Archive for April, 2015

419. Sunday 26th April 2015. 100th Anzac Day Ceremony and the Canada, USA and Alaska adventure begins…

26/04/2015

Monday 20th April

The excitement this little black duck is undergoing is umm err, well if not overwhelming at least it is not underwhelming. It could be my excitement is what wakes me during the night and does not allow me to get back to sleep until I acknowledge I am excited. I am really. I just do not show it.

I am excited that in a couple of days I take delivery of our new car and after a couple of days of driving it will be stored in the garage for a couple of months. It took a couple of minutes to work out how to get a few couples into that sentence. Then, only another minute to get a pair of couples into a sentence and no time at all really to get one couple into a sentence.

I must admit I am also excited that by 7am on Sunday morning I will leave home to begin an adventure several weeks in the planning and two months of execution.

Tuesday 21st April

Another day closer!

Wednesday 22nd April

In the afternoon I took possession of our new Brilliant Red Hyundai i30 SE Trophy Hatchback.

New i30 waiting to leave the showroom.

New i30 waiting to leave the showroom.

Still waiting.

Still waiting.

Look at the stupid look on the face of the proud i30 owner.

Look at the stupid look on the face of the proud i30 owner.

The excitement of a new car was overshadowed by nowhere to go! After dinner I drove to Coolangatta on the NSW border. The Laser Lighthouse is lit at night and I can stand one foot in each state.

i30 at the Point Danger (Dangar) lighthouse. I was unable to aprk in such a way that I could straddle the Queensland New South Wales border.

i30 at the Point Danger (Dangar) lighthouse. I was unable to park in such a way that I could straddle the Queensland New South Wales border.

From Point Danger I saw a large Quarter Moon setting in the west.

Setting moon over Kirra Beach. At this time of night I would normally expect to see a rising moon. I apologise for the quality of this photo. I forgot to change settings on the camera for night time, low light exposures.

Setting moon over Kirra Beach. At this time of night I would normally expect to see a rising moon. I apologise for the quality of this photo. I forgot to change settings on the camera for night time, low light exposures.

By coincidence another neighbour here in the village also took possession of a red i30 an hour before me. Our number plates have consecutive numbers.

Thursday 23rd April

Once more, to celebrate our new car, I took it for a spin to Sanctuary Cove Marina and Hope island Marina. This was my first visit to these locations and I was staggered by the incredible wealth tied up in the houses in the area but more so by the fabulous boats.

 

Friday 24th April

Brother in Law Ken C arrived to stay a couple (there’s that word again!) of nights and to join our village in ANZAC Day commemorations tomorrow. I had to show off the new car by taking Ken for a drive around some of the Gold Coast he has not seen before.

Preparing the shade pergolas and seaating ready for the Dan Service.

Preparing the shade pergolas and seating ready for the Dawn Service.

Saturday 25th April

ANZAC DAY.

About 130 residents and guests and visitors from the caravan park next door attended our dawn service. It was a moving ceremony and one which has taken months of planning by Rob C a resident here at the village.

Dawn Service ready to get underway.

Dawn Service ready to get underway. Rob is delivering  details of the coming events.

The Australian, New Zealand and Queensland Flags on our revamped flagpole  at  our Shrine of Remembrance.

The Australian, New Zealand and Queensland Flags on our revamped flagpole at our Shrine of Remembrance.

A mural was unveiled at our Dawn Service.

A mural was unveiled at our Dawn Service.

Australia & New Zealand must be unique in the world in that we commemorate losses of our worst military disaster rather than celebrating strategic victories. I am speaking of course of Gallipoli on this day in 1915 where we fought the Turks and losses were huge…on both sides. Out of that conflict came a national spirit and an enduring friendship with a previous foe.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the 10,500 invited Aussie’s and Kiwi’s crowd at Anzac Cove in Turkey as follows;

“Beginning here, on this spot and at this hour, 100 years ago, they fought and all-too-often they died: for their mates, for our country, for their King and — ultimately — for the ideal that people and nations should be free,” he told the crowd. “Because they rose to their challenges, we believe that it’s a little easier for us to rise to ours.

“Their example, we believe, helps us to be better than we would otherwise be. That’s why we’re here: to acknowledge what they have done for us — and what they still do for us.

“So much has changed in 100 years, but not the things that really matter: Duty, selflessness, moral courage. Always these remain the mark of a decent human being. “They did their duty; now, let us do ours. They gave us an example; now, let us be worthy of it. They were as good as they could be in their time; now, let us be as good as we can be in ours.

“Like every generation since, we are here on Gallipoli because we believe the Anzacs represented Australians at their best.

“Because they rose to their challenges, we believe it is a little easier for us to rise to ours. Their example helps us to be better than we would otherwise be.”

Our beautiful dawn service, via radio broadcast from the War Memorial in Canberra was played via loudspeakers in our private park and memorial.  The service brought tears to all present. Later in the morning we had an 11am service at the same location only this was in blazing sunlight and temperatures nearing 30°. It is a good thing we set up shade pergolas yesterday and put out 150 chairs. A Wreath laying ceremony was conducted and yours truly had the job of official photographer and “sound technician” for all the music and speeches. This was another moving ceremony but there was still more to come.

We had a roast meal for lunch for 98 invited guests. At the conclusion of lunch an ANZAC painting by Anne T, a resident was auctioned.  The successful bid was made by the brother of one of the residents. Once he won the auction he then donated the painting back to the village. Anne was reduced to tears of emotion for the auction of her work and subsequent return of the painting to our clubhouse. The successful bidder was swamped with thank you’s from the crowd.

Wow! What a day!

But it was not over yet. We went to dinner with Ken’s sister Kirsty and their uncle Ian and a wonderful Thai restaurant in the Southport gastronomic precinct.

 

Sunday 26th April

Another morning up early for the trip to Coolangatta Airport (thanks to neighbours Keith and Mary for driving me) Ken left for his return home on the Sunshine Coast. I left Coolangatta on a Virgin Airlines flight to Sydney. I left in brilliant sunshine and 26° temperature and arrived in Sydney to rain and chill. The temp was around 16°.

Brrr!

The first leg of my trip to Canada and Alaska has begun.

418. Sunday 20th April 2015. Surfers Paradise, good friends visit and I visit good friends…

20/04/2015

Monday 13th April

I drove to Surfers paradise today. Of course there were a lot of people around, mostly on Cavill Avenue, the main “IN” place to be and be seen.

Surfer Paradise.

Surfer Paradise.

The famous Cavill Avenue on a quiet day.

The famous Cavill Avenue on a quiet day.

A large tent with a wooden floor was on the beach for the Surfers Paradise Festival from 3rd to 18th April.   http://www.surfersparadise.com/whats-on/free-events/surfers-paradise-festival  There are lots of activities and shows being organised. Photo exhibitions and workshops, music workshops, trapeze, acrobats and circus performers, singers, dancers, dance workshops, bands, comedians, clowns and illusionists.  And so on and so forth etc etc etc.

All FREE!

The festival winds up on Saturday night with a giant fireworks display.

While wandering around with head looking up in the air I saw some old photos of Surfers which try to tell the story of how the area has grown. The area has grown too fast for the printed history. Already the information is out of date but the photos really capture an atmosphere. I recall the Surfers of 1964 and can see the bigger than huge changes which have occurred.

Look at how close to the beach you could park in 1960. Now there is a buffer zone of wide promenade and in places tree shaded grass with picnic tables. Also showers and toilet blocks are now conveniently located every 100 metres.

Look at how close to the beach you could park in 1960. Now there is a buffer zone of wide promenade and in places tree shaded grass with picnic tables. Also showers and toilet blocks are now conveniently located every 100 metres.

In the 1960's tanning was popular. Hmmm come to think of it, tanning is still popular today despite people being aware of the dangers. This photo depicts a spray tanning lotion vendor. A compressor and tank of coconut oil mixed with ??? was sprayed onto bodies. There was no thought about overspray onto nearby beach goers. There was no safety equipment for the person being sprayed. No eye protection no breathing filter. Along with getting an oily skin you got a lungful of the concoction and stinging eyes. Imagine trying to get a business like that on the beach today.

In the 1960’s tanning was popular. Hmmm come to think of it, tanning is still popular today despite people being aware of the dangers. This photo depicts a spray tanning lotion vendor. A compressor and tank of coconut oil mixed with ??? was sprayed onto bodies. There was no thought about overspray onto nearby beach goers. There was no safety equipment for the person being sprayed. No eye protection no breathing filter. Along with getting an oily skin you got a lungful of the concoction and stinging eyes. Imagine trying to get a business like that on the beach today.

Early advertising for Staffords Tog Shop. The store was opened by Paula Stafford who designed and made her own label of exclusive bikini's.

Early advertising for Staffords Tog Shop. The store was opened by Paula Stafford who designed and made her own label of exclusive bikini’s.

In 1960 the Paula Stafford Bikini Shop was right on the strip at Surfers Paradise. In the photo you can see her shop just behind the lady in the yellow Mu-Mu.

In 1960 the Paula Stafford Bikini Shop was right on the strip at Surfers Paradise. In the photo you can see her shop just behind the lady in the yellow Mu-Mu.

Surf carnivals, then as now were popular. The march past of the competing clubs showed off the tanned athletic healthy bodies. Hmmm! I wonder how those bodies look today?

Surf carnivals, then as now were popular. The march past of the competing clubs showed off the tanned athletic healthy bodies. Hmmm! I wonder how those bodies look today?

Cavill Avenue in 1967 was as busy then as it is today. It was the place to be and the place to be seen...apart from being on the beach of course. After dark the nightclubs came alive.

Cavill Avenue in 1967 was as busy then as it is today. It was the place to be and the place to be seen…apart from being on the beach of course. After dark the nightclubs came alive.

My first visit to Surfers Paradise was in 1964 and the strip looked much like this. If you double click you will see the Paula Stafford shop.

My first visit to Surfers Paradise was in 1964 and the strip looked much like this. If you double click you will see the Paula Stafford shop.

My head was looking up because I was looking at the tallest building on the coast QI or more appropriately called Sky Point.   http://www.skypoint.com.au/SkyPoint-Climb/   I was looking at the tower and thinking – hmmm, I have a fear of heights but I really want to climb the tower later this year – I have already climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and thought I had conquered my fear.

SkyPoint Tower. In the distance and due to the angle it looks shorter than the neighbouring building.

SkyPoint Tower. In the distance and due to the angle it looks shorter than the neighbouring building.

From this perspective it is easy to see SkyPoint is taller.Double click the photo to see the climbing staircase at the top of tower.

From this perspective it is easy to see SkyPoint is taller.Double click the photo to see the climbing staircase at the top of tower.

Here is a nice closeup of the climbing staircase. I am reliably informed that at the top there is a platform for group photos. The platform is glass so you can look at your feet and see all the way to the street 322 metres below. The building is taller than the Chrysler Building in New York City.

Here is a nice closeup of the climbing staircase. I am reliably informed that at the top there is a platform for group photos. The platform is glass so you can look at your feet and see all the way to the street 322 metres below. The building is taller than the Chrysler Building in New York City.

The result of my observations is I am going to do the climb in September. Then after that I want to climb the Story Bridge in Brisbane then next year tackle Mt Everest, Mt Fuji and Mt Kilamonjaro – just kidding.

Tuesday 14th April

Readers may recall my comments in the last post about the Boa Constrictor somewhere in the revegetation area of the dunes to the north of Main Beach. It’s funny how coincidences occur. I went to the beach this morning and walking back along the path back to TERIOS the couple in front stopped quickly. Reason? A two metre Yellow Belly Brown snake was crossing the path.  http://www.reptilepark.com.au/animalprofile.asp?id=109  These snakes are deadly and it is best to leave them alone.  Which we did.  They are also known as the Eastern Brown snake and are responsible for most snakebite deaths.  The snake slithered into the scrub and was gone in a couple of minutes. Of course it stopped and stared at us for awhile considering its next move. We are too big to eat and attacking would be a waste of venom better used for catching dinner. The snake and us all agreed to part company.

Wednesday 15th April

Now is probably as good a time as any to advise our itinerary for the next two month. After this post which will be completed on Sunday 19th April my next scheduled post is 26th April. I am unsure if I will be able to post on 26th and unsure how when where and why I will be able to post on Sunday nights for the next two months. As well I will be in the northern hemisphere and their Sundays are really Monday in Oz.

Our rough itinerary is fly to Vancouver Canada, cruise inside and outside and outside passages to Alaska, return to Seattle USA then back to Vancouver Island Canada, on to Calgary explore prairie, drive to and down The Rockies to Vancouver and fly to Sydney. There will be some time travel as well. On the flight to Vancouver I will arrive three hours before I leave whereas on the return flight after 16 hours flying we arrive two days after we leave.

See? Time Travel!

I drove TERIOS to a friends house in  Labrador where it will be stored while we are away.

Thursday 16th April

Readers may recall several posts ago I pontificated about buying a new car. My preference was a Toyota Camry Hybrid. Since then I determined a new car is out of the question. I looked at a three year old car last week and was offered a tiny trade amount on RALLYE. Based on that and the fact there is no ongoing warranty on the car and the batteries will need replacing in a few years I decided not to go down that path and forget about a car until we return sometime in July. Today I was talking with neighbours and the subject of the Hyundai i30 came up and there are some current model run out deals available with many extra’s at greatly reduced prices.

Hmmm! I will sleep on that idea.

 

Friday 17th April

Good friends Tony and Dawn arrived. I have no space to accommodate their Jayco caravan so they booked three nights in Treasure island Resort next door. I have a key which allows access to/from the resort so it is easy for us to spend time together.

While Dawn explored Harbourtown Tony and I went for a test drive in a Hyundai i30.

I like it.

Saturday 18th April

Back to the motor dealer today. I ordered a new Hyundai i30 SE hatchback.

Good friends Glennis & Eric called. They are staying at Glennis daughter resort at Mt Warning in NSW. They invited me down for the day as they are leaving tomorrow and will not have time to call in to see me as they have an appointment in Brisbane before they start their homeward journey in their caravan. Tony and Dawn are leaving in the morning to head south and home so I accepted the invitation.

Sunday 19th April

Happy Birthday to my sister Enid.

I drove to Mt Warning Forest Retreat (http://www.foresthideaway.com.au/ ) in the Tweed Valley near Murwillumbah. Mt Warning which can be seen from the Best of All Lookouts – as shown in our post 411 here   https://frankeeg.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/411-sunday-1st-march-2015-walking-in-clouds-a-death-in-the-family-and-a-long-overdue-surf/

Is the highest standing part of a volcanic crater and forms part of the caldera. The retreat is on the south wall of the mount and is still part of the volcanic origins although it is the outer wall of the caldera. The soil is rich red loam and the huge Tweed River has its origins here. Where the Tweed runs through the property it is not much wider than a creek. Many of the repeat customers use the cabins as a base for weekend climbs of Mt Warning. Todays visit opened up another potential destination to explore in the future and is only 90 minutes from home.

(About 20 Klm along the Motorway I realised I had left my camera behind.

Grrr!)

Glennis baked a wonderful beef roll in the Weber BBQ for lunch.

It was just on dark when I arrived home. Thank goodness there were leftovers in the fridge. I was too tired to cook.

417. Sunday 12th April 2015. Family fun…

12/04/2015

Monday 6th April

In the morning Anakin and I went to Main Beach for a surf.

Anakin starts an early morning surf. Water temperature was 25 degrees.

Anakin starts an early morning surf. Water temperature was 25 degrees.

Sister Enid arrived for the day.

After a rejuvenating coffee we packed a picnic lunch and headed into the mountains. Springbrook to be precise. Yeah yeah. I know I have written about it twice before but none of my guests have been there. There has been more heavy rain during the week so the waterfalls should be pumping.

Waterfall

Waterfall

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

They were.

Averyl was not well enough to do the 2 Klm climb down the escarpment to the Double Falls so I stayed behind with her and Anakin while Enid and Shelby did the trek together. It was good to see their happy faces an hour later. Those faces told me they had enjoyed the experience. In that hour we visited three other falls in the area.

Tuesday 7th April

In the morning Enid returned to Brisbane for work while Averyl, Shelby, Anakin and I went to Game Over.    http://www.gameovergc.com.au/   This is a huge complex comprising an indoor Go Kart track a dozen or so climbing walls, horizontal bungy jumping, games room and a Laser Tag Battle Arena.

Anakin at the wheel of the Go Kart.

Anakin at the wheel of the Go Kart.

Averyl at the wheel of her Go Kart

Averyl at the wheel of her Go Kart

Shelby waiting in the Go kart pits.

Shelby waiting in the Go kart pits.

The place is designed for people to have fun…at a price. There is a lot of equipment, lights, computers and the staff to customer ratio is surprisingly high…hence the price tag. I appointed myself official photographer and followed the family wherever I was able. Inside the Clip and Climb ( climbing walls)

Some of the climbing walls.

Some of the climbing walls.

Averyl had a go at climbing a wall.

Averyl had a go at climbing a wall.

Shelby on one of the climbing walls.

Shelby on one of the climbing walls.

Shelby climbing staggered poles.

Shelby climbing staggered poles.

Shelby and Anakin on a rock wall race.

Shelby and Anakin on a rock wall race.

was a Leap of Faith where you climb to 10 metres off the ground and leap from a platform to catch what looks like a punching bag type or leap and catch a trapeze swing. The punching bag required Anakin to hold old with arms and legs wrapped around the bag.

Anakin on his first leap of faith. Note the arms wrapped around the umm err punching bag.

Anakin on his first leap of faith. Note the arms wrapped around the umm err punching bag.

Anakins second leap of faith...he missed the trapeze.

Anakins second leap of faith…he missed the trapeze.

This activity would come back to be a bit of a pain later in the day.

We had lunch at Helensvale and in the afternoon we played endless games of Wii Tennis until I took Anakin to Main Beach for a surf. He got caught in a few dumpers and after a short break went back to the surf. He did comment he swallowed some water.

We went to Sushi Train for dinner and Anakin AKA Hollow Legs, lived up to his alias. By the time we got home he was very tired and complained of having a pain in the chest – remember the Leap of Faith above? .He then mentioned swallowing water and not feeling well – remember the Sushi Train? Averyl took him to the hospital for X-Rays.

Sigh!

Wednesday 8th April

Next morning apart from a bit of muscular soreness he was as bright as a button but happy to stay home – no adventure  today – and play Wii Tennis.

That evening along with some people we met last Sunday we bought fish n chips and brought then back home and had an enjoyable evening.

Thursday 9th April

The visit ended too soon.  Averyl, Shelby and Anakin left to begin a slow trip home.

Boo Hoo!

Sunday 12th April

Happy Birthday Donnis although you are 24 hours behind in Canada so from your viewpoint your birthday is tomorrow.

I went for my bike ride this morning although I could not travel my usual route or distance. The Gold Coast Triathlon was held yesterday and today. The roads have been closed.

In the afternoon I went to Main Beach for a surf. There was no parking so I went further up the beach where dune stabilisation is in progress. This means a good deal of scrub and trees were planted and in the process of reclaiming some of the dunes. I was surprised to see a sign which announced a Boa Constrictor has been sighted in the area. The sign includes a photo, supposedly of a Boa.

Whoa!

The Boa is a native of South America and the Caribean (   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boa_constrictor   )

How is a Boa running around the sand dunes on the Gold Coast?

This news story begins to explain but raises more questions. It does however explain why there are so many signs erected in the area.   http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-07/police-release-boa-constrictor-by-mistake-on-gold-coast/6374398

 

 

416. Sunday 5th April 2015. Boogie boarding, Easter and a family visit…

06/04/2015

Monday 30th March

I rode just 8 Klms today.

I bought a Boogie Board today.

In my excitement of trying my new board I went to Southport Beach, OR as locals tell me, it is actually Main Beach and the Southport SLC just happens to be there.

Hmmm! Whatever.

I took my Boogie Board to Southport/Main Beach. Imagine my disappointment on arrival to find the same dumping type waves I encountered last Friday. Struggling against the constant white water, undertow and dumping waves I did manage to catch a few waves on my new Boogie Board. Hereinafter it will be called BOOGIE.

Hmmm! That’s a bit of an unfortunate name.

Tuesday 31st March.

On this day in 4 weeks I will be winging my way to…Canada. More details will be provided a little closer to departure.

In the morning I rode a bit more than 20 Klms. This ride included crossing the Broadwater at Southport Bridge, then to Southport/Main Beach and following the cycle path towards The Spit until it degenerates into a sandy track then turn around and ride home.

After lunch BOOGIE accompanied me to THE BEACH where I was dismayed to find the surf was dumpers again. In fact it was so bad I was confined to surfing white water as it was simply impossible to catch a green wave.

Friday 3rd April – Good Friday

In the morning some 54 of the residents went to the clubhouse to enjoy Easter eggs, hot cross buns and tea and coffee along with a chance to catch up and have a chin wag.

Last night a few of us went to a Runaway Bay Junior Rugby League Club for dinner. Marie won a seafood tray in a raffle. Marie shared the tray at lunchtime today. The tray included shelled and unshelled prawns, smoked salmon, oysters, and crab sticks. There was enough seafood to satisfy the hunger of 6 people. Along with a couple of beers and a couple of Bundaberg Rum and Chocolate Liqueurs I had a full tummy and felt relaxed. I went home and sat in my recliner – just for a moment you understand – and woke two hours later.

Saturday 4th April

Today, on behalf of the National Servicemen’s organisation to raise funds for our upcoming Anzac Day ceremonies we conducted a sausage sizzle at Bunnings. I have never been part of a sausage sizzle and was amazed at the volume of sales. During the 7.5 hours we had 14 volunteers working in two shifts. Bunnings donated hundreds of Hot Cross Buns which we sliced and buttered and handed to shoppers  – free! We used 15 Kg of sausages which equates to around 600 sausages, 10 loaves of bread, 7 Kg of sliced onions and 12 dozen cans of drink and water. At the end of the day we had raised $1,300. Considering we hoped to raise $1,000 it was a very good effort.

Sunday 5th April

The weather seems strange.

Here on the coast we are enjoying days of 30°.

Brother Allan called from Forster in NSW and he complained at how chilly it was there.

Donnis reports from Canada – it is Spring – it is cold. She wears three layers of clothes and has a wood fire burning.

About midday daughter Averyl and grandchildren Shelby Rose and Anakin arrived. It was so good to see them again. Averyl had organised to join extended family for a dinner at Teranora just over the border in NSW. Their house overlooks the same valley and Murwillumbah which Donnis and I saw from the The Best of All Lookouts  several weeks ago. Included amongst the many family members was a famous Australian Test and One Day International  Cricketer and his wife an equally famous world champion golfer. After dinner and on our way home I drove to Coolangatta and the Captain Cook Memorial Light at Point Danger   (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Danger_Light ) on the Qld NSW border. Anakin wanted to be able to stand with one foot in each state. The lighthouse is actually the first experimental  Laser Light used in the world instead of the traditional type of light.

We have another three days of visit to pack in as much sightseeing as we can.