Aging while living a life on the move…Check out these final Green Island photos…

There were many seagulls in the area surrounding Green Island especially when the fish were fed by the staff.

Providing we take care to avoid injuries and happen to be fortunate enough to avoid natural disasters and risks in public or at our home at the time, our biggest enemy is aging. Of course, we’re all aging from the moment we’re born and in reality, aging appears to progress at a regular and consistent pace once we become adults. 

The green cast from the coral below created the water’s pretty color.

Recalling our own differences between ages 30 and 40, 50 and 60 and now that we’re both in the ’60s to ’70s decade, it all seems to have progressed similarly, unfortunately, all downhill.

All the exercise, healthy diets, and lifestyle changes can’t stop the progression, although it may slow it to a degree. Although, if one is lucky, the progression may not be as evident on them as on others for the sake of appearances. However, what’s going inside the body is another matter.

Although there were a number of boats conducting tourist activities around the island, it wasn’t as crowded as we’d expected.

For most of us, as we age, our appearance becomes less and less important. Being alive and well becomes of the ultimate significance. We do our best to show the world a pleasant appearance, through whatever means suits us whether its’ a mustache, haircut, or close shave for men or makeup (or not) and certain hairstyles for women.

To a degree, most of us make some sort of effort whether it’s wearing a clean tee-shirt and pair of jeans or an entire put-together outfit that makes one appear to have stepped out of a magazine advertisement. 

The seagulls went wild when the fish were fed by the staff in order to give the visitors a show.  They explained they monitored the amounts they fed the fish to avoid them becoming complacent in their search for food. However, with these multiple daily feedings, complacency may have been unavoidable.

It’s all a matter of personal choice and who has a right to comment or complain about the decisions of others in this area? As we live in a world desperately attempting to love and accept each person, regardless of their appearance, we find we still have a long way to go.

Will the future bring “designer babies” with perfect features or will we all meld into a level of total acceptance finding beauty in all of our differences? When we lived amid wildlife in Africa, we observed even the most peculiar of animals with admiration regardless of their snarly looking faces, unwieldy tusks, and unkempt sprouts of coarse and wild hair. 

Few tourists spent time at the beaches at Green Island from what we observed during our half-day visit.

I speak of the ungainly warthog, which some may consider as one of the ugliest creatures in the wild.  And yet, when we saw those unruly faces, we felt admiration and warmth in our hearts, not over their looks but over their playful demeanor. Would that we could feel such admiration and attraction for one another regardless of our appearance.

As it relates to aging, the inevitability of it all becomes more evident to me as I approach 70 years old.  It was only yesterday I was in my 30’s and yet, here I am, happier than I’ve ever been wondering how long this amazing life will be able to continue with aging knocking at my door, the same aging knocking at your door.

A few of the beaches had lifeguards on duty and yet few visitors hung out at the beach.

This all came to my mind on Thursday as I completed three loads of laundry, spent hours in the kitchen making various foods for our way of eating, cleaning and dusting the house, never asking Tom for help while he sat outside on the veranda. 

He was happily content researching his family tree, never aware as to what was going on inside, other than when I asked him to put the freshly washed tight bottom sheet back on the mattress and walk the garbage down the steep hill to the bins. He’d have easily helped me with anything else on the agenda, had I asked.

Tom walking on the pier checking the sea for signs of life, carrying our huge unnecessary bag loaded with towels, ice tea, extra camera batteries, etc. We could easily have gotten by without the bag and its contents, putting everything we needed in our pockets. Since I no longer own a handbag, Tom usually carries my few items in his roomy pockets.

But, like him, I was happily content busying myself inside doing household tasks I’ve always seemed to find rewarding for some odd reason. 

As I did the work, periodically I checked my Fitbit device hooked to my shorts, wondering how many steps I was taking in my frenzy of activity. It was less than I’d anticipated in this relatively small house at a total of 5800 steps for the day, a far cry from my goal of 10,000 steps hardly reached most days in this life unless we’re out for a long walk.

There were hundreds of these birds in the visitor’s shopping area where there are scraps of food offered by tourists, not a good idea when “people food” can be harmful to birds.

For the first time, as I whizzed through my day, I began to wonder if I will be able to keep up this pace in 10 years. Will I still have the energy and ability to move relatively freely from one task after another? Will the bit of exercise I get and walks we take be enough to see me through these upcoming years to allow me to continue to perform these tasks.

Seagull amid flight in the breeze.

One could say since I’m five years older than Tom, that eventually he can do it all. As much as I’d like to think he could and would, it’s not likely he’ll be motivated to make the low carb, grain, starch, and sugar-free muffins or the delicious mushroom casserole we’ve been enjoying as a side dish recently.

Yesterday, with the house clean and laundry done (except for the daily one load of bath and kitchen towels), I found myself on a new reign of activity while I prepared two free-range chickens with vegetables (great leftovers for tonight) to begin to roast at 4:00 pm, baked a batch of our favorite macaroons, made a salad, cleaned fresh green beans and folded the one load of wash.

As we waited for the Rocket Reef (boat) to arrive at the pier to return us to Cairns, the seagulls gathered around us.

(We can’t purchase “take away” meals when none of the options are suitable for my way of eating. Dining out is challenging at best. Instead, we cook all of our meals, many simple meals prepared in short periods and others requiring more time and effort).

All of this type of activity is commenced after typically spending my entire morning preparing the daily post, often not finishing until close to noon. Don’t get me wrong…I love doing posts. 

This scene reminded us of the many ports we’ve visited over these past years.

To date, our daily post never feels as if it’s a chore. Then again, neither do the household tasks as long as good health continues and I’m able to continue to perform these daily tasks. Is it inevitable that one slows down in their 80s or even 90s?

We left friends behind 10 years older than I, still able to keep a pace comparable to mine. They remain an inspiration. Aging is not an illness or condition. It is a fact of life that faces every single one of us. How we choose to live through that process whether we have limitations or not, is truly our choice.

We couldn’t imagine what an eskie is when we read this sign.  Once home, we looked online to discover it’s a cooler or “chill box.”

Putting negative thoughts behind me after allowing them to fester for two days, today I awoke with a fresh perspective. No more worrying about my ability to be as active in 10 years as I am today. Instead, I choose to embrace the moment and the imminent future. 

Good grief, we’re on our way to Fiji in nine days! 

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 29, 2014:

It was one year ago today that we posted this taxidermy kangaroo photo from our visit to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, UK. Now, we can drive down the road to see live kangaroos. How ironic. For more museum photos as we wound down the time in the UK, please click here.

The Great Barrier Reef tours…Glass bottomed boat…Semi-submersible interior photo…Cost for the day…

A semi-submersible boat with passengers in the lower deck checking out the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef.

Once we arrived at the pier in Green Island, it was almost time to board the first of the two boating events, we’d booked, a tour in the glass-bottom boat. We’d both wondered what a tour in this type of boat would be like.  Our expectations were in check.

There was a support post down the center of the boat that sorely impeded viewing and photo-taking opportunities. I’d expected a single flat window running along the bottom of the boat over which we’d learn, watch and take photos.

The glass bottom boat wasn’t as conducive for watching and taking photos of marine life and coral.

With the equivalent of window panes trimmed in metal frames as shown in the above photo, when a fish swam within the frame of our window, it was lost in a second when it reached the “windowpane” of the person sitting next to us. Also, there were vertical posts supporting the structure between every two people further impeding the view.

Photos of the coral reef appear monotone.

As a result of this design, it was nearly impossible to take any decent photos. Of the group of possibly 40 tourists, a few were taking photos struggling for good shots, not unlike me. The glass appeared to be tinted a light green making everything in view a monotone color. This proved to also be the case on the semi-submersible submarine.

More coral reef from the glass bottom boat.

As for the semi-submersible aspect, it had an appearance comparared to an aluminum pontoon, such as an old fishing boat. Once on the deck of the boat, we walked down a short staircase, broken up with a landing, turning and then maneuvering a steeper almost ladder-like structure in the full interior.

The variety of life in the coral reef is beyond anything we’d seen.

Two tourists sit side by side on a pull-down aluminum seat until all 20 were in place. Tight quarters. The interior was no more than 1.22 meters, 4 feet wide. Very tight quarters. 

Marine life in the coral reef is unlike anything else in nature.

With babies crying, passengers trying to find seats where there were none, I felt like offering up my seat and getting out. Tom looked at me reassuringly that staying put was for the best. There was no way I could crawl out anyway. 

Although there were a few moments of passing massive schools of fish swimming, here again, it was nearly impossible to get good photos through the green tinted glass as the semi-submersible vehicle moved along the water.

This tiny space in the semi-submersible had seats for 20. As shown, it’s packed as tight as sardines.

The reason the boat is referred to as semi-submersible is due to the fact that the top deck of the aluminum boat is not underwater. A door is left open during the tour while a tour guide sits on the steps describing some of the fish passing by below.

If one suffers from claustrophobia, this boat may not be an ideal scenario, not as much from the submersion, as from the tight person-to-person contact of a total of 20 people jammed into very tight quarters. From what we’d read online at the company’s site, no more than 10 passengers would board the boat.

The fish have learned that these boats provide a government approved “feeding” of a marine based pellet to allow the visitors in the boats to see more fish.  As a result when they see the boats coming, they gather around for food.

We saw a number of fish, a few sea turtles, and a small section of the coral reef. Although photos taking wasn’t ideal, we were glad we had the experience and sighed a breath of fresh air when it was over. I doubt we’ll care to partake in either of these two types of boat tours again in our future travels.

Surely, snorkeling would have been a better alternative but, much to our surprise we only spotted a handful of snorkelers in the designated areas, although many tourists were swimming at the sandy beach, most without wetsuits.

Mostly, tourists used smartphones for photo taking.

After the back-to-back boat tours ended we wandered down the long pier to Green Island stopping frequently to peak over the edge of the pier to check for any signs of life. 

With no tinted glass to impede our view, we still weren’t able to get good photos being high above the water’s surface while standing on the pier. Also, as much as a sunny day was preferable, the brightness of the sun created a glare on the water.

With only a small amount of food offered to the fish from the boat, in an attempt to keep them interested in seeking their own sustenance, the fish quickly swam away.

At Green Island, we were surprised to find a beautiful visitor’s area shaded by trees, including a variety of shops, dining establishments, and scuba and snorkeling rental shops. Tables, chairs, and park benches lined the area creating comfortable seating for tourists to stop to relax. 

After taking our time walking through the tourist area, it was fast approaching time to return to the pier to board the departing 4:15 pm Rocket Reef boat to make our way back to the port in Cairn The return boat ride included a distant whale breaching sighting, here again too distant for any good photos. 

The boat to the left is the semi-submersible “submarine” we boarded to see the coral reef.

Including the two boat tours, the glass bottomed and semi-submersible, our total cost for the half day visit to Green Island was AUD $219, USD $157 plus AUD $12, USD $8.61 for parking. The parking area was approximately 10 minutes from the boat tour check-in building that had restrooms, seating, and beverages. 

Only credit cards with a chip are accepted in the pay machines in the car park at various points in the outdoor lot. Luckily, a few of our newer cards actually have chips and this worked well.

A boat, the Big Cat, remained docked at the pier in Green Island for visitors to use as a rest station and meeting point for other tours and events their company hosts.

Finding the Reef Fleet Terminal at Pier Point Road, for check-in was tricky if unfamiliar with the area as we were. With less than ideal directions from the website of the tour company, we easily spent extra time searching for the building. We’d suggest allowing no less than an extra 30 minutes before the required check-in time to find the terminal. 

In essence, we were smart to have booked the half day tour as opposed to the full day. We had the perfect amount of time at the site. If we’d booked the full day, we’d have an extra four hours. 

A view from the pier at the reef.  As the coral ends, there often a pristine sandy bottom.

I’d have enjoyed lounging on the sandy beach for a few hours but, Tom would have been sunburned.  In all of our travels, our first consideration is one another’s comfort and well being.

Had we known more about the experience we still would have booked the tour. There was no way we wouldn’t have gone to see a portion of the Great Barrier Reef when we were so close living in this area. Overall, it was a fine experience.

Another view of a small portion of the reef from the pier.

We’re fast losing interest in booking any large group tours if other options are available such as small groups we’ve joined with other cruise passengers we’ve met on cruises or at

However, in our upcoming Mekong River cruise, there are days and days of land group tours with other passengers. These types of tours are unavoidable and there’s no doubt we’ll have a good time as we tour Cambodia and Vietnam.

As the boat left Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef.

With only 10 days remaining until we depart Australia, we now feel satisfied that we’ve experienced the area as much if not more than we intended. During this remaining period, we’ll visit a few parks and beaches, walking for exercise, and to further revel in the beauty of this nature-rich continent until we return again in the future on many upcoming cruises.

Tomorrow, we’ll post a new story and wrap up a few more Great Barrier Reef photos. Have a wonderful day!

                                               Photo from one year ago, August 28, 2014:

As we wound down the time in London with only three days remaining, we had dinner after a visit to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. For many museum photos, please click here.

The Great Barrier Reef…Green Island history and tour…

The Great Barrier Reef covers 344,400 square kilometers (132,972 square miles) in area.
The Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the world’s greatest treasures and is a vital aspect to the world’s eco system. Yesterday, having an opportunity to see a portion of this vast natural icon that can be seen from outer space, was rewarding and memorable.
We waitied on a curb for the boat to arrive at the pier for our 45-minute ride to Green Island.

For reasons we posted two days ago, we choose not to snorkel. However, I can’t say that had we been able to snorkel, our experience would have been a lot different.

We weren’t able to get a spot in the bow for photo-taking during the ride to Green Island.  We remained inside in air-conditioned comfort, although I was anxious to take photos of outdoor photos. Our boat, Big Cat’s Reef Rocket, was modern with free wifi, restrooms, beverages, and snacks.

What lies beneath the sea is undoubtedly awe-inspiring. It appeared that scuba diving would be more rewarding, as opposed to snorkeling, being able to maneuver more freely over the endless coral reefs. Actually, we saw few people snorkeling and less scuba diving.

Snorkelers were able to purchase their snorkel gear and wetsuits from this bar inside the boat.

In all, there are 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays, and approximately 150 inshore mangrove islands. We visited Green Island, only one of those many islands that have been built into a tourist ready environment, enabling visitors from around the world to see this natural phenomenon.

With ocean spray on the windows, I shot this photo of the massive pier at Green Island which accommodates several companies providing a variety of activities including windsurfing, scuba diving, and tours on semi-submersible and glass-bottom boats. 

Australia, from what we’ve seen thus far, is a continent highly in tune with its rich natural resources. When a venue is created, it’s done so with respect for those resources with the intent of ensuring as natural an experience as possible when sharing those resources with the public.

Another of the charter boats heading to the Great Barrier Reef. Not all boats go to Green Island with numerous other charters available for different prices and arrival times.

Green Island is no exception. Every consideration was made over the years to develop a significant space where the visitor would feel in-one with the environment. In doing so, a little of the magic is taken away, but what is left is a fair representation of what explorers may have discovered centuries ago.

The colorful views around us were only a small section of the Great Barrier Reef.

Nothing was spared in providing safety and convenience and in allowing visitors the optimum experience, savoring the beauty of the island while respectfully representing the significance of the surrounding treasures only a short distance below the water’s surface. 

Green Island, as we approached (through the glass).

Over and again, visitors are reminded to treat the coral reef with reverence and respect to avoid upsetting the ecosystem and habitats for thousands of creatures.

This parasailing equipment included a chair for two at a cost of  AUD $280, USD $200 per couple. Although some of these types of activities may appeal to us, we have to pick and choose what is most important to us for the long term

Green Island has a rich history dating back to the 1770s as shown in this chart below:

Significant Historical Dates for Green Island

Green Island has an amazing history! Even though Green Island is a very small island, it has played an important role in the history of Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef region.

When on Green Island, take some time to visit the colorful Interpretive Boardwalk. Designed in 6 languages, it showcases the island’s European and Aboriginal histories as well as its outstanding natural values.

Pre 1770 Local Aboriginal tribes (Gungandji and Mandingalbay) used Green Island and its reef for fishing, hunting, and manhood initiation ceremonies.
1770 Captain Cook first marked Green Island on the navigational charts and named it after the astronomer onboard, Charles Green.
1857 A bech-de-mer (sea cucumber) smoking station was established on Green Island. It was operated by a fisherman called JSV Mein, and operated for several decades before closing down.
1863 A ship called the ‘Antagonist’ shipwrecked on Green Island reef while carrying horses to India (14 May 1863).
  • Coconuts were planted to provide shelter, food and drink for shipwrecked sailors.
  • Grass hut accommodation was constructed for fishing and hunting parties.
1890 The first organised pleasure cruises to Green Island commenced on a local coaster called ‘Zeus’.
  • Green Island was declared a Recreational Reserve under the Cairns Council.
  • The first public jetty was constructed.
1924 Hayles commenced fortnightly passenger service from Cairns to Green Island.
1930 Kitty & Noel Monkman, pioneers in underwater photography and videography, moved to Green Island. During WW II they acted as volunteer air observers.
1931 The replacement jetty was constructed by Cairns Town Council.
1932 Cairns Town Council was granted a license to remove coral from the Green Island reef flat to make lime for mainland cane fields (operated until 1945).
1934 Green Island declared a Fauna Sanctuary
1936 Management control of Green Island changed from Cairns Town Council to the Queensland State.
  • Green Island was declared a National Park.
  • World’s first glassbottom boat launched.
  • Research facility built (now Dept. of Primary Industry Research Laboratory).
  • Hayles was granted the first 20-year lease to develop a hotel with tourism activities
1939 First groyne was built to protect the foreshore.
1942 The first hotel, Coral Cay Hotel, was constructed by Hayles.
1946 Jetty was reconstructed after being destroyed by cyclone.
1954 World’s first underwater observatory opened.
1958 Island camping permits no longer issued.
1960 Present jetty constructed.
1961 Great Barrier Reef Theatre constructed.
1963 Redeveloped hotel, the Green Island Reef Resort, opens.
1964 Crocodile Farm opens – the first ever on an island. Renamed Marineland Melanesia in 1972
  • Queen Elizabeth II visits Green Island on her 44th birthday – as part of her tour that followed in Captain Cook’s footsteps.
  • Sandbag retaining wall built near jetty to protect resort land from erosion.
1974 Green Island Reef declared a Marine National Park by the Queensland Government.
1978 Seaplane access to Green Island permitted.
1981 Green Island Reef zoned a Marine National Park ‘B’ with a Buffer Zone under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act (extending 500m out from edge of reef).
1982 Daily fast catamaran service from Cairns commenced by Hayles Pty Ltd.
1988 Dreamworld Corporation purchased Green Island Reef Resort and ferry services from Hayles Pty Ltd and renamed the company Great Adventures.
1989 Green Island Reef Resort closed due to disrepair.
1991 Daikyo Pty Ltd purchased the resort and ferry service on Green Island from Dreamworld Corporation
1992 Redevelopment of Green Island Resort and day facilities commenced.
1993 Redeveloped day facilities opened to the public.
1994 The Green Island Resort luxury accommodation opened.
2001 Green Island Resort desalination plant operational – producing over 55,000 litres of freshwater daily.
2005 Quicksilver Connections acquires Great Adventures and Green Island Resort from Daikyo Pty Ltd
As shown in the above chart, Green Island has grown as a popular tourist attraction over the years. From this perspective, we accept the commercialism required to make Green Island a viable location to which visitors will flock after writing good reviews all over the web. 
After disembarking the Reef Rocket, we walked along the pier heading to the boat at the end of the pier, the Big Cat, where tourists are to wait to gain access to the semi-submersible submarine and the glass-bottom boat. The pier was high above the water but we did our best to take a few photos of the colorful fish.
Blue fish!  Wow!

Did we have a great time at the Great Barrier Reef? We had a good time, very grateful for the experience. Who visits Queensland and doesn’t see the Great Barrier Reef? 

It’s never easy to take photos from above water. We did our best, hoping to capture these colorful blue fish. There are hundreds of identifyable specific species.

Back home by 5:30 pm, with everything for dinner chopped, diced, and relatively ready to cook, by 6:45 we sat down to dine, smiles on our faces for having taken the time and expense to visit the Great Barrier Reef.

The walk down the long pier to the Big Cat, a huge air-conditioned boat that stays anchored for most of the day used as a lounge and rest area and loading area for glass-bottomed boats and semi-submersibles.

Tomorrow and over the next several days, we’ll share our photos both underwater and above water, describing the tours on both the glass bottom boat and the semi-submersible submarine and, how we spent our remaining time on Green Island

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 27, 2014:
It was one year ago today that our dear new friend Liz from Bristol, England took the train to South Kensington to visit us for the day. It couldn’t have been a more wonderful day the two of us sharing girl talk at lunch and later the three of us at dinner. At the end of the evening, we walked Liz to the train station, said our goodbyes, and have stayed in touch since. We miss and love you, Liz! For details from that date, please click here.

We’re off to the Great Barrier Reef on a perfectly sunny day…

We were shocked to see the reasonable price on this exquisite arrangement at only AUD $20, USD $14.20. Our daughter and family had sent us a similar bouquet sent to us in Hawaii, most likely at 10 times this price.

With bad weather heading to Queensland, we were concerned we’d go on yet another long boat ride only to be sitting drenched in our rain jackets. To date, we’ve had numerous less-than-successful boating excursions throughout the world.

On whale watching expeditions, we’d yet to see a whale within photo taking distance. On sunset cruises, its rained such as was the case one year ago on the Seine River in Paris.

There is a wide array of both common and less common fruits and vegetables at Rusty’s Market.

On other boat tours we’ve been disappointed with rough seas so bad we could easily have booked a ride on a roller coaster for an equal amount of rattling and commotion. Also, we seldom sighted the marine life we’ve anticipated during a boat tour, unable to take good photos as the boat rocked to and fro.

Hopefully, today’s excursion to Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef will prove to be more fulfilling and less about a crazy boat ride and more about the scenery that awaiting us. 

The sign is marked, “spray free, custard apples” priced at AUD $4.50, USD $3.19 per kilo (2.2 pounds)

With all the cruises we’ve taken with many more to come, it’s obvious we enjoy being on (as opposed to in) the ocean. In our past lives, we both were avid boaters owning boats for a majority of our adult lives.

As a single mom at 29 years old I purchased my first boat which I kept docked in St. Albans Bay on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota USA. It was called the Tootsie Roll Boat due to it brown, orange and white colors. 

More traditional fruits and vegetables including corn, oranges, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.

Tom purchased his first boat at 29, an Alumacraft fishing boat and later purchased a ski and fishing boat, a Fisher Sweet 16, when he was around 30 years old. 

Some of the vendor’s displays occupied huge areas in the market while others are as tiny as a card table.

As a result of our past experiences, we both generally have enjoyed being on the water and thus have booked some type of boating tour in most countries where we’ve been close to water.

What? Chocolate pudding fruit? Sounds interesting. Priced at AUD $3.50, USD $2.48 per kilo.

As a result of the past boat tours in our world travels, our expectations are in check, hoping for a good experience. Realizing that most of our upcoming photos of marine life in the Great Barrier Reef will be taken through glass we don’t expect perfect representations of what lies below. We’ll definitely do our best to take good photos.

Another equally affordable bouquet of locally grown flowers.

This morning we awakened to a bright sunny day adding to our mutual enthusiasm to finally see one of the world’s greatest treasures. In posts over the next few days, we’ll be included historic and geographical information on the Great Barrier Reef with facts nature lovers may find interesting.

Fresh flowers are scattered throughout the market, adding to a colorful visual.

Our beach bag is packed and we’re set to go other than a necessary stop along the way to the pier in Cairns to purchase bottled water. Much to our delight, we’ve been able to drink tap water in Trinity Beach without any intestinal problems. 

At only AUD $3, USD $2.31 each, a gorgeous bouquet could be put together for a reasonable price.

Its the container for our iced tea that we’re lacking that a large bottle of plain water will provide. Once in hand, we’ll add the packets of iced tea we’ve been hauling around the world with us and be set for beverages for the entire trip.

Today, we’re posting the final photos of our visit to Rusty’s Market and look forward to posting our photos and stories of our tour to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. 

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2014:

The Regency Hotel, Queen’s Gate, where we stayed for two weeks while in South Kensington, London, UK was under construction. Noise with a cluttered entrance at times didn’t bother us at all. What we found most inconvenient was their wifi policy charging huge daily fees for a poor connection. Later in our stay, we were able to get the hotel manager to waive all of our wifi fees for the 16 nights. For more details, please click here.

Exciting tour tomorrow…A must do in this area of Australia…Why we don’t snorkel…

For those shoppers interested in having their fortune told, Rusty’s Markets has it all.

As our long term readers are well aware, we try to avoid some of the typical activities that drives floods of tourists to a particular area, often waiting in long queues  (“lines” is US speak) for hours at a time.

Orchids and other flowers are for sale at reasonable prices throughout Rusty’s Markets.

At times, visitors are scrambling for tickets to book dates and times that fit their short-stay schedules with the intent of getting one more attraction they’ve longed to see knocked off their endless “must do” list during a relatively short holiday. For most, this is the highlight of their trip.

Fresh greens appear to be a little higher priced than the grocery stores but mostly are organic.

We’ve observed there are many types of tourists which often include; those who are constantly busy seeing the sites, filling each day with a constant stream of activities and; others who perceive a holiday as a time to relax, unwind, read a book while occasionally visiting a point of interest.

These are the biggest fennel bulbs we’ve seen.

We fall somewhere in the middle of these two generalities.  Throw in the fact that we often stay in a location for months at a time, on certain days we’re in the middle and on other days, totally zoned out of our surroundings living in the comfortable familiar routine we enthusiastically embrace as a part of our daily lives.

Locally grown chestnuts and walnuts.  See photo below for prices.

Over these past few months while living in Australia writing each day, on numerous occasions we’ve mentioned a need to tighten our belts while here to play a little “catch up” for recent huge outlays of cash for future travels.  In doing so, we’ve accomplished two things. 

When figuring that a kilogram is 2.2 pounds, these prices for walnuts and chestnuts is a bargain at USD $9.33 (per kilo).

One, we’ve been able to comfortably “catch up” and two, we haven’t felt an sense of self imposed pressure to go sightseeing more than we’ve done thus far, visiting the equally enriching multitude of “free” things to see in this lovely area.  We haven’t been disappointed at all, thoroughly relishing in all that we’ve seen to date.

However, one thing we’ve yet to do has gently nagged at us day after day knowing in our hearts and minds at some point, we’d sign up to visit…the Great Barrier Reef.

A shopper at Rusty’s Markets can stop for a Thai massage while shopping.

From Cairns,  a short 25 minute drive from our house to the port, followed by a 45 minute boat ride and we’ll arrive at the world’s largest coral reef.  How could we not?  For tomorrow, Wednesday, we booked a half day tour of the Great Barrier Reef consisting of several activities that fully meet our preferred types of activities.

These red peppers, called Capsicums in Australia are only USD $1.08 each, a fair price.

Bear with us, dear readers, once again we’ll reiterate…we don’t snorkel, never plan to snorkel and spend little if any time, swimming in the ocean.  Its not our “thing.” 

A few of our Facebook friends have nagged us to “give it a try.” Even our grown kids, most of whom snorkel have given us a certain amount of heat that we don’t engage in this activity, especially based on our world travel and exposure to some of the best coral reefs and beaches in the world.

We didn’t recognize these cassava.  From online research we discovered these can be dangerous to one’s health since some imported varieties contain dangerous levels of cyanide.  Read here for details.

Why don’t we snorkel?  There are several reasons, important to us, that deters us from interest in this activity which include:

1.  Tom sunburns easily. Since beginning our travels, neither of us has) had a single sunburn when we’ve exercised great caution.  We seldom spend more than 20 minutes on each side to ensure an adequate safe dose of Vitamin D.  He can’t stand the feel of sunscreen on his skin.  It makes him cringe.  Sure, he could wear a wetsuit, available for rental for reasonable fees.  He doesn’t want to. 

Tom pointed out this sign. 

2.  We both have vision correction.  Tom’s has a complicated correction making rental goggles unlikely to provide him with a good view without his glasses.  I have mono vision, different correction in each eye wearing contacts to see. They can’t be worn in water. Neither of us would have a good experience based on this fact alone.

An whole fried fish.

3.  Photo taking:  We don’t want to purchase an underwater camera at this point. As picky as I am over equipment, I’d require many accessories to have a good experience with a camera such as a “Go Pro.” We haven’t an inch of space for one more piece of equipment in our carry on bags.  When we noticed our kids huge bag of “Go Pro” equipment, we knew it wasn’t for us.  Bottom line:  If we can’t take photos its just not as much fun for us.  Plain and simple. 

When we visited Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) in the UK last year, I was  disappointed to be unable to take interior photos although we decided to visit anyway taking many photos of the exterior.  We always check every venue before booking to ensure we’ll be allowed to take photos. 

We found one store that carries grass fed meat.  If we’d had room in the freezer, we’d have purchased a few items.  Instead, we buy our grass fed meat at a great little shop, Smithfield Choice Cuts

Our journey revolves around our ability to document our experiences in photos.  Although I’m certainly not a professional, I see myself as more of a photographer than any other skills I may possess. 

It would have been fun to purchase these truffles for sale at Fetish for Food but based on our remaining short period in Australia, we had to pass.

Sure, I have a lot to learn about photography and eventually will purchase and learn to use a higher quality professional camera when technology advances to make them lighter in weight.  Would a photographer visit a site where she/he wasn’t allowed to take photos?  Hardly. 

These sarongs looked appealing but not room in bags and I’ve never been good at making these work.

4.  Health reasons:  We both have difficulty with our right shoulders.  Most people would have had surgery by now to correct them.  Instead, we’ve found ways with our diet and utilizing caution to keep the pain at bay. 

Kiffler potatoes, so says the sign when its actually “Kipfler.”

Currently, neither of us are experiencing any pain.  This could easily change by a sudden motion.  In addition, although I no longer have back pain due to a strict anti-inflammation way of eating, my spine remains comparable to a house of cards.  Any sudden or startled motion could result in a disaster, putting a fast end to our travels.  Our insurance plan excluded any injury to my spine in our health insurance policy.  Why would we take the risk? 

Clothing racks are scattered about Rusty’s Markets.

It’s for these reasons we don’t zip lines or participate in certain activities potentially putting our current good health at risk.  Snorkeling which I’d done years ago, can easily result in being startled and requires an amount of jumping in and out of boats, at times in countries with less precautionary measures, we opted out of snorkeling.

Rows of handmade jewelry lines a wall.

Why visit the Great Barrier Reef if we don’t snorkel?  Here again, because we want to.  We’ll be able to tour the Great Barrier Reef in a glass bottom boat and we hope to go on the mini submarine that will give us another perspective, all the while taking photos. 

We’ll also enjoy the boat ride each way meeting people and listening to the marine biologist on board the boat.  With many more activities in the Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef area, we’ll surely have a good time.  We always do.

Various vegetables for cooking Asian food.

We chose to live our lives with a sense of reality.  Who are we kidding?  We have some issues we carefully protect. Who doesn’t? Ultimately, continuing on in our travels, having all of the extraordinary experiences we’ve had and will continue to have is more important to us than a few activities we choose not to do from time to time. 

Now, I have to get back to searching for a cruise to Antarctica to fulfill our dream of standing on an ice floe with Emperor Penguins.  Life is good whether we snorkel or not.

(Tomorrow, a new post will be uploaded with photos before we depart for the Great Barrier Reef).


Photo from one year ago today, August 25, 2014:

Tom was smiling while we relaxed while we dined in London, a restaurant we found on foot.  For more details of our lengthy walks in South Kensington, please click here.

The progression of a sunrise over the Coral Sea…Pinching ourselves…Not used to it yet! TV in Australia…

Tom’s first photo of sunrise over the Coral Sea at 6 am this morning. 

A few days ago while we were busy with our record-keeping flipping between screens on both of our laptops, a wildlife show flashed on the TV. Australian TV offers a constant stream of interesting documentaries of both its own continent and that of other continents which when we staying in we often keep running in the background.

Quickly, the scene began to change.

It was from watching documentaries that we’ve been inspired to visit many parts of the world. It was in 2004 that we watched a documentary on the Great Migration that stuck in our brains. It was nine years later that we found ourselves in the great Serengeti and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. 

He said it changed in seconds, not minutes.

We must admit that while I’m preparing the daily posts and Tom’s busy searching for future travels we keep the TV turned on to Australian news and documentary type shows. Without cable TV and only an antenna at our rental, there’s no BBC, US news, or world news on any of the channels here, although on occasion the US Today Show will pop up for no reason at all. 

TV programming by antenna only is lacking, to say the least except for the few treasures we’ve stumbled up. We were warned about this by our shipmates on the last cruise.  Most often one can only find “footy” (football/soccer in Australian talk), old reruns of MASH, and a few tiring game shows. 

Tom doesn’t usually capture amazing shots such as these.  I’m impressed!

We seldom, if ever, sit down to watch the TV itself. It’s only at night after dinner that we watch a few of our favorite shows. Instead, as we’ve mentioned in the past, we feel lucky when there is a flat-screen TV into which we can plug my laptop via an HDMI cable to watch a few favorite downloaded shows. In a few past vacation homes, we had no TV at all and we were content to watch the laptop’s 15.6″ monitor.

At present, we’re watching “Breaking Bad” (starting season three tonight) having recently completed the fabulous seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy, an all-time favorite. Also, we love BBC shows, recently completing Poldark and Crimson Fields, both amazing shows recommended by our friend Liz in Bristol, UK.

By the time I walked out the door, it had already changed this much.

Let’s face it, we’re just like most people who wind down at night to engage in a number of favorite pastime activities such as read, listen to music, drink wine and/or watch a few shows. We all need some “downtime” and the fact that we live a life of travel doesn’t change that fact. 

He handed me the camera, but at that point, the magical scene was nearly gone.

By evening, especially after a good meal and cleanup, we have no interest in searching for new places to visit in the future and our brains aren’t working well enough to maintain record keeping or handle financial matters.  Those tasks are best served during the day when we’re most alert.

What we’ve found most peculiar about Aussie TV programming is the fact that shows don’t necessarily start “on the hour or half-hour” and aren’t necessarily on at the same time each day or week or, on at the time listed on the online guide. One can easily miss a favorite program if counting on the next episode occurring on the same day and time a week later. 

Tom had already captured the very best of it.

As a result, we’ve made little effort to watch any Aussie produced shows other than documentaries that pop up on occasion when we happen to take notice. As mentioned a few days ago, we’ve loved David Attenborough’s documentaries but, there are numerous documentaries about life in Australia, the Outback, and travel around the continent.

Many of these shows we’ve stumbled upon have inspired us to visit various beaches, book more Australian cruises, and consider returning to Australia during the gaps in our itinerary as shown in yesterday’s post. 

Mountains and the sea are a perfect combination here in Trinity Beach.

The Australian documentaries are beautifully produced and give the viewer an appealing perspective of this vast relatively low populated continent. With its 23.5 million residents (2014) and size comparable to the US with its 319 million (2014), Australia relatively unpopulated for its size with most of the population residing near the perimeters closest to the sea.

Watching an occasional documentary has inspired us in many ways to further appreciate this unique continent.  I supposed we could say that most continents we’ve visited thus far are unique in their own ways for their terrain, lifestyle, and of course, their people. 

The beauty of the sunrise wafts away.  The beauty of a new day just begins.

Yesterday, we took a drive with more good photos to share over the next few days. Tomorrow morning, we’re off to Tom’s medical appointment and my final test results. Since he won’t be able to have breakfast before we leave due to upcoming blood tests, we plan to go out for coffee and breakfast in Trinity Beach by the sea, weather permitting. Photos will follow.

The dawn of a new day.  We’re grateful for every day we’ve been given.

For today, we couldn’t resist posting these sunrise photos Tom took this morning when getting up before 6 am.  I heard him go outdoors and I followed shortly but by the time I got outside, the amazing sky had begun to wane. The more intense photos shown here today are his and mine are the less than vibrant batch. 

Have a lovely Saturday or Sunday, wherever you may be!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, July 19, 2014:

While in Madeira one year ago, we visited one of the other rental homes owned by our landlords, Gina and Carlos. As we toured the beautiful house, our eyes were glued to the many works of art on the walls including this above needlepoint made by Gina’s mother and aunt. As a result, we posted photos of many of these works which can be found by clicking here.