Thursday, 20 April 2017

Serene Daybreak - Tweed Heads

I wish I was a morning person, as I know I miss so much of the beauty of the early morning hours.

On Easter Sunday morning, I thankfully, partially woke about 5.30. I forced myself to look through the curtains to check the day and was greeted by a molten sky. I was immediately awake, donning clothes and jumping on my bicycle for the 3 km ride to Snapper Rocks.

My view of the Tweed River inlet on the way.

I was racing to catch the sunrise. This surfer had another wave on his mind.

The ensuing time spent looking to the east was sheer bliss, as the sky danced with ever changing colour and the waves sluggishly rolled in, dumping their full load in spectacular fashion, time after time.

Surfers, watching for the next good swell.

They didn't have to wait long. It was exhilarating to watch. How must it feel to actually catch a wave.

This is the scene I watched time and time again.

The aftermath.

Rainbow Bay is to the left of Snapper Rocks [above] and as I cycled home, gave a much calmer scene.

Alas, someone hadn't had a successful morning.

Midmorning I returned to the next bay to have a swim with my son. [Coolangatta Beach] 
What an awesome view, as we headed into the surf. With a water temperature of 22C and air temperature of 25C, we were surrounded by laughing, swimming, diving, body boarding, happy holiday makers.

Just 2 weeks since our devastating floods, this weather couldn't have been more perfect. 
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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Sunset Beauty - Tweed Heads

At the last moment, our son Matthew who lives near Perth in Western Australia, was able to get a week's leave. He flew into Coolangatta Airport, on the southern Gold Coast at 6am this morning. Rather than make an early departure to meet his arrival, we drove down mid afternoon yesterday, staying at his aunt's house. [She is away in our caravan]

It was a true joy to walk some 5 kms along the shoreline, as the sun set after our arrival. Easter holiday makers were reluctant to leave the water, let alone return to their accommodation.

The famous Snapper Rocks - if these are the numbers for sunset, it must have been incredibly crowded during the day. Surfer's Paradise in the background.

Another reknowned surfing beach, just over the headland, also crowded - Duranbah Beach.

West from the headland.

View from Snapper Rocks.

Dashing for one last wave!

Yay! We decided to stay on.
Saturday's sunset mood.

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Could it be autumn?

Officially autumn commenced 6 weeks ago, but there have been very few signs of its arrival.

This week however, our long hot summer appears to be fading. Our overnight temperatures have dropped to 17 C, with last night down to 12 C. We are delighted that the maximum has finally dropped below 30 C, ranging from 25 - 29 C.

Other signs - shorter days.
Sunrise 6am.

Sunset 5.30 pm.

Our first misty morning.
Note the dirty path. This parkland was metres under water, just 10 days ago.
Looking east.

Looking west.

Perfect temperature to enjoy Brisbane's Southbank precinct, beside the Brisbane River.

Yes, this is our autumn, along with crystal clear blue skies. The humidity is gone. Our energy has returned.

Last weekend we were driving on a road to visit friends. It took us passed a bend in the Albert River, where the flood truly took its toll, knocking down trees and eroding the riverbank and foundations of the bridge. 

Displaced bitumen at the far end of the bridge.

How long will this gum stay standing.

A picture of tranquility now.

My friend Laurel was visiting her family in Proserpine, when Cyclone Debbie first began her trail of destruction.
I've attached a link to her account of her experience of the actual storm.

Not content with the damage she caused in Australia, Debbie continued across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand's north island, again causing flooding, landslides and airport closures.

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Scary, but Beautiful

Scary, but beautiful for my husband and I, but frightening and devastating for far too many people.

Cyclone Debbie crossed the Whitsunday coastline last Tuesday, wrecking havoc in this tropical sugar cane and tourist area. Not content, her low then spent the next 48 hours travelling south, dumping unheard of rainfall totals in a very short time span, far south of the Queensland border. Flood levels were as high or higher than the records set in the 1974 flood disaster. This time however, the force of the water was far greater, because of the short time in which the rain had fallen. Footage of the devastation is heart breaking. Thankfully the death toll stands at only 6.

The rain started falling here, about 9 pm Wednesday night. By 6 am 50 mm [2inches] were in the gauge. Then followed a day of consistent, but seemingly not worrying falls. There was even a window of opportunity to go splashing through the puddles and take photos of the ducks and mushrooms. We emptied the gauge about 10 pm, as the rain had ceased and the radar showed the low had travelled further south. Another 125mm [5 inches] had fallen. We were not too concerned even with the flood warnings being issued.

At 2 am, I happened to wake and took a walk outside to see if the golf course ponds were rising. The water was halfway round the 6th green below our house. We were still not concerned as we had watched this happen in the 2013 flood, which stopped 6 m from our fence line. An hour later, when I looked out again, the green was completely covered. Not good. At 5.30 am the water had reached the 2013 peak level. Half an hour later it was entering our garden, but the scene before us, as the sun rose, was quite beautiful and tranquil.

Same view taken 2 weeks ago.

As the morning went on, we learnt that the head waters of our rivers had seen the following falls. It was time for action.

  • 890mm at Upper Sprinbrook
  • 757mm at Numinbah Valley
  • 444mm at Hinze Dam
  • 441mm at Bonogin
  • 407mm at Mt Tamborine
  • 390mm at Canungra

By 10.30 we had done as much as we could to stop the water entering, so sat with a coffee and watched it slowly rise, wondering when it would stop.

Our neighbours home was built higher than ours. This was as high as the water came into their garden.

At 11 am the water had come within 15 cm of our patio and thankfully this was its peak.  It was to take 2 days to completely recede.


The view from our kitchen and just outside the lounge.

The late afternoon light gave lovely reflections. At this time the water was just below our fence line.

Birds, insects, worms and butterflies fluttered, slithered and swooped, seemingly delighted with this event.

As we went to bed the level was still falling, but I did wake up a couple of times to check that the high tide hadn't reversed this progress.

On Saturday morning at 5.30 am, the water was off, but still surrounding the 6th green.

The sun began to rise spectacularly.


2 legged visitors came to the muddy 6th green,

This bird is the Spoonbill. Watch the video to understand how it got its name. I also love the sounds of other birds that I have inadvertently managed to capture in the background. Turn your sound up.
The last time the Spoonbill  visited was the 2013 flood and its feeding habit kept me amused then and again now.


The Ibis is a regular visitor.

Mid Saturday morning it was coffee time again and we witnessed the arrival of the 'Save the Green, Brigade.' A generator, pump, high pressure hose and man power, managed to clear the green of its mud in about 45 mins. Only 17 left to go! Bottom right are the 4th and 9th holes cleared amidst the remaining mud on Sunday.

Late Saturday afternoon the water still had a long way to fall.

Sunday morning and all clear. It is expected that the golf course will be closed for a good 3 weeks.

In Central Queensland, the flood levels are still peaking in the city of Rockhampton on the Fitroy River, a huge river system that has seen its flood water take 5 days to reach the city. 1800 homes will be inundated over several days because of it slow progress across the flat plain of the area. Everywhere else the heart break of cleaning up has well and truly begun.
We feel incredibly fortunate to have been spared this pain. When watching all the reporting, I am amazed at how the Aussie ethos can manage to come through - "She'll be right mate." I sincerely hope so, but it will take time.

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