"" Writer's Wanderings: 2020

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Holiday Sale!! 99 Cents!

Three of my Kindle editions are on sale beginning July 4 for 99 cents . Here are the titles and links:



Ginnie Scott looked forward to the beginning of a new life in Fort Lonesome. She felt a new sense of freedom leaving behind the parents she had so deeply disappointed. She was starting fresh as a preschool teacher where no one knew her past. Little did she expect that the past would catch up with her.
Grant Richards’ life has been through some deep valleys. Just as he thought his heart might mend from the loss of his wife, Becca, he has to cope with his daughter’s perilous brain tumor. Then Bonnie’s new preschool teacher arrives to throw his life into more turmoil. Is she Becca’s ghost? The resemblance is uncanny.
Martin Westfall ruined Ginnie’s life with his rash promises and failures to fulfil them. He’s found her again and this time he won’t let anything come between them, not even a little girl and her cowboy father.
Fort Lonesome, Florida, is classified as a ghost town but the only ghosts in town are the ghosts of the past that come into Grant and Ginnie’s lives. Will those ghosts bring the two together? Possibly, but only if they can overcome their fears and find the hope they need for the future.


Annie Pickels, a 65 year old widowed pickle entrepreneur is in real trouble. One of her city farmers is growing marijuana on his rented plot of land. Annie, thinking it is marjoram, uses it as a secret ingredient in her pickles. 

Insisting Tommy is a nice young man, Annie discovers his beloved Mary Jane is not the name of his girlfriend when Annie is arrested for cultivation and sale of marijuana. But Annie knows God always takes care of her. On a cruise aboard the Queen Mary 2, Annie met Arnie, the man who may solve her impending legal dilemma.

Elma, Annie's best friend, knows that Arnie is just what Annie needs in her life. But is he? Annie's niece thinks Arnie is out to fleece her aunt. Is she right? Or is Arnie the one who can get Annie out of the pickle she's in?


Annie Pickels, a widowed pickle entrepreneur, and her best friend Elma are off to London for a little holiday. While in London things are happening back home that threaten to cause the loss of Annie’s farm property. Once again she will rely on Arnie, her friend who is a lawyer but who wants to be so much more in her life, to help her out of trouble. A trip to Alaska and a meeting with her deceased husband’s family solves some of her problems but there are still questions to be answered. How far will the people who want her property go to get it? And, is there room in her heart for Arnie, the one Elma keeps telling her is the “man of her dreams”? It’s a dilly of a pickle Annie finds herself in but with friends, family and faith the answers become clear.

The 99 cent sale is good until July 11. To see all my books, go to my author page: Karen Robbins, Author

Thursday, July 02, 2020

1996--Our Amazing Fall Road Trip

Fall colors in Northeast Ohio are spectacular in the perfect Autumn weather. We had always heard though that the fall foliage in the New England area were the best. In the Fall of 1996, we decided to see for ourselves. We weren't disappointed.

Our trip began with a flight to Connecticut as best we can recall since our first stop was in Mystic. The Mystic Seaport Museum has quite a few historic ships moored there and we explored several. I remember it being a quaint town but that was back in 1996. Hard to say if it is still the picturesque place I remember.

From there we drove north through Boston and up to Salem. Of course how could you visit Salem without exploring all the history behind the infamous Salem witch trials. For some reason, I was surprised to discover that Salem was also home to the House of Seven Gables, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the same name. I had no idea that it was an actual place.

Acadia National Park was a little more than a four and a half hour drive. I believe we stayed in Bar Harbor but again, I did not take good notes and I've lost my initial planning for the trip. The park was beautiful and the surrounding seaside was fun to explore. We took a whale watching tour where we sighted a few whales but the season for seeing the really big whales was over by then. They had headed south for better food prospects for the winter. 

I have a picture that appears to be a huge Maine clambake of sorts with lobster. I don't remember that but I do remember a very nice dinner in a restaurant that was on a dock where we could look down and watch the lobster boats come in and unload their catch. Needless to say, the lobster was really fresh.

We also made a stop in Kennebunkport after driving past the Bush compound. In town, we treated ourselves to a lobster roll. By the time we had left Maine, we'd had quite a lot of lobster. 

From Bar Harbor we turned west and began our journey through the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. The weather was a bit misty and rainy but I was amazed at how brilliant the colors of the leaves were--mostly gold but even in the cloudy and rainy day they stood out. We began to see signs warming of moose crossing. We didn't see any but when we stopped for the night, we heard stories about them.

Vermont is where I believe we found the covered bridges I have pictures of. Of course we made a stop at Ben and Jerry's which was interesting and amusing. Vermont was very beautiful and the Burlington area was a nice place to stay for a bit.

Burlington was our "turnaround point". We headed southeast again to the place we'd started to turn in our car and fly home. As I recall, the trip back to the airport was not quite as picturesque. I think we went through more populated areas. 

All in all, it was a great trip but I think in any given year, our Fall foliage in Ohio is as pretty as anywhere else.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Bits N Pieces


There have been so many surprises and discoveries I've had during my COVID cleaning spree. There have been paper manuscripts I had forgotten about and an unusual number of little notebooks, most of which I used on travel adventures to record the things we saw. I was better at the journaling some times better than others. 

One little notebook I found tucked way in the back of a shelf in a cupboard I was cleaning out in out den was a definite surprise. It was was in the back and I mean WAY BACK. These shelves were not as well thought out as they should have been when we had them built. I got the ladder and reached in, then sat down and leafed through it. It was full of little gems that I'd copied from somewhere along the journey. Here they are. Enjoy!

  • Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image
  • If you must cry over spilled mile, please try to condense it.
  • Hug your kids at home. Belt them in the car.
  • Tact is the ability to see others as they wish to be seen
  • We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
  • You can't direct the wind but you can adjust your sails.
  • A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.
  • Kindness is a language deaf people can hear and the blind can see.
  • If you can laugh at it then you can live with it.
  • Live as you wish your kid would.
  • Forbidden fruit is responsible for many a bad jam.
  • Birds have bills too but they keep on singing.
There are a lot of good memes in there.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Going To The Keys? Pack a Mask!

We left Key Largo just before they completely closed the Keys off to visitors in March. The residents of Monroe County were calling for that to happen and had protesters at the bridge into Key Largo (the entry to the Keys) telling visitors to turn around. Things were beginning to shut down and we decided to leave a little earlier than we'd planned as we weren't sure of what we would encounter on our drive home.

While in Key Largo we enjoy worshiping at First Baptist Church Key Largo. They have been live streaming for a few years now so it was probably a little easier to slip into virtual church for them. We have gotten into the habit of watching them just before we join our home church's live stream. Recently we were surprised to see everyone in the praise team as well as the pastor with a mask on. What had changed, we wondered?

Monroe County legislated masks. The new law requires masks to be worn anywhere in public there is a roof overhead and what's more, there is a $500 fine for not wearing one. These people are serious about protecting their community. 

If you would like to read the whole thing, it's here at the Monroe County COVID-19 Information page

The penalties are described in the ordinance which you can read at this link: Monroe County Face Mask 

The ordinance is in effect through June 2021 and will be reviewed quarterly should conditions in the spread of COVID improve. 

With COVID cases spiking once again, and especially in states like Florida, I wonder if more communities will respond in similar manner. Obviously with the opening of so many venues and businesses, large gatherings are becoming more frequent and from what we have observed just in our local shopping malls, the youngsters (I use that term loosely) are not taking precautions, either with masks or distancing. Who knows what the future will hold?


Friday, June 26, 2020

Cruising After COVID

The dreaded Norovirus has caused cruise lines to come up with a protocol for cleansing and treating ships so that the next bunch of passengers can cruise safely. Some of the things we have experienced after an outbreak on ships are no serving yourself in the buffet, even to get drinks, no library books, and staff squirting sanitizer into your hands more often. Many times they will have someone standing at the drink stations the first few days to serve so you don't touch the common touchpoints. 

Of course, hand sanitizer has always been a big part of keeping passengers healthy. I remember an incident on the QM2 where the attendant would not give me a tray until I sanitized my hands--again--because she hadn't seen me do it the first time. 

Now we have COVID-19 and while cruise lines are still not operating and cruises are canceled mostly through October, I can't help but wonder what precautions will be in place when we start cruising again.  We have a cruise planned for 2022 and hopefully this will all be past history with a vaccine in place but I wonder if we will have to present proof of vaccination before boarding. There has always been a health form to fill out but who is going to say they had a cough or fever and forego the cruise they have paid for? 

Will we have to wear a mask? Perhaps some social distancing? I wonder if the number of passengers will be reduced for a time? I'm guessing there may be a natural reduction in passengers simply because many will be a bit leary of cruising after all the stories of those caught in the COVID mess and certainly those who have never cruised before may not be willing to start anytime soon.

From what I've read, cruise lines are hard at work coming up with new ideas to assure passengers of the safety of cruising. The problem is that so much of the preparation depends on knowing the facts about the virus and those facts seem to change as more and more is learned. While patience has never been my strong suit, I will not begin to panic until we get closer to our World Cruise date. By then this too, hopefully, will have passed.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Remembering The Cayman Diving Lodge

It wasn't long after we were certified as scuba divers that we took our first dive trip. Unfortunately I didn't date my pictures but the year was 1998 because earlier that year was when we became official divers. One of the things that was stressed in our dive course was that we should always take care of our own equipment. We arrived at the Cayman Diving Lodge, East End, and the first thing they told us was to set our rental equipment out at our door so they could take it down to the boat in the morning. What we didn't realize was that they would set it up for us. They took care of it for our whole stay.

Our dives were spectacular. The dive lodge was a bit rustic. We returned for several years in a row. We enjoyed the room at the front with a view but sometimes there was a sewer smell in the shower. We solved it by putting something over the drain when we didn't use it. 

Meals were included and were excellent. There was no TV in the rooms but there was a common area where we ate that had a TV at the bar. More often than not though we would sit and watch dive video from our day's dives on the TV. 

The Diving Lodge dogs were a favorite part of everyone's day. Upon our return from diving, they would greet us at the dock. There was a story that one of the dogs went out with the divers one morning and then decided he'd had enough. He jumped in the water and started swimming toward shore. When it was discovered he was gone, everyone thought he was lost at sea. Late that afternoon he showed up in time to greet the divers on their return from the afternoon dives.

One of my favorite non-diving memories was laying on the dock one clear warm night. We were just enjoying the relaxing slight breeze and the sparkling stars. Suddenly on of those stars streaked across the sky. We both blinked and looked at each other. Did we really see what we thought we saw? We continued to watch and were rewarded with several sightings of shooting stars. Now I realize we were there during the Perseids Meteor Shower. 

In 2001, we had planned a dive trip for our anniversary in September. Our first grandchild was due in late October or early November. We felt safe in following through with our plans. After all, first babies always came late. Right? Wrong. He decided to come early.  On the day of our anniversary, we came in from our morning dive to find the office girl running down to the boat, shouting our names. There was an email and a picture (all this before cell phones and Facetime). Postscript: That grandchild has been diving with us since he turned 11.

Unfortunately the Diving Lodge was destroyed when Hurricane Ivan devastated the Cayman Islands in 2004. We sadly passed the ruins as we headed to a new dive operation--Ocean Frontiers. While there was a great effort to try to rebuild, the Diving Lodge could never recover and eventually the property went up for sale. The three large palm trees still stand there marking the spot where so many enjoyed terrific diving experiences and the fellowship of fellow divers. Many divers fondly remember the Diving Lodge and occasionally great dive stories are shared.


Tuesday, June 23, 2020

April, 1999--Diving Chub Cay


This was a diving adventure to remember. Chub Cay is an island in the Bahamas situated between Grand Bahama Island to the northwest and Nassau to the southeast. It is a tiny island and in 1999, did not have a whole lot on it. From what I could see online, the island amenities have vastly improved since then.

There was a small airport that we flew into and were picked up by the dive operator who took us to our accommodations. The motel was something out of the 50s. We were given one set of towels each to take to our room. I don't remember a whole lot about the room but it certainly wasn't the Hilton. I'm not sure it was even the Motel 6. But we were there to dive and dive we did.

There was only one dive master. He mentioned at the beginning that he had just taken over the operation from another guy. We didn't realize how significant that would be until a couple of days later. The first day we were the only divers but a group of divers joined us the next day or two. We wondered why our dive operator/dive master was having such a difficult time finding some of the dive sites. Eventually he explained.

The new operator had taken over in a bad situation where apparently the former person in charge left on disagreeable terms and had cut some of the moorings loose. We still seemed to find enough to satisfy our diving experience and didn't think a lot of it until one afternoon dive that was unforgettable for how it ended.

At the end of a dive, you are usually getting low on air, getting tired and are looking forward to some surface time to recoop. We had joined in with the group of divers who had their own dive master. It's possible she had just certified them as well. I don't recall it being a terribly experienced group and of course, neither were we at that point. We kind of all came up together from where the mooring pin was at the bottom anchored into the coral. To our shock, our dive boat was gone!

The dive master from the group yelled to all of us to inflate our vests and gather together. There was a moderate amount of boat traffic in the area and she didn't want any of us to get hit. As a group we stood out and even more so when she inflated the "sausage" she had in her vest. (A safety sausage is a tubular inflatable that is about four feet long and very bright. Held vertically, it alerts other boats of divers in the water.) 

It took a few minutes but eventually someone saw that our boat had drifted quite a way from us and we could see someone jumping into the water. We had no idea what the problem was and continued floating as a group and trying to stay together. Eventually our boat came back and we swam over to the ladder and boarded--all but one of us who had to be helped because he had gotten so tired out.

Onboard again, the dive master from the group really laid into the operator who apologized up and down. It turned out that this mooring rope hadn't been cut all the way through and when it broke, the rope wrapped around the prop. Luckily this day he had brought someone along to help him and between the two of them diving in and working on it, they had gotten it untangled and came back for us.

Our memories of that dive prompt us to always thank the dive masters on the boat for being there when we come up. Although it's never happened again, we learned that it isn't guaranteed.



Monday, June 22, 2020

Through My Lens--Hinckley Lake Loop Trail

Looking for things to do outdoors that can give us some exercise and get us out of our house, we decided to do the 3.1 mile trail around Hinckley Lake at the Hinckley Reservation, home of the buzzards that return each March.

 It was a great day. Warmish, no rain and the freshness of spring. I meant to keep track of how long it took us but I forgot to look at my watch. I'm guessing about an hour and a half, maybe a little more. We weren't concerned about time. 



Oh, and just a little reminder. Always check the battery on you camera before you tote it on your hike and discover halfway through that it's dead. Thank goodness for my iPhone camera.


















Wednesday, June 17, 2020

July, 1996--Diving, Snorkeling And A Trip to Hell

Before we became certified divers, we did quite a few resort dives. A resort dive includes thirty to forty-five minutes or so of instruction on some very basic things and especially a reminder to breathe. We booked our dive with Eden Rock Dive Center which was just at the other end of Georgetown. I remember that the dive master who gave us instruction was from either Denmark or Norway and told us some tales of diving through the ice--not something I would ever try but sounded fascinating.

After our instruction we waddled down some steps and into the water to explore the Eden Rock dive
site. The caverns were fun to explore and we ran into swarms of silver sides, little silver fish that appear in the grottos and caverns around the island in the summer. 

About halfway into the dive we spotted a plaque that was secured in the rock wall memorializing a diver. Of course you can't say anything under water but when we were topside, we asked about it. I had felt a little spooked because I thought maybe he had died there on a dive. I was assured he did not. It was just placed there because it was his favorite place to dive.

We also found a great spot to snorkel called Cemetery Beach. Back in the day, people would take Cheese Whiz into the water and release some to feed the fish. It is no longer allowed thankfully but the fish back then were really used to the snorkelers feeding them so much so that one fish actually nipped my knuckle. It was the first and only time I've been bitten by a fish.

Of course no trip to Grand Cayman would be complete without a trip to Hell. It's a little community,
very little, in West Bay but it has a post office. There are lava formations there but one of the best parts is the souvenir shop run by "the devil", a very wonderful man who dresses up in red horns and cape and greets everyone. The shop must have been closed (Hell is closed on Sunday) because I don't have any pictures of him for that trip. We did take our grandson the first year he went diving with us (he was 11). He bought a shirt that said "I've been to Hell and back, Grand Cayman" and modeled it for his parents with a big grin on his face when he got home.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

July, 1996

Continuing with some posts about past travel adventures before the digital age of cameras, our trip to Grand Cayman in 1996 included our first jet ski experience. It was my first and last. I did not enjoy it at all. Bob has since gone several times with our grandson and has had fun. Me? I'd rather hold their towels and wait for them on the shore.

The trip also included an excursion we booked with Captain Marvin. It included snorkeling, a look at the stingrays and lunch on a beach. The crew took us to an area where there were quite a few conchs. 

If you could hold your breath while snorkeling, you could dive down and grab a conch. We weren't too successful but others made up for us. 

The conchs were pulled onboard and Captain Marvin cleaned them and marinated the conch in his special marinade then when we were on our way to lunch, he served his special appetizer on crackers. I wasn't sure I was going to like it but the first taste hooked me. 

Our lunch was delicious and while we ate, the crew cleaned the shells so that we could take one with us if we wanted. 

Surprisingly, I looked to see if Captain Marvin was still operating. He was an older gentleman when we went with him and that was 24 years ago. The operation was taken over by his son and nephew. The last mention of Captain Marvin is of his 95th birthday in 2011. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

July, 1996--The Old Turtle Farm, Grand Cayman

In '96, we spent several days on a romantic getaway to 7 Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island. While there we took time to explore a bit and enjoy some of the activities in the area. One day we made the short trip to the turtle farm. 

I say it was a short trip because at the time, the farm was located right there near 7 Mile Beach. The turtle farm was originally established in 1968 as a means of raising turtles for commercial purposes. The intention was to supply the market without depleting the turtle population in the sea. When the US and many other countries banned the sale of turtle products, the original company went bankrupt. It was taken over by
another company and renamed the Cayman Turtle Center. While they had good intentions of investing profits to sea turtle protection and conservation. Eventually they floundered and the Cayman Government took over operating it as a private company. It continues to supply the local market with turtles and has continued the raising and releasing of sea turtles. In addition, it has become on the largest tourist attractions on the island.

In November 2001, Hurricane Michelle that passed near the island sent huge waves into the turtle farm that was near the shore and actually washed 600 lb. turtles out of their habitat. Islanders volunteered to rescue the turtles and many were recovered. It caused the turtle farm operation to move further inland which was a good thing because in 2004, Hurricane Ivan did major damage to the whole of the Cayman Islands and of course, the structures of the turtle farm. No turtles were lost though and now the facility has been remodeled and made into a beautiful place to visit and learn of turtles.

In our first visit though, the facility was pretty utilitarian--functional rather than aesthetic. Still, it was a wonderful introduction to a fascinating creature of the sea.

Friday, June 12, 2020

July, 1996--A Romantic Getaway

We must have stopped at Grand Cayman on one of our cruises and that enticed us to return. Bob booked us a room at the Westin on 7 Mile Beach, the long stretch of beach on the west side of the island where all the major hotels are located. It was one of the most romantic getaways we've ever had.

The room was amazing although the thing I remember most was the bathroom which was all done in pink marble. The hotel itself was absolutely beautiful with graceful arched walkways, an outdoor restaurant, and a spectacular view of the waters of the Caribbean. 

It was the first time we'd ever seen a swimming pool with a swim-up bar and stools in the water to sit on while you finished your drink. I do remember that there were sporadic rain clouds that would sweep across and drop just enough rain to scatter people from around the pool. We laughed as we stayed in the water. We were wet anyway and there was no lightening to cause alarm.

I can't remember what we had for dinner other than it was at a table with a view and must have been very good or I would have remembered a bad experience. What is etched in my mind is the walk we took afterward on the beach after the sun set. I remember removing my sandals and holding the skirt of my dress up a bit with one hand as I held Bob's with the other and walked at the water's edge. The moon glistened on the water and a warm gentle breeze blew my hair slightly. Sigh. Nice memory.

Still, romance or not there were more adventures to be had. . . 

[This was before the digital age so these are photos of my photos. Some better than others.]

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Afternoon Tea and Scones--Cunard's Best


I love scones! We were introduced to them on our first cruise on Cunard. During the COVID shutdown, many of the cruise lines have been sharing some of their best dishes, desserts, and beverages. Not long ago, Cunard shared their recipe for their signature scones. Of course nothing beats going to the Queen's Lounge, sitting at a white linen covered table with gleaming silverware and being served tea and scones by white gloved waiters. Oh, and then there's the background music, usually of a stringed quartet. Okay, so I'm craving a cruise.

Here is the link if you are interested: Cunard Scones  The link also includes a history of how afternoon tea began in the UK. It dates back to 1662!

By the way, there is a scones mix found usually in the aisle with the pancake mixes (available locally at Heinen's) that I've made. I'm a lazy cook. I admit it. The mix is not as good but I can make a smaller amount with it since I'm only serving two of us--and not wearing white gloves.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

July 15 & 16, 1992--Townsville's Aquarium and A Goodbye

Rob's drom at JCU
[Sending your kids off to college is difficult enough but having to let Rob go halfway around the world shortly after was even more nerve-wracking. At least this trip with him made me feel better about where he was and how he was doing. My kids will soon begin to understand the feeling as their children begin to spread their wings.]

Wednesday, July 15, 1992

               The Townsville aquarium is world famous. A huge facility. We explore the small tanks on exhibit and then enter the large acrylic tube that divides the huge tank of sharks from the tank of smaller reef fish. As awesome as the aquarium is, the colors are still diminished from those we saw when snorkeling and diving on the reef. But it is thrilling to have the sharks swim up to you at eye level as you pass by the tank.

              Sadly, it is time to leave Rob at James Cook University and drive back through the sugar cane fields to Cairns.

Sunset from above the clouds

Thursday, July 16, 1992 

          Usually after a long vacation, it feels good to be going home. This is the first time I truly feel sad. There is so much more of Australia to explore. We comfort each other with a promise to return to the Land Down Under. Australia will be a special part of our lives forever.

[And return we have. Several times as a stopover to Papua New Guinea for diving, another long trip around the country and out to the west coast and several stops during cruises. Always a favorite part of our world.]

Monday, June 08, 2020

July 14, 1992--Magnetic Island

[Magnetic Island is named "magnetic" because as James Cook was passing by his compass was affected. There have been lots of studies done to determine what may have caused it but nothing was determined. The island adventure though remains my most fascinating encounter with butterflies.]

Tuesday, July 14, 1992

               Magnetic Island, just off the shore from Townsville, should be renamed Butterfly Island.

Brilliant blue butterflies are everywhere as thick as clusters of gnats. It reminds me of a Disney film where the butterflies flutter around the heroine.

              The sea is too rough to be able to snorkel. We tour the island instead in a rented Suzuki jeep. Along one trail we explore, Rob tells us to look up from the path. In a tree just above our heads is a koala.

Not quite as pretty as the ones that are well fed and groomed at the wildlife park.

              Low tide gives an opportunity to explore the exposed beach and rocks. Little tidal pools offer interesting activity with blue crabs and small fish. We watch boat owners whose sailboats have now rested in the sand, hulls exposed, scrape accumulations of growth from the ocean off of the wooden hulls.

[We didn't know Australia had an open policy on nudity on the beaches. There wasn't a lot but the example of it here took me by surprise when a guy came strutting out of the water and I realized there wasn't even a Speedo. All of us kept our eyes straight ahead.}

Friday, June 05, 2020

July 13, 1992--James Cook University

Eucalyptus trees
[Australian food was good. We had a wonderful seafood buffet at Dunk Island (which included "bugs"--a type of crab), enjoyed meat pies, and Bob especially liked the large slice of beet that they added to their hamburgers. Rob had complained that Townsville "rolled up the sidewalks" after 6PM and there wasn't much to do. He managed to fill in the gap by finding a slot in the local radio station programming and DJed some Christian music. All part of building to his calling of starting CALLFM in Florida.]

Monday, July 13, 1992

              

Even though a misty rain is still falling, I feel sad leaving our island paradise. Now in a rental car again, we stop in Ingham for lunch. Rob insists we try a meat pie. He’s grown fond of the meat filled biscuit-like sandwich.

             Skies clear as we near Townsville and the James Cook University. Rob takes us on a quick tour of the campus which has quite a smell of eucalyptus from all the trees in the center of campus.


We get to see his dorm. His room is screened but there are little lizards that manage to invade. He tells us he throws a book down on the floor to scatter them before he gets out of bed at night. 

Down the hall we see the community bathroom. It’s a co-ed dorm and a little distracting for him to have a pretty girl brushing her teeth in the sink next to him (or so he tells us).     

Rob directs us to Castle Hill in the center of town where we watch another picture postcard sunset.

[The sunset picture is not from Castle Hill. I think it is from Dunk Island but just a sample of the glorious Australian sunsets.]

Thursday, June 04, 2020

July 12, 1992==Hiking Dunk Island

[I would love to return to Dunk Island but I am sure it would not be the same 28 years later. Sometimes it's better to just keep the memories. There have been other places we've returned to and found them not as wonderful as we thought on the first visit. I think maybe the joy of discovery in new places and things can't be revisited.]

Sunday, July 12, 1992

               Into every vacation, a little rain must fall. It makes our hike through the rest of the island’s rainforest a little eerie. The restaurant has packed

us a picnic and we stop by one of the beaches to eat when the misty rain has subsided. The rest of our hike shows us huge vines traveling up into the canopy above us out of sight. The roots above the ground at the base of the trees have a distinct right angle. We have been told that the Aborigines make their boomerangs from these roots.

              Large nests made of mulch from the forest floor rise 6-8 feet high. They are built by wild turkeys that we occasionally see scuffling through the trees. The heat generated by the decaying mulch keeps the unattended eggs warm.

              We keep an eye out for cockatoos and parrots but hear more than we see. The rain gets heavier as we return. 

Our entertainment for the afternoon is provided by a peacock that almost struts right inside our room.


Wednesday, June 03, 2020

July 11, 1992--Visiting The Great Barrier Reef

[Okay. This is where it all started. We blame our son, Rob.

We fell in love with scuba diving--well Bob did, enough to get me to try it a couple months later and we were both hooked. We went on to get certified and have been diving ever since.]

Saturday July 11, 1992

               This is it. Our trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We board the Catamaran for the forty-five minute trip to the cay. After a short explanation of time schedules, Bob and Rob head for the scuba diving boat. Bob has signed up for a $50 introductory dive (I am not as brave) and Rob will dive with the certified divers.

              Before I get my snorkeling gear, I take advantage of the semi-submersible observation boat they offer. Huge fish look in on us through the windows as we wait for the captain to start our trip. The sights through our windows are spectacular even though the captain tells us the color will be better when we’re snorkeling.

              Someone shouts that there are three squid on the right side. All heads turn. We pass over different types of coral. Some look like dense jungle growth. Others resemble shelves and mushrooms, while still more look like giant brains. Hundreds of fish seem to make their home in this little area of the reef.

              Returning to the catamaran, I don the snorkel gear and lower myself into the large school of fish one of the crew is feeding by hand. To my amazement they do not touch my legs at all and seem to respect another body in the midst of them.

              A little ways from the catamaran, I begin to see the dense coral growth. Large parrot and butterfly fish in bright teals, yellows, purples, blues, and oranges swim under me. Many fish I don’t recognize but they are indescribably brilliant in color. I pass over a giant clam. It must be six feet across. The inside of it is like a neon network of fluorescent blue with patterns of teal, purple and white.             

I have never seen a picture or a film that has portrayed the colors under the sea as bright and stunning as they really are. I see my first blue starfish and it looks artificial because it is so blue. Large black sea urchins and cucumbers are among the various shapes and colors of the coral formations. And, tucked into the anemones, are a pair of clown fish, a little larger than our in the tank at home and seem even a brighter orange.

              After three hours on the reef and a nice lunch buffet, we return to Dunk Island. The evening is filled with entertainment from the staff. It is golden oldies night with appearances from the Blues Brothers, Louie Armstrong and yes, even Elvis.

 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...