Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Port Skies

Australia day 2009. We decided to go fishing on the inlet. Around 9.30am the temperature dropped and this storm front rolled in from the south. It rained every bit as hard as it looked like it would...and then some.

One of the advantages of spending time in one place is that you are able to get to know it just a little better than if you were simply passing through. Seven months is certainly not a long time, but it did give us an opportunity to see Port Douglas change from the cool of winter to the build up in November and December and finally the rain of January. It is a beautiful place and we often walked along the beach or around town of an afternoon or evening. These shots show some of the moods of Port Douglas that we experienced during our stay.

Thunderheads gather north of Port Douglas. Mt Thornton is obscured, but it stands at approx 1300m, so that storm above it cloud is probably about 2km in height.

A gentle December sunset. The sky turned pink, followed the water and then the sand as we walked along Four Mile Beach.

I was amazed by the height of some of the storm clouds that built up in December. This one unleashed just a few kilometres off the beach.

Low winds in November mean calm seas and it is often the best time to get out on the reef. This shot looks toward Woody Isle taken from Low Isle. The pair are easily visible from Four Mile Beach.

Storm clouds doing some weird layer/circling stuff over the ranges. I was waiting for the space craft to come hovering out of the top ring.

Same evening as the pink shot above, but earlier and facing south. It started out as an ordinary sunset but turned on some amazing colours as it went on.

Storm clouds bowl across Stinger Park in October 08. The clouds began to threaten around this time but the action didn't start until the end of December.

A catamaran coming into the channel under quickly fading light. It was rare to get pinks in the eastern sky.

The old cane wharf during the build up in November 08. I really started to enjoy the silver light it seemed to have so many subtle variations and could still be quite strong and vibrant.

Woody Isle cops a downpour. It is amazing how the rain can be so isolated and intense. It was very common for it to be raining on the reef and not a drop in town.

A menacing swirl of cloud over Four Mile Beach, new year 09. I'm not sure how a cyclone forms but I thought this was giving a pretty good impression.

A gentle winter sunset looking north from Stinger Park toward Newell Beach. The smoke from a cane fire is visible between the two groups of people.

Rarely did cloud clear the range to the west. Here the sun provides a volcanic effect as it sets behind the mountain.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Welcome to Wet Season

Swim in the sea anyone? Cyclone swell, king tide, logs, crocs and stingers.

I'm going to go out on a limb and declare that wet season has started. It had been trying to rain, I mean really rain. The humidity had been building and the thunderheads had gathered every afternoon, but it hadn't come to very much....until yesterday. Port Douglas received 310 mm in 24 hours. Further north in the Daintree it topped 400mm. We also had a double whammy with the highest tides of the year occurring on the same day. What happened to the beach? Well, it went under.

Jane and I had the day off and took a drive up to the Mossman Gorge in the afternoon. Our usual swimming hole was flowing a little faster than usual.

It's been brewing for a while. Looking west from Flagstaff hill last Sunday afternoon..

On Sunday afternoon we decided to go to the movies in Cairns and made the 15km detour to Barron Falls. The falls were impressive and Marley and Me was better than expected. It rained all the way back and all night, with some heavy stuff waking us at about 3am. 310mm in the 24hours to 9am. Welcome to wet season.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Adventure Mondays

With so much of Port Douglas' employment based around hospitality and tourism, it's rare for people to work Monday to Friday. With Jane's two part time jobs and my working week set from Wednesday to Sunday, Monday is the only day off we share. So Monday is the day we try to do the things that you should when living in a place like Port Douglas. So forget the housework and get out there, it's "adventure Monday".

There's an old bullock/horse trail that runs from behind Port Douglas to the top of the ridges to the west. It's known as the "Bump Track" and Jane and I decided a walk to the top would be a suitable adventure Monday activity. It was steep and hot but worth the effort. It took us two hours to make it to the top. This shot is taken at a lookout on the way down. If we look hot, that's because it was bloody boiling!

Mossman Gorge is a great place to cool off after a bush walk. Now the ocean is so warm and the pools are well above 30 degrees, the freshwater streams are the most refreshing place for a dip.

This is running creek which we encountered about halfway along the Bump Track.

The Low Isles are an hour's easy sail from Port and a great place to snorkel. We have had a couple of trips out there. This day provided us with the best conditions so far.

It actually took us a few month to get out for our first dive. I think we are starting to get fussy about the conditions. With the wind blowing mostly from the south east, it can be surprisingly rough on the way out. Above: Jane posing with large soft coral. Below: Jane posing with medium sized, (some would say soft) husband during our safety stop.

Barron falls in the hills west of Cairns, near the town of Kuranda. We can't wait to see them in the wet!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Living Creatures

Port Douglas isn't exactly the wilderness, but it has brought us in a little closer to other living creatures compared to downtown Kensington. Below is a selection of a few of our animal encounters (minus the cane toads, of course).

Spotted and Harlequin Sweetlips are a common sight on the GBR. They are a great looking fish and can get pretty big. Very impressive when they are in shoals.

My favourite living creature putting her head in front of the camera on a recent trip to the Low Isles.

Sometimes on a dive the patterns of the corals impress me as much (or more than) the fish life. I couldn't quite get the colour, but I loved the shapes these made against the other hard coral.

Don't think they're not out there. This fella was about 2 metres long and just gliding into the water near the Daintree River ferry crossing. As it warms up they spend more time in the water and less catching the sun on the banks.

No need for an alarm clock with these guys around. 5.15 am and again in the afternoon they go crazy in the palm trees out the front of our place. Often my first words in the morning are "That's it, get my gun" but I am sure we will miss them when we leave. I took this shot with my 300mm zoom. Bloody hard to get the little buggers to keep still. Anyone who can take good shots of birds is doing better than I.

With my little underwater camera it's hard to capture the amazing colours of the reef. This soft coral was in shallow water with lots of light. It was the most vibrant blue/purple which changed as it moved in the current.

Jane's favourite. We came across this cuttlefish out on Opal reef. He was pretty curious and entertained us with a change of colour, throwing a bit of a light show before blending into the background. They are amazing animals, I especially like them lightly fried with a very cold beer.(sorry Jane). Photo by Jane.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guest Book

That's PB's head blocking out most of the Low Isles on our recent trip with our latest guest. PB's arrival coincided with a change in the winds. The sou' easters fell away and the humidity cranked up. You can feel the wet building, but the lack of wind means it's a great time to be on the reef.

Marion and Susan were first to take up the offer of a place to stay in Port Douglas and it was great to see them in FNQ. The weekend coincided with Marion's birthday and we celebrated on Friday night with a slap up dinner at Salsa. Pleased to say Port turned of plenty of sunshine for our first guests.

Jen Baker joined us for a long weekend in October. As well as taking Janey on a shopping spree for Port summer attire, Jen joined us for a sail and snorkel on the Low Isles.

Mum and Ted made the trip north in Early October and after a wet start cracked some great weather. Highlights of their stay were a trip on the inlet on the Lady Douglas, prawns on the bbq and a great sunset picnic in the park. I should also mention the shark coming right into shore during one of our early morning walks. Well spotted Mum!

We have also had the pleasure of Phil (aka Pipi) and Donna and Simon's company so far. It's been great that so many people have taken time out to come up and see us. We've enjoyed every minute.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Port Life

The only thing better than being a human living in Port Douglas is to be a dog living in Port. This is our friend Lynne's dog, Teddy. Teddy spends his days being fed, patted and walked on the beach by just about everyone in town. Poor thing, just look at him...

There's a kite surfing school at our end of the beach. When the wind is up, the locals come out to play.

Locals know the best view of the sunset is not from the beach, but from ANZAC Park on the inlet side of town. This is from the 3rd of August 2008.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fan socks and cupboard camels

It's Jane here - hope you've enjoyed Geoff's pictures! Little bit of blurbage from me.

Living in fnq is more of an eye opener than I thought it might be. Who knew that fans can wear socks to protect the blades or that you need little plastic containers in your cupboards to absorb the moisture? Another surprise is how little you need to earn to get by and enjoy yourself. Good perspective on life. Hopefully we can make enough to eat out a little and enjoy the occasional adventure.

It's very very pretty here. We looked a living in Cairns but (and I hope I don't upset any Cairns people here) we didn't like the feel of it at all. We spent a day down there talking to people about work and looking at places to live. Driving back into Port Douglas made the contrast between the two just a little too stark, so it's here in Port that we've stayed.

I've got work as a book keeper at the Daintree EcoLodge and Spa and Geoff has landed a job as a pool cleaner at the Sea Temple. Talk about pretty places to work. Have a look:

My mate Lynne is in a play here and has asked me to prompt for them, so am now involved in the local am dram group - performance in a couple of weeks which should be fun! I've also joined the local mobile library, so we're settling in very well.