Monday, December 31, 2012
At The Pointy End
Ever since the "Titanic" movie, people have this strange urge to stand right at the bow of the ship they are on and do a "Kate and Leo". Some ships, like the "Queen Mary 2", don't allow passengers to get right to the bow, but on "Voyager of the Seas" you can stand right at the pointy end and look down at the bow wave. So, here are Mum and I doing our "K&L". Of course, the right way to do it is to lean forward while hugging, but the wind was strong and Dad would have had to fly out ahead of the ship to get a photo like that, so we did it in reverse. The actual very front of the ship is in the marked off area, but we got as close as we could. I escaped while the Oldies were talking and managed to start climbing the ropes to the top of the little mast, but Dad caught me and Mum read me the Riot Act. Don't Oldies understand the urges that small bears get?
Labels: boats, cruising, New Zealand
A Huge Storm
While we were in Brisbane on our way back from the eclipse there was a huge storm. Brisbane is just a little bit above and left of the centre of this radar map. The big storm cell is just over 300km across. It hit Brisbane just as we were trying to get to sleep and lightning hit the train track just outside our hotel. I have never seen Dad jump so high from a prone position. I wish I had the video camera running as nobody would believe Dad is so athletic :) Actually I love watching storms. The lightning is spectacular and small bears are not afraid of thunder. I don't like the damage that strong winds cause and really hate the bushfires that lightning sometimes starts, but I do love the spectacle when there is no real danger.
Labels: Brisbane, Queensland
Waiting For The Eclipse
It seems like ages since the eclipse in Cairns. A lot of exciting stuff has happened in the meantime, particularly our New Zealand cruise. So for a while there will be a mix of photos, hope you can sort them out. Anyhow, here are Scruffy and I waiting for the eclipse to start. Our balcony at Amaroo had a table in just the right place to give us a good view across the ocean and to the side of the Oldies. We spent the time before the start of partial phases with a glass of breakfast champagne and our Kindles. Actually, I use Dad's Kindle because he has lots of great S-F stories on it; Scruff uses Mum's because he is getting interested in ancient Egypt too. Of course, when the eclipse started we had to wear proper protection to look at the Sun. Once the Moon completely covered the Sun during Totality we could look with our unprotected eyes, but before and after Totality we used eclipse goggles. We are getting quite a collection of these goggles now; this is our second eclipse and Mum likes the different designs. Whatever else you do, make sure you see at least one Total Solar Eclipse in your lifetime. You will never forget it.
Labels: astronomy, Cairns, eclipse, Queensland
Monday, December 24, 2012
Back in Time for Christmas
I'm back from a great fortnight cruising around New Zealand on a magnificent ship called "Voyager of the Seas". The Oldies are busy downloading and processing the 2100 photos and 56 video clips that they took, so I can't show you much about the cruise yet, but here's a photo of the ship docked at Hobart. Actually, the captain had a Norwegian accent that made the city sound like "Hobbit", so that's what I am calling it for a while. The ship is the 8th biggest cruise liner in the world; you can see it dwarfs the buildings on the wharf behind it. Anyhow, there will be lots of photos of the cruise coming. I had not been to New Zealand before, and it is a really beautiful place. The main thing is that I am home for Christmas and Santa will not have to look around the world for me. Have a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year be everything that you would wish.
Labels: boats, Christmas, cruising, Santa
Friday, December 07, 2012
I'm Cruising Again
I will be away for the next fortnight. I know that I am just back from Cairns but this trip is a bit different, not just a holiday. Dad has been signed up as "enrichment lecturer" on a cruise, so Mum and I get to go along and keep an eye on him and make sure he behaves. What ship? Where are we going? What is he lecturing about? Well, the image should give you a clue. See you later, I have to finish packing.
Labels: astronomy, boats, cruising, New Zealand
Thursday, December 06, 2012
On the way up to Kuranda on the train you can see several waterfalls tumbling down into the Barron River Gorge. Here are the two that are easiest to see, both about 130m high. The one on the left is Stoney Creek Falls and the train goes right alongside it. The train is moving fairly slowly as it passes the falls because it is going across one of the longest curved lattice railway bridges in Australia. The one on the right is Barron Falls. It used to be really spectacular, but now most of the water is dammed and used to run a hydroelectric station that powers the Cairns area. The train stops for a photo break at Barron Falls station, and you can also get photos by taking a short walk from the Skyrail station on the other side of the gorge on your way back to Cairns. The trip from Cairns to Kuranda is really one of the most scenic short trips in Australia, so do it sometime (and take your small bear with you).
Labels: Cairns, Kuranda, Queensland, waterfall
Sunday, December 02, 2012
One of the best day trips that you can do from Cairns is to take the Kuranda Scenic Railway up to the market town of Kuranda, and come back down via the Skyrail cableway. I have done this trip 3 times now and absolutely love it. This time the train was very long, around 16 carriages, and needed two big diesel locos to haul it. Cairns was, of course, jam-packed with visitors for the eclipse and lots of them were visiting Kuranda. The train runs through rain forest for most of the trip and it has dozens of trestle bridges and 15 tunnels. It also has a station near the top of the climb where you can get out for a short stop to see Barron Falls. It was raining gently this day and it made the views a bit spooky, with clouds right down on the tops of the hills. We even saw a lyrebird fluttering down the embankment near where the bottom photo was taken. Do the trip if you are visiting Cairns, up by rail, back by Skyrail. Lots of shopping for Mums at Kuranda. You will enjoy it.
Labels: Cairns, Kuranda, Queensland, train
Port Douglas Lighthouses
We spent a day at Port Douglas during our eclipse trip. Our aim was to find a historic lighthouse, Island Point Light, that we had looked for on our last trip but couldn't find. No problem this time because the locals had signposted it and even put in a path to it. The problem last trip was that we were looking for it near the top of the hill. In fact it is near the bottom, facing out to sea. It replaced an old wooden one built in 1878 and destroyed in a cyclone in 1911. The lighthouse has not worked since 1997. The "lighthouse" today is a strong light attached to a communication mast at the top of the hill. There is another lighthouse near Port Douglas, on the Low isles near the start of the shipping channel. We visited that one on our last trip to Cairns and you can find pictures of it way back in the blog.
Labels: Cairns, lighthouse, Queensland