Friday, November 20, 2009

Australia: Great Barrier Reef/Queensland

Pine Mountain News

This week we made more furniture and worked
in the greenhouse. We mended some fences and
did some more preparations for winter.

We cleaned the intake on the water turbine
and did quarterly wind turbine maintenance.

Poem of the Week

The Ghost of a Good Time

by emily d stine

lurking beneath the folds of a photograph
a winter white ride up the rocky mountain high
a plane we almost didn't catch, wasting minutes
at the bottom of a airport bar gin & tonic.

it's there in the curves of my L's and the
corner of my suitcase, a seashell abandoned,
a letter forgot.

it's the mud on my shoes from the vineyard
we walked, a stamp on my passport, a postcard
i bought, all on a whim in the frivolous now.

today it's all here and it litters the floor,
a faded stamp, crumpled postcard, a
letter unsent. Half journals, some luggage,
a pair muddy flats, it's the silence, the sound,
and the ghost of a good time

Feature story of the Week

Australia: Great Barrier Reef/Queensland

When I first read about the Seven Natural Wonders of

the World, I thought it would be fun, in my globe

hopping, to try and see them all. Which was how I

ended up in Queensland, Australia. It wasn’t my first

trip to Australia, home of the word’s deadliest

everything, but it certainly was memorable.

Queensland has the Great Barrier Reef, which is why

I was there. The Great Barrier Reef is a 1600 mile

collection of about 3,000 reefs and a couple of dozen

islands, and it’s one of the most beautiful natural

structures on Earth, and one of the down under’s

biggest tourist attractions, literally.

The first city I was in long to take a look around on

the trip was Gold Coast, which I keep wanting to

add a ‘The’ to. I’d never been t Gold Coast and,

frankly, it’s pretty awesome. Also known as surfer’s

paradise, it’s right on the water and, as Australia’s

sixth or so largest city, there’s plenty to do.

Physically, the city is beautiful, as you might imagine

something called Gold Coast would be.

The city is designed around waterways and, much like

Miami here in the states, feels as if it’s been built out

onto the water.

As the surfer’s paradise moniker might have lead you

to guess, there are lots of beaches with great surfing.

Or so I’m told; as a huge hairy mammal, surfing is not

something I do much of. But it looked fun, and I reckon

if you’re a bit more graceful than me, it’d be an excellent

place for it.

There’s also, I’m told, a great hinterland behind Gold

Coast, which basically means the area nearby to the west.

Great, in that contains a rainforest that is part of a national

park, and so has a lot of wildlife that is rare or endangered.

I wasn’t there long enough to check it out, but I’m

guessing it’s worthwhile.

After Gold Coast, I was off to Lady Elliot Island by way of

a small chartered plane. Lady Elliot is a tiny island right on

the reef, with a resort and a variety of accommodations.

You can get anything from an eco cabin to full on suites. Me,

I picked something in the middle.

I was lucky enough to get there during turtle season, when

the big critters come on short to lay eggs and whatnot. I’ve

always been fond of turtles, so it was cool to get to see them

up close.

But mainly, I was there for the water activities. Because of the

position near the end of the reef, the water clarity is

astounding, pretty much crystal clear.I took a glass bottom

boat out to getan idea of there was to see, but after that it

was all scuba snorkeling for me, cavorting with the 200 or so

giant rays that hang out around the island.

It was well worth the trip. Words don’t do it justice; the

natural coral and the wildlife that goes with it are almost

indescribably beautiful. Between the warm clear waters

and the abundant wildlife, I was immersed in another

world, and I can’t wait to go back.

Pine Mountain Evening

Good evening. It is night once more at the Pine Mountain

ranch..We have just finished dinner and we are gathered

in the family room by a warm fire.

Grace and Laurel are watching a movie and I am enjoying

a plate of sugar cookies and trying a new sample coffee


Tonight my coffee is Pumpkin Spice. this American roast

coffee tastes just like pumpkin pie. It goes great with sugar


Well my cookies and coffee are finished and the movie is

over so it is time for bed. Good night all see you next week.