Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sobering Thoughts

This is a very small part of the big move. It's a slow process as we need to wait for someone stronger than me to help with the lifting. Could do it once, but the turning staircase gets me.
What's the sobering part?
Realising just how much stuff (read - fabric) I have accumulated.
Must get a new mantra - no more stash building!
Back to it or I'll spend all day playing with what I find.
Take care,

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Whales at Hervey Bay

At Easter, we had a good chat with the fellow who sold us our tickets for our Fraser Island day trip. The whale watching season here is quite long, but he suggested the best time was about mid August.
So as you read 2 post ago, we went up last week.
We had a wonderful day. It may have been windy and the water rough with heavy rain squalls coming across, but it didn't matter. We saw lots of whales.
When looking at the photos remember we were too busy just enjoying the day and whales, trying to keep the camera dry and making sure we hung on to a rail to stop falling. I won't tell you about going to the toilet on a rocking and rolling boat. Let's just say it was a challenge.

We chose Freedom III. It was a 3/4 day trip, much better than a 1/2 day morning or afternoon trip. You just get out there when it's nearly time to turn for home. Their need to return worked in our favour, but I'll explain later. The 2.30pm return time is a bit flexible. The trip, the day before ours, got home at 5.30pm. Our Captain Keith has no problem with going further out to sea and staying out longer if it means his passengers get to see whales. We were luckier in that we didn't need to go past Platypus Bay to see whales. We were still 'late' back at 4.30.

Here I am ready to go - a real bundle of style. As least I'm dry in this photo. There was plenty of undercover if I had wanted it, but not being a great sailor, I prefer to be out in the fresh air.

 You can just see the front of another boat in the above photo. The rules are the boat's engines must be off  when within (I think) 100 meters of a whale and they cannot be started until the whale moves away regardless of your need to go. The captain of that boat invited us nearer in the hope that the mugging whales would move to our boat as he needed go back to port to get his next tour group. This happened to us twice. See this is the reason to go on a longer day trip. Those other people missed out on so much.
'Mugging' is when the whales come to you. It happened to us several times. There is no feeding of these beautiful creatures to entice them close, very much not allowed. They come of their own accord. They are just as interested in looking at us as we are looking at them. We, the passengers, are encouraged to wave our arms and yell out to get their attention.No banging of rails as the noise upsets them, just lots of yahooing. The whales are probably laughing at our silly antics.

Tickle my tummy.

There are three whales in this shot.

None of the above photos are zoom shots. The whales were that close. One of them circled the boat. I think it was a game - let's see if we can get those humans to run about the boat.

 There was lots of peekaboo,

lots of tail waving

 and lots of breaching. We were very privileged to have a full body breach close to the boat. No photo of that one - too busy watching.
Next time we go, I'm getting a go pro camera stuck to my hat. That way I can just watch and not worry about the camera but still catch all the action.
I can recommend our boat - Freedom III. The captain is also a chef, so morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea - delicious, especially the profiteroles! If you do go with this group, don't plan to drive any long distance after the cruise. Plan to stay the night, as I said, the return time could be later than planned.
We were lucky on the day. Not every cruise see as many whales or so close. It is the luck of the draw.
Whales are beautiful creatures. It was wonderful to see them.
Take care,

Hervey Bay - Fraser Island (Very Late)

My next post will be about our trip last week back up to Hervey Bay for whale watching. Before that, I had better do the promised but now very late post about the day trip we took to Fraser Island when we were up there at Easter.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world or so I thought. I think that fact is now being disputed, but never mind it's the largest sand island I've ever been to.
DH and I did a day trip because, although we now have an all wheel drive vehicle with higher clearance, I don't think it qualifies as a car that can go on Fraser. Also I wanted someone else to do the driving, catering and organising.

 It was a very early start. We went over to the island as walk-on passengers on the vehicle ferry.

Moral of this tale now - if you are looking for a quiet, scenic, peaceful place - don't go at Easter or at any school holiday time. These are only a few of the buses that were working that day.

 We did all the quick day trip touristy things, including the stunning freshwater Lake Mackenzie.

 Fraser is now a National Park, but for many many years it was home to a large timber industry. There are some very tall trees growing on this sand island.

 Also some crystal clear creeks.

 The surf (eastern) side of the island is a highway with speed limits, police patrols, speed guns and RBTs (random breathe testing). It just doesn't have lane markings; they would only get washed away with every tide. The number of lanes depends on how high the water is. We were in what is really a converted but comfortable truck. We were bigger and stronger than the other 4WDs. We went closer to the water's edge and faster than everyone else. It was VERY disconcerting having, on that day, about 5 lanes going in what ever direction up or down you liked and the there were the caravans! There is no such thing as a quiet stroll on the beach.  Still there were lots of fishermen trying their luck both with the fish and traffic. I loved (not) seeing the 4WDs going around, past and between the fishermen and their kit.

 Like I said it was busy with tourists.

 We did get to see the wreck of the Maheno without the hordes.

 Eli Creek - millions of litres of fresh water pour out each day. Parking here was worst than our local shops, but it was a beautiful spot.

 We went back on the ferry as the sun set on a very enjoyable day. I was glad someone else did the driving. It was real 4 wheel driving territory.

One day we might get back there. I would love to bushwalk on it.

Now for the whales,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Whale Watching

In about an hour we'll be on Freedom III in Hervey Bay. I'm hoping for calm weather!
From a very fair weather sailor, Cheryl