Sunday, September 27, 2009
Isn't it funny how Mums get all cranky when you get mud and dirt in your fur, but are quite happy to let you play in the sand at the beach? Not that I am complaining, mind you, I love mucking about in sand. Here are Milkshake and I busy making a sand fort on Whitehaven Beach. There was a little sand cliff left by the tide when it went out and it was just right for the back wall of the fort. All we had to do was pile up damp sand for the ringwall and we had an almost crab-proof enclosure. This is where Dad comes in handy. He can shovel sand much faster than Milky or me. And as for crabs, if one did breach our almost impregnable defenses, we had this large coconut ready to dong them with. We had a great game of castaways, spending some of the time sitting on our wall scanning the horizon for pirate ships. All we could see were yachts, power boats, cruisers, catamarans, helicopters and the occasional seaplane, but if pirates had shown up they would have got one heck of a fright.
Airport Security, Even For Bears
There is no doubt that security at our airports is vital, and there is no doubt that it is getting even tougher. Not even small bears can get through without sometimes being called over for spot checks. This trip they picked me. Normally I get through OK by just being X-rayed in Dad's backpack, but on our way to Hamilton Is I got the full treatment. First off, they had me read all the notices about prohibited stuff and make a declaration that I had none of those things with me. Then I was frisked and prodded to make sure I wasn't hiding anything on my body. Then they ran this sniffer probe all over me to see if I had been in contact with drugs of any sort. I passed all of the checks and was able to join the rest of the family and wait for the 'plane. "Border Security" is my favourite TV program so I really didn't mind, but I do wish the TV crew had been filming while I was going through the process.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Meeting the Hamilton Island Rellies
Mum says that I am related to Koalas. As we are not sure of just what sort of bear I am, she is probably right (mums usually are). Now, Hamilton Island has a small zoo and in that zoo lives a colony of koalas. You can actually have breakfast with the koalas while you are on the island. Not only that, you can cuddle one and have your picture taken with it. We had brekkie there a couple of times and of course we had to get a family picture with one of the rellies. I wanted to hold the koala but it turns out that they are bigger than the average small bear so Mum held him. He must have liked Mum as much as I do because he snuggled up and went to sleep. Now I have to say that these koala types are not what you would call hyperactive. Most of the time they just hang around in trees, wedged into a fork so they won't fall out, and either eat or sleep. Most of the time they sleep. That makes them hard to spot when they are out in the forest. I actually saw some of them move while we were having breakfast one time. It wasn't much of a move, just across to a different bunch of leaves and another branch to sit on, then a mouthfull and back to sleep. Hmmm, eat and sleep, maybe Dad is related to koalas too.
Bart Aboard Banjo
Whoever thought that I would get the chance to steer a yacht, let alone a racing yacht? But here I am at the control position of the "Banjo Patterson", ready to take a group of tourists out for a sunset champagne cruise from Hamilton island. I am checking the compass before starting the engine and backing out very carefully, because the marina at Hamilton is full of boats, some of them very expensive so I don't want to scratch any of them. Actually, the crew did most of the work, but I helped a lot. "Banjo Patterson" is an retired Sydney-Hobart ocean racer. More modern yachts are very much lighter and carry more sail so "Banjo" has joined the many old racers that retire to the Whitsundays and carry tourists out for sailing adventures. The Oldies weren't feeling all that adventurous, so a quiet, smooth sail in the Whitsunday channel, drinking champers and watching the sunset was the order of the day on this occasion. Next trip I will talk them into something a bit more lively.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
And It's Cold Back Home
But not where we were. This photo was taken on Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. That day it was 12 degrees hotter than it was in Canberra, just right for a beach break. The beaches in north Queensland are not like the ones further south. I guess the sand is the same, but the ocean is very different. Instead of huge terrifying waves that scare Mum, let alone me, the waves up there are very small. That's because the Barrier Reef blocks the really big ones and the hundreds of islands take most of the roughness of the rest of them. So you would think that small bears might be allowed to learn to surf there. But you would be wrong; Mums don't like wet fur on bears. Whitehaven is a very pretty beach most of the time, miles and miles of white sand with only birds, lizards and trees living there. It is used in just about every advertisment for Australia that uses a beach scene. But it is in a bit of trouble at present. Too many people are going there, thousands of them every fine day, and some of them don't take their rubbish away. This day there were lolly wrappers and cigarette butts scattered all over the sand. The only clean sand was the stuff being uncovered as the tide went out. Some people are really stupid, rubbishing a beautiful beach like this one. Remember, when you go to the beach (or anywhere really) clean up after yourself and take your rubbish away with you.
Our Own Private Sunsets
This time we had a big apartment on Hamilton Island. The Oldies found a great deal on the web and it was just as cheap as staying in most other places. So we had loads of room and a big balcony where you could sit and watch all sorts of boats sailing along the passages between the islands. Scruffy, Milkshake and I spent a lot of time on the balcony. We had visits from lots of birds during the day and geckoes at night (not that Mum let us stay out there for long after dark). The prettiest time of day was sunset. I like the way that the sky changes colour and the light gets all soft and dim. From our balcony we could watch the Sun all the way down, until it set behind the really big island in the background of the picture. Actually that big island is Australia, so we weren't all that far off the coast, not like when we were on Norfolk Island where we watched the Sun set over the ocean with no land in sight at all. Watching sunsets is kind of funny because it makes you feel really good and nobody now, not even a small bear, worries that the Sun mightn't come up again.
Back Home From Hamilton Island
Well, we are back from warm and sunny Hamilton Island to cold and sunny Canberra. The trouble with holidays is that they always end too quickly, just as you start to feel really relaxed it's time to get back to the grind. Our week at Hamilton was just great. Even the weather was great, no rain and only occasional thin cloud in the early mornings. Here's a picture of the island. Most of it is national park, but there is room for a big airport and lots of houses and holiday places. The airport is the only one in the Whitsunday Islands big enough to take jets, so that makes Hamilton the transport centre for the islands and you can get ferries from there to just about anywhere. I love the place because small bears can go on 'planes, boats and golf buggies and sometimes even get a bit wet and sandy. Lots of pictures of that sort of thing coming soon.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Only One More Sleep
Just one more sleep and we are off travelling again. Tomorrow morning we get up early and catch the plane to Hamilton Island for a week. I like Hamilton because I get to zoom around the island in a golf buggy, and there are lots of boat trips from there to interesting places as well. I am going to bed really early so that the sleep will be over quicker. Scruffy finds it hard to get to sleep when he is excited, so I have told him to at least lay still and not wriggle around. This trip I have invited our small cow, Milkshake, along because she hasn't been anywhere yet and doesn't take up much room in our travel possies (Dad's backpack, the camera case, buggy drink holders, etc). So no posts from me for a week or so, but lots of new pictures after we get back and Dad processes them. See you later.
It's Really Too Early
I don't like getting up early in the mornings. Except when we are going somewhere and have to go catch a plane, train or boat. Mostly the Oldies agree, after all, astronomers do tend to sleep in a bit even after they retire. However, when this photo was taken I had been hauled out of bed far too early and hauled off somewhere (I can't remember just where, I was too sleepy to take notes). Now, one of the things that will always cause Mum to stop, no matter what the purpose of the trip, is the sight of cows close to the road. These poor critters were out in the cold, wet paddock trying to find enough grass for breakfast. A bit far away for cow portraits, so wake the snoozing bear, sit him on a cold, damp rail, and use him as a foreground object. Sometimes I wish that Mum had never got a camera.