402. Sunday 4th January 2015. Happy New Year and travels from the Gold Coast to Sydney…

Monday 29th December

Grrr! I was awake at 4.30am and could not go back to sleep. Outside it had stopped raining but the forecast was for more rain. I took my bike for a ride to Broadwater Parklands.

Interesting boat on the Broadwater, early morning with Sea World in the distance.

Interesting boat on the Broadwater, early morning with Sea World in the distance.

Broadwater Sunrise.

Broadwater Sunrise.

Yet another Surfers Paradise / Southport vista with Broadwater Parklands water fun park in the foreground.

Yet another Surfers Paradise / Southport vista with Broadwater Parklands water fun park in the foreground.

Picnic Shelter.

Picnic Shelter.

Old mates out for an early morning paddle.

Old mates out for an early morning paddle.

Sunrise over Marina Mirage.

Sunrise over Marina Mirage.

As I was taking photos a few spots of rain landed on my arm. Turning around I could see big black clouds and to the north the Broadwater was obscured by a curtain of rain. Uh Oh! Time to head home but it was too late. The heavens opened into a deluge. When I arrived home I looked and felt like a soggy moggy.

Me, after getting drenched on my ride home.

Me, after getting drenched on my ride home.

I took TERIOS to the mechanic who confirmed it is a dead coil which is causing my problems so I have it booked in for tomorrow to fix that problem and carry out a service.

Tuesday 30th December

Woke at 5am…again. Geez this is getting to be a bad habit. Rode the eBike all the way to and under the Southport bridge and home again. A round trip of 14 klms on a morning looking just magic with clear skies and hundreds of walkers, joggers and cyclists enjoying themselves. The weather report on TV tonight described the day as picture perfect.

At 8am I took TERIOS to the mechanic and was asked to leave the car all day.

Well Okey Dokey, can do.

By 10.30 I received a text message to say the car was ready.

WOT THE!

So soon?

It seems they carried out the service including replacing a fuel filter, air filter and a new coil. The air con vent was retrieved and I was told it needs to be replaced. Well that’s what I told them yesterday so they could order the part. After a bit of grumbling on my part they agreed to order the replacement vent and hold it for me for later in January when I will have the tyres rotated.  They did not tackle the removal of the tow ‘hitch as it is too complex and needs to be carried out by a panel beater.

Sigh!

At least TERIOS is running smoothly again.

Mid-afternoon a storm arrived with thunder, lightning and a splattering of rain. Within an hour the clear skies and high temps and even higher humidity had returned.

Wednesday 31st December. New Years Eve

Woke at the usual, uncivilised hour of 4.30 am. Rode the eBike to the northern end of Runaway Bay where I discovered endless vistas of the Broadwater crowded with development including houses, high rise, marina’s and canals at Paradise Point and beyond as far as the eye could see.

Paradise Point on the Broadwater from Hollywell.

Paradise Point on the Broadwater from Hollywell.

It is a wonderful time of day to watch the sunrise over the Broadwater and the first few boats breaking the mirror-like surface of the water.

Early morning on the Broadwater at Runaway Bay

Early morning on the Broadwater at Runaway Bay

Early morning on the Broadwater at Hollywell

Early morning on the Broadwater at Hollywell

The water was so calm it took another five minutes for the first bow wave to break on the beach.

Yet another Surfers Paradise skyline view with our village in the foreground.

Yet another Surfers Paradise skyline view with our village in the foreground.

Tonight, after dinner, I rode eBike to Labrador and parked myself on one of several fishing platforms which gives a good view of the Broadwater to the south and the towers of Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach. Oh, and of course Broadwater Parklands.

Looking to Southport/Surfers Paradise across the Broadwater waiting for the fireworks...

Looking to Southport/Surfers Paradise across the Broadwater waiting for the fireworks…

At 9pm early fireworks on the beach at Surfers Paradise and at Broadwater Parklands, erupted.

...and the fireworks began.

…and the fireworks began.

The early fireworks were timed to last only 8 minutes so at the 6 minute mark I packed up and started the ride home to avoid the traffic. Most of my journey was on foot or bicycle paths but I did have to cross the road in several places.

Although I went to the party at the clubhouse I was too tired to last the distance to midnight and excused myself. I was in bed before 11.30. Fireworks at Paradise Point woke me at midnight.

Sigh!

Thursday 1st January 2015. New Years Day.

I was woken at 12.30 by a huge bang which rocked the house. I thought it was another round of fireworks but soon realised it was lightning and thunder as heavy rain began to accompany the noise of the thunder. I woke again at 3.30am to a constant barrage of thunder and rain, making it impossible to go back to sleep.

There is nothing on TV at that time of morning unless you want to watch infommercials, re-runs of Laverne and Shirley or Today shows from the USA. Channel surfing soon tired me enough to crawl back to bed and wake at 6.30 feeling totally washed out.

Hmmm! Perhaps it was the four Rum n Cokes I had at the clubhouse! Or a combination including a late night and being woken by fireworks, thunder and rain.

In the afternoon the usual afternoon storm could be seen building in the mountains to the west. I caught a shuttle bus to Coolangatta Airport and by the time my flight on Virgin Airlines finally took off, a half hour late, it was almost dark. The flight path took us to the west and above the cloud cover where we could see the lightning below and or in the distance.

Hmmm! That was spectacular!

Arrived at Sydney Airport where they are on Daylight Savings Time. Bev n Pete collected me and we drove to their home at Gymea in the Sutherland Shire on the southern outskirts of Sydney. This will be my home for the next two weeks as I am house sitting while Bev n Pete take a Paddle Steamer Cruise on the Murray River.

Penny the dog will treat me as a friend…once I have fed her a few times. Penny can be somewhat aloof and grumpy and wary at first. Her bark and growls can be downright threatening.

Friday 2nd January

Today we had a picnic at Oak Park near the surf beach at Cronulla.

Oak Park Pavillion, showers, change rooms, toilets and entrance to the rock pool.

Oak Park Pavillion, showers, change rooms, toilets and entrance to the rock pool.

The park is on a peninsular of land which pokes into Port Hacking near Bass & Flinders Point. From the park we can see Jibbon Point and Jibbon Beach on the southern side of the bay near Bundeena.

Right hand reef break at Oak Park near the entrance to Port Hacking.

Right hand reef break at Oak Park near the entrance to Port Hacking.

Oak Park Rock Pool.

Oak Park Rock Pool.

Bev n Pete setting up our picnic.

Bev n Pete setting up our picnic.

Jibbon Beach across the entrance to Port Hacking at Oak Park.

Jibbon Beach across the entrance to Port Hacking at Oak Park.

Most of the land from Bundeena south, almost to Wollongong, is National Park. The coastline is sandstone with steep cliffs and a number of challenging walking tracks including the Jibbon Point Trail to Otford some 27 Klms to the south. However we had no time for such exploration today. Perhaps in the coming week I can have a look at some of the interesting places along this stretch of wild coast.

Saturday 3rd January

In the morning we visited our Aunt Gwen who lives in Redfern a Sydney suburb with a mixed history of crime and violence. Gradually the old houses are being restored and torn down and new high rise built. Aunt Gwen has lived there for the last 40 years and she is comfortable and happy although some neighbours cause her some concern when their drug dealings get out of hand. I am not sure how happy I would be living under the conditions of tight security in my house. Aunt Gwen is 81 and still active and mentally sharp. Two years ago she bought a laptop and Bev taught her the basics on how to use it. Since then she has bought a program to convert all her records, cassettes and CDs to digital format and saved them to her hard drive and created her own CD’s. She taught herself how to do all of this. She has now started on her photo albums to convert to digital and burn to a CD. Again, she is self- taught.

In the afternoon I found a black spider in my clothes. I thought if I could count the eyes and configuration I would be able to identify the spider. I always knew spiders had 8 eyes and knew that different configurations could identify the spider. A Google search soon taught me there are at least 54,000 known species of spiders in the world and probably another 100,000 not yet identified. I also learnt that the configuration of eyes is different and the only true way to identify a spider is by the eye configuration, the palps on a male and the genitalia on a female and in some instances, bisection of genitalia. I was staggered how the 8 eyes can be of different sizes and shapes. After all that I believe, the now dead spider is a Black House Spider which is mildly venomous and there are no recorded deaths.

Phew!

That’s nice to know.

Sunday 4th January

Bev, Pete and I drove to Bundeena on the southern entrance to Port Hacking.

A delightful old house on Bundeena Creek.

A delightful old house on Bundeena Creek.

Bundeena Creek runs into Port Hacking at Bundeena Beach.

Bundeena Creek runs into Port Hacking at Bundeena Beach.

Family safe and friebdly Bundeena Beach.

Family safe and friebdly Bundeena Beach.

Bundeena Wharf.

Bundeena Wharf.

Bundeena Beach looking back to the Creek.

Bundeena Beach looking back to the Creek.

Bundeena Beach from the jetty.

Bundeena Beach from the jetty.

Bundeena and two nearby towns are surrounded by National Park. In fact to reach them it requires driving through the National Park entrance. There are four beaches at Bundeena and all are considered family friendly. I had never before been to this beachside location and I was impressed with the bustling little village perched on the shore with grand views across the bay entrance to Gunnamatta Bay and Cronulla – where we had picnicked two days ago. Most of the coastline here is of high sandstone cliffs weathered over millennia into an impressive fortress like buttress against the sea.

Western end of Bundeena Beach. Note the weathered sandstone formation. To me it looks like a Grey Nurse Shark. Hmmm! Or is that a Goanna?

Western end of Bundeena Beach. Note the weathered sandstone formation. To me it looks like a Grey Nurse Shark. Hmmm! Or is that a Goanna?

Parking was at a premium and we had to park two streets away and lug our picnic gear and picnic downhill to the beach. While Bev n Pete went for a swim I wandered along the beach and watched as an historic Bundeena Ferry called into the jetty disgorging more passengers intent on filling the few empty spaces on the beach.

The old Bundeena / Port Hacking Ferry.

The old Bundeena / Port Hacking Ferry.

Boys jumping off the jetty at Bundeena.

Boys jumping off the jetty at Bundeena.

Numbers of backpackers resolutely started their trek to Jibbon Point to start the much longer Jibbon Point Trail. Incidentally this walk to Otford some 27 Klms to the south passes by beautiful sandstone cliffs and some aboriginal rock art. The walk is sometimes referred to as the Royal Coastal Walk.

The day was hot (34°) and sand was unbearable to walk on barefoot. With the heat, little shade, no breeze and increasing crowds we decided to have our picnic at home.  Bev n Pete fly out to Adelaide early in the morning and still have final packing to sort out. Besides, a big thunderstorm was brewing as we could see huge cumulonimbus anvil shaped cloud forming to the west a sure sign lightning and rain were on the way. You could say crowds and clouds chased us away.

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