Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas in AU (almost)

It is Christmas time here too. Even though it's 78°F and sunny. And we go to the beach. Christmas back home is a way to break up the depressing winter, and yet we have no depression here. Plenty of B12. Yet presents are still on the horizon.

"But... what do I get for christmas?" Someone else is getting you a sea urchin to eat.
"I don't want any presents, nobody will find me here under the tree."
Angelfish has been good this year!

They are even decorating for Christmas in the fish cave.

The elves are getting ready to load up the sleigh!

"But I always get weight-watchers vids for this stupid day!"

Fish mall.

The kiddies are waiting at home for their treats.

Looking for presents.
Any presents in here?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Local pleasures

The trees outside our house are in bloom again, and the Rainbow Loris are out in force to enjoy the nectars. I enjoy their necks.

I went for a snorkel near dusk, which is mega creepy. I found a cuttlefish and followed it for 10 minutes or so. The surge was incredible - we both would fly a few meters and then pause, repeat.

We babysat for the first time today. It was fun, definitely a learning experience. The boy was 2 and the girl was 4 or 5. When mom left, he actually spent 10 minutes just crying and reaching under the door with his little arm for her. Pretty heart wrenching really. But then we mentioned the beach and he perked up and we had fun. We got to go up in a fire truck at the beach. Perfect...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Good 'Ol Newnes

Road trip!
Wife is out of town so I took the chance to get a really sore butt and get outta town.

Newnes state park had a lot of trails so I went there to do some off-roading and bush camping.
... only I ended up in a planted forest surrounded by idiots.

This is the campsite I found, and the wombat burrow right next to it. For some reason I am really afraid of wombats, and so I was happy to have a hammock to keep me out of their stumpy reaches.

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Ah, so calm in my hammock.
Then I realised I had surrounded myself with funnel-web spiders. There was literally one nest every 2 or 3 square meters. Very scary! Keep moving while eating! I started to wonder if that really was a wombat burrow after all...

Then my hammock broke in the middle of the night. I was sound asleep and I hit the ground with an involuntary "oof!" and white flash of light. It didn't hurt a bit, but then I was scared of the wombat clawing me through the mossie net. I opted not to leave the safety of my hovel, and instead choose to sleep on the ground.
It was not a good night's sleep, and there was sporadic gunfire from dusk until 9pm when the fireworks started. And I mean big ones. Like, mortar-style where you can hear the "chuuf" and then later the explosion. And they had multiple cylinders. This went on for hours. What part of total fire ban do not you understand, people?! I imagined a wall of fire moving at 100mph through the oh-so-flammable tight-packed pines I was trying to sleep in.
I was happy despite getting poor sleep. Happy just to be alive.
I drove out of camp after eating a piece of white bread and an apple, and found some great spots away from the logging / shooting / fireworks-during-total-fire-ban / 500cc-2-strokes-after-10pm-with-no-muffler woods that is Newnes SP.

ants. I think these hurt if they bite you. They definitely weren't afraid of me. They moved in a little pack, not like a trail, but just a group of maybe 7 ants traveling together.

Here's a male and female parrot I came across on the trail to the glow-worm tunnel.

Meh. They were quite nice in person...

Glow-worm tunnel. Some teens came along and went ahead, pretty annoying, plus I didn't have a good flashlight (I brought a crank-style one) so I didn't go in.

I headed up and around the tunnel,

And there was amazing scenery with caves and rock pagodas.

This was Wollemi National Park.

Immediately after taking this shot I was walking back to my bike and a huge black snake slithered past on the trail. It was about 4' long and very fast. It had a wide head area. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a black rat snake... It wasn't shiny black though, more like a dusty black. Almost charcoal. I can't find it online.
Update: Eastern Brown Snake

I wasn't exactly quick on the draw. Actually I already had my cam in my hand but it was off and I was shocked. I chased it a bit and it crawled up the rock face into a crack very very fast.

I'm home now. Home sweet home. I love home. I think I hate camping. Karin makes it better by refusing to stay in stupid places where there are bogans and funnel-webs.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Wednesday Coogee Snork

Since Wednesday is "leave work on time day" I headed out to Coogee for a snorkel.

It got dark soon enough, and I was swimming in moonlight in the protected cove.

The octo has a lot of control over the colour and texture of its skin. Take a look at this closeup (click it to get even closer). In case you hadn't noticed, they can even change the color of their eyes.

I trapped this huntsman in our house last week. These guys are huge, and like obese humans can move surprisingly fast.

Which led me here: Unidentified Spiders. - even though I knew what it was, and I was sitting on the couch which is a mistake when you look at this page. Sit on a chair with double-sided tape on the legs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Snorkel Horse

We found a seahorse at Neilson Bay Park, and had a great snorkel with Andrew and his wife Anthuesa. It was hanging out on the shark net.

We also had a thanksgiving feast with new friends here which was a blast. People were loud and friendly, there was so much food and we all laughed.

But then yesterday I was eating leftover turkey, and I got to the bottom of it and there were maggots from when the turkey was out and we were all laughing ... and the flies were getting busy. So gross. I had to have a beer to sterilise.

Karin is falling in love with Hobart right now, we'll see if she makes it back. Gone for 2 weeks for work. I made a nice beef and potato hash for myself tonight, complete with steamed baby squashes.

A container semi took down a 50' Sycamore outside my office on Monday. It hit so hard that the top half of the tree folded back on itself, landing with the top of the tree back at the break. The tree had 1/2 of its trunk already eaten away by similar accidents.

And I got to hang with my buddy Paul Gregg last week and meet the fam; it was fun. We had lunch at The Strand Arcade downtown. It's great getting visitors. I'm changing here and they remind me about how I felt when I was living / working with them.

This video obviously isn't mine, but is amazing. Just to spice up all this domestic bliss a bit.