Sunday, July 28, 2013


Animal Statues

This weekend has been a good one. It began with Dad getting things wrong (again) and handing me a bag with a present in it; Mum actually intended it to be my birthday present :). Inside the bag was a Bart-sized briefcase! Now I can look the part whenever I am called upon to give opinions on any touchy subject. We sometimes drive around the new areas of town and check out the houses being built. This time we found a couple of great statues. The giant galahs are just at the top end of our street. For overseas readers, galahs are pink and grey cockatoos. They are noisy critters and Dad says that the flying direction control was left out of their brain when they were invented. They don't seem to realize that flying low in front of cars is not a good idea, and given two directions to fly they always seem to choose the most dangerous one. Other than that, they are cute critters. In the new suburb of Casey there is a doggie playground, fenced in to avoid the dogs from running in front of cars while they are hyper. The area is marked with this "woof" statuary. You can get an idea of the size of things by comparing the "F" with the small bear sitting on it. The dog is the size of a Great Dane, and guess what his name is? Actually, he didn't tell me, but I reckon it should be Rusty. Now, the question is "Where do I find the playground for small bears?".

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Thursday, July 18, 2013


Voyager By Night

It's a funny thing about cruise liners. By day, the decks are crowded with people walking, running, sunbaking or just watching the ocean slip by. It is a different story at night. Most of the passengers are at shows, in the bars, or pretending to win money in the casino. The decks are almost completely deserted. The Oldies and I always visit the top deck at night to check the weather and the sky before we go to bed. Mind you, all the lights make it difficult to see the sky. That's a bit of a bother because we are along to tell passengers about astronomy and it would be good to have a dark spot where we could show them stars. Anyhow, here's some photos of the top deck of "Voyager of the Seas" that we took on our New Zealand trip. Notice the great lighting, the empty pools and very few people. Also note that you can see inside the windows and check what people are doing without them being able to see you. I like doing that, although Dad tells me it is not polite. No doubt about it, cruising is fun.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Tugs and Timber

Two things that are very obvious when you cruise around New Zealand are the big piles of timber at every port and the pretty little tugboats. The timber on the left was at Port Chalmers, the port for Dunedin. On the right is the log pile at Wellington. The logs are pine from planted forests. Some of the timber goes overseas as logs, some as sawn planks and some is fed through munchy machines like this one at Port Chalmers and is shipped as wood-chip. Timber export is NZ's third most important industry. It is sad that some of the native forest is being replaced by pine plantations but that seems to be the way of things all around the world, even here in Australia. Tugboats are always fun to watch in any port. What I like about the NZ ones are that they are bright colours, none of that dull old black! Here are a dark blue one at Tauranga, a red one at Wellington and a light blue one at Auckland. They all fuss around any big ship, looking for places to push or pull. They were not needed by "Voyager of the Seas". She has bow thrusters at front and azipods at the stern and can get in and out of just about anywhere without help. The tugs stand by just-in-case. Love them.

p.s. The fortnight gap between posts is not because I was away seeing more of the world. I have been helping Dad with his model aircraft. He has 1206 to dust, repair and move into shelves with clear plastic fronts. It's a big job and I won't tell you some of the words he uses when fragile bits break off.

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