Archive for April, 2014

369. Sunday 27th April 2014. From Easter to Anzac Day…

28/04/2014

Easter Monday 21st April

What a way to spend the last day of Easter. We continued to empty the garage and now have the verandah loaded with what was once in the garage. I gernied the garage doors and floors, washed the windows and sliding glass doors and steam cleaned the floor in the back part of the garage. I re-tightened the screws holding the shelving, hung garden tools back where they once hung, lopped more branches off an overhanging tree and cut it into small pieces to be used as landfill on the back driveway. At the end of the day I felt we had achieved something over the weekend and it was certainly more fun than had we been sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for hours on end trying to get home before the other million or so road users were trying to get home before us.

At the end of the day Donnis suggested we could pack some of the empty boxes back in the garage.

Sigh!

 

Friday 25th April ANZAC DAY   en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day

Today, completely without planning or the use of an alarm I woke at 4am. I knew by being awake and unable to go back to sleep I would attend the Dawn Service at the Cannonvale Cenotaph.

Cannonvale Cenotaph taken at 5am without the use of a flash.

Cannonvale Cenotaph taken at 5am without the use of a flash.

I arrived just on 5am with the service due to begin at 5.30. On arrival I thought the 200 or so people gathered in the dark was a good crowd.

The small group at 5am. Within 30 minutes the numbers had swollen to around 1,000.

The small group at 5am. Within 30 minutes the numbers had swollen to around 1,000.

By 5.30, currently serving military personnel and past service personnel had gathered in ranks in what is best described as a natural amphitheatre. I took my place among the strangers, all of us with medals, ready to “Come to ATENSHUN” and “AT EASE” when called by the appointed ceremonial Sergeant. By now the numbers of attendees had swollen until looking out on the hillside at the sea of faces, visible even in the pre-dawn light, was something unexpected.  The quiet conversation rippled along the ranks and the comments were much the same. “I have never seen a crowd as large as this.”

During the ceremony we were reminded of the many theatres of war Australia has attended and that this was the 99th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli – the birth of the ANZAC Legend.    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day

I felt a surge of pride at the numbers of people who turned up at dawn for this ceremony. Even more importantly were the numbers of children and teenagers in respectful manner who attended. When the National Anthem was sung, it was a patriotic crowd who quietly sang along. As the Anzac ode            ( www.awm.gov.au/commoration/customs/recitation.asp   )was read, at the appropriate times the crowd softly whispered the refrains, We Shall Remember Them and Lest We Forget.

The most well- known lines from ode the are taken from the fourth stanza of a poem, For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon.

They Shall Not Grow Old, as We That Are Left Grow Old;

Age Shall Not Weary Them, Nor the Years Condemn.

At the Going Down of the Sun and in the Morning

We Will Remember Them.

It was a very emotional ceremony, as it is every year but the part of the ceremony which always makes me feel I have a lump in my throat and salt water wells in my eyes are the words from Ataturk the father of modern Turkey, its first President and an Officer in the Ottoman Army at the time of the conflict in Gallipoli.

Remember Australia and Turkey were at war. As a result of that conflict a great respect and admiration evolved so that by 1934 and as it is today, Turkey and Australia are friends with the friendship – forged in battle, strengthened by mutual ties and respect on land which is sacred to both.

The words by Ataturk are set in a memorial wall at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli.

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives…

You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in Peace.

There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us they lie side by side here in this country of ours…

You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in Peace, after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well”

I should mention that at the time those words were written by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, he did not understand the soldiers he fought against were Australian and New Zealand soldiers (with a few French thrown in). He mistakenly believed he was fighting British soldiers, hence the reference to Johnnies. Modern Turkey understands the difference and the Turks are most welcoming and friendly towards Australians and New Zealanders who come to pay their respects. In fact they commemorate Anzac Day themselves as well as attend our ceremonies.

Dawn over Pioneer Bay on Anzac Day.

Dawn over Pioneer Bay on Anzac Day.

View over Airtie Beach after the Anzac Dawn Service.

View over Airtie Beach after the Anzac Dawn Service.

Mid-morning we received a call to say my daughter Averyl was in Mackay Base Hospital so we drove to Mackay to visit. She hopes to be allowed home on Monday. After an hour we could see that she was tiring and we bid her farewell so she could get some sleep.

This is what is left of the The Hospital Bridge at Bridge Road across the Pioneer River. The original bridge was two lanes but no side rails. The bridge was closed several years when another bridge was built up river. During deconstruction there were many protests especially from local fishermen who use the  bridge as a fishing platform. The powers that be agreed to leave a remnant of the bridge but included a safety fence and the fisherpeople just love it.

This is what is left of the The Hospital Bridge at Bridge Road across the Pioneer River. The original bridge was two lanes but no side rails. The bridge was closed several years when another bridge was built up river. During deconstruction there were many protests especially from local fishermen who use the bridge as a fishing platform. The powers that be agreed to leave a remnant of the bridge but included a safety fence and the fisherpeople just love it.

This man and several like him do not need to fish from the bridge. They get right into the river. Hmmm! The Pioneer River was known to have crocodiles. In fact the largest criocodile ever recorded was shot from the verandah of a Mackay Riverside Hotel.

This man and several like him do not need to fish from the bridge. They get right into the river. Hmmm! The Pioneer River was known to have crocodiles. In fact the largest criocodile ever recorded was shot from the verandah of a Mackay Riverside Hotel.

We then visited the Cenotaph in Mackay where the Anzac Dawn Ceremony and Wreath laying was conducted at …umm err…dawn!

Mackay Cenotaph with floral remembrance tributes.

Mackay Cenotaph with floral remembrance tributes.

Floral Tributes.

Floral Tributes.

Close up of Australian Native flowers in a remembrance wreath.

Close up of Australian Native flowers in a remembrance wreath.

Next we visited sister Sandi and Dave and left late in the afternoon.  They had just arrived back from Fiji where they had gone to celebrate our sister Enid’s birthday. Although it is almost a two hour drive we were both tired from a long day of getting up early, emotional ceremonies and visiting Averyl.  We took turns driving so I could sleep while Donnis drove but soon Donnis became tired and I took over the driving feeling refreshed after a nap.

Sunday 27th April

Yesterday we decided to make a start on the side of our land where the temporary bamboo screen fence was in a state of collapse. We decided to pull down the fence and replace it with plants which will become a hedge. With the old fence pulled down and the soil had arrived we started the long process of preparing the ground before building a mound of soil in readiness for the plants. Just as the sun was slipping behind the Conway Range we planted most of our hedge plants and will finish the remainder later in the week. For today we are both bone weary and too tired to continue.

368. Sunday 20th April 2014. After a cyclone, life goes on, much as it did before…

21/04/2014

Monday 14th April

“Oh! What a Night”

During the power failure last night we heard a thump which we thought was something falling on the roof. This morning we went to open the laundry door and found a tree had fallen from the neighbor’s yard. It fell on the fence, the clothes line, tore through an awning and blocked the doorway.

These trees fell from the neighbours yrad and blocked off the laundry door and covered our clothesline.

These trees fell from the neighbours yrad and blocked off the laundry door and covered our clothesline.

In fact it was two trees and they were jammed together. A quick bit of work with the chainsaw before I went to work freed up enough space for access to the clothesline. I also called on the neighbor who kindly started clearing away all the debris while I was at work.

Goodonyer Dane.

It seems the yacht which was washed up on the rocks had a $1,000,000 price tag. It had also just gone on the rocks a few minutes before we arrived. It had been on a mooring. The mooring was still in place but the bow attachment point had failed. The two metre waves was just too much for the boat. By this morning there was nothing left.

Tuesday 15th April

Donnis continues to slowly take things out of the garage, clean them before deciding to keep, throw away, give away or sell. So far she only has items in the keep pile which is growing daily.

With all the rain and hot weather you can almost see the grass growing. In the afternoon I managed to cut the grass in the front yard.

Wednesday

The weather to the north of a cyclone is always sunny with clear skies, cool nights and awesome days. So it is here. Day two after Cyclone Ita moved to our south the days and nights are wonderful. The forecast, at least for the next week is the same…great weather. Donnis sometimes thinks it is boring. Day after day of sublime weather. We are in the midst of Autumn on the cusp of Winter and by Spring the weather will be much the same day after day.

Thursday

Another perfect day in paradise except I spent the day at work.

Good Friday 18th April

We live on the edge of rainforest in the shadow of the Conway Range. Early mornings the Laughing Kookaburra’s wake the rest of the bird population and the chirping, whistling and laughing begins. This morning we were visited by Lorikeets, Butcher Birds, Spangled Drongos , Sunbirds and others whose sweet trilling I have not identified. The Sulphur Crested White Cockatoos are somewhere else this week. Those sounds are my alarm clock. I go on my morning walk and do my exercises before the sun gets high in the sky. This morning, being Good Friday there were less walkers and less cars on the road than usual.

Mid morning Deb and Gary came around for coffee. The have been here since November when we met them at Flametree Caravan Park. They then moved to the caravan park at the bottom of our street. Gary has a job in Mackay and Deb is confident of getting the deli managers job in Sarina south of Mackay. They are moving tomorrow and wanted to say goodbye. I am sure we will see them again. We sat at our table on the back verandah with the backdrop of a green wall of trees and shrubs and the ever present glimpse through the trees, of the Conway Range surrounding us on three sides. Apart from the visiting birds Gary and Deb were also treated to butterfly’s fluttering by.

The rest of the day was spent putting a large tarpaulin over WWWGO to protect it as far as possible to day in day out of sunlight. We also brought more “stuff” out of the garage and onto the verandah, where, after cleaning, Donnis finds a place to store it inside the house.

Sigh!

Saturday 19th March

As they say in Queensland the weather is fine and sunny but come back tomorrow and it will be perfect. So today it dawned fine and sunny as it was yesterday with cyclone Ita a fading memory. Was it only 6 days ago?

As an Easter treat (we will not be eating any chocolate Easter Eggs – unless Donnis has a secret stash somewhere) we drove 45 klms to Cape Gloucester Eco Resort for lunch.

Monday 14th April

“Oh! What a Night”

During the power failure last night we heard a thump which we thought was something falling on the roof. This morning we went to open the laundry door and found a tree had fallen from the neighbor’s yard. It fell on the fence, the clothes line, tore through an awning and blocked the doorway. In fact it was two trees and they were jammed together. A quick bit of work with the chainsaw before I went to work freed up enough space for access to the clothesline. I also called on the neighbor who kindly started clearing away all the debris while I was at work.

Goodonyer Dane.

It seems the yacht which was washed up on the rocks had a $1,000,000 price tag. It had also just gone on the rocks a few minutes before we arrived. It had been on a mooring. The mooring was still in place but the bow attachment point had failed. The two metre waves was just too much for the boat. By this morning there was nothing left.

Tuesday 15th April

Donnis continues to slowly take things out of the garage, clean them before deciding to keep, throw away, give away or sell. So far she only has items in the keep pile which is growing daily.

With all the rain and hot weather you can almost see the grass growing. In the afternoon I managed to cut the grass in the front yard.

Wednesday

The weather to the north of a cyclone is always sunny with clear skies, cool nights and awesome days. So it is here. Day two after Cyclone Ita moved to our south the days and nights are wonderful. The forecast, at least for the next week is the same…great weather. Donnis sometimes thinks it is boring. Day after day of sublime weather. We are in the midst of Autumn on the cusp of Winter and by Spring the weather will be much the same day after day.

Thursday

Another perfect day in paradise except I spent the day at work.

Good Friday 18th April

We live on the edge of rainforest in the shadow of the Conway Range. Early mornings the Laughing Kookaburra’s wake the rest of the bird population and the chirping, whistling and laughing begins. This morning we were visited by Lorikeets, Butcher Birds, Spangled Drongos , Sunbirds and others whose sweet trilling I have not identified. The Sulphur Crested White Cockatoos are somewhere else this week. Those sounds are my alarm clock. I go on my morning walk and do my exercises before the sun gets high in the sky. This morning, being Good Friday there were less walkers and less cars on the road than usual.

Mid morning Deb and Gary came around for coffee. The have been here since November when we met them at Flametree Caravan Park. They then moved to the caravan park at the bottom of our street. Gary has a job in Mackay and Deb is confident of getting the deli managers job in Sarina south of Mackay. They are moving tomorrow and wanted to say goodbye. I am sure we will see them again. We sat at our table on the back verandah with the backdrop of a green wall of trees and shrubs and the ever present glimpse through the trees, of the Conway Range surrounding us on three sides. Apart from the visiting birds Gary and Deb were also treated to butterfly’s fluttering by.

The rest of the day was spent putting a large tarpaulin over WWWGO to protect it as far as possible to day in day out of sunlight. We also brought more “stuff” out of the garage and onto the verandah, where, after cleaning, Donnis finds a place to store it inside the house.

Sigh!

Saturday 19th March

As they say in Queensland the weather is fine and sunny but come back tomorrow and it will be perfect. So today it dawned fine and sunny as it was yesterday with cyclone Ita a fading memory. Was it only 6 days ago?

As an Easter treat (we will not be eating any chocolate Easter Eggs – unless Donnis has a secret stash somewhere) we drove 45 klms to Cape Gloucester Eco Resort for lunch. Woops. They now call it Cape Gloucester BEACH Resort. (Some people complained wanting to know where the ECOLOGICAL part of the name came from or was it just a handy buzz word to add to the name in the hopes of winning trade on the basis of ECO )   http://www.capeg.com.au/   The resort is near a small settlement called Hideaway Bay but is about 5klms further along the coast. The road is gravel, dirt, hard packed sand, rock and whatever else can be found lying around.  Parts of the road were washed away during cyclone Ita and there were several washouts and creek crossings. Some potholes could have been a bit challenging especially as RALLYE is built low to the ground, slow and steady meant we arrived with no mishaps. We have been here several times, the most memorable was for Donnis 50th birthday Errol, Peter and Alecia shouted us a night at the resort. Unlike previous visits we could no longer expect to just rock up and select a table on arrival. We had to book in advance. We had also tried Montes Resort at Cape Gloucester but they were already booked out.    http://www.montesreefresort.com.au/   The Eco resort also became booked out. Our table looked out across Edgecumbe Bay, Gloucester Passage and Gloucester Island.

Tables waiting for diners to arrive./

Tables waiting for diners to arrive./

Our view of the beach and passage from the dining table.

Our view of the beach and passage from the dining table.

This young Butcher Bird was eyeing off all the food on the tables. He waited until people left the table and swooped to pick up a tasty morsel then fly up into a tree to eat it and come back for as second helping.

This young Butcher Bird was eyeing off all the food on the tables. He waited until people left the table and swooped to pick up a tasty morsel then fly up into a tree to eat it and come back for as second helping.

The waters were aquamarine, the water colour famous here in The Whitsunday’s. After an interesting shared lunch of Blackened Crispy Skin Flounder and a couple of mini burgers.

Our shared lunch.

Our shared lunch.

After lunch  we sat on deck chairs under the shade of a tree nearer the beach and sort of glazed gazed across the passage.

Here were are gazing glazily at Passage Island.

Here were are gazing glazily at Passage Island.

Passage Island across Gloucester Passage. At low tide the island is accessible by foot for a short while.

Passage Island across Gloucester Passage. At low tide the island is accessible by foot for a short while.

Looking to the North. Somewhere up there in the cape in the distance across Edgecumbe Bay is the town of Bowen

Looking to the North. Somewhere up there in the cape in the distance across Edgecumbe Bay is the town of Bowen

Gloucester Island looking across Gloucester Passage from the beach at the Cape Gloucester Resort. (How many times can I say Gloucester in one sentence and still make sense?)

Gloucester Island looking across Gloucester Passage from the beach at the Cape Gloucester Resort. (How many times can I say Gloucester in one sentence and still make sense?)

At this point I will meander off the main topic and throw in a bit of potted history. The small resort known as Montes was once only accessible by sea (there was a rough 4WD access track via private property intended only for use by locals in the know and resort owners so they could bring in supplies. The resort was used by travelling yachties, fishermen and chartered yachts referred by locals. It was a bit on the wild side with few rules and the accommodation, such as it was, was little more than rough shacks with a couple of dubious beds. My first visit was via the rough 4WD track. We had gained permission from the landowner and were told where to find the key to the padlock on the gate. The track began at the end of a sealed road at Hideaway Bay, itself a bit isolated at the end of 30 Klms of rough gravel road and only the section through the community was sealed.  The first few hundred metres of track followed a sheer cliff face above the ocean before plummeting straight down a hill known as “Oh My God Hill”. A few creek crossings and deep sandy section of track finally brought you to the entrance to Montes where  the track was deep sand all the way to the beach where Montes is located. Food and drink was pretty basic and the costs were sky high but after an adventure trip ANY food and drink at almost any price was welcome. The barman had long greasy tied back with an elastic band and had a cigarette perpetually dangling from his lip. Who knows about the food being prepared in the dark recesses of a “kitchen” in the bowels of the largest shack. The return trip was just as nightmarish with final part of the track along the clifftop passengers deserted the vehicle, preferring to walk along the cliffside.

In the last 10 or so years the locked gate has disappeared, the track is graded semi regularly (it is also access to several other private properties which have locked gates and Keep Out signs.) and the building of the Cape Gloucester Beach Resort have sport of forced Montes to bring itself kicking and screaming into  a place acceptable to most of the general public.

After an hour lazing and gazing glaziley we headed home but decided to visit motorhome friends John & Lorraine S, who live at Preston which although not directly on our way home was not far out of our way. J&L are slowly preparing their motorhome and re-building a 4WD Suzuki Ute to A-frame tow behind when they will travel around OZ. Although they have no firm date for departure (nor a firm length of time away) they would like to leave by April 2015.

Although we did not achieve anything today we enjoyed a day off relaxing and visiting friends.

Sunday 20th April

I was up and ready for my morning walk before the sun. The few wispy clouds in the distance were smudged pink from the rising sun. Although it was cool, I knew weatherwise, it would be another perfect day.

We spent the day emptying the garage. We emptied all the plastic boxes and crates and put the items on the verandah. We gernied the boxes and crates.

That was our day but it was so tiring.

I am looking forward to tomorrow.

The resort is near a small settlement called Hideaway Bay but is about 5klms further along the coast. The road is gravel, dirt, hard packed sand, rock and whatever else can be found lying around.  Parts of the road were washed away during cyclone Ita and there were several washouts and creek crossings. Some potholes could have been a bit challenging especially as RALLYE is built low to the ground, slow and steady meant we arrived with no mishaps. We have been here several times, the most memorable was for Donnis 50th birthday. Errol, Peter and Alecia shouted us a night at the resort. Unlike previous visits we could no longer expect to just rock up and select a table on arrival. We had to book in advance. We had also tried Montes Resort at Cape Gloucester but they were already booked out. The Eco resort also became booked out. Our table looked out across Edgecumbe Bay, Gloucester Passage and Gloucester Island. The waters were aquamarine, the water colour famous here in The Whitsunday’s. After an interesting shared lunch of Blackened Crispy Skin Flounder and a couple of mini burgers we sat in deck chairs under the shade of a tree nearer the beach and sort of glazed gazed across the passage.

After an hour we headed home but decided to visit motorhome friends John & Lorraine S, who live at Preston which although not directly on our way home was not far out of our way. J&L are slowly preparing their motorhome and re-building a 4WD Suzuki Ute to A-frame tow behind when they will travel around OZ. Although they have no firm date for departure (nor a firm length of time away) they would like to leave by April 2015.

Although we did not achieve anything today we enjoyed a day off relaxing and visiting friends.

Sunday 20th April

I was up and ready for my morning walk before the sun. The few wispy clouds in the distance were smudged pink from the rising sun. Although it was cool, I knew weatherwise, it would be another perfect day.

We spent the day emptying the garage. We emptied all the plastic boxes and crates and put the items on the verandah. We gernied the boxes and crates.

That was our day but it was so tiring.

I am looking forward to tomorrow.

367. Sunday 13th March 2014. A trip to Seaforth is interrupted by yet another cyclone…

13/04/2014

Monday 7th April.

Today is a workday and Donnis took the free time to have a friend and her children visit. The friend Julia R is Spanish, she married an Australian, they have two children and she is excited about a trip to Spain to visit family at the end of the month. Her only suitcase was a bit time worn so Donnis donated one of our many suitcases.

Although late in the “season” cyclones can happen even until May. The last cyclone in May was “Charlie” in May 1986. Why am I telling you this? A cyclone called “Ita’ has formed in the Coral Sea. It is a category two and expected to be a category 4 by the time it reaches the coast somewhere north of Cairns, perhaps Cooktown, the last reasonable size town in the north. A category 5 is by far the most frightening and destructive and this thing has the potential to reach that category. That means around Cooktown. Port Douglas and Cairns can be in for a rough time by about Friday. We will probably get lots of heavy rain.

Tuesday 8th April

The United States Navy weather website gives a different slant on cyclone ”Ita”. They have it approaching the coast as a category 4 then moving down the coast.

Hmmm!

Wednesday 9th April

The Australian weather website, BOM, also gives a possible southerly movement of “Ita” although it will still come close to Cooktown before turning so our friends in the far north, Glennis and Eric who live at the Daintree a little south of Cooktown and just north of Port Douglas could be in for a rough time. In the afternoon I washed WWWGO with the Gerni and a bottle of car wash. Gosh was it dirty. After the sudsdy wash I pressure brushed and a final pressure rinse left it looking, well, if not pristine, at least presentable.

Thursday 10th The last working day of my week. The big news in North Queensland this week is Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita. Severe means it is now a top range category 5. Winds at the epicenter are 280 Kph.

Drat. It could be a wet weekend! We had planned to take WWWGO away for the weekend to Seaforth. In fact we will still go and tolerate any windy or rainy weather…at least until the rain gets too heavy. Then it’s time to come home. Donnis spent a few hours yesterday and again today preparing WWWGO for the short voyage.

Friday 11th April

I think the long version of today will be appropriate.

Just before we left I called a friend at Seaforth to tell them we are on our way with one small stop and we would be there in time for mid morning coffee.

We left home just after 8am almost on time as we had WWWGO booked into a windscreen repair place to have a stone chip treated so it will not crack any further. The guy we booked it in with yesterday said 30 minutes …tops! The guy who took the vehicle today said at least an hour … if all goes well! Hmmm! This was our first delay. We had deliberately not hitched TERIOS onto the back as we also had to get fuel and it is a bit of a difficult petrol station to get into and out of. While WWWGO was being treated we went to the shopping centre to get a few items, then went to Bunnings ( a hardware chain) to window shop and arrived back at the windscreen repairers exactly an hour later. All done. Good so far. Then we got fuel (2nd delay) and drove across the street to McDonalds which shares parking space with other businesses and which gave us plenty of room to park. As we were coupling WWWGO and TERIOS I noticed a U-bolt was missing from one of the safety chains. Hmmm. An auto spare shop (Auto Pro) was one of the businesses so I trotted off to buy a U-bolt. (3rd delay)   http://autopro.com.au/    OK, so far so good, almost ready to go. All we have to do is check the electrics and we are on our way. Ummm Errr! The lights do not work. OK so I clean all the contacts and try again. Same result. Nada (4th delay) It was hot out in the car park so we stopped and went to McDonalds for coffee, after all it would be something simple I could fix AFTER we had coffee.

Right???

(5th delay)

Back in the car park I pulled the fittings apart and found one of the pins had been pushed back into the housing and as luck would have it I had left all my tools at home…except for a few pocket tools which have never been used. With grunting sweating and a fair bit of exasperation I finally got the pine back into place and the lights should work. Right???

No! Delay number six.

At this point I was ready to give up on the whole weekend or at least unhook TERIOS and take it home. I called a mechanic I knew who had his workshop around the corner and maybe he would know enough about electrics to get us on our way. He was out road testing a vehicle but his staff promised he would call when he returned. (7th delay). I waited 20 minutes and decided to unhook TERIOS and take it home when the phone rang. It was Steve from Airlie Brake & Suspension (ABS)  who told me to bring the rig around and park in the street outside his workshop. Although the distance involved was less than a kilometer, without working lights it would be an illegal move but I bit the bullet and moved anyway. Steve checked the fittings. Nada. He unscrewed the fittings and used his tester. Hmmm! He said. Looks like you have a major earth problem. Right then and there I was ready to go home.

Next, in frustration he unscrewed the plug housing from WWWGO to look at inlet and outlet sides. The screws holding the wires in place fell out and the earth wire was loose!!! WOT THE!!! He put everything together and our lights umm err lit.

Finally we were on our way at 11.30am.

Grrr!

We arrived at the Mackay & District Bowmens Club Archery Range our campsite for the weekend just on 1pm.

This is the basic rammed earth with crushed gravel flooring and rough hewn tables of the Mackay District Bowhunters club site.

This is the basic rammed earth with crushed gravel flooring and rough hewn tables of the Mackay District Bowhunters club site.

Notice the archery range does not have one bulls eye type target. They are all different shapes and locations. The idea is to move around, draw and fire an arrow quickly while on the move.

Notice the archery range does not have one bulls eye type target. They are all different shapes and locations. The idea is to move around, draw and fire an arrow quickly while on the move.

Are these horns from earlier real life hunting expeditions? The roof beams had dozens of these horns attached.

Are these horns from earlier real life hunting expeditions? The roof beams had dozens of these horns attached.

While I set up outside Donnis made lunch.

Our campsite. We deliberately chose this position as it was on firm ground with a gravel base. In the event of heavy rain we would have traction and already pointed in the exit direction.

Our campsite. We deliberately chose this position as it was on firm ground with a gravel base. In the event of heavy rain we would have traction and already pointed in the exit direction.

The sun was shining and a good weekend was expected.

That is until the clouds rolled in, the humidity built up and the sandflies (biting midges or no see ums for our friends from USA) arrived. The cyclone was expected to cross the coast during the night but that was 1,000 Klms to our north.

For dinner our group of about two dozen went to the Seaforth Bowls Club for dinner.

Happy hour while waiting for the courtesy bus to take us to Seaforth Bowls Club for dinner.

Happy hour while waiting for the courtesy bus to take us to Seaforth Bowls Club for dinner.

About 10pm the rain started…about the same time Cyclone Ita, a category 4, crossed the  coast near Cooktown.

Saurday12th April

Happy Birthday Donnis

We woke to full on rain and humidity and those biting sandflies were too much. WWWGO roof was leaking around the hatch. It was time to leave.

All the while rain was coming down in huge drops slamming against the windscreen making a loud noise.

We drove to the highway and left WWWGO at a roadside rest stop and took TERIOS into Mackay and visited daughter Averyl hubby Paul and grandson Anakin.

After a morning visit we then went to Canelands Shopping Centre for a curry lunch at Bollywood Bites and then went to visit sister Sandra.

The rain stopped long enough for us to drive out of town to Palm Tree Creek and hitch up to WWWGO and drive home.

Cyclone Ita had crossed the coast near Cooktown but instead of tracking in a westerly direction and turning into a rain depression as cyclones usually do it did a left turn and started tracking along the coast on the land side. Still a cyclone it has become a category one. It is expected to track south just on or off the coast bringing strong winds, heavy seas and heavy rainfall of up to 1500mm.

We called friends Glennis & Eric who own a house in the rainforest in The Daintree, midway between Cooktown and Cairns. Although they are high enough in the hills not to have flooding problems they are concerned about the wind. They had packed up two days earlier and moved their caravan to Ravenshoe which is the highest point in Quueensland and west of Cairns. Eric I supposed to fly out of Cairns tomorrow but it is doubtful if the airport will be open. At least they should be away from the main destructive winds but are still copping all the rain. They have no idea if they still have a house when Glennis returns home next week.

Sunday 13th April

Heavy rain started during the night but came in patches.

Further north in Townsville my daughter Shelley reported flooding in the area around her suburb. She is cut off from her usual shopping centres.

The rain and wind increased during the afternoon and our roof gutters, with leaves cleaned out two weeks ago began to overflow. The amount of rain was just too much for the downpipes to handle. Our house is nicely tucked into the hillside and we are high enough above any creeks and the coast to avoid any flooding or tidal surge. The only things which can bother us is the wind strength and or volume of water against windows and doors. Or a tree being blown on the house. Earlier in the afternoon I saw a tree branch being blown onto the street from a neighbours yard. Around 4pm when the wind and rain seemed to be at its worst, the power went out. Power did not come back until almost 9pm. When the eye of the cyclone was passing a strange calm occurred with wind and rain falling away. We went for a drive to Cannonvale Beach and along the Airlie Beach foreshore.

Looking at Abel Point Marina from Cannonavle beach.

Looking at Abel Point Marina from Cannonvale Beach.

The waves rolling into the beach I have ever seen here. One yacht had run up on the rocks near the entrance to the sailing club rockwall. It was a sad sight watching the boat being pounded by the relentless waves especially in a bay which is normally mill pond calm.

At Coral Point we noticed a yacht had run aground on the yacht club breakwater wall.

At Coral Point we noticed a yacht had run aground on the yacht club breakwater wall.

Waves continue to pound the yacht against the rocks.

Waves continue to pound the yacht against the rocks.

What a sorry sad sight.

What a sorry sad sight.

Boats on moorings or even worse, on anchor, in Airlie Beach cannot get insurance. Without insurance they cannot enter a marina either.

Another boat struggling in the cyclonic conditions.

Another boat struggling in the cyclonic conditions.

Although power was out in Jubilee Pocket, three Klms away at Airlie Beach the power was on and Woolworths were doing a roaring trade.

Looking over a strangely full Port of Airlie Marina with the dark cyclonic cloud ready to dump more rain on an already over water logged land.

Looking over a strangely full Port of Airlie Marina with the dark cyclonic cloud ready to dump more rain on an already over water logged land.

While we were out  when the eye passed Airlie with the opposite side of the eye the wind direction changed and rain came in through our open windows on that side of the house.

We managed to cook dinner on our gas stove with the aid of seven candles.

As I write this the cyclone has continued over Airlie Beach and to move south and out to sea although the wind is still very strong.

366. Sunday 6th April 2014. A bit of this a bit of that and a long lunch…

06/04/2014

Monday 31st March The beginning of another work week. Donnis spent the day doing tidy up jobs around the house. I, of course, went to work. Tuesday 1st April A cruise ship sneaked in during the night and parked in the bay. Wednesday 2nd April This was an emotional upheaval sort of day, one in which we may be faced with a soul searching decision. Let me explain. Last year we placed our houses on the market. The plan was whichever sold we could buy elsewhere. As it turned out the villa we were keen to buy on the Gold Coast suddenly had another buyer and our option, based on the sale of one of our houses, lapsed and somebody else bought the villa. Several months later the house in Mackay sold. We told the agent with the house here in Jubilee Pocket was still available for sale but not to actively market it. Suddenly out of the blue the agent had people interested in looking at the house today. We left the house open and drove to Shute Harbour while the agent showed the prospect s around.

From the hill at Shutehaven the view looks across the passage to the southern end of South MOlled Island.

From the hill at Shutehaven the view looks across the passage to the southern end of South MOlled Island.

A house with a rooftop garage and view across the Whitsunday Passage at Shutehaven.

A house with a rooftop garage and view across the Whitsunday Passage at Shutehaven.

I had trouble identifying these birds. At first I though they were Tree Martins but the tail tail feathers are too long. Then I thought they may be swifts nu again the tail and colouring was wrong. These are Welcome Swallows.

I had trouble identifying these birds. At first I though they were Tree Martins but the tail tail feathers are too long. Then I thought they may be swifts nu again the tail and colouring was wrong. These are Welcome Swallows.

The feed back from the agent was positive and the prospects were interested in making an offer. We have our price and as we are not desperate to sell will not budge on our price. Our problem is; do we sell if they meet our price? Where do we go and what to do about my work if we do sell? Where and how will we store our furniture while waiting for another villa to become available? Overlaid on these considerations is the fact we both love this house, the ambience, the greenery, the quiet, the location and proximity to the tourist town of Airlie Beach. Thursday 3rd April Our real estate agent called. His clients were interested enough to visit their bank to get a loan. The bank suggested they sell their house first. That’s good news from our point of view. It tells us the house is saleable at the price we want and this way we can delay selling until the new financial year.. Friday 4th April We visited friends from the Flametree Caravan Park, Garry & Debbie, who are now in the caravan park at the bottom of our street. In the afternoon I washed the carport and driveway with the Gerni – again. Then I used the chainsaw to cut down a sapling and cut it into small lengths before driving into Airlie Beach to take photos.

Welcome to Airlie Beach. I drive past this almost every day and forget that it is the first thing that many visitors see.

Welcome to Airlie Beach. I drive past this almost every day and forget that it is the first thing that many visitors see.

A view of part of Abel Point Marina.

A view of part of Abel Point Marina.

This old cane farmers beach shack at Summit Avenue AIrlie Beach has been transformed with a bit of planning and lots of dollars.

This old cane farmers beach shack at Summit Avenue AIrlie Beach has been transformed with a bit of planning and lots of dollars.

I also stopped at the new Woolworths store and was amazed to see the number of packpackers in the courtyard outside. Woolies now make pizza’s to order as well as their large range of pre made salads. The backpackers realise they can cheaply buy a satisfying and filling evening meal before heading off for the nightclub scene. Saturday 5th April Happy Birthday to my eldest daughter, Melissa. While Donnis took a few small items out of the garage and washed and cleaned them I washed and polished TERIOS and RALLYE. Whew! That was an almost all day job especially polishing RALLYE. I am glad we do not have a couple of big 4WD. Unfortunately, I realise WWWGO also needs a wash and polish. Perhaps I can put that off for a few weeks. Sunday 6th April. Apart from climbing up on the roof of WWWGO looking for the leak and sealing it, trimming the overgrown shrubbery from next door so it looks more like a hedge instead of a nightmare, emptying books out of two wall units, cleaning them and carrying them to the verandah for a final cleanout and polish we really did not do anything in the morning. Huhh! The reason we were so slack in not doing much work today was…we agreed to join Garry & Debbie for lunch. Not just any lunch mind. This was a long lunch. A local restaurant, Déjà Vu,   http://www.dejavurestaurant.com.au/  based in the local resort Waters Edge, has a Long Lunch every Sunday.

Deja Vu

Deja Vu

Waters Edge Resort and two of its pools as a focal point for the restauarant.

Waters Edge Resort and two of its pools as a focal point for the restauarant.

Lunch starts at 12.30, there is no menu…except for drinks and cocktails and over the next for hours there are eight courses brought to the table. That’s correct. Eight courses.   http://www.dejavurestaurant.com.au/pdf/long-lunch-spiel.pdf    Mind you courses such as ante pasta and bread are two courses.

The clear pool on a glorious sunny day in the Whitsundays.

The clear pool on a glorious sunny day in the Whitsundays.

Our table. All clean and pristine waiting for us to mess up with sauces and vegetables and spilled drinks and condensation.

Our table. All clean and pristine waiting for us to mess up with sauces and vegetables and spilled drinks and condensation.

The lovely Spanish / French waitress with the dark skin and penetrating blue eyes took this photo for us.

The lovely Spanish / French waitress with the dark skin and penetrating blue eyes took this photo for us.

Donnis Debbie and Garry were like a troop of teenagers running from pool to pool.

Donnis Debbie and Garry were like a troop of teenagers running from pool to pool.

Believe me by the time you finish dessert you have no thoughts about what to eat for dinner. A local musician, Kieran McCarthy plays background mood music.    http://www.kieranmccarthy.com.au/    We had a most enjoyable afternoon and at the end Donnis, Debbie and Garry went for a swim. In fact they tried all four pools. The Déjà Vu Long Lunch has my personal tick of approval.