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Showing posts from 2019

Pecha Kucha Night - 51° 05' 23" N 115° 21' 46"

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Storytelling is an artform I've always wished I was better at.  We have just returned from Pecha Kucha Night at Artspace and I have been dazzled by the stories I've just heard.  Pecha Kucha is a form of storytelling where you have twenty photos (or slides) that you use as visual aids.  Each slide is presented for twenty seconds, one after the other, and you have to speak to the group as they appear.  You can't pause the forward march of the pictures, nor can you jump ahead to the next one if you can't speak to one for the full twenty seconds.  At a Pecha Kucha event, there are usually six to eight presenters and they have all been given a theme to present on. Tonight's theme was "What If ...".  One of the tales was from a woman in her mid-twenties who had been abruptly dumped out of a relationship in which her partner had convinced her to move to Canmore with him, even though she knew no one in the town or what she was going to do for employment.

Quarry Lake - 51° 04' 49" N 115° 22' 30" W

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Well that was chilly!  What a great cure for jetlag - run 5km in -12°C! Jumping straight back into it with a Monday night Run Club run.

Out West - Drought and blowies - 32° 24' 17"S 148° 25' 38" E

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Winter in these parts is the season when the rain falls and the crops grow.  Spring is when the crops are harvested, hay is cut and the livestock is chubby.  Except when the region is in drought. And this is what drought looks like... Topsoil blowing in the wind turning the clouds pink This drought in NSW started in 2017. This year is the third growing season in drought conditions.  This does not just affect the farmers but also the business owners in the towns, the price of grains and meat in the supermarkets and even Australia's trade balance. This crop should be long and green and almost ready to harvest Australia is no stranger to drought, it is dealt with in our folklore and our most famous poem (My Country by Dorothea Mackellar - see bottom of post) but it is always devastating to witness. Pasture?  How can a sheep get fat on that? The other joy of being in the drought-affected West are the blowies.  Don't fall over in horror - the blowie in Australia

Parkes - 33° 08' 27" S 148° 10' 17" E

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Since watching the movie 'The Dish" , Sean has wanted to visit so with some time on our hands and the use of Craig's fully tricked-out Hilux, we headed west almost 400km to Parkes. The Dish is more correctly known as CSIRO's (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Parkes radio telescope. It is a 64m diameter parabolic dish used for radio astronomy. Basically it detects radio waves from objects in space and with some rather clever processing, turns these into images of the objects. CSIRO"S Parkes radio telescope At times, it is also contracted to NASA and ESA to receive signals from their space craft - Mariner II, IV, Apollo 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, Voyager II, Galileo, Giotto, Huygens...  It was the 1969 Apollo 11 mission with Parkes the prime receiving station, that is the subject of the movie. Although it did deviate from reality just a wee little bit. It moved to its 'stowed' position when we were there as the winds  w

Southport - 27° 58' 25" S 153° 25' 36" E

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Eulogy to a Yellow Dinghy After 10,000 nautical miles together and many grand adventures, we bid farewell to The Yellow Dinghy.  Her time had come.  Her slow leaks that required re-inflating each day had developed into terminal perforations, requiring a re-inflate every hour.  We took her to the dinghy repair place and the prognosis was not good.  Her glue is failing, her seams are no longer airtight; she is simply too unsafe. Oh faithful yellow rubber run-about, you took us to the shore through calm and storm.  Onshore, left unattended, you entertained gaggles of squealing children of many nationalities ... some who had never seen a boat made of anything but wood. Hours of fun for Indonesian Children! You helped us cart hundreds of litres of diesel and diesel-like fluid (measured in Indo-litres) back to Popeye to help us carry on through the tropics.  You bounced along happily behind Popeye across the tropics and the equator (!!!), waiting to serve.  You faithfully held On

Tongue Bay – 20° 14’ 19” S 149° 00’ 55” E

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This is not The Whitsundays at their sparkling best!   As predicted, the wind has swung around to the southeast and in true trade wind style, is blowing 20+ knots.   The wind has brought with it smoke from the bush fires further south and we are blanketed in a pinky-hued smog. We are so pleased to be snug on a mooring and not bashing into it!   We are having a recovery day - stowing the race gear to turn Popeye back into a cruising boat, cleaning, cooking and reading while the wind whistles and the boat bounces on the mooring.   We are chasing down all the noises, squeaks and rattles that disturb the ambiance by tightening halyards, lashing lines and liberally spraying WD40. And…  Sean has mastered the art of sourdough á la Popeye!

The Coral Sea – somewhere off Cape Bowling Green – 19° 16.974’S 147° 24.286’E

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Last time we headed south through these waters, we were bashing into 20-30kn Trade Winds that kicked up the seas to a sporty 2.5m.   Popeye fell off waves, her flat bottom slapping and jarring our bodies and souls.   Our progress was a slow 4kn, it was night and our journey seemed endless. Today we are skipping along on a flat, sparkling, turquoise sea under a cloudless blue sky.   We have 1-2 knots of wind gusting to a mighty 4 knots.   There are whales spouting and breaching in the distance and flying fish skimming across the water.    Other than having to motor, it is idyllic. Oh may the winds always be fair – and in the right direction!

Magnetic Island – 19° 09’ 45” S 146° 50” 43” E

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Off the coast of Townsville in Far North Queensland, Magnetic Island is so called because of a magnetic anomaly in his compass as Captain Cook sailed by.   It has quaintness, charm and retains that backpacker feel that is lacking in some of the more southerly islands where tourism is sleek and shiny. The island is a rugged continental island of weathered granite.   Wildlife is abundant with wallabies, koalas, kookaburras, curlew and all our favourite colourful parrots.   Hoop pine and xxx grown up between the rocks.   The beaches are yellow sand and the water sparkling turquoise. During WWII, Magnetic was fortified and was home to several gun displacements. The remains of these can be hiked to and clambered around.   We rented a house that was an oasis.   A swimming pool tucked away in a gorgeous tropical setting.   Big sliding doors, open decks and even an open bathroom looking over rainforest and the pool. Great sailing in glorious conditions (and look at al

Mt. Assiniboine - 50° 54' 27" N 115° 37' 08" W

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Kate and I have a reputation as social aggregators and after this week, it would be harder to deny. The Australian relatives have arrived - Gabby and Graham for another, longer summer visit and sister Wendy and her husband, Graeme, who have come for their first summer experience in Canada.  Part of the premium tour package of the Canadian Rockies that we include is a favourite hideaway called the Naiset Huts at the foot of Mt. Assiniboine.  We've been there before and for those jaded by throngs of summer tourists, it is a perfect panacea.   Considering that we had a few injured at the start of the three day visit to Naiset Huts, we decided to 'chopper in, rather than hike the 26 kilometres.  The rellies were suitably impressed by both the ride in and the afternoon hike we did after arriving.  The weather cooperated on the first day, presenting a few fluffy clouds to punctuate the blue sky and rugged peaks we were surrounded by.  We lunched atop the Niblet, looking dow