My Barrier Reef Experience

At the barrier reef we moored at a platform, I got to go see the fish 🐠 staying dry; in a glass bottom boat and going down steps to look at fish 🐟 from a window under the sea (like at an aquarium; but better because this was a window out to to 🪸 🐠 🐟 THE barrier reef 🪸 🐠 🐟 !

I did also get to experience being immersed in the sea. I went snorkelling 🤿 and went down slide 🛝 from the platform a few times.

Looking back a talking point was how we warned that there was going to be a 1.5m swell and we should all take sea sickness tablets. So that put some people off going.

We did all share and pop sea sickness tablets. Then going out the staff on the boat

kept handing out sick bags and stood over us watching, armed with sick bags. So at the time that was rather disconcerting. But in hindsight it is funny and part of the experience I had. I did not feel sick either way so was able to enjoy ice cream on the way back.

Getting ready to go in the sea was a faff as you had to have so much equipment; mask, snorkel, flippers, life jacket, full wetsuit and I think gloves and either a hood or a hat too? On the way to the reef there was a video about what to wear and where to collect it from. Then when it came too it you were left to find the bits yourself in your size amongst the other sizes whilst lots of other people were doing the same thing. I would have far rather been in the sea in a bikini but had to be fully covered I think because of jellyfish. I can fantasise how it would have been floating amongst the colourful fish I saw like a beautiful, thin mermaid.

I believe different parts of the coral are in different states of health. There was plenty of fish where I was. Perhaps scuba diving getting deeper there would have been more fish but I liked the control of snorkelling being able to put head up when wanted as opposed to scuba where you are relying on someone else to get you up and down. Also with scuba that person determines where you go but I was free to have my own little adventure following fish that I chose.

14 Mar Top 5 Tuesday books with numbers in the title

Prompt from Meeghan

  1. This book quite often gets included in these lifts because I love it so much: 1 day by David Nicholas.
  2. The One by John Marrs very interesting concept about people being gentically matched to a partner based on genetics and the different ethical situations that causes.
  3. Three wishes. This is possibly my favourite Lianne Moriety about a set of triplets.
  4. 34 days by Anita Walker. A book set in my home town of Sheffield.
  5. Five go bump in the night. Not by Enid Blyton! My sister gave me this as a present for my last birthday. Kind of a parody book. Not exceptional. But a sweet gift that made me smile as she knows I used to read famous five as a child. A book I now have to keep on my shelves for … at least a while.

French Island Australia

French island is a an island on a circular ferry route from Stoney point which also stops at Philips island (which can be reached by road). Stoney point / Philip island is about 60km from Melbourne.

I think it is a place you need to prepare for before turning up. When you get off the ferry it feels very isolated! If you go there alone you definitely need a plan and water! Insect repellent could be useful too. Think you can take bikes across to the island or rent a car. … if you have booked in advance. This is not a place where you are greeted by people offering you tours etc… It is a great place to spot koalas 🐨. There are no kangaroos 🦘 on the island.

I did this as part of a tour with Philip island. We went to a farm I think called Bayside Chicory Kiln. In a lady’s home we were given afternoon tea and told about the island. When I visited December 2022 we were told the island only had 110 inhabitants. Electricity only from generators, water from bore holes and no street lights. There is a primary school which at the time had less than 10 children but no secondary school so children then have to get the ferry to the mainland. Being an island they managed to not have any covid cases until January 2022 and by then islanders were vaccinated. If you came by yourself you would easily get an idea of the how unpopulated and dilated the island is and you may enjoy that if looking for peace. But I found hearing from a resident was what really engaged me in the island.

The farm had peacocks 🦚 roaming, a chicory kiln, Horses in the field, Koalas 🐨 in the trees in the garden: although also a lot of mosquitos under those trees hence recommend insect repellant. I did not see other buildings from the farm although a short ride down the road was a cricket pitch. That road had lots of koalas 🐨 in trees which really made the day!

Book Club Challenge Third Update Update

I thought I had identified / acquired books for all categories but it turns out American dirt which I read is set in Mexico is North not South America. I have now ordered The Puma years. I’m currently reading the Hawkshead Hostage for the alliterative title category.

A book with a boy’s name in the title

I was going to use CHRIStmas murders for this one. But now borrowed from the library one with Henry in the title.


A graphic novel

I wanted a subject area that held some interest for me rather than superhero’s etc. I read Je ne Sais Qui about a French women moving to London. The text shared interesting travel anecdotes. I did not engage much with the pictures. I probably would not have usually read but and it was too big a book to read in bed. But it was as easy read!


A book with an item of clothing in the title

In the library found a book with blue trousers in the title.


A book with a mathematical connection

The Number Bias by Sanne Blauw. A non fiction book about how a number can mislead us if you do not understand how that number was generated!


A book recommended by a friend

I have had two friends recommend books do looks like this will be a 13 book challenge.

The first I have read is: while you were breeding by Kristen Newman.


A book set in South America


Ordered the Puma Years.


A book with a musical connection

I read the Piano Teacher by Lynn York.

A book with a job in the title

On my TBR shelf I found I had the Librarian of Austwitz, I have now read.


A book with an alliterative title

All the books in Rebecca Tope series set in lane district have an alliterative title so this will be an excuse to buy and read the next in the series.


A book connected with the sea

I read the Shelly Bay ladies swimming circle by Sophie Green set around Australian sea.


A book with a religious connection


I have bought Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir to read for this category.

A book by a woman writer you have never read before

I read the Holly Project by Kate Sterritt. A book set and bought in Sydney by an Australian author and a signed copy at that!

Top 5 Tuesday Book Poetry – A Women’s work is never done

The prompt for a few weeks time from Meeghan is to create a book poem from 5 books on our shelf. The poem I created ended up having a feminist vibe, so I decided to publish it on a Wednesday as it is International Women’s Day.

It is called a Women’s work is never done. The first book I used was the biography of an MP Harriet Harman who’s book was titled a woman’s work with the implication it is never done.

The second book Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is about the struggles of a female chemist in the 1960s. She has to battle to prove herself. She becomes a Mother and compromises by presenting a tv cookery show but she uses it as an opportunity to empower women by teaching them ‘lessons in chemistry’ . I wrote the poem shortly after reading it.

The third book stuck out to me because the title is so fun! So I chucked it in as part of a list of things women get on and do in their lives. How to measure a cow is by Margaret Forster. I like that she did not use her husbands surname to publish her books!

The poem finishes with describing a woman after a busy day putting children to bed. Lullaby is a book by Leila Slimani who is an interesting author that I have seen speak as she is Muslim from Morocco living in Paris. I have also read her collection of essays called Love, Sex and Lies and her other fictional work Adele.

Kiss, kiss fitted with Lullaby. I had not been particularly trying to right a feminist poem so this turned out to be the only book by a male writter. It is a collection of short stories for adults by Roald Dahl.

A Woman’s Work is Never done

A woman’s work;

Lessons in chemistry,

How to measure a cow,

Lullaby, Kiss, kiss

The Dome in Cairns

The dome in Cairns is above the casino and you can spend money about as quick in the Dome as in the casino!

There is an entry fee to look at a range of birds and small marsupials . There are crocodiles and koalas, but of course they all sleepy and still. It does not take too long to look round this for the price.

What elevates the experience is doing the rope courses. It is atmospheric to climb amongst the birds flying around and over the sleeping crocodiles. There is different courses to suit different people or you can do multiple courses the price for extra courses is less then the first course. There is also the opportunity to walk over, outside of the dome; I was not able to do that as it was too wet!

The dome also offers opportunities to hold animals for a photo opportunity, again for a price. My recommendation to get a good photo is to do your photos before going into the dome. My hair is soaking on my photo, I think from the humidity in the dome. This is not a petting an animal opportunity literally you get to hold the animal for seconds for a photo.

Made in Sheffield Shaff Adventure Films

Tonight I saw the Made in Sheffield collection of films as part of the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival. This collection is being shown again at the Showroom 10.30 and 6.30pm on Sunday. I believe sometime after the festival the films may be available online / may get shown at other outdoor or film festivals.

I gave the last film in the collection Reel Rock: Bridge Boys full marks. It had good pace telling a complete unique story with dramatic moments and humour. Plus the subjects of the film were eye candy! It was about Sheffield climbers who enjoy ‘crack climbing’. Focussing on their lockdown adventures … whilst some baked banana bread they decided to start climbing in cracks under bridges. They ended up deciding to do a multi day climb, climbing under a moterway bridge and therefore sleeping attached to the bridge too. I presume they peed off the bridge too; but the film did not cover that. It was fascinating and gripping, but I will not spoil the end because I so recommend watching!

I also really liked One More rep and being second to last in the collection I had thought it was going to be my favourite until I saw the last one! So only compared to the last one did it lose a mark. It was about the juxtaposition between the positive social media content a female runner was publishing and how she actually felt – the metal anguish and pressure she was putting herself under!

The topic of the Farm under the city was amazing as never heard about it yet it is a venture in Sheffield Kelham island. It is an indoor farm that is being very sustainable. Maybe say an hour document on the farm May have been too much for me but just that nugget combining Sheffield and sustainability leaves me impressed and wanting to know more.

The Peaks of Colour film was also interesting and covered issues been try to develop better awareness of.

En route about a Father and three sons going on a surf trip together after the parents separation. Some good points made about parenting.

Sapien was just a short film and nothing wrong with it just other films were more in depth.

Chinese laundry had won an award for being the best of the collection of films. I have it at the there end of my scale mainly because I have marked it down because I don’t think it was a film about the outdoors. The audio was interesting but for me the dancing did not add to the audio and at points made me a bit dizzy like watching a washing machine spin! But I know when I discussed it after, there was someone else who thought the dance was really clever! So it could just be just not appreciating the dance and as a backdrop to some of the dancing there was trees so my opinions maybe be controversial.

All in all, I really loved seeing these short films. I think when trying to get a message across in a short time you can get something more meaningful than a feature length film! Also of course if a short film is not good then it does not waste too much of your life! But in this case all the films were worth my time. I enjoyed them as a collection and then discussing them after.

Kangaroo 🦘 Island

I spent 2 nights and 1 day on kangaroo 🦘 island. It was evening time on the first night arrived which is the time kangaroos like best so that was the only time saw kangaroos from a bus. The next day and morning left saw no kangaroos on kangaroo island. But both on the way from Adelaide to the the Kangaroo ferry and the return journey I did see kangaroos from a bus. These were the only wild ones saw in Australia.

The full day spent on Kangaroo island was mainly spent by coast so perhaps that was also why did not see kangaroos. But saw lots of other animals. First was on a beach with sea lions then a bird show with raptors and parrots later seals by the coast.

Also went to a place called remarkable rocks. You walk down to them from the road and from the road they do not look very impressive. But once get to them they are fun for posing around and exploring as interesting shapes due to way eroded.

Perth (Australia) Lessons Learnt

1. There are free buses called CAT buses that go on different loops round the city. You just hail them and get on (no ticket needed). There is also a big bus tour which obviously comes with a cost but you get the commentary. As often with those buses the cost for 48hours is not double 24hours, in this case just a few dollars more.

2. The Bell Tower is not open on on a Monday or Tuesday. So I know from outside it is a tall glass building with water in front and lots of padlocks on chains next to the water.

3. You can pay for boat to Rottonest Island. 🐀 🏝 Apparently people tend to spend about 5hours there! The main attraction is quokas which are marsupials but look like rats 🐀 hence Rotto in island name. But you can also see quokas in the zoo in south Perth.

Rain in the Australian desert ….

If you go to Australia in December people before and after will comment on hot and sunny it must be at that time of year. But if you are yet to go and going , yes pack factor 50 etc… However do not get hopes too high on sun!

Look up weather Ullra rock any day you like and you are likely to see chance of rain as 0% for days as it is desert. It rained when I was there though. Not heavily but was cloudy and raining in the afternoon. The rain had stopped by sunset. It was a beautiful sunset and the idea is you stand between the rock and the sunset and then the sun reflects causing magical colour changes on the rock. Due to the weather, the sunset that I was there; the rock colour magic did not happen. It was warm though standing there bubbles in hand and the sunset was beautiful. Apparently although not much rain in the area it can be cloudy. Indeed at sun rise the morning after the night before, the top half of the rock was covered in cloud. It got light without us seeing the sun rise. Again it was not cold being out in the dark or early light.

In contrast to the desert, Cairns is surrounded by rain forest so rain is to be expected. I was there 6 days over Christmas 2022 and it rained every morning apart from morning left. Sometimes could be hot enough to soak you. On Christmas Day I swam in the rain as it was still warm. My Cairns Christmas Day

One of the two days I was in Perth there was also torrential rain.

Melbourne natives will tell you it is rare to have more than a few dry days together. But I saw no rain there.