Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The Red Centre

Here's where we went for a few days just after Easter. One of the most recognizable places on Earth. It is, of course, Uluru (also called Ayers Rock), a World Heritage site. It is a humungous sandstone boulder in the middle of the arid area of central Australia. Geologists call it an inselberg, a word meaning "island mountain", and that describes it perfectly. The rock is 348m higher than the surrounding plain and is 9.4km around. Most of it is actually underground. One of the spectacular things about Uluru is the way that the colour changes, depending on the time of day and the angle between the direction that you are looking at it and the direction the sunlight is falling on it. The top photo was taken from the window of our aircraft and shows just how prominent the rock is. It also shows why the central part of Australia is called the red centre; iron-rich soil really is red. Uluru is a sacred place to the local Anangu people and is managed by them for the whole of Australia. This is a place that everyone should visit.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Easter Again

Another Easter has passed. Don't they come around quickly? This year I managed to catch one of the small Easter Bunnies and convinced her/it to stay with us. She says her name is Bonny, so that definitely makes her "her", not "it". Of course that meant that I "inherited" the extra eggs that she had with her. Added into my stash with the chocolate bunnies and eggs from Bro Trent and the Oldies, plus the white choccy cow and egg that Bonny was delivering to me, plus extras from Aunty Enid, I have enough chocolate to last me for ages. I may even share some of the stash with the Oldies. And to top it all off a parcel arrived on Easter Thursday addressed to me. It was from Unka Ray and Aunty Libby and it had a beaut colourful Bart-sized tent in it. I have camped in it all over the Easter break. I have to pack it away now because we are busy getting ready to fly off on a new adventure in a couple of days. Not overseas this time, but to something really spectacular in the red centre of Australia.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014


Beautiful Bora Bora

In my opinion, Bora Bora, 230 Km northwest of Tahiti, is the pick of the Pacific islands. It is two extinct volcanoes, Mt Pahia and Mt Otemanu, surrounded by a huge lagoon and barrier reef. The reef has one entrance channel. The main town, Vaitape, is opposite the entrance. Our ship, Celebrity Millenium, anchored in the channel on the side opposite Vaitape, near an island called Motu Toopua, and we were ferried ashore in the ship's lifeboats. The top photo is what we saw when the ship anchored, Mt Otemanu with Vaitape snuggled along the shore in front of it. Most of the time we were there Otemanu had clouds covering its top. The bottom photos are from the lifeboat on the way across to Vaitape. Vaitape is just how I imagined a south seas town to be and I will post more photos of it soon. In James Michener's book, Hawaii, he has a section on Americans posted to Bora Bora during WW2. He says that they will never forget the island, and you know what? Neither will I.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014



Mum and I are devoted Trekkies. Mum has seen every episode and film from way back when Star Trek first showed in Australia. Dad used to watch the TV series during long, cold nights at the telescope. We have all seen the various Star Trek movies. So it is only natural that eventually Dad and I would build a model of the USS Enterprise, particularly after the last two movies. Actually we already have a USS Enterprise in our model collection, the WW2 aircraft carrier, but that's another story. Anyhow, the starship model had to be the original NCC-1701 and it took a lot of searching of hobby shops to find a model of it. The one we eventually found was ancient, dating back to 1987. In modelling terms, it was a filler queen, i.e. the parts had loads of flash to be trimmed, the fit of parts was atrocious, lots of filler had to be poured into the seams to fill them  and much sanding was needed to smooth the joins. It took lots of work, but as you can see the finished model is OK. For its first mission we sent it exploring out toward the Southern Cross, courtesy of Photoshop and an image from the Stromlo Observatory archive. Not a bad effort for a small bear and an ancient Dad.


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