Archive for August, 2007

Days 78 – 83 We are sailing, We are sailing, …

Friday, August 31st, 2007

Route details: Proserpine – Airlie Beach
26Kms; 1hr 53m

After a short but slow ride we were at Airlie Beach and glad to be having a rest for a few days, and a trip to sea also …

Colette looks happy to be getting a real break.

In Airlie Beach we were surprise to meet Cheryl (our host from Sarina) and her daughter on the street, so surprised in fact that I was like a stunned mullet, having just finished our ride I must have come across as rude, even to the point that Cheryl asked if I knew who she was, I was just in shock and coming down from the solitude of riding was only able to say Yes.

The next day we were glad to get out of the Magnums Backpackers (a noisy very commercial place) and onto the boat.  Pity about the weather.

The deck hand steers the course …

Finally we made it to our first stop and it was time to get into the sexy stinger suits and in for a quick dip, I was joined by a crazy senior Canadian lady who was excited to join me in jumping off the boat’s roof.

The next day we passed the luxury resort island (Hamilton Island) that has an international airport.  These buildings look either impressive or silly being that this is a island in the middle of the Whitsundays.

Hold your course captain … on the way out to the diving spot.

Finally the sun came out, notice the $20 sunnies have broken already …

Middle of the Whitsundays, anchored off White Haven Island.

Some of our fellow passengers, time for a sleep, Jo and Linda (crazy Canadian, reminded us of my mum)

Lauren and Ele

Lapping up the sunny after a long day.

Feeding time … Emma, Rachael and Aunty

In front of the blue chillies, May, Chris and Lorraine (with the badly burnt feet)

Enjoying the sunset

On the final day we found a spot to snorkel and feed the bat fish ($34K fund being caught with a bat fish on board), Kevin does his best imitation using his mohawk.

Then it was back to Airlie in the rain, but the trip had been a lot of fun.

Team photo time.

David (middle back row), Danny and ? (middle row 4th and 2nd from right), Telroo, A’n'O, Aiko and ? (front row from black nike jumper)

The boat then tries to get you to leave your last cash bit in the Airlie bars and organises a gathering.  I however left my bag containing camera, passport, new sunnies … in the courtesy van.  But still had such a good time I was sick twice in the night.  And with out my new sunnies (in the lost bag) braved a pretty bad hangover and went in search of it at 11am.  We found the bar only opens at 2pm, just enough time to get most of the feeling bad out of my system (NOT)!

But all ended well and I got all my belongings back.  The bag was where I new I’d left it, in the back of the Reefos courtesy bus.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Days 76 & 77 Thats a superb knock …

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Route details: Seaforth – Proserpine
100Kms; 6hr 30m

Having left Seaforth with a couple of destinations, we soon got a great tail wind up the Bruce Highway and so we decided to go for the 100km ride.  Can as we cruised into Proserpine we were on 97Kms, so a warm down of 3Km put us over, and Colette racks up here first ton, Congratulations!

On the way the Proserpine sugar train.

Held up but not for long.

The sugar snakes off into the distance …

Again Qld gets very wet even without rain …

We decided we had days up our sleeves to get to Airlie Beach so hung out in Proserpine to get my Drivers Licence renewed.  Drama!  Had to have a permanent address in Queensland so had to use the Hotels address.  Rules are Rules I suppose.  Then we celebrated getting the license for the rest of the day …

The boiler stacks at Proserpine sugar refinery

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Days 74 & 75 Once bitten, twice bitten, …

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Route details: Alligator Creek – Seaforth
75Kms; 5hr 30m

We left Alligator Creek and passed more cane field being prepared for next season, apparently the straighter the lines the more kudos the farmer gets, this is a poor example.

This is a Pineapple plantation … I’d always thought pineapples would have grown on palms, guess not now.

A Qld creek …

Come on…!

The view on the run down to Seaforth

The day before the Luna eclipse, clear skies and full moon …

Just some of the birds in Seaforth

These guys run in packs and are very noisy at times

What I do to get the Aussie Idol viewable for Colette, a make shift aerial using cooking pots.

These guys are the coolest birds around, (Curlew) they pretend they are wearing invisible cloaks, so run a few steps stop, stare …

Run a few more stop, play a game of statues …

The Luna Eclipse which seemed to be so visible to everyone else.  Was covered by cloud for us, and a couple of amateur astronomers we met, they were very disappointed …

A nasty fella that could have been responsible many of the bites that Colette and I both received in the 2 days at Seaforth.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Days 73 Turn around and go back

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Route details: Sarina – Alligator Creek (via Hay Point)
36Kms; 2hr 15m

Sawampy had suggested that we go out to Hay Point and check out the Coal terminals (he had worked in Gove in the mines, and now worked for Qld Rail, who mainly deal with coal transport).  So we did, apparently it is the biggest port in the universe for exporting Coal.

Pictured are the coal freighters being filled, that is four at a time and there were another 30 odd freighters sitting waiting out at sea.

The caravan park was full, likely workers for the coal company.  So we rode down the road passed the big pond to find other accommodation.  There was none so it was back to Alligator Creek for a tent site.

Colette thought she heard a snake in the grass and has been freaked out since. (there were lots squashed on the roads, so could have been.)

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Days 71 & 72 ‘Mickey Mouse’

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Route details: ‘Grinning like a shot fox’ in Sarina
0Kms; 0hr 0m

Having looked around Sarina on another rest day … we decided to visit the RSL for a quite one. And this was one of the luckiest moves we had made … I got invited to make a four for a game of snooker and in the process of playing a few games with Darren (my partner), and Sawampy one of the opponents who had been unwinding from a week long course at work, Sawampy invited us on a fishing trip the next day, so in our present state we couldn’t do anything but accept, and by the time we left Sawampy had invited us to stay it his place too.

Who could turn down the offer from someone you greets you with ‘the bird’, a smile and the line ‘Why don’t you call Lifeline! Tell someone who cares …!’, I guess I shouldn’t have critiqued a shot in his hearing range …

So after racing back to the camp site packing up and finding Sawampy’s place we were shown to the guest quarters, more space than we’d had on this trip … and it was soon to bed for the 5.45am start the next day …

The sunrise over Sarina and Sawampy’s boat …

Superb creek view on the way out to the fishing spot, this creek was just next to Darren’s Cane farm.

Darren and Sawampy hoping for good luck with todays fishing …

We first checked out the view out to sea, to choppy so it was back to creeks for some fishing.

Mangroves in the creek system.

I got the first fish of the day, a toad fish (a rubbish fish which has a nasty bite …)

The fishing spot …

Darren gets the first keeper, a nice Bream.

I quickly followed with one of my own and using my own rod.  And good Queenie.

A Sea eagle grabs some breakfast.

I help Sawampy get he boat out of the creek.  This demonstrates the height of the tides, at high tide the water line would have been above where I was standing.

The result of the fishing trip was that  Darren had landed most the fish, Colette and I had a great time and Sawampy had fun show us.

On the way home we came across a transformer, this is one of the newest cane loaders … check it out

So in the end it was a great visit to Sarina, one of the best experiences on our trip.  Sawampy and Cheryl (original complete strangers) were so generous and we were extremely grateful for allowing us to stay and giving us the complete Sarina experience.  They also sent us on our way with full bellies and a bottle of Sawampys home made Peach schnapps.

So what is the ‘Mickey Mouse’ about, well that was Sawampys way of saying something was good, better than good … the best …

So for us this stay was Mickey Mouse!

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Day 70 Bicyclies, the real slim shady

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Route details: Carmila – Sarina
64Kms; 3hr 50m

As we left the next morning we went for breakfast at the roadhouse, where it seemed many of the CCs were meeting up for there ride south, the story went that 10 years ago the CCs had a shoot out with the local Mackay gang, so it was obviously a anniversary ride … there we even posters in various pubs for the rival gangs party in the coming weeks.

Also we ran into a German cycle touring couple having breakfast and without discussing we all set out for Sarina together.

Moments before this photo I had signaled Colette to pass me to get this photo, but in process (as Colette hates riding on the road) she came to close hooked my front pannier with her rear one and made me crash … got a bruised heel out of it I noticed later, but mainly bruised ego at looking like amateurs in front of these experienced guys … Sasha had in fact rode 25000kms already from Germany to Singapore.

Sasha travels using the tools he has, and I would have to say that Colette and I definitely could learn how to pack from them. He’d even registered his make shift trailer …

Everyone gets ready after lunch …

Cane fields … we are in cane country now …

We made it to Sarina, the distillery and sugar refinery in the back ground.

Sasha and Claudia decided to join us for dinner at our Caravan park camp site, however they traveled the good old fashion way, choosing to instead jump the back fence and go off into the hills (bush) for a free camp …

They were riding all the way around the Aus starting in Sydney, as so were planning to do most of what we were, this gave Colette some much needed encouragement for the Cairns to Darwin leg we were planning.

The Next day we checked out Sarina and started to learn about the Cane industry … unlike NSW, QLD cane industry uses a lot of purpose built rail lines to get the cane straight from the farms to the refinery.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Day 69 Bikies, outlaws, the 1%

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Route details: Waverly Creek Rest Area – Carmila
66Kms; 4hr 01m

We got up this morning to action a plenty, all of these bird get there breakfast from in or around the same tree.

Its easier upside-down …

These fellas aren’t crows but they look just as evil …

Then is was a quick ride along some mainly flat plains to Clairview for lunch.

Clairview is a coastly town with no shops, pretty much just a boat ramp. But the views across the mud flats are brilliant. But the warnings about swimming are a bit scary …

The tide goes out a couple of Kms creating a great view, Colette enjoys a well earned drink from the WAGS community store. The old guy helping out the ladies said that WAGS stood for ‘Women against Group Sex’. A couple of grey-nomads joined us and told us stories about there encounters with the Crocs over the last 20 years.

Colette sports her explorers goggles tan lines, she is quite distressed about these

more of the view …

Colette at Wilson’s Point …

I braved the Crocs habitat to catch this photo …

On the way to Carmila we finally saw our first real snake, sadly for him and luckily for us, someone either saw him (or not) first …

We then made it to Carmila and not feeling like riding the 6kms off the track to the beach we decided to rehydrate and get room at the local hotel, as it happened his was the exact same idea that a bunch of real bikies ‘Coffin Cheaters’ had … so we spent the night expecting the pub to be over run by the whole chapter. Luckily it seem this was just a scouting party. So after having a few beers with general sociable Harley enthusiasts. The publican had mentioned that the locals would be having touch training out the back of the pub later, so we went and joined this. It was an extremely fast game of 4 on 4, the bikies chose to sit it out.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Day 68 Outback Jack

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Route details: Marlborough – Waverly Creek Rest Area
74Kms; 5hr 10m

Blue skies again and excitement as we were traveling to our first no pay stop of the trip, a rest area in the middle of nowhere. Waverly Creek Rest Area has BBQ, rain water and 20hr overnight stay.

Were were now riding at around 20km/hr on average, which is great for working out distance in time rather than kms. I was flying and got to our lunch stop a long time before Colette. Time to take a pic of the new hair color (metallic blond @ tannum sands, self job) and the replacement sunnies (Colette thinks they girls glasses, but I don’t care cause they block a lot of sun).

After Colette hadn’t arrived as expected 20mins behind me, I waited some more, then after 40mins, I though I should go look, 5 Kms down the road I found her, she had had a puncture and a mission to change it … but I’d had a little panic attack, you always think the worst don’t you, Serial Killer, hit by a truck, …

It is amazing how the landscape changes from completely dry to well watered in the space of a few Kms.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Days 66, 67 Rain stops play …

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

Route details: Mt Etna Capricorn Caves – Marlborough
86Kms; 6hr 49m

We are now getting into North Queensland and this means that there are less and less places to stop for morning tea, but today we stopped at a rest area (no toliets, sorry Colette) dedicated to the gold miner of Rockhampton … these fellas decided to join us.

From the direction of the road I was pretty confident that we would be going to the pyramid like hill in the distance, and it looked about 40kms away.  The interesting thing was that this was the first day that it looked like it might rain since we had been in Queensland, I didn’t expect it would though (thats how it works in QLD).

30Kms up the run looking back, had had a brilliant tail wind that made it a lot of fun, I had started to try and train my legs to use the ‘Pie Dish’ (opposite of granny gear) … so was maintaining speeds of over 30km/h for extended periods. Also pictured is the service station that was billboarded from 10K back, we both looked forward to having lunch there, unfortunately, it was now a resting area for broken down vechicles, so it was noodles and peanut butter sandwiches again.

A big mine off in the distance (Magnitite or something)

And then it hit us just as I got a puncture, rain … this is just a sprinkle, it bucketed down moments later, so it was off to the Marlborough hotel for our usual rehydration session (I was still soaking for this). Problem with rain in Qld is that the locals stop dead when the news comes on and the lead story is ‘It’s raining over the state!’. Luckily we meet a couple of Harley riders from further south who were happy to have a chat.

We decide to stay another day as the locals indicated that the rain would not clear tomorrow. Of course it did however, but we stayed anyway …

This was the biggest ride on the trip to date … with last 5 in pouring rain.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)

Day 65 Don’t vote for a ‘Bush’ Turkey

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Route details: Rockhampton – Mt Etna Capricorn Caves
28Kms; 3hr 35m (included grocery shopping and a very humid slow pedal)

The next day Colette wanted to visit some caves she had read about, on seeing the brochure and price I decided not to both with the tour as they were very similar to the Limestone Waitomo Caves in NZ.   Colette got a couple of pics that show they are very similar …

Even has a underground chapel … like Waitomo …

I spent the afternoon in the Cave camp ground sleeping and bird watching …  here is a Blue winged Kookaburra (you can just see the streak on its wing … they look very cool when flying …

Here is the infamous bush turkey, that seem to be every where up here, I feed him some juicy pineapple and he loved it.

GPS Route Map
Data from Garmin Edge 305 via SportsTracks with GoogleMaps)