399. Sunday 14th December 2014. Big storms, Sea World and family visit…

Monday 8th December

When we first arrived on the Gold Coast in September we bought season ticket to three theme parks, Movie World, Wet n Wild and Sea World. The tickets are valid until the end of June 2015. Apart from going to Movie World twice in September, we have not used our tickets. For one reason or another we just have not been to the theme parks. With Donnis away until the beginning of February, perhaps longer and is planning a trip to Canada for three months in the first half of next year I reasoned there will not be too many opportunities for US to use OUR tickets. As I will be on the Gold Coast, there is no reason why I cannot use MY ticket. Today is the first day of summer school holidays and with it being overcast and a chance of storms and rain I thought the crowds would not be as large so here was an opportunity to get out and about and enjoy Sea World.

Entrance to Sea World on The Spit at the Gold Coast Broadwater.

Entrance to Sea World on The Spit at the Gold Coast Broadwater.

From Sea World looking back to Southport.

From Sea World looking back to Southport.

It is a good thing I did.

The first monorail.

The first monorail.

My monorail arrives for a 20 minute trip around the park perimeter.

My monorail arrives for a 20 minute trip around the park perimeter.

Sea Worlds main pool where daily shows are held.

Sea Worlds main pool where daily shows are held.

The Flum Ride where you would be lucky to escape with at least getting partially drenched.

The Flume Ride where you would be lucky to escape with at least getting partially drenched.

A castle within Sea World. Love the abandoned boat.

A castle within Sea World. Love the abandoned boat.

The day was overcast and hazy with the sun breaking through making for a hot sultry humid day. Even finding shade was no relief unless I found a spot with a breeze off the Broadwater. Better still the penguin pool had a below water viewing chamber and as the water needed to be chilly cold, so was the air around it.

The Emperor Penguins     are as curious about us as we are about them.

The Emperor Penguins are as curious about us as we are about them.

A haughty Emperor.

A haughty Emperor.

For an extra fee guests can get kitted up with cold weather gear and walk into the penguin enclosure for an up close and personal encounter. Hmmm! Perhaps on my next visit.

For an extra fee guests can get kitted up with cold weather gear and walk into the penguin enclosure for an up close and personal encounter. Hmmm! Perhaps on my next visit.

These flighgtless birds are at home in the water and only rivalled by seals and otter for speed and agility and aquatic acrobatics. The pool is large enough that they can eject themselves out of the water and airborne either back into the pool or onto the ice.

These flighgtless birds are at home in the water and only rivalled by seals and otter for speed and agility and aquatic acrobatics. The pool is large enough that they can eject themselves out of the water and airborne either back into the pool or onto the ice.

On land the eyes close to almost slits but underwater the eyes have a membrane cover a huge open eye.

On land the eyes close to almost slits but underwater the eyes have a membrane covering a huge open eye.

Some of the other enclosures had below waterline enclosures and the polar bear area was huge with snow and ice and cool breezes blown into the enclosure.

Hudson the bear cub (this is a cub?!?!?!) floats and plays.

Hudson the bear cub (this is a cub?!?!?!) floats and plays.

Hudson has lots of toys to paly with. He likes to destroy his toys.

Hudson has lots of toys to paly with. He likes to destroy his toys.

Hudson can smell something. Food maybe?

Hudson can smell something. Food maybe?

Below the waterline viewing area was also cool. I enjoyed watching the penguins and frankly I thought they were as curious at seeing the visitors as we were at seeing them. I stayed the longest watching the Emperor Penguins as they were always active and looked as though they were having fun. There were special seperate pools for the penguins, polar bears, sea lions, seals, dolphins,

During my vist it seemed the dolphins were practising their underwater swimming with their tails out of the water. There was no trainer in sight.

During my vist it seemed the dolphins were practising their underwater swimming with their tails out of the water. There was no trainer in sight.

sharks, sting rays and even shallow petting pools.

A Shovel Nose shark rests on the bottom of the shark pool.

A Shovel Nose shark rests on the bottom of the shark pool.

Sting rays in a pettingpoo, at Sea World. Enlarge the photo and you can see the stinging barb on the tails.

Sting rays in a pettingpoo, at Sea World. Enlarge the photo and you can see the stinging barb on the tails.

Sharks swim by close to the glass where hasps of awe ripple through the crowds.

Sharks swim by close to the glass where hasps of awe ripple through the crowds.

The Castaway Bay area had little wooden pirate boats moving around a giant pool on tracks. The people on board had hand cranked water cannon. People on shore at strategic locations had hand cranked water cannon. People were lining up to be a pirate or stay on the docks for a water fight. Everybody came away drenched.

Pirates Cove.

Pirates Cove.

The Pirate ship in full water cannon fight with water cannon defenders on the shore.

The Pirate ship in full water cannon fight with water cannon defenders on the shore.

Everybody on the ship and the shore gets a drenching.

Everybody on the ship and the shore gets a drenching.

Another play area had stairs and ladders and tightrope and stepping pads suspended in the air. The participants had to wear a harness and attach a safety rope which took them around a pre-determined course and they could not unstrap until they reached the end. Oh boy I would have loved to go on that!

The beginning of the Sky Climb where everybody is attached to the guide rail with a safety harness.

The beginning of the Sky Climb where everybody is attached to the guide rail with a safety harness.

Although I am not scared of heights, I prefer to call it a nervous respect of heights, I am sure next time I could try this challenge. The only problem is I cannot take my camera!

Although I am not scared of heights, I prefer to call it a nervous respect of heights, I am sure next time I could try this challenge. The only problem is I cannot take my camera!

Participants are spread out according to their ability in the Sky Climb obstacle course.

Participants are spread out according to their ability in the Sky Climb obstacle course.

Another was a series of rope ladders and swing bridges and obstacle course and so on suspended even higher off the ground. The entire course was enclosed in double safety net. It was designed for 4 to 12 year olds. Wow! I would love to be 12 again and play on that.

The Sky Fortress obstacle course. Designed for 4 to 12 year olds. Hey what about us older 12 year olds who want to use it?

The Sky Fortress obstacle course. Designed for 4 to 12 year olds. Hey what about us older 12 year olds who want to use it?

A daring young man hesitates before taking a terrifying and challenging  step into the unknown.;

A daring young man hesitates before taking a terrifying and challenging step into the unknown.

Just before 2pm I decided it was time to leave. I was getting hungry and not prepared to pay high price for food.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time but balked at paying $20 for fish n chips or $17 for an average hamburger and decided I would be home for a late lunch and can always go back another day to see those things I did not see today and perhaps even go on a ride or two! Woo Hoo!  That was another wise decision. Just as I drove in our garage the first thunder could be heard and within 10 minutes the lightning and thunder rocked the house and rain bucketed down. The storm continued for another three hours. There were 26,000 lightning strikes in that time. Over 10,000 homes were without power.

Tuesday 9th December

The morning was hot and sunny. That is until 3pm. Cloud had been building since 2pm and by 3pm the first clap of thunder was heard. It was not long before a frightening light show was on display. Lightning struck the street outside at least twice and the house shook. Some lightning was horizontal and the thunder seemed to follow the track of the lightning. The rain was driven by a wind which was swirling in three directions so I had to close most of the windows and basically sit in the dark to watch & listen to the show. Only 17,000 lightning strikes were recorded today and only 5,000 homes are without power. Our power went out for a few minutes. The rain was heavier and longer than yesterday. We have a spare  room at the back of the garage. It is basically a utility room (soon to be turned into a craft/TV/small extra bedroom) with a simple carport type roof. We cleaned the room last week as I plan to paint it. A black foam material was cleaned out of the roof profile. That was a mistake. The rain found its way in via the places where we had removed the black foam. It was a sealing compound.

Wednesday 10th December

Weather forecast for today. Hot and humid. No rain, no storms no lightning no thunder.

I used the dry conditions to fill the small openings and the roof where it joins the main roof with an expanding foam. Next time there is a substantial rain I will see if my handiwork is successful.

Thursday 11th December

Weather forecast. Hot humid in the morning with severe storms in the afternoon. By 2pm the first thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance. Shortly before 3pm the wind rain and lightning began. Although the rain was not as heavy as Tuesday so far the score is Sealing Foam 1, Rain/Leaks 0.However I did notice some condensation forms on the steel roof. Hmmm! How bad will the condensation become?

Friday 12th December

I kept busy most of the day by doing odd jobs which had nothing g whatsoever to do with the main task I have set myself. That is, painting the small spare room. Now that WWWGO has left we no longer need the Hitch n Go towing frame. The main parts have been wrapped in a blanket then in a tarpaulin to keep it dry and clean. The minor parts are bolted to TERIOS. Today I managed to detach the brake cable and undo one bolt from the towing frame under the front chassis. No amount of grunting and changing spanners, multi grips and socket spanners will loosen the remaining three bolts. They have been sprayed with WD40 in the hopes it will penetrate the thread enough to allow if not easy removal at least removal. So far it has not worked.

Sigh! I can try again tomorrow or the day after or the day after that! The sooner I get it all detached the sooner I can list it for sale on Gumtree.

In the evening I went to the annual Christmas Dinner at the club house and was placed on the party table.

Christmas Dinner party at the village clubhouse.

Christmas Dinner party at the village clubhouse.

Most people after a filling dinner, a dance or two were leaving by 9.30. Not the party table. They were the stayers…all but one. I struggled to stay awake. After a couple of rums and a few wines I was tired and took my leave at 10.30 and went immediately to bed.

Saturday 13th December

Today I drove to Redcliffe a northern beachside suburb of Brisbane which is for the most part accessed by a 2.6Klm long “bridge”.

First day opening of the Hiornibrooik Highway and Bridge in 1935

First day opening of the Hiornibrooik Highway and Bridge in 1935

Technically it is a viaduct. The first bridge was built in 1935 and due to a cost saving measure the pylons were built of timber, not concrete and over the years it was realised that with the huge increase in traffic and the deterioration of the timber a new bridge was needed. A second bridge was built in 1979 and soon the bridges were used side by side. A third bridge was built in 2004. The original bridge was abandoned and the newer bridges used as one way. That is, the old 1979 bridge was used for northbound traffic and the new 2004 bridge used for southbound traffic. The original “Hornibrook Bridge” was demolished except for a small section at each end where the original portal and toll booths stood. The remaining portals and bridge sections are used as fishing platforms particularly the northern portal section. When my family moved north from Wollongong NSW to Mackay north Queensland in 1987 I drove the original old rickety timber bridge with my daughter, Melissa. We thought the bridge would never end as traffic moved slowly. A semi fourth bridge has been built on the eastern side of the newest bridge. This new section is a footbridge and fishing platform accessed from the southern shore or the southbound footpath.

The portal at the southern end of the original bridge. Double click to enlarge the photo and you can see the northern portal 2.6 Klms in the distance.

The portal at the southern end of the original bridge. Double click to enlarge the photo and you can see the northern portal 2.6 Klms in the distance.

The second bridge to Redcliffe with the familiar hump in the middle to allow larger boats to pass underneath in the deepest section of the bay. Enlarge the photo and you can see the latest bridge behind. It is far higher above the water . The bridge traffic is controlled by traffic lights and speed advisory signs and strong lighting as the area is subject to fog.

The second bridge to Redcliffe with the familiar hump in the middle to allow larger boats to pass underneath in the deepest section of the bay. Enlarge the photo and you can see the latest bridge behind. It is far higher above the water . The bridge traffic is controlled by traffic lights and speed advisory signs and strong lighting as the area is subject to fog.

Sunday 14th December

I bought a Jeep yesterday. You bought a Jeep? No dear reader I did not buy a Jeep. I bought a pushbike. The pushbike, in my opinion is far better than a Jeep. This morning, early, I rode to the Broadwater and took sunrise photographs. The only problem was the heavy overcast and general poor light conditions. Although I only road perhaps no more than 10 Klms my legs felt like jelly and my maximus gluttus feels bruised.

Two vessels caught my eye, moored as they were on the Broadwater. Although there were hundreds of boats, these two stood out as being “live aboard”. One looks like a rough home made military vessel and it is. It is painted in camoflauge colours and has the name Commando Knights painted on its side. They have a website and even after reading the double speak I still have no idea what it is all about.

Small military style live aboard houseboat. Check out the Commando Knights website. Interesting.

Small military style live aboard houseboat. Check out the Commando Knights website. Interesting.

The other is much larger and big enough to house a family although the deck seems to be cluttered with , ahem, “junk”.

The Broadwater looking towards Southport and Surfers Paradise. Note the houseboat in the foreground.

The Broadwater looking towards Southport and Surfers Paradise. Note the houseboat in the foreground.

Here is the houseboat up a little closer. Note the small yacht rafted alongside.

Here is the houseboat up a little closer. Note the small yacht rafted alongside.

Closeup of houseboat rear deck. Essential gear or umm err junk?

Closeup of houseboat rear deck. Essential gear or umm err junk?

Looking across the Broadwater to The Spit with Sea World in the background.

Looking across the Broadwater to The Spit with Sea World in the background.

My sister Enid (she prefers to be called Eni or even Sue) called this morning. She was in Tweed Heads over the weekend and will call in on her way back to Brisbane where she works during the week. After giving her a guided tour around the house, the village and Harbourside Markets we joined neighbours Bill & Marie and several other “villagers” for happy hour. (I think Happy Hour is a bit of a misnomer). Start time was set for 4pm but “villagers” started arriving at 3pm and the party was still going when we left at 7pm. Afterwards we walked to Dublin Docks intending to have dinner but the prices were way beyond our budget. The shops in Harbour Town were also similarly priced so we walked to Harbourside Markets just outside the village gates where we had a wonderful Chinese meal. The service was slow but the food was very good. For the price of two main courses, fried rice and green tea was the same price as one meal at Dublin Docks. Nuff said.

Eni stayed for the night and will drive to Brisbane tomorrow morning. It was wonderful to catch up and all the all the walking we did looking for somewhere to eat gave us a chance to talk and explore Harbour Town and Harbourside Markets

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