There was still quite a few snow drifts left up in the Snowy Mountains. On our hiking trip, organised by Emma, up to Mount Kosciusko, I spotted a snow drift here in the shape of Australia.
The Snowy River is little more than a trickle at the point that we crossed it here. Of course, being snow-fed, this is one of Australia's rivers that has a constant flow.
In winter time, the bizzards can be quite rough, so this hut was built to shelter hikers and skiiers from the extreme cold. Really quite unnecessary at the time of the year, but quaint.
Some cool streams ran adjacent to our campsite and a few of us could not resist the chance to go swimming. Even fewer took up the opportunity on Sunday to swim in Blue Lake - the largest of Australia's five glacial lakes. In there, the water is very deep and close to freezing. Exhilarating though!
Up at around an elevation of 3000m, the views are spectacular. (This is as high as it gets in Australia - the Himalayas rise to about 8000m!) From the top of Mt Kosciusko, it is possible to see in to Victoria!
On Friday, my GS500 arrived at Dahlitz Motors in Queanbeyan and I had it on the road as soon as I could manage. Over the weekend, I clocked up almost 700 km. (The first service is due at 1000 km).
My friend, Glynn, and I have been on a couple of long rides. Saturday afternoon saw us take our bikes (Glynn is on his '89 Honda CRR250R) out through the Cotter. We stopped off a Casurina Sands for a dip and then continued south to the Tidbinbilla space tracking station. We had another splash at a waterfall in Namadgi and stopped off for fuel at Tharwa, the southern most tip of our journey. The Monaro Highway brought us back in to town. Bikes are awesome - I can't rave about the riding enough! Claire and Phil and Adam P. - we will have to take some rides out in the countryside as soon as we can manage.
We were more adventurous on Sunday and took the bikes to Bateman's Bay and headed a little north from there (to Agony Mountain Road) and had a swim in the ocean in the Murrumarang National Park. We gained a heap of practice with cornering as we came back up the "Clyde" on the way back to Canberra. By now I was getting a bit of a tender bottom from being in the saddle for so long and we took stopovers in Braidwood, Bungendore and Queanbeyan before beating the sun home.
The Fox Flag was at half-mast on Wednesday when Christmas had his last homebrews and headed off, suitcase in hand, to take the next big leap into the workforce. You'll be missed, mate - and hopefully I will catch you in Perth early in the new year. Be sure to fulfill your promise to update your blog. Also, book your ticket early to get back for the races. (First weekend in July, right?)
Off he goes with Leah in the XR6... It was a tough few days after CJ headed off, then a distraction arrived, and a new housemate. (Post coming soon..)
The Old Man departs this week to start his career in engineering in Perth, so in true Fox style he was farewelled with the greatest Singstar party yet. (Though, I am sure the neighbours and many people in the suburb would not agree...)
We connected the whole setup outside to take advantage of the excellent weather. The Beer-Can chook made another appearance, too.
The Singstar battles were hard-fought. Rimsy, of course, was unassailable when Nirvana was playing.
I had a blast and I trust that you all did, too. Fare ye well, Xmas and come for a visit when you can. Of course, now that you are returning to Perth, we are even more obliged to made the vast trek west-wards.
Chris cranks his stereo up and enjoys the subsequent rock concert atmosphere generated in the Lyneham Highschool grounds.
Impervious to the noise-pollution being generated, hardcore Singstar fans blazed on into the evening. At one stage, Chris put the stereo up to its maximum volume setting and it really sounded like a rock concert was being hosted at the Fox.
Guys (and lots of girls, too) enjoy going to Bunnings. It is a hardware mega-store. On Saturday, I picked up some new toys. Shown here is my Flymo push lawnmower. We have a petrol mower, but this one is fun and very efficient. I don't have much lawn so, if perhaps my grass doesn't grow sufficiently, I will take it out on the oval this weekend.
Some other items I picked up were hedge trimming shears ($5, already bent) and pruning secateurs. One of my favourite items is the mushroom farm. I will get some photos when I set it up and perhaps we can follow it through to harvest time?
Brewing kits aren't sold at Bunnings (yet), but I picked a couple up on the way home and now brew thirty-four is bubbling away happily. (It is a wheat beer).
It is often hard to describe what a strange place it is under the waves, so I will let the pictures do the talking for me. All of these photos were taken on the Great Barrier Reef last week while under the sea with my dive-buddy, Jenny.
Jenny and I crammed eleven dives in to three days while we were "living aboard" on the Great Barrier Reef. Jen is shown hovering above some interesting varieties of coral.
We almost bumped in to two enormous cuttlefish last Thursday. These molluscs were bigger than footballs and hovered and rotated like aliens in another world. Colours ripple and change over their body depending on how they feel and you can easily see if you are getting too close. I didn't try to pat these guys in case they decided to "ink" me.
Ange, I wonder if you will be able to keep up with the food bill when your turtles are as big as this guy!? This turtle was just munching on some coral and cruising along at about ten metres. Jenny and I were lucky to spot him because we were just about out of air and heading back to the dive boat.
White-tip reef sharks were pretty common on the reef. They are not lethal to humans and are actually fairly timid. I certainly couldn't get much closer than this photo indicates before the sharks get spooked and sidle off some distance.
It really is a three-dimensional world on the reef. The coral grows and forms interesting structures. This little gap is is a great spot for fish to take a break from any surge near the surface. We also found a little cave to swim through a little further on.
I took a shine to these strange fish with the pointy noses. It is really difficult (impossible?) to talk under water, so there are some standard hand signals that divers use to communicate to each other. Jenny and I have been diving together for a while now so we have started to incorporate novel gestures. I doubt, though, that our signal for "pointy-nose fish" would be novel!
Giant clams are real! They do not just live in the realm of computer games. Apparently, just like in the computer games, their grip is phenomenal and I was very careful not to stick my hand in! If you do, you're not getting it back... ever. Watch your pressure gauges, Jenny!
Thousands and thousands of fish! A tough life, by my standards, but these guys flourish amongst the coral. Diving or snorkelling on the reef is amazing stuff! Cheers everyone.
Jenny and I have just returned from a trip to "Tropical North Queensland". We spent a few days diving on the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns. I used a couple of rolls of film underwater and will post some of the better photographs up in a few days.
After a little difficulty regaining our land-legs, we hiked through to Daintree rainforest. Frequent swims in the cool streams were vital!
Palm trees, cane toads and crocodiles are abundant in the far north. I will spare you a shot of the cane toads for now...
We spotted a wild croc - just a little fella' - on a boat cruise on the Daintree River.
Of course, at the crocodile farm, we saw hundreds of them. There was plenty of death-rolling and snapping at scraps. After watching the "croc-show", it is difficult not to have some affection for the crocs.
I am a chemist from central west NSW who recently finished study at the ANU in Canberra. I have taken up a position as a postdoc now at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. I endorse individuality, rationality, capitalism and liberty and "Arrested Development". I oppose religiosity, the modern environmental movement, communism and statism and "Two-and-a-half Men".