Friday, March 20, 2015


Moorea Mooring

Nothing of interest happened this past week, so here's a couple of photos from our Hawaii - Sydney cruise in 2013. The island is Moorea, near Thaiti. You can see other photos of it if you search the blog. I like the ruggedness of Moorea. It is mostly mountains with just a small flat strip around the coast. The peaks were mostly covered in cloud the day we were there. The ship has to moor in deep water, quite a way from the wharf, and we went ashore in the ship's lifeboats. Moorea is very beautiful (if you are into islands, like I am) and a place you should see if you get the chance. I am getting cruise fever again, as the Oldies and selected small critters are guest lecturers on "Radiance of the Seas" in a few weeks time.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015


Hercules Over The Lake

Yesterday afternoon we made a special trip down to the lake shore. Mum read on Facebook that there was a flypast by six RAAF C-130J Hercules' due at 3pm.  I've seen lots of C-130s at airshows, but never 5 in the air at one time, so we just had to see them. The flightpath was shown on the RAAF FB page, so we gave ourselves plenty of time and drove to a spot on the lakeside nearly under the track. Right on time they came, flying low for over a city (about 500ft I reckon). The Oldies used their iPhones to take dozens of pictures. Here are some of the best of them; click on the picture for a bigger image. You can see 5 aircraft in the first picture. The Hercs were in line astern and passed over us at around 5 second intervals. I was hoping they would come back for another pass, but they were on a training exercise and headed straight for their next "target" in western Sydney before returning to base at Richmond. There should be more aircraft flying low where small bears can get a good look at them.

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Balloon Time Again

Every year in March there is a big hot-air balloon festival in Canberra, part of the celebrations for the anniversary of the founding of the city (it is 102 this year). Aeronauts from around the world attend, bringing some quirky balloons with them. Mum and I usually drag Dad out of bed before dawn and take him to the launch site on the lawns in front of Old Parliament House. Literally thousands of Canberrans go to see the balloons take off during the week of the festival. Some mornings it is freezing cold, but this year it was milder. Preparations begin before sunrise. Most of the light comes from the burners that are busy inflating the balloons. The three balloons that I liked best are pictured. One was from the UK. It is green and has the face and ears of Yoda. Another one looks just like one of the Angry Birds. The third one is a giant dodo, advertising Dodo, one of the Australian internet companies. Dad says that it is nothing like a real dodo, but sometimes he is just a real "wet blanket", specially when he is half asleep. A thin fog rolled in just on sunrise, but the balloons launched anyway. I counted over 30 of them in the air at the same time. I like seeing them and will drag Dad out into the cold dawn again next year.

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Friday, March 06, 2015


The Hydro Majestic

Last weekend we stayed at a special historic building, the Hydro Majestic Hotel. This series of linked buildings is at Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. First building was the Belgravia Hotel, built in 1891. Sydney businessman, Mark Foy, bought the place in 1902 and built a much larger hotel which he hoped would be a hydropathic spa. Unfortunately, the local water wasn't mineral rich so he imported spa water from Germany; it tasted horrible. The big dome covers what was called the Casino. Despite the name, it was a ballroom, not a gambling place.The hotel is on a clifftop overlooking the Megalong Valley. The views are superb and there are many walking tracks for the fit and keen. Bushfires destroyed parts of the complex in 1905 and 1922, and have come close many times since. Because of the mix of Edwardian and Art Deco architecture, the Hydro Majestic was put on the Heritage list in 1984. Major restoration work was completed last year, so naturally my architecture-freak Oldies had to check it out. It is a wonderful place for a "lost weekend". The highlight for us was Saturday night dinner; great cuisine (this small bear had to have that word explained), new cocktails for Mum to try (Dad usually sticks to beer), piano playing softly in the background, and watching sunset over the valley. Highly recommended for Oldies and small critters.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2015


Perfect Beach For Small Bears

On the north side of Bateman's Bay there is a perfect beach for small bears and kids. It is at a village called Cullendulla. The sea here is usually calm, no big waves to tumble small people around. It is shallow for a fair way out, so learner swimmers have no troubles. The beach is long, wide and flat. The sand is fine and makes great castles. There are even rocky headlands at the ends of the beach with good snorkeling for Oldies. And no sign of crabs at all while I was there. Now. if only I was allowed to get wet, this would be the perfect beach for me.

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