERIOS and 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 31st October.
Hmmm! Tonight will be Halloween and it is a good thing we will not be in the burbs when all the trick and treating is underway.
We left Shan’s house before noon and drove to Airlie Beach in the middle of a stinking hot and humid day. We drove through Airlie Beach, over a steep spur of the Conway Range and down the other side on the way to Shute Harbour. We have booked into the Flametree TouristVillage. http://www.flametreevillage.com.au/caravans.php
The caravan park is owned by a workmate from 40 years ago, Joe Browne and his wife and son and daughter. The park was a bit run down when they bought it but over the last 10 years they have sunk lots of blood, sweat, tears and money into the location. It is a little way out of Airlie and there is nothing of significance nearby…except the Whitsunday Airport which runs beside the park boundary.
http://www.whitsundayairport.com/ The airport services lots of private planes, commercial small planes to the nearby islands and skydiving adventures plus is a helicopter training airport. All activity is over by 6pm and does not start until 7am so we will not be bothered at night. The park is set amongst a wet season creek meandering through rainforest. It is very pleasant has a “real” atmosphere instead of a sanitised sameness found in chain van parks.
Friday 1st November
It was overcast and hot when I woke and did my daily walk and exercises. During the morning the temperature rose above 31°. We met old friends, Ros and Lok S. They once had a hydroponic lettuce farm and supplied most of the restaurants in the area. Last year Ros developed cancer and her chemotherapy required the two of them to spend 6 months in Townsville. The business was shut down and Ros has won through and is in remission. They are now retired.
The cloud built during the morning and rain began after lunch. The temp dropped to 27° and the wind swung from the north east to the south east. The ground around the area is so dry from many months without rain. Within an hour the hard, brittle, brown dry grass was turning soft underfoot. Perhaps we are now coming out of the dry season and entering the wet season.
We have forgotten what summer in the tropics, in fact life in the tropics, is all about.
In the tropics summer is always between 32° and 35° every day.
Humidity runs between 75% to 97% and even 100%.
For 9 months of the year you always know what to wear. The remaining three months we know to take a jacket in case it cools off in the evening.
Winter is cold for about 3 consecutive days and then it is spring for the next 4 months.
The rest of the time is summer!
Saturday 2nd November
Donnis joined Ros and Lok for much of the day. I used the time to erect lots of shade cloth around WWWGO.
The extra shade is handy because our outside table and chairs can be in shade and any breeze is cooled before it reaches the table. We feel we have our own little piece of The Whitsundays and we are in such a nice place. The sun came out before lunch and the afternoon became just a beautiful blue sky without a cloud and a light breeze keeping us comfortable.
While Donnis was away I received a call from her sister Linda who is currently in Hong Kong. Their cousin Wendy had a massive brain aneurism this morning and is in Vancouver Canada hospital and not expected to live. I broke the news to Donnis when she returned.
Sunday 3rd November
Another bright sunny day of 32°.
Mid morning we stopped to have a look at a new path along Airlie Creek.Track. We noted the track is rated 1, 2,3 and 4. Donnis did not wear appropriate shoes and by the end of the rated 2 track we realised she would not be able to continue.
As well we were not prepared for heat of the mostly open grassland with little shade from trees. We also did not bring any water. We plan to do this walk another day, preferably early morning or late afternoon with correct shoes and plenty of water. We also visited a new lookout built at one end of the main street and which overlooks Pioneer Bay.
We stopped at the shopping centre to buy some LPG and a few groceries. On the way into the centre we met Glen Patulo the former mayor of Proserpine, the Shire Council which includes Airlie Beach. Later in the centre we spoke with Henry and his wife. They were both Outrigger Canoe competitors in the days when we all thought physical punishment of our bodies was fun. Henry was born on the island of Hawaii but grew up in Tahiti and was always a fierce outrigger competitor. Donnis lived in the Whitsundays for 27 years while I lived here for 13 years. It seems every day we bump into somebody we know and in a town of around 8,000 people it is not difficult to know many of them. Most of the day we just relaxed around camp, talking with neighbours departing and new neighbours arriving. In the afternoon we had a swim in the pool.
In the afternoon we received a call from Donnis other sister, Joan. Wendy died earlier today. This is a terrible bit of news and doubly so as Donnis best friend since childhood, Darlene, also died of an aneurism in March this year.
Rest in Peace Wendy.