342. Sunday 10th November 2013. Back in The Whitsunday’s, working, sky diving, Funnel Bay and Shute Harbour…

Monday 4th November

Today was Frank’s first work day. Five hours went by so quickly despite me still trying to remember how to use the various systems. I only managed to 90% complete one file and 50% complete another two. All three will be finished tomorrow.

Sigh!

I could not expect to just jump in and start work as if three years of retirement had not happened. Still I am comfortable with what I have achieved and will build on that tomorrow and over the coming days and weeks.

Tuesday 5th November

Melbourne Cup Day. “The race that stops a nation”   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_Cup   For our overseas readers I should explain that people who normally do not take any notice of a horse race, suddenly read the form guide and must be sitting before a TV to watch the big event. People who do not gamble suddenly become experts on race horses and bet at the local TAB (https://www.tab.com.au/#!/nsw ) and enter as many sweeps  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_Cup_Sweeps  as they can find, in fact if there are no sweeps these mild mannered non gambling types will make a sweep of their own. People who do not go to race tracks suddenly want to dress up and go. Others who cannot get to the racetrack get dressed up anyway and go to Melbourne Cup parties. For many it is just another excuse to have a big booze up. The rest of us just have lunch and watch the spectacle on TV. Maria (the boss) took the ladies from the office to a Melbourne Cup Luncheon at a restaurant at Airlie Beach. Us boys kept the office running and had curry lunches brought in. Of course nobody phones or calls into the office on a day like today. After the big race the remainder of the day is spent dissecting and post morteming the race and tactics and winners and luckily for me my shift was completed and I could escape to the sanctuary of WWWGO.

Wednesday 6th November

Yesterday I removed the driver’s seat from RALLYE and this morning dropped it off at the upholsterers. Given the car is 18 years old, the seat springs had finally given up the job and collapsed making for an uncomfortable drive. By lunchtime the seat was repaired, almost as good as new. I also bought new floor mats after I finished my shift and spent the first hour back at camp installing the seat and cutting the mats to size for my floor pan. The seat and new mats look good. I will give all the seats a good shampoo on my first day off.

Thursday 7th November

I have finished four days of work!  Wow!

In the afternoon I go back to WWWGO and The CO-PILOT and I have a swim in the Flametree pool. It is very relaxing and surprisingly quiet here. Yes, quiet. Despite the airstrip next door with planes and helicopters coming and going it is not constant noise.

Today I read these notes from a local tourist agency and thought they were worth recreating here;

QUIRKY QUESTIONS

While we love and respect every individual visitor to the Whitsundays, you just have to have a giggle

at some of the real (yes! real!) questions dished out by tourists to local travel agents in the

Whitsundays over the past 12 months:

 Can I take my poodle on the Crocodile Safari?

 Where do the fish go when it rains?

 Where do the fish go at night?

 What stops the islands from floating away?

 I have to cancel my Whitsundays trip, as no one told me it departed from the Whitsundays.

 Do you get wet when you snorkel?

 Is Hayman Island on Hamilton Island?

 Where is two thirds of The Esplanade? (Do you mean shop 2, 3 The Esplanade?)

 I’m arriving in two months. Can you tell me the weather for that week?

 How does the washing machine work? Should I separate colours?

Hmmm! They walk among us and they BREED!!!

Friday 8th November

Woohoo. My first day off and the beginning of a long weekend.

It also heralds the beginning of a weekend of music from 74 bands, one for each of the Whitsunday Islands as part of the Airlie Beach Music Festival   http://www.airliebeachmusicfestival.com.au/

I started doing a bit more tidy up on RALLYE by shampooing the seats.

As the shadows began to lengthen I started the job I had been putting off. I put the job off simply because I was not sure how to replace the old overhead hatch blockout screen. I had bought a new roller blind in Mackay two weeks ago and knew I would have to cut it to size. I was more concerned about how I would rewind the spring tensioner. As it turned out, with help from the CO-PILOT we had the job completed in under an hour. We are both very pleased with the result. The old screen was pitted with holes from leaves and seeds which had fallen out of trees and when the screen was retracted the seeds punctured the material. It was not in good condition when we bought WWWGO in June 2009 but has become worse as the years go by. Now it is a pleasure to look at the new screen. The hatch has two way screens. Pulled one way, out comes the blockout curtain, pulled the otherway and out comes a very fine insect screen mesh. I took the opportunity while the complete unit was out of the ceiling to wash down the frame and the insect screen.

In the afternoon we went for a swim.

Saturday 9th November

It was a hot day. In fact every day has been hot but since I rigged the shade around our campsite it is pleasant sitting outside with the breeze cooled by the shade.

During the day we can hear and see the tandem skydivers jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. We first hear the sound of an opening parachute sort of like a flapping bedsheet on the clothesline in a strong breeze. Then we hear the sounds of terror as they swing around in the sky while the parachutist guides them to the landing zone about 15 metres from our campsite then we hear them when their terror screams turn to excited screams and finally the flap flap flap of the trailing edge of the chute before they land. They come in at such speed you think they will crash but at the last moment the parachutist lifts the front edge and they gently touch down, the parachutist on his feet while the tandem person lands on their bum. No matter how many times a day we see them, we never tire of the activity.

In the afternoon I drove to Funnel Bay to catch the sunset.

Sunset at Funnel Bay.

Sunset at Funnel Bay.

Beach at Funnel Bay.

Beach at Funnel Bay.

Funnel Bay looking north towards Armitt and Double Cone Islands.

Funnel Bay looking north towards Armitt and Double Cone Islands.

Funnel Bay is a small beach surrounded by rugged hills of the Conway Range. It is accessed by a rough gravel track which is often impassable during the wet and or at high tide as a deepwater creek, Watering Horse Creek passes along one side and it often overflows across the track. The creek, although tidal, is fed by several other creeks, one of which is Flame Tree Creek which also runs through the van park. Several years ago a developer started building what was to be a resort at the beach. As often happens, developers usually have more vision than money and the work fizzled out and a big cyclone wire fence erected to keep people out. Somehow the “people” managed to encourage the fences and gates to fall down at strategic locations. Access to the beach is open again for those keen enough to risk the road in. It is used by families, fishermen and boaties. The land, about 24 hectares is available for sale with the intention of turning it into 574 beachside or hillside building allotments.   http://www.whitsundaytimes.com.au/news/funnel-bay-back-on-the-market/393359/  All it needs is another visionary with no money.

Funnel Bay is also ideal to use as a line up guide for pilots landing at Whitsunday Airport.

Aerial approach via Funnel Bay to Whitsunday Airport  upper right.

Aerial approach via Funnel Bay to Whitsunday Airport upper right.

Sunday 10th November

This morning I drove to Shute Harbour, described as the 2nd busiest port in Australia.

Panorama from jetty at Shute Harbour

Panorama from jetty at Shute Harbour

It is second only to Circular Quay in Sydney.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shute_Harbour and   http://www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au/destinations/shute-harbour/

Shute Harbour with sign saying this is the entrance to a World Heritage 74 Islands.

Shute Harbour with sign saying this is the entrance to a World Heritage 74 Islands.

I have had a fondness for Shute Harbour since around 1985 when we caught a ferry from here to South Molle Island for a family holiday. Of course we have been to Shute Harbour many, many times over the years.

Catamaran on the beach at Shute Harbour.

Catamaran on the beach at Shute Harbour.

In fact my yacht, ASTARET, was moored here for a few years. From a vantage point of the “upper carpark” can be seen what is known as Shute Passage, the southern end of South Molle Islands, several islands around the harbor, parts of Whitsunday and Hook Islands, Long Island and even the famous Hamilton Island in the heat haze distance.

Looking towards Shute Passage and the south edge of South Molle Island.

Looking towards Shute Passage and the south edge of South Molle Island.

There is a very busy boat launching ramp and as always happens on a beautiful Sunday at any time of the year in the Whitsunday’s, cars and boat trailers are parked along both sides of the road for a Klm. Of course all these boaties, fisher people and people who have their sail boats on nearby mooring’s and have just returned from a day a weekend or a week sailing the islands, all seem to want to use the boat ramp between 4 and 5pm. That’s when boat ramp rage begins. From here I drove into the hill above the harbor to Shute Haven where all the expensive houses are located,

View from Shutehaven over Shute Passage.

View from Shutehaven over Shute Passage.

perched on impossible blocks overlooking the harbor and the Whitsunday Passage.

Overlooking Shute Harbour and Tancred Island, Shute Island and Repair island and the mainland in the background.

Overlooking Shute Harbour and Tancred Island, Shute Island and Repair island and the mainland in the background.

Shute Passage looking towards the north Molle Island and the South Molle Isdlands.

Shute Passage looking towards the North Molle Island and the South Molle Islands.

Next on my agenda was to visit Whitsunday Airstrip (right next door remember?) to see Skydiving Airlie Beach.

Entrance to Whitsunday Airport and Whitsunday Airport Village Environment.

Entrance to Whitsunday Airport and Whitsunday Airport Village Environment.

Boarding the sky dive plane.

Boarding the sky dive plane.

 

http://www.skydiveairliebeach.com.au/  while waiting for bodies to drop out of the sky

Sky Diving over Airlie Beach

Sky Diving over Airlie Beach

...and closer

…and closer

Sky Diver getting closer

Sky Diver getting closer

and suddenly they are on the ground and chatting about the experience.

and suddenly they are on the ground and chatting about the experience.

(they are dropped at 8,000, 10,000, 12,000 and 14,000 feet, each jumper chooses his/her limit) a local Tiger Moth airplane, noted for aerobatic flights over Airlie Beach, took to the sky.

Whitsunday Tiger Moth

Whitsunday Tiger Moth

Also there was a halo around the sun which seems to have unsettled some of the jumpers.

Halo around the sun.

Halo around the sun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_(optical_phenomenon)

As always it was a hot day but pleasant in the shade around WWWGO and even nicer inside with the air conditioning turned on.

In the afternoon we had a swim in the pool.

Sigh!

This swimming in the afternoon is becoming a habit.

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