480. Sunday 6th March 2016. Visitors, Tai Chi and a rugby league game…

08/03/2016

Monday 29th February

It has been a quiet week.

I am slowly reducing my medication, Lyrica 300 Mg twice a day to 75 Mg twice a day. The reduction has not been totally without some form of withdrawal. Therefore a quiet week means I can relax a bit.

Good friends Tony and Dawn arrive from Port MacQuarie. We spend the next few hours catching up with each others lives. They also felt like having a quiet stay so that suited all of us. They stayed for two days before leaving to attend a funeral in Toowoomba.

By Saturday they arrived back and wanting just to have a few quiet days with us. The came with us when we went to Tai Chi on Friday and joined Donnis for a swim at the Labrador lagoon while I flew my kite.

Sunday 6th March

Donnis and I drove to Brisbane to watch grandson Chris play his second game of Rugby League. Chris mum Regelyn and his other grandmother  Evangeline also helped cheer on the team.

The excited spectators Evangeline, Regelyn and Donnis.

The excited spectators Evangeline, Regelyn and Donnis.

Actually we all offered quiet dignified support. There is a sign when entering the field which basically states that this is just a game, the children are just children playing a game, there is no wagering, no shouting screaming or abusing. The sports officials are all volunteers. We are all asked to support the teams in a dignified way. Some parents shouted encouragement but it was nice not to see aggressive parents running along the sideline screaming at the children or the referee.

It was good to see Chris take the field this week with his mouthguard and Jonathon Thurston head guard. The head guard has minimal padding but is much better than no protection. Jonathon Thurston never plays a game without his headgear and he is the best player in the world. He is a great role model for the children - boys as well as girls.

It was good to see Chris take the field this week with his mouthguard and Jonathon Thurston head guard. The head guard has minimal padding but is much better than no protection. Jonathon Thurston never plays a game without his headgear and he is the best player in the world. He is a great role model for the children – boys as well as girls.

Chris team the Easts Leagues Tigers Under 12, chasing and supporting their own player.

Chris team the Easts Leagues Tigers Under 12, chasing and supporting their own player.

On a footnote Chris team lost.

479. Sunday 28th February 2016. Visitors get trips to the beach and leave on a jet plane…

28/02/2016

Monday 22nd February

After a late start we travelled along the M1 and crossed into NSW and continued to follow the Pacific Motorway turning off at Clothiers Creek Road, driving through interesting thick woodland to join Tweed Coast Road at Cabarita Beach. We had a late lunch of sardines on rice cakes topped with chilli dill pickles. The memory of the meal still lives with me. (Hmmm! Perhaps I meant the meal still haunts me!)

We walked to the top of Norries Headland with grand views to Coolangatta and Tweed Heads to the north, with whale watching seating at the top of a wind driven knob of land. Yes it was very windy today which still does not detract from the need for caution at the top of the sheer cliffs to the rocks below.

Doug Linda and Donnis brave the strong winds on the cliffs above Cabarita Beach.

Doug Linda and Donnis brave the strong winds on the cliffs above Cabarita Beach.

This location is as far as Donnis and I have travelled on the Tweed Coast Road. Not quite true to coastal being in its name, the road meanders along the coast then wanders back through farmland, crossing the Pacific Motorway then turns back on itself passing through small coastal villages to end at the easternmost point in Australia, Byron Bay. We had been here only once before when we were returning from Tasmania in our Toyota Coaster motorhome in late June, 2009. We spent one night in an expensive caravan park and had an expensive pizza for dinner.  It seems very little has changed since our last visit. Traffic was chaotic.

A busy Byron Bay street.

A busy Byron Bay street.

Norfolk Island Pines. Like many beaches throughout Australia these pines are an iconic fixture.

Norfolk Island Pines. Like many beaches throughout Australia these pines are an iconic fixture.

Parking meters have given birth to new parking meters all the way from the edge of town, through all beach locations to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is exempt from parking meters. Here live people collect parking fees.

Byron Bay Lighthouse. Easternmost point of Australia.

Byron Bay Lighthouse. Easternmost point of Australia.

We did not stop due to limited parking, bumper to bumper driving and it was getting late. As always this summer the weather has been perfect, provided you like hot days.

Tuesday 23rd February

Today we had an almost abortive picnic. We packed a great lunch in the Esky including ice packs to keep it cool. Donnis also packed cutlery and plates in a separate Esky. Frank picked up the first Esky, packed it in the boot and away we went. We did not discover the missing picnic materials until we arrived at our destination. Hmmm. Lids of plastic containers, a flick knife and fingers were put to good use.

First stop was Hinze Dam. Yes, we visited the dam last year but obviously Linda and Doug have not. The Hinze Dam was named in honour of a local family whose home and farm were to become part of the dam itself and is now underwater. The dam was not named after a shifty politician who was  distantly related to the family. The dam on the Nerang River had stage one completed in 1976, stage two in 1989 and stage three in 2011. The dam provides flood mitigation for people living downstream in the Nerang River Valley.

From the dam we drove to Natural Bridge

On the Natural Bridge walk with some of the Hoop Pines planted about a century ago.

On the Natural Bridge walk with some of the Hoop Pines planted about a century ago.

Natural Bridge.

Natural Bridge.

Inside the grotto. Home to a colony of bats and glow worms.

Inside the grotto. Home to a colony of bats and glow worms.

Leaving the Natural Bridge grotto.

Leaving the Natural Bridge grotto.

and discovered we had food but no plates, knives or forks. We have been to Natural Bridge before so we lunched, using fingers, before walking to the bridge and taking the loop track back to the carpark. We were interested to note many, many signs stating swimming is not permitted and heavy fines and penalties are imposed on anyone caught swimming. We saw at least three people walking the track, in their wet swimming gear and not a ranger in sight.

Interesting car with Bamboo roof racks and a bent steel tow bar.

Interesting car with Bamboo roof racks and a bent steel tow bar.

We then drove the back road to Springbrook to see the Best of All Lookouts. The temperature here had dropped from 32° at the dam to 18° at the lookout car park. The walk to the lookout through rainforest and on the cliff face itself the temperature would have been much less and the wind chill factor made standing at the lookout rather a chilly affair. No wonder there are ancient Antarctic Beech trees growing here and seem to be constantly dripping from the clouds which hover around here most days.   www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/springbrook/about.htm   We had just enough time to stop at Purling Brook Falls. As the afternoon was getting late and long shadows appearing we did not attempt any of the walks.

Wednesday 24th February

Today was intended to be a lay day where we sat back and did nuffin. Donnis son Peter arrived unexpectedly so we went for a walk on Southport Beach then went to Southport Surf Life Saving Club for a beer before heading home for dinner.

Thursday 25th February

A late start saw us at Burleigh Heads and remarkably, we found a parking spot. We walked into the National Park

Burleigh Heads looking north to Surfers Paradise.

Burleigh Heads looking north to Surfers Paradise.

Doug Linda and Frank at the entrance to the Burleigh Headland National Park.

Doug Linda and Frank at the entrance to the Burleigh Headland National Park.

and followed the low walking track as far as Tallebudgera Creek and back.

Looking south to the Tallebudgera rockwall. with Currumbin and Coolangatta in the distance.

Looking south to the Tallebudgera rockwall. with Currumbin and Coolangatta in the distance.

The southern shore of Tallebudgera Creek is distinctly family oriented. The norther shore, often underwater is more popular with those not of a family group.

The southern shore of Tallebudgera Creek is distinctly family oriented. The norther shore, often underwater is more popular with those not of a family group.

Sometimes the track is closed due to falling rocks.

There are several gates to close access during periods of bad weather when there is a risk of a landslide and as happened last year, a bushfire.

There are several gates to close access during periods of bad weather when there is a risk of a landslide and as happened last year, a bushfire.

These are just some of the rocks which could tumble down the steep slopes when heavy rain undermines the unstable tallus.

These are just some of the rocks which could tumble down the steep slopes when heavy rain undermines the unstable tallus.

The dron hovering over the surf.

The drone hovering over the surf.

The drone operator.

The drone operator.

A group of schoolchildren were on an excursion and treated to a display of a drone.

A group of schoolchildren were on an excursion and treated to a display of a drone.

From there we inspected an RSL Prize Home valued at M$1.7 overlooking Kirra Beach with views all the way to Surfers Paradise in the north to Greenmount beach to the south. A window in the back of the building overlooks Coolangatta Airport. Naturally we bought tickets.

From there we drove back to Currumbin Beach SLSC and had Calamari and chips and Flathead and chips washed down with a cold beer. Our table was on a level overlooking the rocks and surf.

Friday 26th February

Today started as a lay day but escalated to a visit to Robina Shopping Centre where I bought, of all things, a smart phone. I have resisted the urge to have a smart phone until now. I bought a Samsung Galaxy A3 and have a steep learning curve to learn how to use it.

Saturday 27th February

We were all up early so we could drive Doug n Linda to Brisbane International Airport for their flight to Hong Kong.

We then visited a shopping centre for coffee in air conditioned comfort then drove to see grandson Chris play his first ever game of Rugby League. The game was played in searing heat with a hot wind blowing from the northwest.

Sunday 28th February

Another lay day.

 

478. Sunday 23rd February 2016. Canada visitors arrive and the beach beckons with Kite Surfing…

23/02/2016

Tuesday 16th February

Our new Laz E Boy lounge, ordered and paid for last November, arrived today.

Wednesday 17th February

Now for something  totally different. We attended a Tai Chi lesson today. It was held in a park at Paradise Point on the shore of The Broadwater (a few Klms further north than we usually go for a walk) our lesson had about 20 participants and was held under a spreading fig tree. The lesson lasted an hour and I was impressed by the flexibility of our teacher and how sore my muscles felt afterwards.

We were home before the real heat of the day began. It was a scorcher and was accompanied by high humidity.

Friday 19th February

In the morning Donnis went to Tai Chi while I had a Hand Therapy Session.

It was hot today, 34° even here on the coast with a good cooling sea breeze.

At midday we collected Donnis’ sister, Linda, and her partner from the Coolangatta Airport. They are visiting from Vancouver, Canada. We came home and relaxed for a few hours before going to Southport Beach for a walk late in the afternoon.

Donnis son Peter and his son Chris arrived from Brisbane. We had dinner and Peter and Chris stayed for the night. One slept on the new lounge and the other slept on our fold up foamy bed. We carried this bed on our travels 2010 to 2014 and never used the thing, either as a bed, a day bed or as a fold up lounge chair.

No plans have been made for tomorrow.

Saturday 20th February

As always when a group is asked to decide what to do today, nobody wants to decide and the day wears on. I took the initiative and decided we would go to Philips Park on Main Beach to watch the National Kiteboarding League Championships. As it turns out there was only 8 knots of wind today, barely enough to get a training kite airborne. The championships are re-scheduled for tomorrow when 25 knot winds are predicted.

Yacht with black sails cruises along a bumpy sea.

Yacht with black sails cruises along a bumpy sea.

We took our own kite

Aaaah. This is more like it. A dociled kite.

Aaaah. This is more like it. A docile kite.

Hmmm! Pete flying our small kite while Frank watches.

Hmmm! Pete flying our small kite while Frank watches.

Pete and son Chris flying our smaller kite.

Pete and son Chris flying our smaller kite.

with us and the NKL invited us to use their training kites.

Doug n Donnis watch on as Linda has her turn.

Doug n Donnis watch on as Linda has her turn.

Yes Please!

Donnis in flight while Doug n Linda watch on.

Donnis in flight while Doug n Linda watch on.

Pete enjoys his time in the surf.

Pete enjoys his time in the surf.

Pete, Doug n Linda leave the surf to start flying the training kite.

Pete, Doug n Linda leave the surf to start flying the training kite.

Wow!

...and more flying.

…and more flying.

Donnis having her turn on the training kite...

Donnis having her turn on the training kite…

Even though their kite is marginally larger than our kite it is designed for kite surfing and has three lines to the kite via a hand steering bar compared to our two lines via cord wraps.

Pete.

Pete.

Pete flies while Donnis and Chris share a hug.

Pete flies while Donnis and Chris share a hug.

Pete

Pete

At times the kite was lifting us off our feet. It was magic.

Chris flies the kite while Frank n Doug share flying tips (Doug was a commercial airline pilot)

Chris flies the kite while Frank n Doug share flying tips (Doug was a commercial airline pilot)

Chris working with a Kite Surfing Kite.

Chris working with a Kite Surfing Kite.

We were all fired up to consider taking up kite surfing.

...even the trainer is busy.

…even the trainer is busy.

Doug working hard at flying a kite...

Doug working hard at flying a kite…

It was 37° C in the beach carpark at 2pm.  Afterwards we stopped for a beer at the Southport Surf Life Saving Club then home to discover after several hours in the sun surfing and kite flying we are all sunburnt.

Sunday 21st February

Mid-morning to midday Doug and I went to the beach to watch the National Kiteboarding League Championships.

I could not resist this photo opportunity.

I could not resist this photo opportunity.

As predicted the wind was blowing at 25+ knots and the sun was as usual brilliantly brilliant.

Part of the large crowd of kite surfing enthusiasts.

Part of the large crowd of kite surfing enthusiasts.

Some of the ladies competitors.

Some of the ladies competitors.

A sporting handshake between competitors.

A sporting handshake between competitors.

In the hour or so of our stay we saw many heats of finals of both men’s and women’s events,

Some of the competitors kites.

Some of the competitors kites.

both Freestyle and Wave disciplines.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Kite Surfers in action.

Lots of photos from the official site appear below.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1224965110864993.1073741835.998924220135751&type=3

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1227573637270807.1073741836.998924220135751&type=3

In the afternoon we all drove to Peters house in Brisbane as he offered to cook a lamb roast for dinner. True to his word he did.

Great dinner Pete.

We did not arrive home until the wee hours of Monday.

ZZZzzzzz!

477. Sunday 14th February 2016. Oooh its St Valentines Day….

15/02/2016

Not much has happened around here this week. Apart from our usual walks on the beach or The Broadwater, doctors appointments, diet to lose weight (Hmmm. That was important. I started a diet a couple of weeks ago and have not had anything to report until now. Apart from the exercise I am no longer drinking alcohol – well occasionally – reduced carbs – that means potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, cake, biscuits and breads – smaller meal portions and NO SNACKING. NO jellies, chocolate, crackers with dip, peanuts, chips or corn chips or other tasty sweet stuff such as ice cream and puddings. So far my scales report a loss of 4 Kg. Down from a worst ever 90 Kg. It could be my scales are inaccurate by a Kg but that means I may have lost 5Kg or only 3 Kg. Either way it is an improvement.) All that aside, we stayed mostly at home and avoided the heat.

Sunday 14th February

For a long, long time Donnis has wanted to attend a Hillsong Campus.  She attended a Hillsong Conference in Brisbane many years ago with her friends. She enjoyed herself so much she wanted to return. Today was first day of a new Hillsong campus on the Gold Coast and there were no excuses not to attend. A history of the church appears here   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsong_Church

The church has global campuses and are linked via video to live sermons, music, prayer and so on from the Sydney office. First impressions were “Gee this is big” as we were shown to a parking spot by volunteers waving light batons. Before we entered the building we were greeted by zealously friendly greeters every few metres. We sat at the back as the noise from the speakers would seriously damage my eardrums and change my heart rhythm forever. From our last row seat to the back of the building it was standing room only. The slick service began, boom, on time and after a couple of religious songs and a G up by the locals,  suddenly the giant TV screen on stage had us linked to Sydney where enthusiastic charismatic pastor Brian Houston gave the sermon/commercial for the day reminding us of all the Hillsong campuses there are around the world including China, USA, England and Russia to name a few. He even offered their own brand of a Bible in magazine form – free as we leave the building. In closing we were reminded of putting our tithes and offerings into a special envelope. The building was packed with believers, despite the Pastors father, Frank Houston facing charges of molesting boys. The packed services and the public display of support by the church where they just brush aside any discussion on Frank Houston, clearly shows the church moves on. Afterwards we faced the same gamut of happy degreeters as we left the building. Phew! What an absolutely amazing show of spirituality. At least 2,000 people packed the building. How many churches can lay claim to that sort of patronage? Being a confirmed cynic I could not help but feel this was less a church service than a commercial to show how great the church is. In the back of my mind was a little voice saying ‘ Get em in, get em out and get their money”.

In the afternoon we went to The Seaway Beach which is located at the end of The Spit. A strong southerly wind was blowing – as it has all day. We tried to erect our new and as yet unused beach tent. It soon became a giant inflated kite and threatened to drag us off the beach. We managed to get it rolled and tied into a long sausage five times bigger than the bag it came in. Sigh!!!

This part of the beach has a long jetty running out into the ocean.

The long sand pumping jetty at The Seaway Beach also known as The Spit Beach.

The long sand pumping jetty at The Seaway Beach also known as The Spit Beach.

There are warning flags and signs not to swim in or around the jetty as twisted currents and rips can quickly get the best of swimmers into trouble. It costs $2.20 to walk onto the pier. The pier was and is used as a sand pumping platform. Despite the warnings people still jump off the end of the pier. Only a month ago a board surfer jumped off the end of the pier in rough seas. He was not seen again. It was several days before his body surfaced on South Stradbroke Island to the north.

This section of the beach is a dogs off leash exercise area and the dogs get to be umm err… dogs enjoying themselves. The remainder of several Klms of beach all the way to Burleigh Heads are either NO DOGS or dogs on leash.

Big dogs, little dogs, ugly dogs, pretty dogs, aggressive dogs, scared dogs, little dogs bowled over in the surf and big dogs scared to enter the surf.

Big dogs, little dogs, ugly dogs, pretty dogs, aggressive dogs, scared dogs, little dogs bowled over in the surf and big dogs scared to enter the surf.

This section of the beach is labelled as an "off leash exercise area". There were quite easily 100 dogs having the time of their lives. One came up to our messy beach tent and marked his territory. Grrr!

This section of the beach is labelled as an “off leash exercise area”. There were quite easily 100 dogs having the time of their lives. One came up to our messy beach tent and marked his territory. Grrr!

This active dog dragged this lump of tree around the beach waiting for the owner to throw it in the surf.and he would chase it.

This active dog dragged this lump of tree around the beach waiting for the owner to throw it in the surf.and he would chase it.

Today I found, quite by accident, a blog page by a man determined to visit and swim in all the Ocean Pools in NSW – other states have such pools as well. His blog indicates there are 60 such sites along the NSW coast. (Another blog puts the number at 100 in Sydney alone – Hmmm! Perhaps it includes harbour pools which are different)  It got me thinking. Donnis and I have visited many of those pools and photographed them. We might do a comparison of pools when we go on a road trip planned for April.

The blog link is   http://oceanpoolsnsw.net.au/mahon-pool-maroubra-nsw-2035/#comment-64

And another blog by another blogger  http://swimmingpoolstories.com.au/2013/07/the-magical-moods-of-maroubras-mahon-pool/

Yet another blogger   http://oceanpoolsnsw.net.au/mahon-pool-maroubra-nsw-2035/#comment-64

You might notice all three blogs are about the Mahon Pool at Maroubra. Donnis and I visited the pool and wrote about it at Post 454 in August 2015.

https://frankeeg.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/454-sunday-23rd-august-2015-visiting-family-friends-and-pain/

 

 

476. Sunday 7th February 2016. Airport transfers, quiet days and a big beach walk…

07/02/2016

Remember to double click on photos and double click again for full size.

Monday 1st February

The day began as overcast and hot. By 9am it was already 27° and humidity was 82%. As the day progressed, both crept up the scale. I started some garden trimming but within a half hour the sun was biting into my skin and perspiration was dripping from my brow. Time to stop.

Shortly after lunch the expected storm raced in. Big black fierce looking clouds accompanied by strong winds, thunder, lightning and rain.

Donnis started her last minute mad rush packing. Now that I am legally covered as far as my licence is concerned I can drive her to the airport tomorrow morning. She is flying to Sydney to spend a week with the granddaughters.

Tuesday 2nd February

The drive to the airport was uneventful and Donnis was there in plenty of time for her flight. I drove the M1 both ways as I consider it is quicker than driving through all the beachside suburbs and all the traffic lights.

In the afternoon there was a traffic accident on the M1. A truck hit a guard rail and jack-knifed across all three southbound lanes on a bridge over the Nerang Rivert, rolling in the process. It also knocked down a light pole onto one lane of the northbound lanes. The driver suffered a broken leg and had trouble getting out of the sideways turned cabin. The truck caught on fire. Getting out was now urgent. A good Samaritan climbed on the truck, pulling the driver through the cabin window and slowly lowering him to the waiting hands of other helpers. It was not a moment too soon. The truck exploded into a fireball. Have a look at the video footage   http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/m1-truck-crash-man-hailed-hero-after-pulling-driver-free-20160202-gmk7gf.html

Traffic backed up for about twenty Klms and the bitumen began to melt. The road was closed and traffic diverted. Motorway engineers inspected the damage as it was feared there may have been structural damage to the bridge. Late in the night the all clear was given to open the main arterial motorway again.

In the afternoon I enjoyed a splashy walk along the Broadwater.

Storm brewing behind Lands End.

Storm brewing behind Lands End.

Last weeks storm blew two boats onto the Broadwater Beach along with this navigation beacon.

Last weeks storm blew two boats onto the Broadwater Beach along with this navigation beacon.

This must be a working mans boat. He has a fold up bike to get to work.

This must be a working mans boat. He has a fold up bike to get to work.

 

Thursday 4th February

I collected Errol n Nicole from the Coolangatta Airport. It is their 10th Wedding Anniversary. Errol surprised Nicole (that was the reason Donnis flew to Wollongong) with three days at Couran Cove on South Stradbroke Island. He borrowed friend Steve boat and scooted  across the Broadwater in a strong southerly  wind but making shelter on the Stradbroke shore and followed this to Couran Cove.

Friday 5th February

The southerly wind has brought drops in temperature and some rain. Although temps have dropped it is still a comfortable 27°.

Looking back over the blog I thought it was about time I did a review.

This time in 2006 we still had the Toyota Coaster bus converted to a motorhome. Donnis was working so I drove to Marion Creek south of Mackay to enjoy a weekend camped with the Mackay Sugarloafers. For some reason this camp spot was popular with a few of the men who love fishing. The campsite is basically on a floodplain and tidal marsh surrounded by mangroves.It is mosquito and sand fly heaven. It is not popular with non fishermen.

February 2008 was a not a time for travelling in the motorhome. The first week a freak storm blew into Airlie Beach and surrounding areas. Sixty six boats were sunk and many houses unroofed. A week later 400mm of rain was dumped in a 24 hour period.  There was simply nowhere within a 200 Klm radius where the ground was not waterlogged and a sea of mud.

February 2009 was another month we went nowhere. Tropical cyclone ELLIE crossed the coast up near Cairns and dumped a crazy amount of rain on Airlie Beach. Our guttering and rear driveway simply could not cope with the sheer volume of water. Parts of our gravel driveway washed away.

Donnis and I were married on Cannonvale Beach at the end of the month.

February 2010 continued with the rain and humidity experienced at the same time every year. We celebrated our wedding anniversary a few weeks early before Donnis flew to Canada for a month.

February 2011 saw us having begun our full time travels in September 2010 but stopped for a three month housesit at Traveston on the Sunshine Coast. As usual for this time of year there was lots of rain, including the disastrous flooding along the Brisbane River. Donnis flew to Canada for a month.

2012 found us staying in a caravan park in Culcairn south west NSW while Donnis worked at a hospital at a town called Henty about 30 Klms away. On her days off we explored the major towns of Wagga Wagga and Albury on the NSW Victoria border. I was having laptop problems (the same laptop on which I am compiling this post). I was having multiple issues. The hard drive needed replacing under warranty.

This week in 2013 we were still housesitting in Guyra NSW. Donnis was in Wollongong and I was taking a tour of the many waterfalls in the area. As usual at this time of year there had been heavy rain and the waterfalls were pumping.

I had computer issues again, requiring a complete re-format which, in turn, required all my old files had to be restored via backup files and install all my programs again.

For a complete change of pace in 2014 we were back in our house at Airlie Beach, I was working at my old job and Donnis was working at a hospital at Collarenebri in western NSW. Surprise, surprise, surprise! It has been raining. Heavy rain, light rain, intermittent rain. It must be February.

Finally in 2015 we are in our house on the Gold Coast. A cyclone up north had given us a legacy of rain and big swells for the experienced surfer. Donnis arrived home from her contract nursing at Lightning Ridge and I had computer issues. I needed a new keyboard and a re-install of Windows.

The common theme through all of this review is that it usually rains in February and I have computer problems. Not this month. Touch wood.

Saturday 6th February

I woke to the sound of heavy rain on the roof. Then after a few minutes it stopped. Then started again and then stopped. Most of the morning was like this…on and off rain.

Sigh!

However…

Mid- morning I filled a backpack, drove to Southport SLS Club, determined to walk along the beach as far as possible. In reality it was not far, 7.6 Klms return. Given the strong wind, burning sunlight followed by dark clouds and rain squalls I think I did pretty good. I stopped for lunch at McDonalds Surfers Paradise.

This is an action photo. There is so much happening. Look carefully to see the activities.

This is an action photo. There is so much happening. Look carefully to see the activities.

The main thourofare through SP is The Esplanade and the main pedestrian street is Cavill Avenue. The beachfront is the place to see and be seen. On all the toilet blocks and other prominent places are iconic photographs from the 40s, 50s and 60s depicting life at this exciting beachside area. The photos are a great time warp view about life as it was. I have attached a selection of some of those photos. Mostly they are in a rough chronological order of the years depicted.

This photo and story shows the lengths lifesavers would go to come to the Gold Coast. In the 1940's roads were little more than gravel and the trip from Brisbane would take hours. These days it is a 50 minute drive on a motorway. Unless of course there has been an accident. Then the trip takes...hours.

This photo and story shows the lengths lifesavers would go to come to the Gold Coast. In the 1940’s roads were little more than gravel and the trip from Brisbane would take hours. These days it is a 50 minute drive on a motorway. Unless of course there has been an accident. Then the trip takes…hours.

Although undated this photo is probably from the 60's The style of bikini and the hairdo's  give the era away.

Although undated this photo is probably from the 60’s The style of bikini and the hairdo’s give the era away.

Can you imagine what Surfers Paradise visitors in 1967 would have thought about all the high rise we have now.

Can you imagine what Surfers Paradise visitors in 1967 would have thought about all the high rise we have now.

This photo was probably taken late 40's early 50's.

This photo was probably taken late 40’s early 50’s.

This was how life was depicted in the 60's.

This was how life was depicted in the 60’s.

This is another photo perhaps from the 40's. Child trainee lifesavers were and still are call "Nippers"

This is another photo perhaps from the 40’s. Child trainee lifesavers were and still are call “Nippers”

I can recall spending money to get changed, to hire a Surf  Plane and to get sprayed with Coconut Oil for a suntan. Nowadays we call it Sun Protection.

I can recall spending money to get changed, to hire a Surf O Plane and to get sprayed with Coconut Oil for a suntan. Nowadays we call it Sun Protection.

Look at this> Being able to park right up to the edge of the beach. Not anymore.

Look at this> Being able to park right up to the edge of the beach. Not anymore.

This is labelled the Age of Innocence for good reason. WAustralians now have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Hmmm! I wonder how our statistics measure up against Hawaii?

This is labelled the Age of Innocence for good reason. WAustralians now have the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world. Hmmm! I wonder how our statistics measure up against Hawaii?

The coastline has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Notice the use of the word "gay" has now taken on a totally different meaning.

The coastline has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Notice the use of the word “gay” has now taken on a totally different meaning.

A stroll along Cavill Avenue.  If you look carefully at the photo you can see Nerang River in the background along Cavill Avenue. Not anymore.

A stroll along Cavill Avenue. If you look carefully at the photo you can see Nerang River in the background along Cavill Avenue. Not anymore.

By the time I was back at the car I was exhausted. With all the walking and looking around and taking photos I spent three hours at the beach. My sunburned arms and face are a legacy of the walk.

Hmmm! Lots of digging in the sand but the signs say "Dune Restoration" Seems more like "Dune Destruction".

Hmmm! Lots of digging in the sand but the signs say “Dune Restoration” Seems more like “Dune Destruction”.

Kite Surfing is very popular

Kite Surfing is very popular

Different tides and wind conditions and wave size will sometimes eat away at the sand.

Different tides and wind conditions and wave size will sometimes eat away at the sand.

in this and the following 3 photos depicts a kite surfer walking along the beach and his preparation to take off.

in this and the following 3 photos depicts a kite surfer walking along the beach and his preparation to take off.

060215 ksurfer1 060215 ksurfer2 060215 ksurfer3

Kite surfing in the best of windy conditions.

Kite surfing in the best of windy conditions.

Perhaps next time I will get away earlier and try to reach Broadbeach.

And beyond.

Sigh!

Sunday 7th February

Collected Errol & Nicole from their break at Couran Cove and drove them to the airport. The rest of the day was lazy…apart from editing the many photos for this post.

 

475. Sunday 31st January 2016. Australia Day, Hot Days, Storms and a road trip to Coolangatta…

31/01/2016

Monday 25th January

Today started off OK. Hot but tolerable.

I had a doctors appointment at noon to check results of recent blood and urine tests. I also had an important question to ask. The blood and urine were fine apart from a slightly lower Vitamin D level.

That’s all fine n dandy so I told the doc I wanted to start driving again.

I have dropped the pain medication (at my request) to 50% of the previous, high, over the top dose. That dose had caused dry mouth, speech hesitation, memory loss, weight gain, swelling of joints, wobblies when walking  and a bit of and I say this hesitantly and advisedly, depression.

The doc asked if I am tolerating the pain. Yes I am. I am also going to the Pain Management Clinic.

The doc agrees I can start driving if I feel confidant.

I do.

However, under the Queensland Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act, Section 142 requires that all licence holders are to report ANY Medical or Optical, short or long term, disability, treatment or medication liable to impair my ability to drive, be reported to Qld Transport. Failure to do so could result in a loss of licence and a fine of up to $7,000.

Gulp!

So, to protect the doc and myself I need to complete a Form F3712. It must also be completed by the doc of course and by an Optometrist.

As luck would have it I had an eye test two weeks ago when I had a burst blood vessel in my left eye. With Form F3712 in my hand I rocked up to the Optometrist who ticked all the boxes and signed off on my good eyesight. All I need is another visit to the doc who already has my healthy vitals, for her to sign off on her part of Form F3712 and we have completed our obligations under the Act and I will then return the form to Queensland Transport and I should be ready to drive, fingers crossed, by the weekend.

Hallelujah!

The running around took up most of our day.

WISH ME LUCK…sorry for shouting.

Tuesday 26th January

AUSTRALIA DAY.

Methinks a little history would not go astray at this point.

During the years 1786 and early 1787 British Prisons were full and old ships still berthed on the Thames River near London, were used as an overflow to house prisoners. Britain needed a solution to the prison problem. The USA (before it became the USA) had been grudgingly accepting shiploads of prisoners. Finally they said enough is enough and started a revolution wherein they fought the British and drove them from the land with the message “No more prisoners” ringing loudly in their ears.

Next they tried Canada which was still a British Protectorate but Canada was having problems with the First Nation Peoples, the French who wanted Canada for themselves and relations with the USA were a bit strained. They also said, “No more prisoners”.

Captain James Cook “discovered” the east coast of Australia and landed at Botany Bay about 7.5 Klms to the south of Sydney Harbour. In his ships log and other reports he declared the bay would make an ideal harbour. Britain thought they had a solution to their prisoner problem. So in May 1887, eleven ships, under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip set sail for Botany Bay with the intention of establishing a colony made up mostly of prisoners. Contrary to popular opinion, (which makes his first landfall at Sydney Harbour on this day) Phillip landed at Botany Bay on 18th January 1888 and found it unsuitable for his needs. (Shallow waters, fringing reefs, mangrove swamps, salty sandy ground unsuitable for crops and a lack of tall straight trees nearby) On 21st January, Phillip and a few officers and marines set off to explore an opening in the sandstone cliffs, noted by Cook in 1770 but never explored by him. What Phillip found was the most jaw dropping, deep water, natural harbour to be found anywhere, then or now. Sailing back to Botany Bay they instructed all ships to up anchor and set sail for Sydney Harbour. Not all ships left at the same time. A gale lasting three days deterred some ships. In the meantime two French Ships arrived, headed by Commander LaPerouse. Phillip set up a small company of sailors, marines and prisoners on the beach at Sydney Cove and in a solemn ceremony on 26th January declared annexation of the land in the name of Britain. The French were just two days late in their quest to declare the land as a protectorate of France. Over the next few days all the ships arrived at what had by now been named Sydney Cove. All prisoners, marines, officers and crew were landed ashore.

Colonisation had begun.

The local indigenous population were a bit affronted by this annexation and have kept up protests to this day. They call 26th January Invasion Day sometimes they call it Survivor Day. The full history of colonisation and the various Governors in the early days of the colony are full of drama. The claim that early Australia was made up of convicts is basically true.

An excellent book, called “Commonwealth of Thieves” by Australian historical author Thomas Kenneally, is a gripping read. I am happy to share my e-book copy with readers. Just write in the comments section and leave your email address.

We have come a long way.

Today at the village we celebrated Australia Day when a group of around 60 converged on the clubhouse. Everybody was asked to come dressed in typical Aussie clobber. Most did to one degree or another but some really went to a lot of trouble to create an Aussie costume. (Where is the camera?) On the bowling green we had a golf putting competition, toss the thong competition (Jandalls in NZ or Flip Flops in the UK USA and Canada) and kicking an empty 2 litre milk container the longest distance. Of course we had Australian Bushells Blue Label tea and Arnotts Plain and Cream Assorted biscuits for morning tea.

Before lunch we had indoor sports. Quoit tossing and darts.

Lunch was the good old Aussie dish, sausages in a blanket (sausages on a slice of bread and rolled into an untidy V to be held in one hand. No knife or fork – it leaves the other hand free to talk or hold a stubby of beer – that’s another story) with caramelised onions and tomato sauce.

For dessert a couple of ladies made a giant cake decorated as the Australian Flag with cream and Strawberries.

Grrr! It‘s moments like this I wish I took the camera.

The day was lots of fun and a good excuse to socialise.

Good onyer Aussie. Oi Oi Oi.

Friday 29th January

First stop the doctor. She signed my Dept of Transport Form F3712 and I was ready.

Brother in law Ken arrived and I seconded him to drive me to the Dept of Transport where I answered a few questions and was then given a certificate to keep with my licence. I have to get this certificate annually unless the doc issues a new Form F3712 declaring me fully fit.

After lunch we drove to The Spit where we watched the city slowly disappear from view under a  curtain of cloud and rain. Storms had been predicted all week and finally one arrived. Lightning struck about every 10 seconds. Have you any idea how difficult it is to photograph lightning?

Surfers Paradise as seen from the spit. Sea spray and a gathering storm is beginning to hide Surfers Paradise.

Surfers Paradise as seen from the spit. Sea spray and a gathering storm is beginning to hide Surfers Paradise.

The storm, including thousands of lightning strikes, has almost hidden the city.

The storm, including thousands of lightning strikes, has almost hidden the city.

The city is still hidden as the storm moves further to sea.

The city is still hidden as the storm moves further to sea.

The storm swung around and was heading our way. Within minutes we were drenched trying to beat the storm back to the car. Visibility was reduced to almost zero. As suddenly as the storm appeared and was past, sunshine lit the wet streets and parklands.

Wind has blown sand across the path to The Spit. The approaching storm had a strong wind ahead of driving rain.

Wind has blown sand across the path to The Spit. The approaching storm had a strong wind ahead of driving rain.

Saturday 30th January

We enjoyed coffee at Budds Beach where we caught up with his sister Kirsty. Then we drove along the Brisbane Road towards Coolangatta trying to drive along every bit of coastal road and visiting beaches I never knew existed. Ken used to holiday with his parents when he was a teenager half a century ago. Ken was having a nostalgic trip along memory lane.

Large Sea Eagles have built a nest in this Navigation beacon at the mouth of Currumbin Creek. Surfers paradise is in the background.

Large Sea Eagles have built a nest in this Navigation beacon at the mouth of Currumbin Creek. Surfers paradise is in the background.

But, before we look at Coolangatta, you may recall that last week I promised information on the Lifesaver huts dotted along Gold Coast beaches. Surf Life Saving Clubs are also dotted along the coast in more substantial buildings often including dining and gambling facilities. Between those buildings are the smaller well equipped but a little more isolated huts. Hut number one is on the Coolangatta coast near the NSW Qld border on the Tweed River. So they are numbered 1 through to 45 the final hut located at The Spit. (Some huts have a further identifying number – for example 34A) The numbering system aids emergency services to quickly find a location by the designation number.

Now back to our trip with Ken. Most of the way was in very windy conditions with occasional rain squalls. We drove as far as Point Danger (or Point Dangar) where a light-station is built straddling the NSW Qld border.

Light-station at Point Danger straddling the NSW Qld border.

Light-station at Point Danger straddling the NSW Qld border.

This is one of many original fence posts erected sometime between1863 and 1866 when the border was being surveyed. The rock wall to mouth of the Tweed River is in the background.

This is one of many original fence posts erected sometime between1863 and 1866 when the border was being surveyed. The rock wall to mouth of the Tweed River is in the background.

Dozens of Frill Neck Lizards inhabit the rocky crevices in the cliffs above Duranbah Beach on the narrow patch of land designated as NSW. Note the lizard is in the process of shedding its skin. The same as a snake sheds its skin.

Dozens of Frill Neck Lizards inhabit the rocky crevices in the cliffs above Duranbah Beach on the narrow patch of land designated as NSW. Note the lizard is in the process of shedding its skin. The same as a snake sheds its skin.

The black bird sitting in the pandanus tree growing from a crevice in the cliffs is the Pied Currawong. Note the distinctive yellow eyes.

The black bird sitting in the pandanus tree growing from a crevice in the cliffs is the Pied Currawong. Note the distinctive yellow eyes.

A salt water washed pool. The waves break across the pool giving this pair an exciting dip.

A salt water washed pool. The waves break across the pool giving this pair an exciting dip.

The delightful beaches of Kirra, Coolangatta, Rainbow and Schnapper Rocks were visited. These are perhaps my favourite beaches on the Gold Coast. We spent some time looking at the many plaques and memorials in the park surrounding the light-station. After wandering a few of the streets of Coolangatta we drove to Kirra Lookout the highest point of land in the area. Coolangatta Airport is only three Klms away and we saw planes arriving and or leaving every three minutes.

Coolangatta Beach.

Coolangatta Beach.

Coolangatta.

Coolangatta.

Kirra lookout with the huge sculpture of an eagle looking down on Kirra Beach.

Kirra lookout with the huge sculpture of an eagle looking down on Kirra Beach.

Sunday 31st January

As usual the day dawned bright and sunny. (read hot)

Ken was on his way home by mid-morning.

We spent the day around the house, can you believe finally taking down the Christmas lights?

A few storm showers arrived and went while a big storm with lightning built up in the west. Time for a walk along the surf beach. Today was my first time behind the wheel of the car since the beginning of August.

Whooee! Liberation!

During the walk along the beach we dodged big fat rain drops while lightning cracked in the distance.

We saw fishermen dragging little bags of rotting fish bodies along the sand. They were hunting for  Sand worms to use as bait. At the top of the waterline, sand worms can be caught with rotting fish bodies, a quick eye, an even quicker hand and a pair of long nose pliers. When the worm pops its head above the wet sand to find the food it has smelled from somewhere below the surface of the sand, the quick angler grabs the slippery body in the pliers and begins the pull the worm from the sand. These worms can grow to up to a metre in length and can be almost as thick as a childs little finger. What I find most interesting is they can small or detect the rotting fish from beneath the surface of the sand.

 

 

474. Sunday 24th January 2016. Surf, kite flying and boats washed ashore on the Gold Coast…

25/01/2016

Monday 18th January

Well, this week has started off with activity.

Paul and Shelby-Rose left in the morning to attend the funeral of Paul’s uncle.

Anakin stayed with us. In the morning we went to Sheraton Beach (which is really Southport Beach only a few hundred metres further north in front of the Sheraton Mirage Resort – Actually the very long beach, stretching from Burleigh Heads in the south to The Spit in the north is broken into smaller beaches named for a location. Each section, with flagged safe swimming areas has a Lifesaver station and each one is numbered. The next beach to the north of Sheraton is called Sea World Beach because of its proximity to Sea World. Just to the south of Sheraton Beach is Southport Beach, Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach and so on.

Simple?

Confused?

I live here and still trying to understand it. Next week’s lesson is on the Lifesaver station numbering system.

Anyway, I digress.

So here we are on Sheraton Beach and rolled out our new mattress style kite – a kite with no stays – the same style as used by kite surfers and sky divers. They are also known as Parafoil Kites. Within minutes it was up and flying and we spent a good half hour learning how to use it.

Anakin in control.

Anakin in control.

Launching the kite.

Launching the kite.

Anakin learning to fly the mattress kite.

Anakin learning to fly the mattress kite.

Frank chasing Anakin with the kite

Frank chasing Anakin with the kite

Full flight.

Full flight.

Next Donnis went for a surf – between the flags of course – and Anakin used my Boogie Board.

Anakin loved surfing on the Boogie Board.

Anakin loved surfing on the Boogie Board.

An hour later we literally had to drag Anakin away from the surf. Only two hours in glorious sunshine was enough for us all to come home with sunburn especially on the face. We had lunch at home then went to the movies to see The 5th Wave, a sort of Sci Fi young teenager bit of nonsense which had an ending designed to make a sequel. By then, hopefully, Anakin will be too old to want to see it.

Anakin asked for San Choy Bow for dinner but was too exhausted to eat much (I guess the giant bucket of popcorn at the movies did not help with his appetite.) Paul and Shelby-Rose were also tired from their day so we had an early night.

ZZZZZzzzzzz.

Tuesday 19th January

Anakin shows off while Shelby-Rose tries to hide behind her hand.

Anakin shows off while Shelby-Rose tries to hide behind her hand.

Paul, Shelby-Rose and Anakin left for the long drive back to Mackay.

Donnis drove me to one of my almost daily medical appointments.

Sigh!

Thursday 21st January

We drove to Brisbane.

We stopped at the Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital. Gulp! This hospital is about the size of a small town and is on multi levels. We stopped at the parking station I researched last night. The fee was $5 for the first 5 hours then $5 per hour thereafter.

Hmmm! That seems reasonable.

After entering via the main entrance (that’s always a good idea) we were overwhelmed by the various levels and signs. The HELP counter offered to show us to the GEM Ward. (Geriatric Education and Management) It seems the GEM Ward is at the back of the main hospital and has its own parking and she warned our parking station would be very expensive!!!

WOT THE!!!

We were here to see our very good friend Glennis M who has been diagnosed with tongue cancer and has been undergoing radiation treatment. When we arrived she was having re-hab for the wasted muscles while bed ridden for 28 days. We stayed long enough to tire Glennis until it was lunchtime (pureed meat, potato, broccoli and carrots) It is the same food every day as she still has trouble swallowing and talking. At night she is fed intravenous meals. Glennis normal sense of humour has been stretched beyond her limits.

Glennis, we wish you speedy healing and soon back home in the Daintree Rainforest

Back at the parking station we were charged $20 for a 1 hour 40 minute visit. No wonder most of the station was empty. It seems I misread the online fee structure. It seems what I thought was a sensible $5 for the first 5 hours was really $5 for the first .5 hour then each half hour is $5. Parking in nearby streets is next to impossible and carries heavy fines.

Sunday 24th January

The weather all week has been marvellous. Despite weather forecasts of storms we have had mostly sunny skies with a lovely breeze from the south east. Temps have been around 30° every day. This afternoon we went to The Broadwater so Donnis could have a swim after which we went on our walk. Did I mention how nice the weather has been?

(I should mention that last night a storm complete with wind, thunder, lightning and a splash of rain went past us) Other places copped the full force of the storm but we were basically dry.

On our walk we encountered two boats, one a monohull and the other a catamaran.

Monohull almost totally beached. The highest tide of the year is predicted tonight and with such a short scope of anchor chain it will probably lift clear and move further onto the beach.

Monohull almost totally beached. The highest tide of the year is predicted tonight and with such a short scope of anchor chain it will probably lift clear and move further onto the beach.

AS we move closer evidence of hurried maintenance is obvious. It has been a very long time since the hull has been antifouled.

AS we move closer evidence of hurried maintenance is obvious. It has been a very long time since the hull has been antifouled.

A simple knuckle hammer test reveals this is an aluminium hull with a fibreglass sheath on the deck.

A simple knuckle hammer test reveals this is an aluminium hull with a fibreglass sheath on the deck.

The keel is buried deep in the sand which will hinder it floating. The solar panels look in good condition while newish instruments are in place.

The keel is buried deep in the sand which will hinder it floating. The solar panels look in good condition while newish instruments are in place.

Yep the boats condition leaves a lot to be desired. The amount of bird droppings indicates nobody has been aboard for some time.

Yep the boats condition leaves a lot to be desired. The amount of bird droppings indicates nobody has been aboard for some time.

Both appear as if they are well beyond their use by date, have not had quality maintenance for years and both were in desperate need of anti -fouling.  I inspected both boats and each had an anchor in the water but with very little scope (That’s the amount of chain and rope under the water) and both boats probably dragged anchor during the storm last night.

This catamaran was equally in a bad way having beached during the storm. Antifouling must be a dirty word as the hull has not been cleaned or antifouled in a very long time.

This catamaran was equally in a bad way having beached during the storm. Antifouling must be a dirty word as the hull has not been cleaned or antifouled in a very long time.

Unless there is human intervention the cat will move higher onto the beach at the next high tide. Note the buried rudders and keels which will make eventual remove difficult.

Unless there is human intervention the cat will move higher onto the beach at the next high tide. Note the buried rudders and keels which will make eventual remove difficult.

We also noticed many boats at anchor and rafted (that’s when two or more boats are tied together on one anchor) up in nice anchorages beside Wavebreak Island and South Stradbroke Island.

One of several groups of boats rafted together in preparation for Australia Day. At least one boat is worth over a million dollars.

One of several groups of boats rafted together in preparation for Australia Day. At least one boat is worth over a million dollars.

A number of tents were set up on beaches as well. We were told boats set up the rafting a week before Australia Day so they can have the best position.

Hmmm! I guess we better start planning for Tuesdays Australia Day activities.

I cant help myself. The sun was shining on the city buildings and the image was saying take the photo.

I cant help myself. The sun was shining on the city buildings and the image was saying take the photo.

473. Sunday 17th January 2016. All quiet on the Gold Coast…

19/01/2016

Monday 11th January

Someday’s we do little more than go to the beach in the morning and then do very little for the rest of the day.

Surfers Paradise from Biggera Waters on The Broadwater.

Surfers Paradise from Biggera Waters on The Broadwater.

Especially on hot summer days.

Today was such a day.

On reflection, I wonder how we ever had time to go to work.

How did we organise our lives to get up, exercise, breakfast, put on clothes and a happy face and drive to work. Then, after work, still with that happy face, we come home and make dinner and wash dishes and clean house and do laundry and iron and socialise. We also did things like garden and paint and maintain a house.

Now we are flat out getting half of those things done.

Sigh!

Tuesday 12th January

When Donnis worked at the Collarenebri Hospital in the summer of 2013/2014, one of her workmates was Lesley. Lesley has just taken up a post at the Robina Gold Coast Hospital where her speciality of Emergency Care will be put to good use. She moved to the Gold Coast last week and Donnis suggested lunch to catch up. Lesley is not a beach person – too hot – and would have preferred to go to Robina Shopping Centre for the air conditioning and choice of lunch places. We ended up going to Currumbin Surf Life Saving Club for lunch. (we first lunched here in September 2013 at the height of the Currumbin SWELL Sculpture Festival) At that time the food seemed quite good. Today was a below par average meal.

After lunch we drove to Palm Beach Surf Living Saving Club about 3 klms as the crow flies. Yes, we did have lunch here only last week. Today we had coffee only. A review of the menu shows more choices, slightly cheaper prices and better meals. Although Palm Beach has great view, the views from Currumbin SLSC wins hands down.

The temp today was 32° with a strong northerly wind blowing, creating a sultry humid day.

Of course I thought we were going to the shopping centre so did not bring my camera. The colours of the water and sky were unbelievable.

Sigh!

Wednesday 13th January

Not much breeze today and 32° but we still managed without turning on the AC.

Glass canoe on the beach at Biggera Waters, The Broadwater.

Glass canoe on the beach at Biggera Waters, The Broadwater.

Today we finished the shelves in the laundry and put washer and dryer back in place. The finished result looks so good.

The rest of the day was spent lazing about.

I watched the movie “The Last Taxi to Darwin” starring Michael Caton. I liked the role he played and found it was emotionally moving at times. A good story, well told, with great cinematography and backgrounds.

Sunday 17th January

We both slept in.

Son in law, Paul, arrived along with Grandchildren Shelby-Rose and Anakin. They have driven1,100 Klms from Mackay. They left at 2am and arrived here a few minutes short of 2pm. They all fell asleep shortly after arriving.

It has been a quiet week.

474. Sunday 10th January 2016. A walk in the forest and a walk on the beach…

11/01/2016

Wednesday 6th January

We joined sister Enid, Ken, Kelly and Jas for a picnic lunch at Springbrook National Park. Oh of course Kel and Jas little balls of energy, Coop and Ollie were there requiring constant watching. Actually to be totally accurate we lunched at the  Tallanbana Picnic Area in this Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.

After lunch Enid, Ken, Donnis and I decided to do a walk to Purling Brook Falls. Details are as per the National Park website as follows.

Distance: 4km return

Time: Allow about 2hrs walking time. Note: it is easier to walk the track in a clockwise direction. If including the Warringa Pool track, which leads downstream from the base of the falls, add another 2km and allow another 40mins to return.

Caution: Sections of the Purling Brook Falls circuit and Warringa Pool track are part of Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk: arrow markers indicate the walk. This is an arduous walk. Please do not attempt it unless you are a Great Walker and have a copy of the Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk topographic map.

Details: Pass through open eucalypt forest of New England ash Eucalyptus campanulata, where fire-adapted species such as lepidozamias, hakeas and various wildflowers grow, before descending into the gorge to view the falls from below. After crossing the suspension bridge a steady climb through forest brings the walker back to the picnic area. Water flowing over Purling Brook Falls is high quality because its catchment is protected in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Walking in this area is a privilege. Be responsible for keeping the catchment clean—practice minimal impact bushwalking.

Note: After significant rainfall, parts of the Purling Brook walking track may be closed for public safety. Access is generally still available to the western lookout during these closures. Please ensure you check the Park alerts before you visit this park.

We decided to review our walk regularly as Donnis is still recovering from Bronchitis and I have a case of the “wobblies” due to my medication. We finished the walk with me bringing up the rear instead of leading as is usually is the case.

Ken and Donnis stop halfway along the walk at the bottom of the first sheer drop.

Ken and Donnis stop halfway along the walk at the bottom of the first sheer drop.

Tall palms at the base of the escarpment beside the less than tranquil pool.

Tall palms at the base of the escarpment beside the less than tranquil pool.

The walk was worth the effort especially as we stood near the valley floor watching the falls from below.

This is the best place to view the waterfall and the pool at the bottom.

This is the best place to view the waterfall and the pool at the bottom.

Tall palms at the base of the escarpment beside the less than tranquil pool.

Tall palms at the base of the escarpment beside the less than tranquil pool.

Purling Brook Falls.

Purling Brook Falls.

Pool at the base of the falls.

Pool at the base of the falls.

The lower falls at the pool.

The lower falls at the pool.

We cross the Ranger John Stacy Memorial Suspension Bridge, opened in 2015, the bridge takes walkers from one side of the fast flowing Little Nerang Creek (which flows into the Little Nerang Dam several Klms further below in the valley) to the other in order to access a trail to the rim of the escarpment in a loop walk

Entrance to Ranger John Stacey Memorial Suspension Bridge.

Entrance to Ranger John Stacey Memorial Suspension Bridge.

Suspension Bridge over Little Nerang Creek.

Suspension Bridge over Little Nerang Creek.

. From the top of the falls we could see down the valley below to the north end of the Gold Coast, way, way in the distance.

At the end of the walk. Only another 300 metres to the carpark. Sigh!

At the end of the walk. Only another 300 metres to the carpark. Sigh!

Thursday 7th January

We lunched with friends from Bundaberg, Gerry and Pam L, along with their friends and extended family. Lunch was at the Palm Beach Surf Club which is right on the beach with magnificent views to Surfers Paradise to the north and Currumbin Alley to the south.

We noticed flights lining up on the flight path to Coolangatta Airport several Klms to the south. Every three and a half minutes we counted commercial flights from Qantas, Jet Star, Virgin and Tiger Airlines. Currently flights are direct from Hong Kong but flights from mainland China will commence this month. Coolangatta is a smaller domestic airport now equipped for International passenger flights, including Customs and Immigration. Can you imagine with an incoming flight every three and a half minutes to land, taxi to terminal, offload passengers and baggage, be cleaned, re-fuelled, re-provisioned, take on passengers and taxi to runway to a new destination or to be parked at the airport for use later that day or the next. How busy is that airport? It is now rated at the 5th busiest International Airport in Australia.

The Commonwealth Games are to be played on the Gold Coast in August 2018. Imagine the passenger numbers from domestic and international flights and the tourist dollars pouring into town. Town Planners have worked on this increase in tourist numbers and have worked on upgrades to our road system, the airport and keeping our beaches clean and tidy.

Surfers Paradise seen from Palm Beach Surf Club Dining room.

Surfers Paradise seen from Palm Beach Surf Club Dining room.

Another view of Surfers Paradise from near Currumbin Alley.

Another view of Surfers Paradise from near Currumbin Alley.

Afterwards Donnis and I walked along the beach. At one stage we saw a stingray washed up on the beach shallows. As I walked out to photograph this beautiful creature, a wave washed it towards me so I had to jump to avoid being stung as it passed between my legs.

Sting ray in a little bother. It did manage to swim and or get washed into a deeper gully and was able to swim away. Note the barb on the end of the tail. Steve Irwin was killed by one of these barbs on a much much larger sting ray.

Sting ray in a little bother. It did manage to swim and or get washed into a deeper gully and was able to swim away. Note the barb on the end of the tail. Steve Irwin was killed by one of these barbs on a much much larger sting ray.

Friday 8th January

We spent some time shuffling stuff from one location to another. The new cupboard space in the garage is now 50% full. We also shuffled off to Bunnings to find some specific shelving for the new Melamine wall. Bunnings has the required shelf brackets but do not sell the Melamine shelves. In fact I went on line and could not find any supplier who makes the shelves…at least to the size we want.

Sigh!!!

I will have to make them myself.

Or, better yet, have the men’s shed cut them to size.

Saturday 9th January

One of many direct flights from China arrived and passengers were interviewed. The most popular things the passengers want to do is play in the surf and play on the beach.

 

473. Sunday 3rd January 2016. All quiet, including a quiet New Years Eve…

05/01/2016

Tuesday 29th December

Woke to an overcast cold day.

Cold day! What a joke. We are so used to comfortable temperatures of 28° to 32° every day. Today the temp dropped to a freezing cold of 21°!!! There are places in this world which achieve a maximum high of 16° at the peak of summer. I would not even get in the water at the beach if the water temp was 21°. Oh how spoiled are we?

Wednesday 30th December

This morning I received an email from WordPress.com who are the domicile providers for our travel blog. They supplied an annual report of activity on our blog. I will share some of the statistics with you.

We had 17,000 readers during the year. (2014 there were 15,000readers) This is roughly the equivalent to 6 sold out performances at the Sydney Opera House. For the mathematically inclined, the Opera house has a maximum seating capacity of 2,700. Hmmm! I wonder why with that many readers I do not have more comments. Do I need to post controversial subjects?

Your comments please.

Included in my posts were 995 photos. At least 25% of them are pretty good. (That last is my observation) That’s double the photos from 2014. It could be I am taking better photos with my Lumix FZ200 after I damaged the Lumix FZ50, beyond repair, in February 2014.

Readers came from 118 countries.

The majority of readers came from Australia with the USA and Germany not far behind. Hmmm! I thought Canada would have had a larger representation of readers. Perhaps readers through facebook are not counted or if so, counted as being from the USA.  Hmmm!

I have never had a comment from Germany. Come on Germany. Post a comment even if it is in German. I can have it translated.

Hmmm! For that matter not many comments from USA either! Thanks to US readers who do comment.

For all my readers including those who did not comment, thank you.

Some trips are planned for 2016 so please stay reading…and commenting.

In the afternoon we took a walk along our favourite beach (well at least the favourite within a quick drive of home) and saw our happy Asian people enjoying their first view of the beach and splashing about like little children even in their good clothes.

Happy Asians enjoying the wind at the beach.

Happy Asians enjoying the wind at the beach.

Although it may not look rough in the photo the surf was very rough with a strong undertow,

Although it may not look rough in the photo the surf was very rough with a strong undertow,

We also saw a wedding photographer struggling to take happy snaps in the 30 KPH winds. The poor bride in her strapless gown struggled to keep smiling and had difficulty hiding her shivers in the cool wind.

Lets do our best to get some nice photos. I am so pleased my white shoes matches your billowing white wedding gown.

Lets do our best to get some nice photos. I am so pleased my white shoes matches your billowing white wedding gown.

Oooh hug me tight I am so chilled in this 30 MPH wind.

Oooh hug me tight I am so chilled in this 30 MPH wind.

Almost done. My almost bare legs and feet match your back.

Almost done. My almost bare legs and feet match your body.

Thursday 31st December.

New Years Eve. Thanks goodness it has finally arrived. December seems to be the longest month, despite the fact it has the same numbers of days as 6 other months.

One of the residents here, Graeme, has started building a cupboard, inside the framework of an inner garage wall. Instead of a small inaccessible cupboard in the laundry we now have twice the capacity, in a usable location. It gives us the added advantage of having a nice clean wall in the laundry on which we can install shelving. Being a small villa any extra storage space is handy.

Anyway. We invited Graeme and his wife Wenke and our friend Glenda and her mother DeeDee to have a New Year Dinner with us. Donnis had bought a large boned and stuffed Turkey (Donnis loves Turkey…me, who cares, give me chicken any day) but we needed other people to help us eat it. Donnis spent much of the day preparing dinner  while I helped Graeme or at least stayed out of the way of both of them and helped as and when they called for me to help. Dinner was a huge success with Turkey and the trimmings including gravy, Cranberry Sauce and a Cauliflower whipped to a mashed potato consistency. Donnis also prepared a Pavlova with whipped cream, passionfruit, cherries and blueberries on top for a dessert.

Wenke, Graeme, Frank, Dee Dee and Glenda.

Wenke, Graeme, Frank, Dee Dee and Glenda.

Dinner New Years Eve. Left to right Wenke, Graeme, Donnis, Dee Dee and Glenda.

Dinner New Years Eve. Left to right Wenke, Graeme, Donnis, Dee Dee and Glenda.

After dinner we went to The Broadwater at Labrador to watch the fireworks then drove around Coombabah to look at Christmas lights. Yeah Yeah I know! We are at least a week late for that. We stayed up late enough to watch a delayed telecast (Sydney are on Daylight Savings time while Qld is on Eastern Standard Time) of the NYE fireworks from Sydney on ABC TV. For some reason none of the networks broadcast the fireworks from Brisbane. I was impressed with the aerial view of the harbour from within the fireworks. The video must have been sent from a drone. Naturally I cannot find any mention on the internet of how the TV cameras were placed.

Friday 1st January 2016.

New Years Day.

We slept in!

Saturday 2nd January

The work goes on in the garage.

Sunday 3rd January

At last we have had a chance to take a walk on the beach again. Today was overcast with some big black clouds building in the south. Shortly after arriving home the rain began. We expect the next few days will be rain, rain, rain.

The rain clouds approach over Southport.

The rain clouds approach over Southport.