Chill Time at the Zipolo Habu

The Zipolo Habu Resort is on an island and as far as I can figure there is nothing else on the island. It is not a small island it is just that there are no other in inhabitants. There is one other guest at the Zipolo so it is pretty slow. We get up, sit on the deck and eat a minimal breakfast the fixing for which we brought from Honiara. We then have to decide whether to move or not. It’s hot by then so it is a big decision. We can read or play computer games, there are kayaks we could jump on and go for a paddle, or we can go for a swim, we can hang at the bar but the action is slow as we are the only guests so we are the action. I’m not real good at doing nothing, and so it turns out, neither is Debbie but we get through day 1 unscathed.

Zipolo Habu

Our bure at the Zipolo Habu

We live with the mozzi’s. There aren’t that many but there are no screens on the abode and the wildlife flows in and out at will. We have a mosquito net over the bed so we don’t get eaten too badly. With the constant breeze there are few bugs. Although the blasted mini ants found their way into our SEALED jar of peanut butter. We don’t need the extra protein so I scrape off a layer of one of the basic needs of life and we now put even screw tightened jars in the fridge.

Sitting in the bar and over the radio comes ‘Four Strong Winds’ sung by Ian Tyson. Hearing a song about Alberta in such and isolated place on the other side of the globe is a bit weird.

There is only one restaurant on the island, the resort restaurant. So, we eat what they have and at the price they ask. We have managed to find something of interest at every meal so far. The prices are expensive but somewhat comparable to the other places we have eaten on the Solomon’s. We aren’t doing much so we share lunch and supper, which is perfect portion sizing.

In the city if you want to visit some place different to eat you jump in the car and drive to the restaurant. Here it seems you jump in your boat and traverse the waters to another island. Both Sunday and Monday, a holiday, people have come from the surrounding islands to spend the afternoon at the Zipolo’s Restaurant (at the bar really).

Zipolo Habu

Our breakfast view

Yesterday we decide that we are not likely to survive 3 entire days of loafing. There is a dive shop that is picking up the other resort guest and we decide we are going diving. We might as well as we have all our gear, the ocean is calling and we may not be back. Munda Dive picks us up at 8.30 and we are off to see what is underwater once more. The diving is worth the cost. The coral is abundant and is in excellent condition. Not sure we have ever seen so much hard coral. The highlight of the dive is seeing 3 different pygmy sea horses on one fan. I actually found one of them and used up a lot of air in my excitement.

Munda Dive seems like a good operation. The two people that run it are for sure people, people. They met our boat mate at the dock as we were loading to come to the Zipolo, gave him the lowdown on the next days agenda and talked to us about possibly joining their outing on the following day.

So we go out for a swim. We are sitting at the bar, it’s hot and we need to cool down. Get in the water I’m pretty sure the water is body temp. Not much of a cooling effect. We have not swum since Southport, so chose a couple of points on the beach and swim a few laps. It feels OK but we don’t swim too far. I get out of water and Debbie goes to swim to the dock floating 20 or so meters from the shore. I’m sitting on the land dock and spot a fin gliding by right where Debbie is about to go. I stand up to have a better look, it’s a shark, a black tip reef shark………Debbie exits the water. We see plenty of them when we are diving and they are not much interested in humans but splashing around on the surface is a different story. We later find out they are ‘pet’ sharks. There are several that frequent the dock in search of fish leftovers from the fishermen cleaning their catch near the dock. Unusual pets but none the less they have yet to attack a resort guest.

Zipolo Habu

May 22

We are the only guests now and it is not a holiday so things are real quiet. It has been a rather slow day. It took a lot of energy just to get down to the beach and go for a swim with the sharks. After lunch we take one of the plastic punts they refer to as kayaks and circumnavigate the island. This is not a sleek boat that is a kayak as we might know it but a short fat open plastic three passenger tug that is somewhat sluggish. Kinda glad the island is no bigger than it is. We are going to hurt tomorrow as is.

Next stop tomorrow, Honiara for a couple of days.

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Bilikiki – Part 2

May 16

The diving here is good, real good but not to our expectations. It is hard to come to a place like this with absolutely no preconceived notions, even though we try. I expected the stuff we see here to be very different from elsewhere we have been. Really it is quite similar. There are some differences, some different fish and different creatures.There is a lot of coral covering whole areas. The density is probably no more than Bonaire.

Solomon Islands

One can never have too many clown fish pictures!

Over all we are happy enough. Have seen several new types of nudi’s, just not the real fancy ones I have seen in the literature. Debbie found a fish today no one had seen before and there are several people on board with 1000+ dives. The two fellows that were really impressed have 5000+ dives each. They had to go to the book to find out what kind of fish it is. It is a yellow spotted scorpion fish.

We dive mostly walls here. A few ‘coral gardens’ where we float along and scour the garden directly below us but mostly we hang over the endless blue depth and kick slowly twisted to the left or the right seeing what is hanging on for dear life, with an occasional glance into the blue to see if some big fish is touring near by. The walls are hard on the body. We have to constantly twist left or right and kick one sided to avoid inadvertently wrecking some coral. Four dives a day for more than a week are taking their toll.

The reefs are in pretty damn good shape. The dive traffic here is very light. So, damage is minimal. The locals fish to eat and a lot of the reefs are owned by the nearby village. Some chiefs have declared no fishing zones at good dive sites and receive compensation from the dive operators. The villagers have to paddle to the next island to eat. OK with us and we didn’t hear any complaints from them.

Solomon Islands

Here money talks. Some of the chiefs are letting loggers take vast amounts of trees off the land and not requiring the loggers to replant. They don’t understand now but will soon be complaining when their village is washed into the ocean on a day when the rain pours down and the mud slides. As with any disaster I guess the rest of the world will pay at that point. The villagers may understand then and the loggers will get away with the money they made and not give two hoots about the village in the ocean.

There is a night dive offered almost every night. There must be 2 divers for it to become a reality. One fellow has done four dives every day and been on both night dives that have happened. One other fellow has done both night dives but taken a dive off in the day doing 4 dive days like the rest us. The other 18 divers call it quits after 4 dives hit the sack at on average 8.30pm and do not show their faces until 6am. I think we are all tired.

May 19

The crew is great. They work their tails off. Up at 4am and to bed around 8pm for some, everyone gets 8 hours downtime and works 16. There are a few times when the guys can chill but when is time to move they do. They are all quiet and don’t say much but they will talk if we are the instigators. All of them are pretty good with our habits and preferences. Debbie had trouble propping her butt on the gunnel of the boat and reaching her legs over the bench so if she sat at the front of the ‘tinnie’ she could find a spot to back roll without the bench in the way. 90% of the transfers to the dive sites she is in the front seat.

WWII Japanese Seaplane

WWII Japanese Seaplane Mavis

A really good dive trip. Most of the dives are very good, some just good and only a couple of ho hum dives and a few excellent dives. The ones that surprised me most are the wreck dives. Most wreck dives look like boats under water to me, or maybe bits and pieces of stuff scattered across the bottom of the ocean. These wrecks are WWII wrecks that have be under water long enough for loads of things to grow on them and a lot of fish swimming about. The fact they were wrecks was neither here nor there to me but I liked the wild life.

 

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Solomon Island Villagers

During our cruise around the Solomon on Islands on the Bilikiki, we encounter many of the local people. Every time we moor in a quiet bay near an island, villagers paddle out in their hand made canoes to sell pineapples, papaya, bananas, eggplant, callaloo, sweet potato, limes, squash and onion. The villagers are very friendly and always have a “Hello” ready. I wonder what they think of us on the boat, spending time under the water looking at fish.

Solomon Islands

We stop at three villages on separate islands to shop. They gather just for the Bilikiki. The villagers are craftsmen who carve (mostly), weave and paint. All the sellers have set up tables or blankets to show their wares and the rest of the villagers stand back to watch the excitement. The sellers are shy but once we initiate a conversation, they are very happy to chat with us. One fellow tells me he was born in 1949 and has three girls, all in their teenage years. He is worried that his English is not good, but I assure him that it is just fine and he is pleased. We get interrupted by one of our fellow divers wanting to purchase a wooden carving. 

Our next village visit is to Karumolun to enjoy some local singing and dancing. Murray is not feeling well, so I abscond with his camera and join the group boating over to the small island. We are greeted by the chief, who shakes our hands and welcomes us. We are then given flower leis that the children have made and I end up with two, mine and Murray’s. 

Karumolun, Solomon Islands

We take a seat on benches and the men appear in loin cloths, white body paint, shields and spears (decorative only). They sing in their language, with harmonies and bass, and it is mesmerizing. I close my eyes briefly and loose myself in the music.

Next are the women, dressed in cloth dresses with grass skirts over top, some wearing beaded headdresses and necklaces. They are shy and do not make eye contact with the watchers. It is cute watching the children of the women on the sidelines wanting to go to Mom, but knowing that they cannot. They sing and dance as a group with repetitive steps and movements. It is also musical, but for my ears, not as mesmerizing as the men. The dancing involves a thump on the ground with the ball of the foot, which provides the “drumbeat”.

Karumolun, Solomon Islands

The next section is fascinating and I now wish Murray was here to hear. The villagers have made various pan pipe type instruments out of PVC pipe. The largest instrument has about 15 different lengths of pipe all in a row, which would play the lead. There are about 4 instruments that have 4 groups of 3 pipes tied together and all different lengths. These provide the “chords”, and include minor chords. All these instruments are played with cut down flip flops and make a hollow thup sound.

There are 3 fellows playing huge pipe instruments by blowing into them, that are the bass and a fellow playing a skin drum.  

The music they produce is fantastic with a unique sound. The women join in to sing along for a song, allowing the children to join in and dance and sway. 

We wander the village with the chief as our guide. This village is well kept with a central area housing a school and church. The houses surround the area and are built with two buildings, a kitchen and a sleeping house. They are tidy outside with well maintained exteriors. Oli, one of our dive directors, tells me that the chief and his commitment have a lot of say in how a village is run and this village is being run extremely well.

Solomon Islands

 

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Bilikiki – Part 1

First day full tilt diving. Similar routine as other boats. Get up eat, dive, snack, dive, lunch, dive, snack dive, dinner, dive if you want to night dive, do our log books and blog if not, sleep…

Diving is a bit different. There are 20 divers on board. Only one dive master leads each dive. Three ‘tinnie’ boat loads enter the water at intervals. The dive master enters from the first tinnie. Everyone does their own dive more or less. We have to pay attention to the dive briefing or we could head off in the wrong direction and cause a bit of a ruckus. The divers all progress at different speeds so we are spread out all along the reef, there is very little interfering of each others’ dives. Debbie and I are in our own space. We dive the depth we want and the speed we want. The first two dives have a limit on time, 60 minutes. At 59 we head to the blue and one of the tinnies picks us up and ferries us back to the mother ship. Pretty good system so far. The last two dives are as long as we want or our air lasts. We dive 70 minutes and I am coming up with huge air. 70 minutes and I still have ½ a tank????? The dive is shallow but hey I think I finally got this breathing thing down.

We do find a few interesting things, some different fish, a few nudi’s, a gigantic puffer fish and some really small endemic crabs that live in abandoned Christmas Tree holes.

Four dives today and it wasn’t really taxing. All we really have to do is dive, the rest is done for us but there are 9 days to go and I’m sure we’ll be tired.

Solomon Islands

A few days later.

Diverse group on board. A few Americans, a few Germans, an Austrian, an Argentinian, and a couple of Canucks. They are all good people. Debbie and I have 500 dives and again we are on a live a board with 19 others and I think there maybe 3 people have fewer dives than us. A couple of these folks have 5000 plus dives. The ratio of men to women is 12 to 8. Quite an even group compared to what we have been use to. When we started diving, 20 years ago, it was Debbie and all the guys, the last few years it has be Murray and all the ladies.

Almost every dive we do is with current. Not crazy current but strong enough to cause heavy breathing and shorter dives. When we can, we dive with the current and are picked up downstream by the ‘tinnies’. Tinnies are small aluminum dive boats that shuttle us from the mother ship, the Bilikiki, at the start of each dive site and pick us up to bring us home.

Food is pretty good. Not real fancy and but more than edible. Usually on a live a board if the meals are plated, we are served far too much and a lot of it goes to waste. On the Bilikiki it is served buffet style so I can control the intake and hopefully not put on weight.

Solomon Islands

May 14

Intrigue on the Solomon Express. I think it is a set up. A person crying out for attention. My first thoughts were this woman is an airhead but since then I have adjusted that idea to she is just plain stupid. After my last encounter with her I will not even acknowledge her presence. This woman is a novice diver and she cannot or more likely will not follow instructions. After having to sit out a day of diving for 24 hours because she went into deco. She claimed she was never told anything about decompression limits in her Advanced Open Water course. She has been instructed to stay with the diver master. A few minutes into every dive she conveniently looses her buddy and swims off on her own. Yesterday, Debbie and I were swimming in the same direction as her. She was ahead and stopped to take a video of a couple of clown fish. I waited and when Debbie and I were going to move I tapped her and motioned to follow. We swam through a very tight swim through and on the other side she had not followed. I swam back and caught her swimming off father away from the boat, alone. I motioned for her to buddy up and follow me. She scowled at me and swam away. I swam back to join Debbie and was royally pissed. I will not even speak to her now.

The intrigue started this morning, upon going to the ‘charging’ room she discovered the glass on her phone had been smashed. Presumably by accident. No one will admit to it. My cynical nature says it was her fault in an effort to make people feel sorry for her. As of this moment it is still a mystery but I have absolute no compassion for stupid people and she falls into that category. PS As of the end of the trip I do not think there was a resolution beyond the glass on the phone is broken.

I have had diarrhea twice this since we left home in April. Both times in places where the food should be non-toxic. The first time was the day we are leaving the Volivoli, an extremely high-class resort. The food was good but there was definitely something that disagreed with me. I actually didn’t feel that bad. Just stopped eating and went about getting to the next island to dive.

Last night on a long rolly transfer from the Marovo Lagoon to the Russel Island group. I started to feel quite sick. This is an expensive boat set up for gringos with weak stomachs. Three or four people have already been sick and taken a day off of diving and now it is my turn. This time however I am down for the count. It is 5.30pm and I have not been out of bed and eaten absolutely nothing. I am so sick. Don’t think I am about to expire but I am weak and useless. It is a costly time to get ill. Missed an entire day of diving and don’t know if tomorrow is on the agenda or not.

I am fine the next morning and a diving I will go. Other than a bit weak I am fine.

The day after I return Debbie bites the dust. Pretty much the same disease. Others have also fallen prey. Could be the food but it seems more likely this time it is some sort of flu bug. In the end we all survive and are diving by the last day.

Solomon Islands

May 16

Debbie reached dive number 500 yesterday. Good day of diving and worthy of the milestone. There was one dive we did twice. It is a really shallow hard coral garden with tons of fish. Easy diving and hardly used any air. Found quite a few of the small guys we like. Debbie also encountered a couple of sharks on the hunt for a big silver fish. First mister silver came around the corner swimming at speed. He blew by Debbie, two sharks in hot pursuit followed. Debbie saved the poor fellows life. The sharks saw this big black thing making bubbles and retreated right away, leaving big silver to live for a while longer. (Note from the proofer – I now think it was a bumphead grouper.)

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A Shift in Position

There has been a shift in position. When Murray and I first learned to scuba dive, we both used 80 cu ft tanks. Being new divers we used tons of air due to being overweighted, kicking too much and a lack of buoyancy control. Murray used way more air than me, so he swam about 7 to 10 feet above me as he would use less air at a shallower depth. As our dive skills improved, his air consumption decreased and we were a able to dive side by side.

Solomon islands

A few years ago, while diving with the Kona Dive Company, one of the dive masters asked me how much air I was coming up with after a long dive. Of course, I didn’t actually know as I never looked as I knew that I had lots of air left in my tank. After the next dive I mentioned to the fellow that I came up with 1,500 psi (a half tank) so he recommended that I use a 63 cu ft tank. A 63 cu ft tank still has 3,000 psi, same as an 80 cu ft tank, but it has less volume. So each breath uses more volume of air. Since I came up with 1,500 psi with an 80, I should be just fine using a 63. I did a couple of test dives with the small tank and my air consumption matched Murray’s almost perfectly. Sold! I have been using a 63, whenever they are available, since then.

We have come to realize that at depth I use more air than Murray. In the shallows I use less air than Murray. In current I use less air than Murray. On a good dive profile of going deep first and then working our way shallower and shallower, by the time we are finished the dive, we have the same amount of air left in our tanks.

Solomon Islands

When we arrive on the Bilikiki, we are assured they have small tanks. We are told they have small tanks and are 10 litres. We could not make the conversion to cu ft until we hit WIFI land.

Right away we notice that my air consumption is greater than Murray’s and, on some dives, limits our dive time. What is going on? Is the tank actually smaller than a 63 cu ft tank? Are we spending more time at depth where I use more air? Am I still overweighted? Has Murray’s breathing improved enough to cause that difference? What are we going to do about this?

I start to purposely stay a little above Murray when we are at depths below 60 ft. I drop one more pound of weight so I do not put as much air in my BCD at depth. We try not to spend too much time at depths below 60 ft, which suits me fine as I like the shallows better. I think about my breathing. Up until now I have never had to think about my breath, about how much air I take in and what part of my lungs I am breathing out of as I have always had more than enough air available. That is the hard skill to learn, but I practise and practise, and have to take gulps of air every so often.

We manage my air consumption and still enjoy dives that are from 45 minutes to 95 minutes, depending on the currents and depths. It is a good exercise for me and I improve my diving skills.

PS The calculation from a 10 litre tank to cu ft is more complicated than I have patience right now, so I will let you know what I find out once I get home.

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Diving by the Numbers

When we arrive in the Solomon’s, Murray has 13 more dives than me. Yeah, it’s not a competition, but geez, he’s ahead of me! He mostly got ahead doing night dives that I did not want to do and the occasional upset tummy.

There seems to be a bug going around the ship and Murray catches it on day 6. He is down for the day, sleeping in the bunk. I dive, first with S&G, and then with R. It feels odd not diving with Murray but the four dives are relaxing. I am up 4, making the difference 9.

Bump head Grouper

BumpheadGrouper

Day 7 has us diving the same reef twice and I am getting tired, so I decide to pass on the second dive on the reef. Murray dives with R. I am down 1, the difference is 10.

Day 9 has me sequestered in the bunk with the same 24 hour flu bug. Murray dives with R and gains 4 dives on me. I am now down 14! GRRRRRR! I cannot seem to make up lost dives and I keep Loosing ground.

Blacktip Shark

Blacktip Shark

I keep threatening Murray that I am going to go to Kona by myself so I can catch up to him, after all it is NOT a competition!

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Honiara, Solomon Islands

Honiara. Solomon Islands. It’s hot here. Boy, it’s hot! The heat hits me in the face as soon as I step out of the airplane and onto the tarmac. It’s intense.

The drive into town from the airport reminds me of India, or the Andaman Islands. Garbage, standing water, street market stalls, too much traffic, dusty roads. First Impressions, I am not so sure about Honiara and its surroundings. 

Our driver finds our lodgings, the Rekona Flourish Lodge, a guest house by definition. It is simple, plain but has a very nice lady greeting us. I am still not completely sold yet. Maybe I am just too hot.

We shed our travel clothes for shorts and shirts, find our hats, hide our valuables, ask a whole lot of questions and off we go for a quick explore to find Coke, ideas for supper and to scope out the town. We had been warned that Honiara is unsafe, but the Bilikikicruise staff said no worries and the lady here says no worries, so we are not worried. Off we go. We wander down the main street with no issues at all. We definitely stand out with our wide brimmed hats and white skin. I look around and notice right away how the women carry their purses or bags – around their necks or across their bodies with the again front. I quickly change my little pack to across my body hanging in front. Just like a local now!

There is velvety red beetle nut juice splattering the sidewalks and pavement with every step we take. Many many men walking by have red mouths. Vendors are not allowed to sell it on the street, so they sit just off the roads, in a hut or stall, plying their trade. I wonder how much the beetle nut affects productivity here.

The roads are in poor condition. Gravel and pavement create dust with every passing vehicle. There is road construction between the airport and the center of town. Large crews with half the crew working diligently and half seemingly supervising. It’s the same all around the world, even in Canada. Murray spots a fellow with a small trowel grouting between precast concrete block pieces to lay in the hole in the road.

Murray and I seem to be the only tourists out there. We run into one other white person on our walk. They are probably all hiding in the three or four luxury type hotel complexes afraid to step out of their resort. Right about now, I could go for a dip in the pool that they most likely have.

We have already noticed how friendly the people of the Solomon Islands are. They are rather shy also. Maybe it is because we are forcing them to use their English. We chatted with a guy from PNG (Puapa New Guinea) on the road in front of our lodge. Was impressed we came all the way from Canada and agreed with us it was very hot, as he is from the highlands of PNG. Meeting people such as the folks we have met In Fiji and here are what makes a trip so interesting.

I am now fed and am cooling off. My attitude is changing about Honiara and, although it is rougher than the places we have been to lately, it’s okay in my books.

Tomorrow we have some time to explore the area further and then onto our liveaboard for more luxury.

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Sliding into the Darkness

Tomorrow morning we are boarding a plane for the Solomon Islands. The internet will be sketchy at best. The next day we board the live a board boat and there is NO internet at all. So, those ten days we will not have any communication what-so-ever and the rest of the time it will be intermittent. For family this will mean no news is good news as far as our end. We’ll touch down when we can an will probably post a couple of posts a day when ever we have access.

Ciao for now

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More Specific Gold Coast Observations

Greenspace is important here in the Gold Coast, and if I remember correctly, all over Australia. The other place I remember very clearly is Brisbane and it also has a lot of parks. In the Gold Coast you can’t drive for 5 minutes without going past another park or beach or sports field. They all seem to be busy, not just on weekends but all week and a good part of the day. Today we were at the beach near the aquatic center where there is a big kids playground/park and it is packed. We get in the water to swim laps and there were a 1/2 dozen other folks in the water swimming or wading as well. This is on a Friday morning.

Yesterday I entered a place I previously had not even considered going into before – a vegan restaurant. M & D make the choice of establishments we are going to frequent for lunch and upon arrival the waitress says ‘everything on the menu is vegan’. There are a couple of things that look edible so I order gnocchi with some sort of fake cheese sauce. Except for the pansies, yes flowers, it tastes quite good. What I don’t get is why they call it cheese sauce when it is not cheese. The folks that eat no animal products are inventive enough to make something that resembles cheese, why not be inventive and name it something else rather than the non vegan food it simulates? Are they just unable to let go of human’s past indiscretions?

Tamborine National Park, Australia

Fashion here is quite odd. Middle of the week on a busy shopping street at mid day you can observe an older man in the grubbiest casual wear, a young women in a long flowing black shear evening dress and spiked heals, an older lady with stick legs in a skirt so short I could tell she at least wore underwear, a guy with only a pair of swim shorts, no shirt, and bare feet, people dressed for business, both formal and casual and just about anything you can imagine. I usually don’t give two hoots about what people wear but I find the diversity here does capture my attention.

The tourist destination of the Gold Coast does not recycle very well, and it could just be Australia in general, don’t know for sure but here the recycle system is limited and very few residents seem to participate. They have however instituted a campaign to limit the purchase of bottled water, thereby minimizing the number of plastic bottles entering the post use universe. They have water fountains everywhere and the fountains all have a tap water to refill reusable bottles. The posters on the fountains and elsewhere state “Be Smart, Choose Tap”. I guess Pepsi and Coke don’t have enough pull or money to persuade the politicians here to get rid of that particular saying.

Tamborine National Park, Australia

For a small place, the traffic here is quite congested. I think it is because the city is only a few kilometers wide and stretches along the shoreline for a much greater distance. That means all of the cars ply the same few roads that parallel the beach and only branch off east or west when they are near their destination.

Tamborine National Park, Australia

Today is our last swim for a while. Yesterday, we did 10 laps of the roped off swimming area and guessed it was more than 2000M. We have a good guess that we are headed to the hinterland today, which means a long hike so we cut our distance to about 1200M. Then an hour or so in the car to Tamborine NP. The hike is quite serene not many people, quiet, and dark. Our goal is a waterfall partway around a loop trail. Really the waterfall is quite unspectacular, the water levels are low in the fall but the walk is great. The high canopy lets in streams of sunlight accenting the fauna that comprises the lower canopy. Quite a stunning effect.

This part of Australia would be easy to live in. The city is not too big, weather is nice and the ocean is out the front door. There is little differentiation between seasons. Which is a bit of a bother but the only real draw back as I see it is it does not snow.

Zoom, next stop the Solomon Islands.

 

 

 

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The Beach

It is a beach morning! After dropping D off at the Robina Hospital where she will help with a clinic, Murray, M and I find our way to Kirra Beach down at Coolangatta. We park the car and walk towards Snapper Rocks, one of the best surfing destinations in the world. There are surfers plying the curls, which are not too big today.

Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta

A short walk later we are shedding our shorts and T-shirts to tackle the  smaller waves on the beach. The water is cool but not icy and amazingly clear. There are even a few fish under the surface. The sand is smooth and gentle on our feet. The waves, however, are a little intimidating for this prairie girl. M, having played this game for a couple of years now, handily body surfs even the larger waves. I just bob over them like a cork or dive under them like a seal.

The beach along this coast is about 30 km long in a huge arc, but it only becomes reality when I can look across the water and see the towers at Surfers Paradise projecting into the sky.

Coolangatta

It was a perfect morning on the beach, walking and playing. Time to pick D up at the hospital and head back to Southport.

Coolangatta

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