Tag Archive | Sunset

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Close to home #6 Kayaking with Straddie Adventures

When I hear the words “Don’t bring anything you don’t want to get wet” my plan to take beautiful photographs of the sea disappears with my camera, which I reluctantly put away. I’m about to paddle a kayak for the first time in 40 years and it’s likely more than the camera will get wet.

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I’m kayaking with friends at North Stradbroke Island, 30 km east of Brisbane, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Debbie, an island local and part of the team at Straddie Adventures, will be our guide as we paddle south from Amity Point into Rainbow Channel. We launch our kayaks in the late afternoon sunlight and paddle out past the pier, giving it a wide berth. “The kids jumping off the end of the pier enjoy trying to overturn passing kayaks,” says Debbie.

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The incoming tide carries us along, towards broad sand flats where sea grass bends with the current. At first our steering is as poor as our timing and we laugh at our efforts, but Debbie reassures us: “Laughter is good. I know everyone is enjoying themselves.”

Sting rays live in these shallow waters. Suddenly there’s a flash of silver; the water stirs as the first one glides under us. There’s a flurry as another burrows into the sand. Even though she does this trip most days, Debbie is as excited as we are when more sting rays appear. “It’s different each day,” she says. “The sea is never the same. We can’t predict what the animals will do or where they will be.” Ahead of us fish leap out of the water, a sure sign that shovelhead sharks are about, but they’re shy and swift. We only see black fins and water churning in their wake.

We paddle into Wallum Creek, country of the indigenous Quandamooka people. This part of Moreton Bay is a protected marine park; only the traditional owners are allowed to hunt and fish here. Around the first bend of the creek our paddling slows as the tide takes us deeper into the mangroves. The sun dips lower in the sky and there is silence along the creek banks. “It’s never this quiet on the mainland,” says Debbie. Green turtles are often seen in the creek, but today they are hiding. As the sky darkens we grudgingly leave this magical place. Now the paddling is harder, as we push forward against the tide.

As we reach the mouth of the creek, the sun, a huge fiery ball, hovers just above the mainland before slipping behind the blackened mountains of the Taylor Range. To the north, the jagged shapes of the Glasshouse Mountains are silhouetted in the burnt orange sky. The last rays of sunlight are replaced by city lights while the jet stream from an invisible plane glows like a firebrand.

Another day, another glorious sunset!

Another day, another glorious sunset!

The water of Moreton Bay has turned from aquamarine to deep oily green, the sky’s reflection gilding each ripple. I too reflect on the day. I may not have stunning images on my camera, but they’ll be in my memory forever. And I’m only a little wet!

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*This story first appeared in Queensland Smart Farmer Magazine, November/December 2015.

Friday Night in Waikiki

Holiday in Hawaii #25

The outrigger canoes may have been put away and the lifeguard post might be abandoned, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do on a Friday night in Waikiki.

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Some people slowly make their way into the evening via the graceful movements of a Tai Chi class on the lawn, while others take on the more vigorous challenge of a beach side volleyball game.

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Another group heads out to sea, gliding over the calm water on a catamaran, and those left behind relax on the beach. They’re all watching as the sun slowly disappears below the horizon of the Pacific Ocean.

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Further along the beach at the iconic Royal Hawaiian Resort a party is starting, but we have somewhere else to go, so we decide not to join in.

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We’re heading to the northern end of Waikiki Beach, where the Hilton Hawaiian Village hosts a free fireworks show every Friday night. As the crowd gathers, we claim our spot on the sand. When the sun has set and the sky is dark, the fireworks begin. The brilliant display is reflected in the calm waters of Kahanamoku Beach.

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After the show we wander back along the boardwalks to Kalakaua Avenue in search of dinner. Most places are packed with Friday night revellers, but one block back from the ocean we find the Rock Island Cafe, a 1950s diner with a table just for us.

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Elvis greets us at the door; it’s like travelling back through time as we’re surrounded by the movies and music of the past. Our meal arrives – we’re treated to a Hula Bopper Burger and a Magnum PI Burger. There’s no better way to end our Friday night in Waikiki, and our holiday in Hawaii.

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Sunrise, Sunset

Round Australia Road Trip #19

On the coast of Western Australia, the sun sets over the Indian Ocean, often in a fiery blaze of glory. For east coasters like us, the sunsets were thrilling and there were several days when we waited patiently to watch the sun dip below the edge of the sea.

Sunset at Carnarvon

Carnarvon

Sunset at Denham

Denham

Sunset at Geraldton

Geraldton

Sunset at Cervantes

Cervantes

We were often up with the birds when camping in the bush, so we also saw some beautiful sunrises.

Sunrise at Boorabbbin National Park

Boorabbin National Park

And while the sun was setting, the moon rose in the east.

Kelly's Knob Lookout, Kununurra

Kelly’s Knob Lookout, Kununurra

Kununurra

Kununurra

Weekly Photo Challenge – The Golden Hour

Agnes Water is a small beachside town on the Discovery Coast in Queensland. We stood on the beach on a midwinter evening and watched as the movement of the sun and the shifting clouds created a spectacular display. It became more stunning with every passing minute, but those around us seemed oblivious to the glory up above.

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