Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

Crocodile Farm - Saltwater crocodiles
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures - Saturday Feb.19

An easy 35 minutes north got us to Hartley's Crocodile Adventures.  We learnt the difference between saltwater crocodiles and freshwater crocodiles.  Salt water crocs are the larger crocodiles that can live in both fresh or salt water.  The salties are used in the crocodile farms.  The fresh water crocs are smaller with the pointy snouts and can run really fast, if they need to.  We went on a boat cruise through the lagoon and then had a tour of the crocodile farm.  They had over 5000 saltwater crocodiles at different stages of breeding.  They use them for meat, hides for shoes, purses, belts, and wallets.  They use the head for ornaments, and feet for back scratchers.  They pretty much use everything, not wasting a thing!
We attended a snake show and learnt that 10 of the 11 most venomous snakes lives in Queensland!  We saw the crocodile attack show and then got to feed the cassowaries.  Cassowaries are an endangered bird that is larger than an emu.  We also got to see turtles, wallabies, kangaroos, magpie goose, monitors, spotted quolls, stick & leaf insects and tropical birds, to mention a few.  We ended the day with the koalas, feeding and touching them.

Spartacus - Salt water crocodile
such power

pole feeding time in the lagoon

2nd round of feeding time - crocodile burger

Crocodile skewer - YUM!!

Titan stick insect and Spiny leaf insect

read the sign...I don't think so with Hailey around!

up close

Just chill-axe-in!

feeding the cassowaries fruit

so soft

fresh water crocodiles

"hand feeding"!

cassowary - another unique Australian animal

Monitor - EYE SEE YOU (yes it's real)

Farming saltwater crocodiles 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Trinity Beach

Trinity Beach  - Sunday Feb. 13

After church we packed up the car with beach toys, chairs, towels and the eski with lunch, and headed out to enjoy the day.  Twenty minutes up the road we stopped at Trinity Beach.  Scott started with a long walk, I read my novel and watched the kids build sand castles with their new pails and shovels, buried each other and play ball.  We all went for numerous swims in the ocean in the secured area.  We had lunch at the beach and tried playing frisbee in the afternoon, but it was a little too windy.  It is the rainy season, so the day wouldn't be complete without some rain.  We were swimming, so no big deal, and it passed just as quickly as it started.  We were only out for 3 1/2 hours, but this sun is intense, so we all got just a little red.  Yes we did apply sunscreen a couple of times, but as they say in Cairns, it only takes 10 minutes to burn here.

Hailey surfing

Scott walking at Trinity Beach

New beach toys

Where's Hailey?

Good catch!

Cooling off

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Port Douglas

Port Douglas - exploring the beaches
Saturday Feb. 7 Scott was out of the house early again helping SES (State Emergency Service) with removing debris from around Cairns.  We weren't far behind as we headed to Holy Cross church for mass.  We had lots to be thankful for!

We hung around till Scott got back at 1:00 and then headed out to explore the Captain Cook highway north to Port Douglas.  We were going to go to the crocodile farm, but....they were still rounding up the crocs after the storms!  yikes!!

We stopped at Trinity Beach for a look around.  Not many people as it was raining lightly.  There was a lot of sand on the walk way and road next to the Esplanade.  We continued on and stopped next at REX LOOKOUT, we had fun yelling that one!  What a great view of the coast line!  The road was windy for 27km along the coast of beautiful views.  We passed sugar canes and coconut plantations before getting to Port Douglas.
We found Four Mile Beach and parked.  Again only a few people out enjoying the great day.  We walked from one end to the other, each enjoying it in our own way.  Brody had found a coconut and spent an hour trying to break it open, while Hailey dug holes in the sand as we walked along.  Scott and Darby played frisbee, while I enjoyed my walk and watching everyone.  Brody eventually got the coconut open after using the rocks.  We also got to see the mini sand crabs that were making neat designs on the sand.  Look closely at the picture to see this unique little creature that runs and digs sideways.

We stopped for some refreshments before getting back in the vehicle and heading up to the lookout.  Got home and prepared for school the next day.

girls at Trinity Beach

"Rex Look Out!!!"

Captain Cook Hwy to Port Douglas

Brody's coconut

Fantastic sand designs

Hailey had fun digging MANY holes along 4 Mile Beach!

Brody's coconut 1 hour later!!

Sand crab who makes the sand art! (not the green thing)


Refreshment time at Port Douglas

View from look out at Port Douglas - Four Mile Beach

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cyclone Yasi

Feb. 2 - Cyclone Yasi (day before it hit)
This is a category 5 cyclone, and they don't get any bigger, they are comparing this to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  It should arrive tonight about 10:00 p.m.  The sea level will rise, we'll have severe destructive winds of up to 300 km/hr and hit an area of over 400 km!  This is the 3rd cyclone in 5 weeks for Queensland and they are taking this very seriously.  Many people have evacuated their homes and hospital patients have been evacuated to Brisbane.  Schools have been shut down and most stores were closed by noon today.

We have prepared ourselves and our home.  We filled the vehicle with petrol, got cash from the bank, bought batteries for the radio, filled the pantry, filled every container with water, including the tub, taped the windows, secured the yard furniture and tools, and supported the garage doors so they don't blow in.  The neighbours and co-workers have been awesome in making sure we are all set to ride this out in our home.  We all had a shower, did a load of wash, and are keeping the dishes washed.  We've put important documents in water proof baggies and prepared a suitcase in case we need to leave.  We've got torches, candles, matches and games ready to go.

bracing the garage door - Scott style!

Now it's just a waiting game.  The temperature is around 30 degrees today with some rain off and on.  The kids were playing with the neighbours outside and learnt how to play cricket!  We've been following the news broadcasts and on line, as this cyclone now has a web site of it's own.  The kids are concerned, and rightfully so, but are handling the unknown very well.  We did have to discuss a worse case scenario with them and told them what we would have to do.  Good night all!

sleeping on the floor

all in one room

Thursday Feb. 3    Back again (day after it hit)

We spent the night together in our bedroom and the power went out at 10:30 pm.  It was a noisy night with the winds blowing and things rattling.  I didn't sleep much, but the kids did manage to get some sleep.  We were up at first day break to see the cyclone's outcome.  Amazing!  The storm had shifted south of Cairns and the eye of the storm missed us.  I guess all those prayers worked and we are all fine.  No damage to the house.  Most people spent the day cleaning up the debris in their yards and making piles of branches by the streets.  When it was safe to do so, we went for a drive to get more fuel for the generator and saw lots of broken trees, broken fences, collapsed car park covers and lots of debris.

branches down by playground

tree down around the corner from us

street light should be facing traffic to our left!

debris on side of road

business were ready

roof on the road

flash floods came after

car park at Redlynch Central where we shop

Some communities south weren't as lucky!  Such devastation around! 

boats piled up 2 blocks from the beach

Bruce Hwy - main road along the coast

Feb. 4 (second day of no power)
Trying to stay occupied without power!  Lots of playing outside, card games, and reading.  Used the generator just for the fridge.  A full 48 hours without power, so when it finally game on tonight at 10:45 p.m. it was a glorious feeling to have the fans going again!! 

I've been amazed at the emotional drain this has played on me...the waiting, the trying to stay strong for the kids, but yet totally scared by the unknown.  Even after it was over I still had such raw nerves!  A reaction I wasn't expecting, I guess my adrenaline was going none stop during all of this.  One thing I do know, I'm glad it's over and we are all okay!  Now to get some sleep, relax and thank God!
cards by candle lite

the kids and the neighbors keeping themselves entertained