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: www.daintree-ecolodge.com.au www.seatemple.com.au

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.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Port Pics

Okay, here's the postcard shot. This is taken from the hill above town and looks south along Four Mile Beach. The park at the end of our street is just past where the beach bends.

Looking south from the park at the end of our street. This was taken about 7am.

Looking north along the beach toward the headland from the same spot as above.

This is the old sugar wharf taken from ANZAC Park on the inlet side of town. Great sunsets from here.

A shell I spotted on the water's edge being illuminated by the morning sun. I don't have a macro lens so had to do the best with what I have. All good practice.

Villa Tropica

A few shots of our little place which we have christened Villa Tropica. It's located at the southern end of the beach and in the area known locally as Four Mile.

The beach is located at the end of the street and you can walk all the way along the sand to the main shops of Port Douglas which we now refer to as Town.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

SS Yongala

In 1911, off the coast of Ayr, the SS Yongala sailed into a severe cyclone and sank with the loss of all 121 passengers and crew on board.

Today it is regarded as one of Australia's best wreck dives and was our reason for diverting 16km off the highway to spend 2 nights in sleepy Alva beach.

The wreck is renowned for its fish life, but it can be rough and strong currents can make this dive demanding. Fortunately we had calm seas and little currnet to contend with, though visibility was down to about 10 -12m.

All descriptions of the marine life around SS Yongala should be prefixed with the word "big". For turtle, read "big turtle", for wrasse read "bloody big wrasse" and for giant trevally read "big, fast, mean looking fish that would fill your average doorway".

Other creatures spotted were sea snakes, groper, cod, and batish (NB, above prefix applicable to all). One of the highlights for me was finding myself in the middle of a school of Nunnygai (below). I have never been in the middle of such a large school of large fish before. We litteraly had to brush our way through them. Fantastic!

The Drive North

2700kms on the Pacific Highway was not something we were relishing as we chugged out of Sydney early Sunday morning bound for Woolgoolga, just above Coffs to catch up with our friends Sue and Trevor.

The driving was uneventful, (just the way we like it) and we had a great meal with our hosts, who we had finally come to visit after 5 years of saying we would.

After stopping in at their bike shop in Grafton, we cruised on up to Brissie to inspect our little apartment before heading to Mooloolaba and another catch up, this time with Jane's friend Emma.

We pitched our tent at the campground right on the beach and had a great meal at the surf club. The following morning we grabbed the two 5kg weights I had tucked under the driver's seat and gave ourselves a workout on the beach, followed by a quick swim before making tracks to Rockhampton.

Rocky is in the middle of Qld's cattle country, and the 400gm rump we each had for dinner at the Criterion Hotel that night didn't disappoint.

The longest stretch of our trip was from Rocky to Ayr, which is about 80km south of Townsville. We diverted off the highway to spend 2 nights camped at Alva Beach, where we would give our eyes and backsides a rest from driving and take the opportunity to dive on the wreck of the SS Yongala.

Alva beach is on a small peninsula and provided us with great sunsets each night. I couldn't help myself, and wandered into the cane field across the road to snap away.

From Alva it was only two relatively short driving days to beautiful Port Douglas.

Thankfully our trip was uneventful and driver stupidity was rare and minor. The road itself is not too bad, although patience is required at times as the caravan-towing grey nomads are happy to sit on 90kph. It hit home to me that most accidents must be about speed or a lack of patience (or a combination of both).

We were both surprised how little of the coast was visible from the Highway. As as cycling trip goes, I think it would be safe enough, but relatively uninspiring unless you were prepared to make the (sometimes lengthy) detours to the coast.