The 2020 Olympic Games is finally over and it seems the world in general is happy with the results. It was a bit sad that our swimming team made total prats of themselves when their events were finished. They damaged their hotel rooms – there was a video of half a dozen of them jumping on a cardboard bed, which they eventually broke, and a few left the evidence of having a drink or fourteen too many. They also behaved very badly on the Japan Airlines plane taking them to Darwin and into quarantine. I suppose we might say they’re young and they let their hair down after a difficult few weeks on top of a difficult few years. It’s a bit sad, though. Although it’s not unusual. The exploits of the Australian cricket team in the seventies are legendary – and I don’t mean the cricket. Just ask Rod Marsh.
Having said that, the Australian Olympic team, as usual, punched well above its weight in coming sixth in the medal tally, with 17 gold, 7 silver, and 22 bronze. Not bad when you consider the size of the talent pool.
- USA 328 million
- China 1.4 billion
- Japan 126 million,
- UK 68 million
- ROC (Russia) 146 million
- Australia 26 million
It will be interesting to see how well the Paralympic team does in the next few weeks
We can’t avoid covid, can we? I suppose the good news about the virulent Delta strain of covid and the associated lockdowns is that people have been spurred into getting vaccinated. The Moderna vaccine will become available next month, giving an extra alternative for those folks still worried about the infinitesimally small chance of developing blood clots from Astrazenica.
I saw this graphic in social media. It’s well worth remembering.
I can’t prove the accuracy of all of these but the AstraZeneca figures look low if anything. Anyway, the general point is well made.
For the state premiers, lockdown still seems to be the answer to even the slightest whisper of a covid case. Pete and I have not been in lockdown since early in the pandemic last year, so it hasn’t directly affected us. But it has certainly affected the small businesses in this tourist town. The whale boats are enduring a disastrous time at what is the height of the the whale-watching season. The government has at least helped a little by reducing or waiving some of the charges for operators but even so, it’ll be a bleak year. The short lockdown in Cairns is estimated to have cost businesses million a day.
And while lockdown means no movement across the borders for most of us plebs, the well-heeled and well-connected can find ways around the rules. Not so the grandmother who wanted to go from Sydney to Melbourne to help look after her grand children while her daughter endured breast cancer. Victorian authorities refused her request to enter the state – even though she was willing to do the two weeks’ quarantine. This sort of bureaucratic lack of humanity beggars belief. There have been plenty of other cases – the NSW woman who was denied entry to the nearest hospital which was in Queensland because Queensland hospitals are for Queenslanders. The instances of people being denied the right to say goodbye to dying relatives. It seems we’re so busy preventing any risk of infection we’ve given up on life.
Sydney will be in lockdown until November. Which means the travel bubble with New Zealand will be in jeopardy for some time. Let us all hope and pray (should we be so inclined) that we are lockdown free by Christmas, if for no other reason than to give the tourism industry a chance to recover. Those folks are doing it very, very hard.
Last week I went out on my annual whale-watch. On that trip, the skipper mentioned a website called HappyWhale where people like me can submit pictures of whale’s tails as part of a whale research program. Whale’s tails are like fingerprints – each tail is unique and can be used to identify an individual.
I was delighted to learn that one of my pictures, taken in October 2011, was of whale GC09105. This individual has had his/her tail photographed several times, in 2009, 1997, and 1985. So GC09105 was at least 26 years old when I took that picture in 2011.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I caught up with that whale again the next time I go out to support one of the local whale boats?