Piña Colada Coming Right Up!

Garden Photography: July – The Edible Garden

I love the flavour of coconut – in cakes and cookies, macaroons and muffins and cool refreshing drinks.

This palm tree, laden with coconuts, leans out over the beach at Port Douglas in far north Queensland. If only I could grow one in my backyard!

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Visit Jude to see more enticing edible gardens.

At the Beach

Goin’ Cruising #5

Day Three – Airlie Beach

After a day at sea, we were excited to go ashore at the small coastal town of Airlie Beach, located in the Whitsunday Region of northern Queensland.

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Pacific Dawn anchored off shore and we boarded a little orange tender for the short journey to Abell Point Marina. Instead of going on a shuttle bus to town, we decided to take our time and stroll along the Bicentennial Walkway around the coast.

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The three kilometre track is in parts a wide cement path and in other places a boardwalk, skirting the hillside around the point and over the tumbled rocks of Shingley Beach. In one section a beautiful display of bougainvillea adorned the path, the long thorny branches draped over a wall and reaching out into the air above our heads.

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After an easy walk along the track, with stops to admire never-ending views of the Pacific Ocean, we came to the sparkling blue waters of Airlie Bay.

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The sandy beach lining the bay is narrow and, with box jellyfish living in the tropical waters from November to May, swimming is not advisable so a large man-made lagoon on the foreshore provides the perfect alternative. Even in the mild winter temperatures, children and tourists were enjoying the sunshine and the fresh, cool water of the swimming area.

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Beyond the lagoon the Airlie Beach Market was in full swing, with stalls selling local produce, tropical fruit and handmade crafts. We resisted temptation, stopping just to admire hats made from palm fronds and brightly coloured hand dyed sarongs. Instead of retracing our steps along the beachfront, we walked up the palm tree lined main street of the town before returning to the boardwalk and the marina.

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Back on Pacific Dawn in time for our afternoon departure, we farewelled Airlie Beach and sailed past the Whitsunday Islands, a group of 74 thickly rainforested and mostly uninhabited islands located between the mainland and the Great Barrier Reef. The islands were named by James Cook when he sailed by in 1770 on what he thought was Whit Sunday, without realising he had crossed what would one day become the International Date Line.

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I wondered, in the late afternoon sunshine, how Cook and his crew felt as they travelled through these uncharted waters. Were they as enthralled by the reflections of islands and clouds on the glassy ocean as we were?

The setting sun turned the ocean to liquid gold and shrouded the last of the Whitsunday Islands in a haze of darkened cloud, and we continued northwards into the night.

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Join Jo for more wonderful Monday Walks

Beautiful Bougainvillea

Bougainvilleas might be tough, thorny plants but, when planted together, they create a stunning display. They are native to South America and flourish in warm climates. Tiny white flowers are surrounded by the clusters of brightly coloured leaf bracts for which the plants are best known. I found these beautiful bougainvilleas draped over a wall in Airlie Beach.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Details

Walking, Whales and Trying to Win

Goin’ Cruising #4

Day Two – At Sea

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Day Two was a sea day, perfect for those seeking rest and relaxation. The ship continued north into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; with calm waters between the mainland and the reef it was smooth sailing.

Following breakfast at the Waterfront Restaurant, we went for an early morning stroll along Deck 7.

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We played Team Trivia in the Dome, Jeopardy in the Marquee Theatre and Name That Tune at the Promenade Bar. Despite our competitive natures and best efforts, we weren’t winners but we did have fun.

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After a buffet lunch at the Plantation Restaurant we walked again, this time around Deck 14 where the sun lounges and expansive ocean views beckoned.

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June marks the start of whale watching season along the southern Queensland coast, as Humpback Whales arrive after their annual migration from Antarctica. We scanned the ocean and eventually our persistence was rewarded. We saw whales in the distance, breaching and splashing as if they knew we were watching.

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Our sea day ended as it had begun in the Waterfront Restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious three course meal with entertainment provided by our handsome waiter Antonio. His repertoire of magic tricks would intrigue us all week long.

Mysteries Overhead

Goin’ Cruising #3

We spent much of our week on board Pacific Dawn looking down; at the delicious food we were served for each meal, at the rushing water as we sailed northwards, at the activities program when we planned each day’s fun.

But there was plenty to see overhead too.

We marvelled as the ship sailed under the double spans of the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges on the Brisbane River.

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We were excited to finally be on board, after a year of planning and anticipation.

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We were intrigued by the structures on board and wondered what purpose they all served.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Look Up

All At Sea

Goin’ Cruising #2

Day One – Departure

We’d never been on a cruise before, so our first glimpse of our floating holiday home was an exciting moment. Pacific Dawn was docked at the Portside Wharf Cruise Terminal at Hamilton, just a few kilometres from the mouth of the Brisbane River.

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The embarkation procedure was very efficient and soon we were on board. After a delicious lunch in the Waterfront Restaurant we had time to explore and discover the most important locations – the restaurants and bars,  coffee shop and ice cream stand.

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Waterfront Restaurant

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Atrium

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Lido Deck

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Dome

From Deck 14 we had a beautiful view of the city of Brisbane and the Brisbane River.

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The ship set sail, slowly making her way downriver under the twin spans of the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges.

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The reflected lights of the Port of Brisbane on Fisherman Island merged with the glow of the setting sun as we sailed from the mouth of the river into Moreton Bay.

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As darkness fell, the decks of the ship lit up for our first night on board.

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Ship Shape ~ Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Opposites

Goin’ Cruising #1

Last week we went sailing – on the beautiful P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn.

Our seven night cruise began in the river city of Brisbane. We sailed north between the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland coast to Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas, before heading 450 km east to Willis Island, a tiny speck of land in the Coral Sea. Our return journey took us into open waters outside the reef on our way back to Brisbane.

Our week was one of opposites – relaxation and activity, calm waters and rolling waves, a big ship and little boats.

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Cruise ship, Sailing boats – Airlie Beach

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Sinking, Floating – Airlie Beach

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Opposite Directions – Airlie Beach

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Opposites