Imagine – And the World Will Live as One

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When I first decided to go in to self isolation, I thought “how hard could this be!!”

So, firstly, I did some planning for this isolation period, including stocking the freezer with fresh foods, mainly for Buddy, stocking the pantry, picking up some yarn from the craft store and then I bought some new plants from the nursery for my garden.

On the first day, I thought, o,o, maybe this will be harder than I thought as I am usually always out and about. Then I made a mental plan.  This plan was to fill every day with a variety of chores, pleasures and relaxes.

My days start early. Buddy and I always go to the park at the end of my street, and we are there before most people are up. If we do see anyone, we wave and smile from a distance.

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Then after the park my day at home begins with my list of jobs for the day, which include time in the garden.  It is Autumn here and the weather is spectacular so time in the garden is heaven on earth. I alternate gardening with jobs inside the house. I have accomplished chores that may never have been done before isolation became mandatory. I have taken up knitting again after many decades not knitting, I watch some great stuff on YouTube and I treat myself to a couple of long phone calls with friends each day.

Before I know it, it is my glass of wine time and time to get dinner ready. So, in actual fact, my first week of isolation has been delightful. However, who knows how I will feel in another month or 2 or however long this takes.

One of the saddest things for me in this change of living was the closing down of my church. Buddy and I go to church each Sunday. When we arrive everyone’s faces light up with smiles as soon as they see Buddy and for Buddy it is his happy place, and mine.

Our Priest made a plan. He gave us all candles that he blessed for us to light each Sunday morning at home at our normal service time, along with a prayer sheet, a sermon for the day and readings from the bible. On Sunday morning at 8.30, I lit the candle and we had our remote service.

Also. I sent an email to the parishioners in our congregation. And, it was  a reply that I received from Christine that prompted me to write this post.

Christine wrote:

There is no doubt that we are living in  Geraldine Brooks  “Year of Wonders”  and we shall hopefully emerge stronger and more resilient at the end.

For me church music forms a great part of the service. In the absence of that I am looking to You Tube to fill a void. So I would like to share this video of Emmanuel Kelly singing the Beatles’ song  “IMAGINE” with the band, Cold Play. It gave me goose bumps when I first saw it.

 

While watching this video, I reflected on the here and now and yes, I experienced more than goose bumps.  Just “ Imagine” if this virus can make people get  back to basics so that in the words of the song “And the world will live as one”.

Peace be with you.

Lyn

Stay well.

 

Nature at its Best – Canal Rocks, WA

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While staying in Margaret River we visited Canal Rocks with the 40 k’s trip taking us about 35 mins.

Canal Rocks is a series of granite rocks in the Indian Ocean in South-West Western Australia

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The rock formation takes its name from the narrow channel between the rocks that has formed from the coastal waters eroding the granite over time.

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Canal Rocks rock formation is amazing. The Indian Ocean has carved crevasses and channels into the rocks of the headland leaving a network of patchy rocky islands.  These channels can be observed from a raised wooden boardwalk which we walked along out onto the rocks. As the path reaches the rocks, a wooden path or footbridge took us around the north side of the rocks and brought us face-to-face with the canal, which is why Canal Rocks is named.

This is an area of great beauty. These rock formations, which have been hollowed out by the pounding sea are ancient and unusual

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I could spend hours here just watching the wave motion, which allows you to get a great perspective of the wild sea as it surges through the rocks. While we were there we were thrilled to watch 6 whales frolicking not far from the shore. They were breaching, and flapping their fins and tails for ages. What a glorious sight.

Over thousands of years the Indian Ocean has washed these rocks clean and yet they stand, cracks and all. Remarkable!!

Facing north towards Cape Naturaliste, the views from the car park are also spectacular, which was good for some of the ladies in our group who chose not to walk out to the rocks.

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Canal Rocks is unspoiled and offers stunning scenery. It was just lovely to take photos and sit and watch the waves roll in. Most definitely it is a photographers paradise any time of the day.

It is a great piece of natural scenery and it is free!

Out and about Exploring the Margaret River Region

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On our 2nd day in Margaret River, after breakfast, we headed down to Augusta with our first stop at Flinders Bay. This beautiful beach in Augusta which has a bit of everything is located to the north east of Cape Leeuwin, and to the south of the township. The white sandy beach has granite rock outcrops at the water’s edge, reef and boulders about 50 meters offshore, and a clear sandy bottom in between. There are two small jetties. The foreshore has grass, huge shady trees, picnic tables, a free gas barbecue, a fine children’s playground, outdoor showers and toilets.

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From Flinders Bay we drove to the Leeuwin Point lookout to spend time at the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which is the tallest lighthouse on mainland Australia, standing 39 meters tall. This historic lighthouse is situated at the most south-westerly point of Australia, at the tip of a spectacular peninsula – where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet.

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We took a trip through maritime history and learnt how this famous landmark was constructed from local limestone in 1895, and is still a vital working lighthouse for vessels navigating the treacherous cape. It’s also one of the best land-based vantage points for spotting whales from May – September.

We visited the new Interpretive Centre, housed within one of the original lighthouses keepers’ cottages, which is an outstanding interactive experience that celebrates the history and lives of the numerous lighthouse keepers who were custodians of this rugged coastline.

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It was an incredibly windy and rainy day making it very difficult for us to even walk on the headland so we were all quick to return to the lighthouse café for hot coffees and delicious scones with cream and jam.

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Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is a must see. It has 176 steps but there are two rests on the way up. The base of the lighthouse is 2meters thick tapering up to 1 meter at the top. The history behind it is fascinating and although we did not actually climb the stairs I believe that the view from the top is amazing.

I could clearly see why the lighthouse is a necessity.   Certainly a great experience and well worth a look.

My Visit to the Ultimate Margaret River Region WA

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We set off from Perth driving south towards Margaret River where we spent 4 wonderful days staying at the Margaret River motel in the heart of Margaret River. On the way, our first stop was Busselton for lunch and where we spent time at the Busselton historic jetty including a ride on the train to the end of the jetty to visit the underwater observatory.

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Busselton

Margaret River and its premium wine region is the place for indulging many passions. Situated at the tip of southern Western Australia, the Margaret River Region offers some of the best South West sights, attractions and experiences in one convenient location. From Perth, it’s an easy 2.5-hour drive to the region, which stretches from Busselton down to Augusta. The density of this part of the South West allows you to hop from award-winning wineries and bespoke art galleries, to stunning beaches, tall-timber forests, flowing rivers, world-class surf breaks and ancient caves – all in a single day

When we arrived at our accommodation we were all thrilled as the location was perfect, the rooms huge and the restaurant very suitable for all our needs. Although the weather was cooler than up north with some light showers it really was perfect for tripping around and exploring.

From our base in Margaret River we journeyed daily to see some remarkable sights including the Canal Rocks and Flinders Bay, Augusta and Cape Leeuwin lighthouse which is the most south-westerly point of mainland Australia.

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Point Leeuwin Lighthouse

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Point Leeuwin

We visited several wineries including Happs Winery which is a family run winey and then Zanadu winery where we enjoyed tastings of some delectable wines.

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Happs Winery

We spent a few hours in the delightful Cowaramup Village or affectionately known as Cow Town, with its distinct village atmosphere and very unique Cow theme showcasing statues of cows around every bend. The shopping here for local artisan products was outstanding with many of us finding some fab stuff to take home

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Cowaramup Village

Lunch one day was at the Margaret River brewery which has a fabulous atmosphere, great good and wonderful local beer samples.

We visited and explored the magical Prevelly Beach with its walking trails along the sand dunes, and spent time exploring Boranup Forest where we explored many of the trails and took dozens of photos of the stunning wildflowers.

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Prevelly Beach

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Boranup Forest

On our trip back to Perth travelling on the Bussell Highway we stopped for lunch at the Bunbury Dolphin discovery Centre and enjoyed a great lunch at the café/restaurant in the centre before spending a couple of hours in the discovery centre which was outstanding.

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Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre

Then we were back on to our coach for the easy 3 hour trip back to Perth, arriving early evening with plenty of time to get ready to go out to dinner.

Beauty and History – Busselton Jetty

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Enroute from Perth to Margaret River we stopped at the famous Busselton Jetty.

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The city of Busselton is about 200 kilometres South of Perth on the southwest tip of Western Australia.  It is known for its sheltered beach where we visited the 19th-century Busselton Jetty. This wood pier stretches nearly 2km to the Underwater Observatory, where life in a coral reef is on view. This is the longest jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. It was built in 1864 and modified over the years and is constructed of wooden piles. The jetty has a rail line  with an electric train that took us out to the observatory.

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We settled in to the Stocker Preston Express for a very pleasant 15 minute ride along the jetty, including narration about the history of the jetty.  This electric jetty train which is powered by solar panels travels across the Indian Ocean to the Underwater Observatory, located at the end of the Jetty, where we were greeted by friendly volunteers. This Underwater Observatory is one of only 6 natural underwater aquariums in the world.

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There are six flights of ten stairs within the Observatory however there is a lift which allows access if the stairs are not for you. I was very happy to take the stairs as we stopped at every level to listen to our guide’s explanations and see through the large glass windows. We descended 8-metres below the ocean’s surface marveling at the natural wonders that lie beneath the Jetty where we viewed the awe-inspiring forest of vividly-coloured tropical and sub-tropical corals, sponges, fish and invertebrates.

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From the base of the observatory, the corals on the jetty pylons are gorgeous, and there are plenty of interesting fish to see – both small and large. I think one of the nicest aspects to this observatory is that the fish are ‘free’ – this is not an aquarium with captive fish. This is open sea and the fish are free to come and go as they please. I was fascinated watching a cute little seal frolicking and performing for us,  with a big smile on his face.

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This fantastic open sea observatory was a memorable experience. The guides/volunteers were knowledgeable and enthusiastic and so friendly.  I was so thrilled to see the abundance of sea life.

You can take the little train back however we opted to walk the jetty. It was a very easy walk with seats along the way and it only took about 15 minutes at a casual stroll.

 

Sightseeing Cruise – Perth to Fremantle for the Day

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We boarded the cruiser at Elizabeth Quay in the city of Perth for our leisurely cruise down the Swan River to Fremantle

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We glided along the river, admiring the waterfront scenery of Perth’s downtown skyline, upscale suburbs with their very large mansions and yacht clubs. We saw all sorts of water craft from the tiny to the very opulent, including folks taking sailing lessons at the sailing clubs along the way.

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This picturesque cruise came with some very lively and interesting commentary for most of the cruise.  The cruise, which took about an hour and 20 mins from Perth to Fremantle was really excellent with so many beautiful sights. There was inside and outside seating but I chose to stay outside for the entire trip. It was so fun and relaxing and the weather was perfect.

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After an hour and 20 mins we arrived at Fremantle

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Fremantle is a lively port city southwest of Perth in Western Australia, where the Swan River meets the Indian Ocean. On the edge of the Indian Ocean, Fremantle has great ocean and river beaches to enjoy.

This pedestrian-friendly city with unique winding streets offers you a glimpse of a colonial and Gold Rush past in balance with a modern and vibrant present

I stopped for coffee at a café near the cruise terminal before boarding one of the many local red CAT buses to take a tour around the city. As lunch time was approaching my stomach reminded me that it was time to meet up with my friends at Joes Fish Shack at South Beach. Gosh, what a fun lively area South Beach is. It certainly is worthy of a full day. Next time!

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This well known tourist attraction of Fremantle, Joe’s Fish Shack has been a part of the shore front for many years. The inside has lots of fishing and ocean related decor as well as the front and back of an old VW kombi van which looked fabulous. The restaurant is right on the water at Fremantle wharf area with scenic views of the water through the many large windows. Joe’s offers full service dining in comfortable and quirky surroundings. It was bubbling with happy people, great atmosphere and good simple food. This was such a fantastic fun experience.
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After lunch, from the restaurant I took the blue bus back to the train station which is in the centre of town and hopped in a train to travel back to Perth city. It was all so so easy. Public transport in Perth and Fremantle is outstanding.

Fremantle is a city rich with history and alive with modern culture.

I really  enjoyed Fremantle and hope to return again soon.

 

 

Delightful Denham, on the Coral Coast of Western Australia

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Just 10 hours drive, Denham is 837 kilometres northwest of Perth. Denham is part of the Shark Bay World Heritage area and lies on the western side of the Peron Peninsula.

We checked in to the Heritage Resort which is right in the centre of town. My front room with balcony overlooked the beautiful beach and Shark Bay

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Gorgeous and relaxing, with beautiful beaches and clear blue waters, Denham is a great gateway for exploring the beautiful and fascinating Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

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From Denham we visited some of Australia’s most amazing natural wonders, including WA’s famous  Monkey Mia dolphins, Hamelin Pool stromatolites, Eagle Bluff and Shell Beach.

Monkey Mia

Just a short 30 minutes drive from Denham lies Monkey Mia, best known for the bottlenose dolphins. This is where we experienced dolphins swimming close to shore and also enjoyed our cruise on the magnificent Artistocat catamaran.

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Hamlin Pool

Is home to the most diverse and abundant examples of stromatolites in the world. While they may look like ordinary rocks, stromatolites are considered ‘living fossils’.  They are in fact microbial reefs formed by cyanobacteria. We walked along the 200m boardwalk that provided us with  excellent views of the stromatolites.

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Shell Beach

Most beaches in the world are full of sand, but Shell Beach is made up of millions and millions of shells.  These shells come from the abundance of cockle in Shark Bay, making this very interesting beach unique and rare. The water around the beach is much saltier than usual and crystal clear.

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 Eagle Bluff

Just 15 mins from Denham, Eagle Bluff is a high cliff overlooking the ocean and surrounding area. The water here which was just so so clear houses the largest sea grass mass in the world which feeds the Dugong living in the area. These Dugong each eat about 70 kilos of sea grass per day. We took a leisurely walk along the boardwalk where the ocean views from this vantage point were breathtaking, and we saw turtles, rays and large fish in the shallow waters below.

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At the end of each fabulous day we met up on the Resort lounge balcony to enjoy a cold glass of champagne while we relished the extraordinary experience of a Western Australian sunset.

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Another simply stunning experience during my time in Western Australia

Australia Day, in NSW – 2020

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Once again I made my annual pilgrimage down to Iluka in the northern rivers area of NSW to celebrate Australia day with my family. Iluka is surrounded by Bundjalung National Park, World Heritage listed Rainforest, the mighty Clarence River and the South Pacific Ocean and is famous for fishing for both river and deep sea enthusiasts. It is abundant in rain forests, stunning wildlife, long secluded beaches with clean sand and crystal clear blue waters. The town is off the beaten track and I would describe it as an ‘untouched seaside resort’.

Only 2 months ago this part of the northern Rivers of NSW was engulfed in out of control bush fires. My family were evacuated from their home several times but thankfully, the dedication of the firies saved their house.

This is how amazing the Australian Bush is; This area was a raging inferno 6 weeks ago.

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Australia Day is our official National Day which is celebrated annually on January 26th. It marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet of British ships into Port Jackson Sydney in 1788. In contemporary Australia, the holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year awards. It is an official public holiday in all states and territories and celebrated with festivals, concerts and ceremonies, large and small, in communities and cities around the nation.

For us, it is time with family.

The beginning of our day commenced with our early morning walk where we were watched by some of the locals. I did notice that there were not as many as past years. They are always so curious and usually only hop away when we start to get very close to them.

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Then it was time to take the boat out on the Clarence River. We launched the boat at our usual spot, Brown’s Rocks. Once again, we were blessed with glorious weather. We motored on down the river to where the mouth meets the Pacific Ocean, between the towns of Iluka on the northern side and Yamba on the south.

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We slowly cruised around the Yamba side of the river where there were many fantastic looking boats.

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We eventually pulled in to Moriarty beach where we all dived in to the clear blue water. Moriarty Beach can also be accessed from the township of Iluka by foot or by car. Yachts, motor boats and house boats continued to arrive to the “secluded” beach while we were there and before long it was turning in to a very popular spot. And why not, it is beautiful.
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After a full and fabulous morning out on the water we cruised back up the river to home.

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It was not long before friends and neighbours were joining us for our very Aussie backyard bbq. An Aussie barbecue is a great Australian tradition and almost a must on Australia day. It was a very long afternoon of swims, prosecco, beers, laughs, great food including a lamb roast and finishing off with a wonderful Australian sweets platter.

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Our weekend celebrations also included visitinga local beach with our doggies who I must say had a fantastic time running in and out of the ocean. Many of the beaches in the area are dog friendly which is wonderful for us.

The beaches are clean, deserted and offer tranquility. When there are people, they are very few so it is most likely that you will have the beach to yourself on most days. Iluka is a popular tourist destination in holiday time however due to its small population the beaches are pretty much empty other times of the year.

Another perfect Australia Day weekend.

My Perfect Nature Cruise – Monkey Mia, WA

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From where we where staying in Denham we drove the short distance north for our visit to Monkey Mia.

Monkey Mia has been on my dream list for many years so I could barely contain my excitement as we drove up. Famous for its wild dolphin experience, Monkey Mia is surrounded by rusty red sand dunes, white sandy beaches and water teeming with wildlife.

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Dolphins close to shore

Our planned cruise on the Aristocat 18 metre luxury sailing Catamaran was for 9am departure so we had enough time to make a short explore around the beach and resort area before boarding this fantastic vessel at the end of the pier. Both the captain and the 1st mate were gorgeous young ladies. These very capable, interesting and friendly young ladies are excellent sailors.

As the shoreline melted away we were on high alert for dolphins, dugongs, turtles and other marine life.

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The girls, who are very knowledgeable were excellent and explained everything to us for the entire time. They did their best to find sea life for us; we saw Dugongs, dolphins, stingrays, turtles, and flying fish.

It was pretty hot out on the water so many of us ladies got to refresh in the boom net which was super welcome and super fun.

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Aristocat is the only boat licensed to interact with marine life in the Monkey Mia Exclusion Zone, and Restricted Dugong Access Zone. The vessel itself is spacious with plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces, 360o viewing and is exceptionally clean and well maintained. It was very comfortable and suitable for all ages from small children to elderly as there is plenty of comfortable seating and it is easy to walk around the boat with handrails to hold on to.

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After we finished our cruise, many of us swam and played in the pristine water. Dolphins were nearby as they come in to shore often for feeding. Pelicans were lazing around on the sand and later emus were seen walking on the beach. Today dolphins are only fed according to strict guidelines and under supervision of Parks and Wildlife Service officers to ensure the dolphins continue to hunt and behave naturally.

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Before our departure from Monkey Mia we had enough time to enjoy a coffee and lay back on the chaise lounges overlooking the exquisite view of the beach, ocean and boats and to reflect on this perfect morning.

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Monkey Mia was everything and more than I expected.

This place is paradise