Archive for November, 2009

Upper east coast, Queensland

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I’m back in Brisbane, tried writing this in Cairns but got stuck in the picture sorting phase. Too many pictures (we pooled all the pictures from 11 people on fraser island..). My solution – start with very few pictures for now. Later I’ll try sorting them out. Despite a picture being worth a thousand words, sorting a thousand pictures takes more time then writing a thousand words summarizing those pictures (or something like that, and this is 768 words).

So what have I been up to? strangely enough, I basically followed my plan. I started at Fraser island, from which I have the rabi picture below, that was pretty cool, of course I ended up with a german speaking car, at least I can count in german now (and for the next week probably, until I forget it). Also, I have several pictures of me semi drunk attempting to look happy (no, they will not be revealed!). I did have some fun there, it is a beautiful place, and in my taste not too touristed. It was a self drive, which means 11 people with negligble experience on a 4×4 vehicle get to drive it for 3 days, free excercise included, i.e. car pushing. I got the nickname “mother” (I was the oldest guy there, but not by far), since I tended to wake everyone up early and try to get on with the day.

After that I discovered I couldn’t find my laptop charger! my world collapsed in seconds. I blacked out. After recovering in the hospital.. well no, I actually survived that, but carrying a 3 kg non working laptop is got to be a new form of torture. I managed to buy a universal transformer for it in Cairns, but I’m getting ahead. After Fraser I continued to Hervey bay, and from there to Airlie beach.

Airlie is the launching point for the Whitsundays, which is the common but not formal name for a group of islands in the south of the great barrier reef that Captain Hook believed he discovered on a Sunday, but apparently he had a calendarial error, so they are actually the whitmondays! I sailed aboard the British Defender for two days, it is an awesome yacht that tilts on the side by design when it is under full sail (single mast, two sails, front and rear, rear bigger and easier to change the heading of). The boat is 20 years old, built for racing around the world. Fun crew, great people. After that I stayed in Airlie two days more then I intended, waiting for what was supposed to be the computer’s charger (too bad video phones are not common yet – it is very hard to describe a laptop charger by phone to people who don’t use computers often), and turned out to be my *other* (touchbook) computer’s charger).

So I continued laptop-power-less, and had to go directly to Cairns, to the jewel of the trip, a most amazing three day 11 dives trip, with a chef on board – I never ate so good. Of course it cost accordingly, but well worth it. I only had 3 days remaining before my flight back to Brisbane (which was this morning), those consisted of: randomly going around cairns (1 day), going to Kuranda via sky-rail and back via train (1-day, met the first Japanese person! strangely, instead of email she offered a skype username, maybe that is more common in japan?) and lastely yesterday did a tour with a 4×4 car, that was a little mellow but pretty cool, across the Atherton tablelands. So I didn’t go to cooktown/port douglas/daintree/cape tribulation, but I’m pretty confident the rain forest in the tablelands (the area between the great dividing range and the coast mountain ranges) has the same rain forest. It is beyond my current capacity as a photographer to take good pictures of the rainforest, one interesting fact – rainforest is generally an area with at least 4.5m of rain, and a very small amount of sunlight for vegetation. There is a type of tree that requires more sunlight but likes the rain just as much, a type of pine I forget the name of, which as a result lingers and thus marks the fringes of the rainforest – a sort of edge detector.

About the pictures: The first three are from Fraser island, the next two are from the British Defender taken around the Whitsunday islands, and the next are from the pro dive trip in the Great Barrier Reef (specifically it was Flynn reef and another one near it).

Plans ahoy

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The future as planned: departing tomorrow by greyhound to Rainbow beach, going to Fraser island the day after that for a self drive tour of two days, after that greyhound again airlee beach, yacht of two days in Whitsunday Islands, then north by greyhound to mission beach, 1 day there, then north further to Cairns, Pro Dive sail with diving in the reef, then a few undefined days hopefully in Daintree Rain Forest and Cape Tribulation, followed by a return by plane to Brisbane, few days there, return by plane to Sydney, final days there, and return to San Francisco on the 1st of december, and after a few days of rest and unpayed for internet I’ll be leaving for Tokyo, only to return to SF at the end of the first week of January and then to israel a few days later.