Category Archives: Life and things

Welcome to December

Here it is December already. Who’d a thunk? Actually, one giveaway is the faux snow in windows, a fat guy with a red coat on having his picture taken with kiddies, and endless repeats of Bing’s dreaming of a white Christmas. Good luck with that in Queensland, old man. Then again, in places the country is covered in white – but that’s ash from bushfires.

We live near that large island at the bottom of the photo. Taken by the Himawari 8 Japanese weather satellite

This has been a freakish week or two weatherwise. A thick blanket of snow (yes, real snow) fell in the Australian Alps. Sydney received 120mm (a little less than six inches) of rain in a day, causing flooding. Up North in drought-ravaged Queensland bushfires are burning out of control. Something like one hundred and forty fires, fuelled by the tinder-dry bush and urged along by strong winds. The fires are very similar to those which ravaged California last month. The BIG difference is that the area under threat in Australia is sparsely populated, so while vast swathes are burnt/burning, fewer properties are affected.

Hats off to the magnificent people who fight these monster fires. So far, only one man has died – killed by a falling tree in a back-burning operation. But thousands have been evacuated and a handful of homes have been destroyed. The fires are rated as ‘catastrophic’ – which means they can’t be controlled. Weather conditions have worsened today, with hot, dry winds fanning the flames. And there has been looting. Low-life scum.

There’s no sign of rain in our region any time soon – although a cyclone is forming off the Solomon Islands, predicted to head our way in the coming days.  That’ll be out of the frying pan into the washing machine, and the risk all the top soil will be washed away. According to the current predictions (always a dicey business with tropical cylones) it won’t hit the coast until later in the week.

And that’s all I have for this week.  Have a good weekend – or what’s left of it.

It’s Black Friday in America

It might be Saturday morning here in Australia but over in the USA it’s Black Friday, which is the American equivalent of our Boxing Day sales. The Americans don’t ‘do’ Boxing Day. It’s a very English thing which we have inherited. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving. Even more so than Halloween, Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American festival, probably (from an observer’s point of view) more about family, friends, giving thanks and sharing than Christmas in that country.

I’m glad to say that while the retail stores are doing their best to foist Halloween on Australia, they haven’t tried that with Thanksgiving. After all, Thanksgiving is really a harvest festival, thanking whichever god you believe in for the fruits of the season before the cold winds of Winter arrive in earnest. In Australia that would be downright silly in late November. It’s very nearly Summer and the swimming pools are up and running. Who wants pumpkin pie and roast turkey? More to the point, who wants to cook it?

However, the fact we don’t have Thanksgiving hasn’t deterred the retailers. They will give us Black Friday whether we want it or not. It’s called Black Friday because retailers offer (apparent) bargains and they end up making vast profits – hence being in the ‘black’ not the ‘red’. So far, we haven’t seen the unseemly stampede of shoppers charging the doors that we see in the Boxing Day sales and, indeed, the Black Friday sales in the US. But time might tell. Certainly we’re being offered AMAZING BLACK FRIDAY DEALS – even those of us who have no idea (since it’s not the 13th) what Black Friday is. In fact, say ‘black’ and a day of the week and many Aussies conjure up visions of bushfires.

Why Australian retailers should respect the past and rename their ‘Black Friday’ sales

And now I’ll meander into personal philosophy. The older I get, the more I believe globalisation sucks. All our so-called festivals are turned by the retail industry into sales opportunities. When I was a kid we’d never heard of Halloween. Later, I came across it in books and TV – but it was American. Same with Thanksgiving. Yes, we celebrate Christmas but we inherited that from our European forebears. So much of it is still about the mid-Winter feast to celebrate the return of the sun and believe me, that’s not an issue at mid-Summer in Australia. Some people do Christmas in July, which makes much more sense.

The retail industry is sucking away regional diversity. Macdonalds, Starbucks, Dominos pizza (they’re even opening stores in Italy!), KFC, Burger King/Hungry Jacks, Subway. That’s just the fast food shops. You’ll find the same fashion chains and supermarket chains in Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, Berlin – everywhere in the world. Globalism means you can buy bananas in London in mid-Winter and frozen berries from Chile or China all year round in Australia. And although the label on the packet might say the fish is Australian, look closer and you’ll see it’s Australian caught, but processed in China or Thailand and sent back to Oz. Yes, OF COURSE it’s the same fish that went into the factory. And don’t get me started on over-packaging.

I’ll bet a few of you are wondering what ‘Thanksgiving’ is all about. I certainly did. And you know, it’s a bit like Australia Day, where there’s a difference of opinion according to who you ask. Certainly, 26th January is the anniversary of the first official white settlement of Australia at what’s now Sydney. But some aboriginal Australians call it ‘invasion day’ for obvious reasons. There’s a similar dichotomy over Thanksgiving. My American friend and fellow-blogger, Laurie Green, wrote a post about what Thanksgiving means for her. It’s a lovely family gathering and all about being grateful for what they have. On the other hand, this article, written by a native American, tells a very different story. I make no judgement here. The world was a very different place in the 1620’s or, indeed, the 1780’s and there is a tendency to whitewash the past.

But in the end, none of it matters, does it? As long as the cash registers jingle cheerfully.

 

Do we ever learn from history?

It’s Spring racing carnival in Melbourne and the Melbourne Cup will be run next Tuesday. In celebration, this week I was going to write a little article about the wonderful mares who have graced Australia’s racetracks – Makybe Diva, the only horse to win three Melbourne Cups, Black Caviar who won twenty-five races on the trot (or maybe gallop) only to be surpassed by the incomparable Winx, who is the only horse to win four Cox Plates among her twenty-nine straight wins. And I couldn’t leave out the wonderful little mare Light Fingers, who won the first Melbourne Cup for the legendary Bart Cummings – and came a gallant second in the following year. Her jockey, the late Roy (professor) Higgins, loved his little girl. As Cummings’s chief stable jockey he could have ridden the favourite, Galilee, to victory, but he stuck with his little mare and brought her in a gallant, wonderful second.

Sigh.

But then a middle-aged white guy toting an AR-15 automatic rifle and three glocks stormed into a synagogue in Pittsburg during the Saturday service and gunned down eleven elderly  worshippers. The youngest was 54, the oldest 97.

It is hard to conceive of a more cowardly, gutless, despicable act. He was targeting Jews, shouting ‘All Jews must die’ as he sprayed bullets.  Anti-semitism is alive and well in America. And never really went away anywhere else. I despair. Go and visit Auschwitz, as we did last year. Here’s my article on that. Or think about young Germans leaping around on the Holocaust memorial in Berlin as though it was a theme park. Or actually look at the little plaques set into the pavement in German (and Dutch) towns, recognising the lives of people who did nothing more than be a little bit different.

The holocaust memorial in Berlin – youths ‘jumping on dead Jews’

The names of Jews outside the homes where they lived before they were taken away to be murdered.

And there are people who try to say the Holocaust never happened. Chief among them is the president of Iran, who of course opposes anything to do with Israel. But David Irving is British and he’s well-known for his views.

I’ve just read that Robert Bowers, the man who pulled the trigger at the synagogue, has been charged with eleven murders and a host of other offences. He has pleaded not guilty. Here’s the story. If that man gets off on some technicality I will have lost all hope for the US legal system.

Needless to say, US politicians will tell the world that the victims are in ‘their thoughts and prayers’. And nothing will change. Disaffected white men will still be able to purchase AR-15’s as substitute dicks and kill people who are no threat to anybody. It makes me sick.

And to answer my own rhetorical question – you can’t learn from history if you don’t bother to learn any.

And here are a few photos taken with my new Nikon P1000.

 

 

A royal visit and a warning

Fraser Island’s rain forest

It’s all been happening here in Hervey Bay. We started the week with a Royal Visit and ended with something completely different… but I’ll get to that.

Harry and Megs arrived at our little airport and it’s wasn’t until then that we learned they were going over to Fraser Island (largest sand island in the world) in different ways. We’d speculated helicopter, but no. Pete, watching the live coverage on the telly, immediately said the car the drone was following was going into town, not to River Heads where the barge leaves for Fraser. Turned out Meghan very wisely decided to skip the bumpy 4WD sand tracks from the barge and go direct to Kingfisher resort in one of our whale boats. Much more comfy for a pregnant lady.

Harry went on the barge and got to see the amazing thousand-year-old satinay trees in the rainforest, and the pristine waters of Lake Mackenzie. Megs missed out.

Of course some of the locals turned out for a glimpse, gathering at the marina. I wouldn’t have said ‘thousands’ but (of course) the media did. After all, the whale season’s all but finished. Gotta look at something.

Personally, I’m very happy for them. They both seem to be nice people and they obviously like each other, which is good. I wouldn’t trade my life for theirs for anything, really. Always under a microscope, always being analysed.

Our bathroom refurbishments were finally finished last week, almost in time for a visit from friends Sandy and Col, and just like last year, just about this time, the four of us had dinner at The Vinyard. You know how it is with restaurants, the moment you extoll the virtues of a place, it changes hands, or the cook resigns, or they decide to change to Hard Rock Café or something. So there was a certain amount of trepidation. Totally unnecessary, as it turned out.

The meal was delicious.

Three of us had grilled Moreton Bay bugs with a salsa and shoe string fries. We were served two whole bugs each with three dipping sauces and as you can see in the photo a heapin’ helpin’ of fries and a whole bowl of yummy salsa. Pete had a beautifully cooked steak with roasted root vegetables and rocket. Since we’d been before we knew the meals were huge so we hadn’t ordered entrees. Just as well. All of us were full up to pussy’s bow. The restaurant isn’t cheap, but since we all only had a main course, plus one bottle of wine and two beers, it wasn’t a hugely expensive evening at all.

Next time you have a spare evening in Hervey Bay, give it a go.

The week ended with Pete receiving an extortion email. I’ve quoted it in full here.

I’ll confess that I laughed. I suppose these people will come across a viewer of porno, or a paedophile silly enough to fall for this stuff, but I didn’t take it terribly seriously. After a moment’s thought I didn’t think it wise to ignore it completely. Yes, they quoted a real password. That might have been a problem. They also said they’d installed malware on Pete’s machine. We checked using Windows Defender, and then again with a more robust product. No threats were found.

We also checked on Acorn, the Federal Police site for reporting cyber crime. They already knew about it.

Here’s their response.

“Australian police are aware of an email scam where users are requested to pay bitcoin to prevent the release of embarrassing footage. The scammers attempt to establish credibility by including one of the user’s actual passwords, sourced from previous data leaks published on the internet. The threats are not credible and no footage exists. The emails should be disregarded.”

So there you are. There are bastards out there, without a doubt. If you’re not using a password generator it might be worth looking at something like LastPass, which I use. It won’t stop leaks such as our mate used to get a live password, but at least it’ll make it much harder for a real hacker to come up with the goods. Have a look – LastPass.

And to finish, here’s a lorikeet. Or five.

The Last of the Whales

Whale off Fraser Island

Whale season is drawing to its inevitable close. Since late July the Bay has been jumping with acrobatic humpbacks, a curious Right Whale and her calf, who hung around for a couple of weeks and even did some breaching, and a few Minki whales. As many as twenty-four thousand whales do the annual migration up the East Coast of Australia and it’s estimated a third of them drop into Hervey Bay on the way down south.

But now it’s only the stragglers left. Mums in a hurry to fatten up bubs before going down to the ice, the cold – and the krill – in Antarctica. Sandy and I left the boys at home to potter and took a whale boat for what will be almost the last whale watch trip this season. There weren’t a lot of whales left and mums and bubs are hard to spot. They’re spending most of their time on the bottom, feeding the calf. Whales aren’t built for suckling. The mother expresses her milk from her body, where, being forty percent fat, it floats in the water. The calf scoops up copious quantities – anywhere from fifty to five hundred litres a day, loading itself up with blubber to insulate it against the colder temperatures down south. It triples its body weight – about one tonne to three tonnes – in its first year of life.

Mother and calf

If the boats are lucky, they’ll come across a lively calf living it up around mum. They’ve got lots of energy and can entertain for long periods as they practise whaley stuff like breaching, tail-slapping, pectoral waves and the like. We saw three pods, most of them passive. We saw some vigorous activity (lots of splashing) a fair way away and the skipper headed over there. But, as so often happens, by the time we arrived it was all over and mum was a floating, breathing log, with her baby close to her side. We did get a burst of activity late in the day, with a calf doing laps and throwing itself around but they didn’t come near the boat so the pictures were more like long distance splashing. Still and all, it’s wild creatures doing what wild creatures do, so everything is a privilege.The camera ran out of power and, after tossing up whether it was worth it, I went down to the cabin to find my spare battery. When I got back Sandy, who was wearing polaroid sunglasses, pointed at a spot nearby. “It’s right there.” I pointed the camera – and blow me down, the little bugger popped headfirst up out of the water. It was the shot of the day. Of the one hundred  and fifty or so pictures I took, I’ve kept three or four. Maybe if I’d never seen a whale before, I would have kept more but I’m an old hand at this whale watching caper.

Still, it was a lovely day out on the water, not too hot and not at all rough, although the wind picked up in the late afternoon. And since we were on Freedom III, the food was marvellous.

Here’s a few photos I took in earlier seasons.

This baby humpback holds itself above the surface to look at the boat

Mum is lying on her back, pectorals extended. The calf is crossing her body

 

A mother humpback whale and her calf approach the boat in Platypus Bay

A whale calf rolls over in the warm waters of Platypus Bay off Fraser Island

The rains have arrived

Mangoes everywhere. That’s a small part of one tree

This one wasn’t too bad – sound and fury and 15mm of rain

The drought in Queensland appears to have broken – in our part of the world, anyway. A series of storms have swept in from inland Australia, the warm air mingling with a blast of cooler air coming up from the South, a perfect combination for storms. We were lucky. There was lots of thunder and lightning but no gale force winds, no hail, and no torrential rain.

Which brings me to another observation: Our two fairly large mango trees are covered in fruit, despite near drought conditions all through Winter and into Spring. You know what? I think trees are smarter than us when it comes to weather. The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a dry Summer (because of El Nino). I reckon the mango trees are predicting good summer rains.

We shall see.

On the photography front, one of the big hassles of being a photographer on holiday is having to cart around lenses and the like. I did it for a few years, but changing lenses is cumbersome and frankly rarely happened. As I get older, I’m finding it harder and harder to cart around tripods, heavy lenses and so on. That’s okay for younger, fitter wildlife photographer types but I’ve slowed down of late. I don’t even get down to the beach much.

So… I’ve rationalized the camera situation and down-sized a bit.

I still have a Canon 70D and two smaller, lighter lenses – but I’ve sold a few items and bought a Nikon (shock-horror) Coolpix P1000. The camera is in the ‘compact’ range but it’s actually a hefty piece of kit rivalling the weight of a Canon 5D. Its claim to fame is an incredible zoom lens which will cover 24-3000mm. No, that’s not a typo. Three thousand. It means I can take the device on holidays and be able to take a landscape, then zoom in on a bird. Perfect for my needs. No, it’s not a ‘professional’ level lens and it has some short comings, but it’ll do for a hack like me.

I’ve started playing around, I have a lot to learn, but here are a few photos.

Who’s a bully, then?

Several years ago we used to put bird seed out for the parrots. While lorikeets mainly feed on nectar, a lot of the other breeds like cockatoos, corellas, and pink and greys, like seed. The trouble is, at first you get a trickle, then you get a flood and there’s this pushing, shoving, jostling bunch of birds all after getting a beak into a bowl. And that can lead to spreading diseases like the truly awful beak and feather disease.  Although its worst manifestation occurs in sulphur-crested cockatoos, the virus can be transmitted to other parrots. In fact, it can affect birds like wedge-tailed eagles when they eat an infected bird.

So I don’t put out seed anymore.

These photos date back to when I did. There’s bird seed in the bowls. One solitary sulphur crested came down to take a look and liked what it saw. But it didn’t want to share with any of the lorikeets.

The lorikeet isn’t impressed with the new arrival

The cockatoo pushes its weight around

The lorikeet tries to stand its ground

But in the end it’s just too small

Um… does any of this remind you of politics?

Humans are tribal. It’s hard-wired into our behaviour, one reason why we, as a species, have been so successful. It’s also why we fail on a global scale.

The UN was a good idea that is now well past its use-by date. It is ham-strung by the power of veto afforded to six countries, and it is riddled with corruption. Rich, powerful countries – I won’t name names but they remind me of sulphur crested cockatoos – buy votes from small, impoverished nations, like lorikeets. The ‘debate’ over whaling is a glaring example, as is the ineffectual posturing over Syria. Self-interest dominates the debate. That, and wealth. The same things happen in global sporting bodies such as FIFA the Olympic Games, cycling, cricket…

A similar pattern is emerging in Western politics. ‘Our’ politicians aren’t listening to the people anymore. In Australia, where voting is compulsory and where we have a strong, two-party system, votes for the two main parties is eroding fast. We’re turning to smaller groups who more effectively reflect our mindset, be that the Greens, One Nation, or the new Australian Conservatives. Judging by my Facebook feed, voters in the US and the UK are similarly disenchanted with their governments.

And what about ‘globalism’, that necessary precursor to a global parliament like the UN, where every country shares its resources and its wealth? Once again, it’s a nice idea.

I’m beginning to think that globalism is one of the main reasons why levels of pollution in our oceans and cities have soared. We catch fish in Australia and send them to China to be cleaned, scaled and wrapped in plastic to send back to us. OF COURSE they’ll send us back the same fish, how could you doubt it? We can get any vegetable, any time of the year – grown on the other side of the world, packed in plastic and sent to our supermarkets. When I was a kid my brother used to catch crayfish off the moles at Fremantle harbour, a yummy treat for all the family. Now, a little cray which he wouldn’t have bothered with costs so much at the supermarket I don’t even look. Meanwhile, crays from Western Australia are put on a plane still alive, and flown to the Japanese fish markets.

Seems to me we’d be better off living simpler lives, eating what’s in season, making do.

Whales and dolphins, oh my

The annual whale migration from the Antarctic up both coasts of Australia is underway. Numbers are growing and though it’s early days before the main influx, there are quite a few whales in the Bay. I decided to take advantage of some wonderful cool, calm, Winter weather and go off on a whale watch to see what we could see. I went with minimal expectations – Hervey Bay holds a *lot* of water and though whales are big, they’re scattered and they spend a lot of time beneath the surface, so they can be hard to find. But I was pretty sure we wouldn’t go back to port without having seen a whale up close and personal.

I was right, of course.

Freedom III is one of Hervey Bay’s small fleet of about seven whale watch boats. I’ve been on all of them and they all offer great value for money. But each has its own niche, if you like. Some feed you, one’s a yacht, one’s large with heaps of deck space, some go out for short trips, others spend most of the day. Since I live here, I’m happy to dedicate the whole day to whale watching. It’s about a 45 minute trip from the harbour into Platypus Bay off Fraser Island where the whales are mainly seen, which means if you’re on a four-hour tour, that’s actually two and a half hours up where the whales are. That’s just fine in peak season (August-September-October) when it’s kinda sorta wall to wall whales, but not so early in the season. Freedom leaves at 9:30 and gets back at 4pm, which gives us five hours to find pods. (A ‘pod’ is a group of two or more whales. They don’t stay together for long, it’s more like meeting a buddy and saying ‘hi’, then going off on your own.) While you’re out on the boat, you get morning tea (profiteroles and warm scones with jam and cream), lunch (chicken, roast beef, potato salad, mixed salad with fetta, warm dinner rolls), and afternoon tea (cheese, biscuits, and fresh fruit). You can buy alcohol and/or fizzy drinks, and water, coffee, and tea are on the house.

Context; boat, two whales, and Fraser Island

The weather was superb – few clouds, not much wind, flat sea. Freedom carries 45 passengers, but there were certainly less than thirty, so we had plenty of room.  The vessel headed on up past Moon Point into Platypus Bay and we soon encountered a young humpback who hung about at a distance before he disappeared. Oh well. I suppose some whales are shy. Moving right along.

Curious youngsters checking us out

A couple of youngsters came over to say hello. They’re smart and they’re curious. They can see and hear underwater much better than we can, so even if their eyes are below the water, they can still see the humans waving at them. We caught a few spyhops (that’s when they put their snouts above the water).

Whales are unpredictable critters. One pod we visited splashed around and checked us out, but then the whales went quiet, so we went off to find some others. That’s when we saw our first breach – behind the boat. The two we’d been with decided to perform. Bugger. But that’s how it is with wild creatures. We were in their country and they were just doing what whales do.

I did manage to get a series of shots of another breach. It’s always amazing to see a huge creature fling itself out of the water with a couple of flips of its tail. These are not very big whales. At this time of year most of the whales are juveniles, not sexually mature. You could say they’re whale teenagers. But even so, they’re big. A whale calf is born at about four and a half metres, and they grow fast.Further out in the Bay we were treated to a supporting act from a few of the local bottle nosed dolphins, who surfed the bow. Freedom, like all the whale boats, is a catamaran. Each hull played host to a dolphin. In fact, they were VERY disappointed when we slowed down for a whale encounter. The dolphins went over to the whales to have some sort of fishy conversation. We were told the dolphins surf the whales, too. Whales can travel very fast when they want to, creating a bow wave under their bodies. The dolphins surf on that, the same way they surf the boat.

One dolphin in particular hung around, aware, I’m sure, that we would have to leave and that then we’d pick up speed. Every time the skipper moved the boat he’d be back, waiting for some action. He had a short last run before we moved out of his territory.

All in all, it was a great day, exceeding expectations.

 

 

The birds down the beach and other things

Ho hum. The Football World Cup is coming to its conclusion and many of the people I know who are interested in the round ball game were hoping for a France-England clash. I must admit there would have been something historically satisfying about a France-England clash. The Poms might finally have got their own back for the Battle of Hastings.

Oh wait. That was Agincourt, wasn’t it? The French were probably hoping to get their own back for the Battle of Waterloo.

The Frogs and the Poms are best mates these days, ever since WW1, which ended slightly fewer than one hundred years ago. But they were bitter enemies for many centuries before that. Alas, it is not be. The last semi-final has now been played, and it seems England will have to wait for a few years more. Croatia beat the Poms 2-1, so the grand final will be France vs Croatia, which does not have the same weighty historical significance. I expect the Croats won’t care.

To be honest, I’m not very interested in the round ball game. There’s far too much tiggy-touchwood passing and histrionics from overpaid players who roll around screaming when somebody clips their ankle. In the men’s game anyway. The women tend to just get up and get on with it. Of course, they don’t get paid as much…

The Australian team made its expected exit early in the piece, beaten by the French. Somebody pointed out that the fellow who scored the winning goal for France was ‘worth’ more (in terms of salary) than the entire Australian team. That says something. Personally, I don’t like it. It’s no longer sport, it’s an overpaid circus. Yes, I know cricket players and rugby/AFL players get paid a lot, too, but not in the millions and millions paid to these fellows.

The best football news I’ve heard lately is that 12 Thai kids and their coach are back above ground. Such a wonderful thing to get some good news for a change.

Oh – and in the State of Origin Rugby League (which is a HUGE thing in Queensland and New South Wales)  the Cane Toads (Qld) beat the Cockroaches (NSW) in the third of a three-game series. NSW had already won the series – but Don’t. Call. It. A. Dead. Rubber. (I wonder why they call it a rubber?)

If football’s not your thing you can always watch the tennis at Wimbledon. Sorry, I’m not a tennis fan, either. But even I think it’s great to see the oldies doing so well. Carn Roger, carn Raffa, carn Serena. (‘carn’ is Australian for ‘come on’.)

I was delighted to see that the officials at Wimbledon have refused to move the mens’ grand final to accommodate the football world cup final. After all, it’s tradition.

And now for something Quite Interesting – birds at our beach.

This Brahmani kite is one half of a couple of pairs who hang around the beach. It has just caught/found a sea snake for supper and is carrying it off.

Pelicans are often seen around the Torquay area or at the pier. These three are in perfect formation, flying low across the water.

There’s a couple of pairs of ospreys with territory on the beach, too. They’re often seen around the pier, on the rocks, or in their favourite beachfront trees. This one has just taken off after a bath. The ospreys and the kites seem to exist quite equitably together. They’re often seen in fairly close proximity to each other.

An Australian white ibis comes in to land amongst its fellows foraging at low tide. They are the local scavengers, rummaging around in bins for scraps and hanging around people trying to eat their fish ‘n chips. But they come down here for their natural food, too.

Of course we have the ubiquitous silver gull. This one’s just landed on the shore. Unlike pretty much everywhere else in Australia, our gulls don’t mob people for food. There’s usually plenty for them to eat, what with fishermen leaving fish carcasses on the beach.

And that will do for this Saturday. Enjoy the sporting blockbuster of your choice, and I hope your team/player wins.

 

The rythmn of life

The start of a new day

I don’t know about you but I’m getting a little bit sick of reading about ISSUES such as the price of electricity, equitable distribution of GST, ‘single use’ plastic bags that aren’t, and Donald Trump. And Brexit. Not that these matters are not important – they are. But they become depressing, so for this Saturday I’ll show you a few pictures of Hervey Bay in Winter – a season we actually love, with warm days, cool nights, lower humidity, and not much breeze.

Those conditions mean we often get night time mist, which I can translate into the picture at top when the sun comes up, its rays lancing between the branches.

The sun at a low angle enabled me to take this photo of a backlit cordyline. The green circle is lens flare – light reflecting inside the lens.

A shower can bring its own reward. This perfect double rainbow was a glory to behold. The entire arc was visible, but my lens couldn’t quite manage the width.

Bright, calm days are lovely at the beach at Scarness

It’s a bit cool for the locals, but visitors from Europe or the southern states of Australia are right into the water. The seagulls are talking about this pair.

The Brahmani kites watch proceedings from a beachside tree above theit hidden nest

Sometimes the sun has to do some burning off just after dawn. A pelican watches a paddle boarder set out

This large flock of cormorants decided to move position further down the beach. They were absolutely silent most flying just above the water

You have to walk a loooong way out to find water deep enough to swim

The next day the mist was even thicker. It didn’t deter the fisherman, though. Or the walkers. You can just see the Brahmani kites half way along the rocks at the back behind the fisherman

Here are the kites in close up.

The sun eventually did break through

And there are always seagulls. Interesting point – unlike places like Perth, the gulls here are not scavenging pests. That’s left to the ibises (aka bin chickens).

The mist clung to the cobwebs in this beachside casuarina

And here’s a sunset, just to prove we sometimes do get clouds.

I hope you enjoyed – we certainly did.