First earthquake in Queensland in almost 100 years…5.7 magnitude…Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas photos…One year ago Paris photos…

Most of the beaches in Queensland are sandy.

Queensland is a large state. A 5.7 earthquake rattled the eastern coast of Australia near Frazer island, only after another quake of 5.3 magnitude hit the same area a few days earlier.

There’s no doubt that walking and biking enthusiasts would want to tackle the entire distance of the Four Mile Beach, the beginning shown here.  No thanks.

Geoscience Australia stated the earthquake stuck 119km northeast of Rainbow Beach at a depth of 10km at around 1:38 pm (AEST). This was apparently the strongest earthquake to hit Queensland since 1918 and is reported to be 10 to 20 times stronger than Thursday quake.

The sand at the beach is as fine and soft as silk.

We’re not very close to this area. It’s a three-hour flight from Cairns to the island which includes a ferry ride, too far for us to feel the quake. But, the news is abuzz with constant reporting on this unusual event.

As we entered Four Mile Beach.

We can’t help but pay attention to these natural events as we travel the world. Recently, we’ve paid special attention to the eruption of Mount Raung in Bali, which closed the airports off and on for weeks as it continued to erupt. This could easily affect us in our two future trips to Bali.

The views at the Four Mile Beach are breathtaking, as are most beaches we’ve seen throughout the world.

How ironic is it, that we’ll have been living on two islands with erupting volcanoes, far apart from one another 16 months apart?  Visiting Mount Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii was an extraordinary experience, especially when our family was with us witnessing this once in a lifetime experience together. Well, maybe seeing lava won’t be a once in a lifetime experience for us after all with Bail in near future plans.

Now that we’re not worried at all as compared to how worried we were a year ago when the lava could have overtaken the area in which we booked the two houses for our family visit last Christmas in Pahoa on the Big Island. That was quite a worrisome event. 

We took this photo the night we visited Mount Kilauea, which we visited with family in late December 2014. For more of our volcano photos, please click here.

Where would we have put 14 of us last minute in Hawaii over Christmas? Thank goodness it all worked out when the lava took a turn the last several weeks and our location was off the high-risk list.

This morning the news is reporting about last year’s horrific crash of MH370 Malaysia Airlines and finding a part of the plane on Reunion Island. Neither of us had heard of Reunion Island until we lived in South Africa. 

Tom lounging on the veranda at African Reunion House, where we lived for several weeks while in South Africa, thanks to our hosts, Louise and Dani.  For more details on this house, please click here.

At that time, we stayed in the above fabulous house managed by Louise and Dani, Reunion House, aptly named after the owner’s home base on Reunion Island. We pray that the balance of the wreckage is found to bring a little peace to those who lost loved ones in the awful crash.

On the return drive, we stopped to take photos of the end of the Four Mile Beach.

Oh, the world is filled with disasters and bad news. Sometimes I wish we’d stop watching the news which even in Australia keeps up updated on what’s going on in the US and all over the world. At the moment, on the Sunday morning news, we continue to hear about the tragic killing of Cecil, the lion which continues to dominate the news. 

It is a small world. The more we travel, the more connection we feel to many parts of the world when only three years ago we were preparing to explore as we prepared to venture into the unknown.

In no time at all, as we drove back from Port Douglas we were able to see Double Island once again.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to walk the garbage and recycling down the very steep road to the bin rather than wait until we’d go out again, which is many times per week. Once we arrived at the road and placed the trash in the appropriate bins, we decided to take a walk on the road.

A few ambitious fishermen.

Looking to the left, we saw a huge steep hill, and then, looking to the right, we spotted another huge steep hill.  We opted for the right. Forty-five minutes later after walking up and down the hills in the hot sun, we were ready to tackle the huge hill back up to the house.

Although we walk a lot, mostly out and about at various points of interest, we don’t walk with athleticism in mind. (Tom doesn’t like going for walks although occasionally, he’ll humor me as in yesterday’s vigorous walk). By the time we reached our challenging driveway, we were ready to tackle it, and up and up we went. Surprisingly, we weren’t puffing as much as in the past. 

We stopped to take photos from a high point on the return drive from Port Douglas.

Perhaps, our walks and my working out again has contributed to our improved stamina. Perhaps, peace of mind over our good health reports has enhanced Tom’s enthusiasm to walk a little more often. We shall see how that rolls out.

Tom with the Four Mile Beach behind him. Gee, look how slim he is after eating homemade meals this past almost two months.
Me with the Four Mile Beach in the background.

Today, we’re staying put, making a Sunday dinner of bacon-wrapped hard-boiled egg stuffed meatloaf, a crust free mushroom quiche, green beans, and salad on the side. As soon as I’ve uploaded today’s post I’ll be making my way to the kitchen to begin preparing the food.

Have a great Saturday and Sunday, wherever you may be.

                                               Photo from one year ago today, August 2, 2014:
We arrived in Paris on August 1st and posted a few posts with the same date. Here is the first video we took in Paris at 10 pm the night we arrived. What a sight! What an experience! It was hard to believe we were in Paris. Click here for more Paris photos. 
My pockets were jammed with my stuff when carrying a wallet, phone, or camera in Paris is subject to pickpockets. We were at the City of Architecture in Paris as we walked for hours on August 2nd. Click here for more photos.

Tom on the steps of the City of Architecture and Heritage as we continued on our 5 miles, 8km walk that day.

Kilauea lava flow heading toward the vacation homes we booked for our family vacation…Cause for concern…A year ago…A meal in the bush with wild animals surrounding us…

October 8, 2014 - small scale lava flow map
By drawing a straight line to the ocean from the current northeast flow of the lava to the darkened rectangular area on the coastline, this is the area where the two houses, next door to one another are located. This is a current map from the National Park Service.

When the lava from the Kilauea volcano on Big Island changed directions on June 27th and lava began to flow toward the village where the two houses are located that we rented for the holidays with our family, of course, we were very concerned.

When the varying daily lava flows slowly worked its way to the ocean near the two houses, we started following updates on a variety of websites including the National Park Service and United States Geological Service. 

The current narrow lava flows from Kilauea heading to the northeast. (Not our photo.)

Maps on both of these sites indicate that the lava is flowing to the neighborhood where the houses we’ve rented are located.
With poor WiFi signals on the past two ships, we were frustrated and worried over the almost month at sea. It wasn’t until we arrived in Honolulu on October 5th, that we had a strong signal and more than anything, have been able to get daily updates on the activity of the flow on the local news.

The two vacation rental houses are in the village of Pahoa as shown in the upper right of this map.  (Not our photo).  Please click here for notes from a meeting held in Pahoa in the Puna District on Friday evening with professionals on hand to discuss the status of the lava flow.

Why didn’t we post our concern? We didn’t want to alarm our family, many of whom read our daily posts until we had more information. 

Our biggest concerns have been as follows:
1.  The lava flow could wipe out the houses or we’d have to evacuate while in the houses.  (The lava flow is 100’s of feet per day at most providing ample time if evacuation is necessary).
2.  The road to the houses would be inaccessible when we arrive or are ready to depart
3.  We’d have to find another house large enough for our family that is still available for the Christmas holiday, a difficult proposition or, hotel rooms if necessary.

Thermal image of the lava flow.  (Not our photo).

As of this point with $1000’s paid in deposits and airline tickets, the owners of the two houses aren’t prepared to return our deposits until more is known over the next few weeks. The lava flow is difficult to predict. 

Last night an announcement was made on the local news that an emergency access road is in the works and will be completed in 45 to 60 days. This fact provided us with considerable relief. But, until we know the final course as the lava flows to the sea, we will stay on alert, prepared to make alternate plans as quickly as possible.

A view into one of the skylights of the lava tube supplying lava to the June 27th lava flow.” (Not our photo).

Everything we’ve heard and read is that the flow will make it to the main road two weeks from now, giving us time to make backup plans. It won’t be an easy task although we have no doubt that we’ll figure it out.

Obviously, our first concern is the safety of our family and secondly, to provide a worry-free environment in which we all can enjoy our precious time together.

Hawaii in general is a geological hot spot. The islands were created millions of years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions beneath the sea. Earthquakes are common on all of the islands. Please see this article for detailed information on the formation of the islands. Each of the islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago maintains active and currently inactive volcanoes as indicated in this article.

We’ve had “safari luck” in our travels, safety being the number one priority. We can only hope and pray that “safari luck” continues and soon, we can put the worries behind us to enjoy an amazing experience with our family.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, October 12, 2013:

A specially made breakfast was prepared for our safari group of six, with our guide Anderson happily preparing our table. We were excited to experience our first meal in the bush, the wild animals all around us in the Maasai Mara. What a glorious experience!  For details, please click here.