31 January 2011

You bought a what?

A boat.

Not a big one, a kayak to be exact.

Donna and I have been thinking of getting a kayak for a while. We live so close to the water here with so much opportunity for fishing and boating, that it's a wonder we haven't bought one years ago.

Our niece Katrina, and her husband Tony, told us recently that they had a couple for sale, one of them was a two-seater Q-Kayaks Sprite II. They've also just recently started up a business called Redlands Kayak Tours, doing guided kayak tours in our area, with everything included, even afternoon tea.

What better way to try before you buy, than to do a tour in the boat, especially since neither of us had kayaked before. So, with Wednesday being a public holiday and none of us having to work, we met up with Katrina and Tony and Katrina's mum and dad, Carol and Ray, for a paddle up Tingalpa Creek.

Tony took the above picture for their website at our turn-around point, around 3 kilometres upstream from where we started. That's Donna and I in the double kayak in the middle, Ray on the left and Carol on the right.

By the time we got back to our launch site Donna and I had already decided to buy the kayak. We're now looking forward to lots of exploring on the water. As Ray said on Wednesday, kayaking is the best way to get out on the water, it's cheap, you don't need a trailer as the boat can be carried on the roofrack of your car, you don't have to pay registration, there's very little maintenance to do, and while it's not being used you can hang the boat from the roof of yor garage or sit it on a couple of padded trestles.

If you live in Brisbane or the Redlands, or you're planning on visiting, why not look up Redlands Kayak Tours and come and explore the southern Moreton Bay. It's also a great way to try kayaking if you're thinking of buying one and haven't done it before.

17 January 2011


When the flood waters started to recede last week, there were reports in the news that Bull Sharks had been seen swimming around the streets of Goodna, a suburb of Ipswich. They're often reported a fair way up the Brisbane river, even under normal conditions, and Goodna is on the Brisbane River.

I'm starting to think the reports may have been more than just rumour, after we came across this out the back of my step-daughter Jess's house in Ipswich during the clean up.

She and her husband live next to the Bremer River, which runs into the Brisbane River, and ended up with about a foot of water in their house.

I don't think it's a Bull Shark though.

13 January 2011

The Water Recedes

The flood waters are receding now. Thankfully they didn't get as high as they did in '74, not that that's any consolation for people that have lost everything this time.

As I wrote in my last post, my step-daughter and her husband evacuated from their house in Ipswich on Tuesday morning. The Bremer river that runs past their house was predicted to get up to 22 metres, which would have been over their roof. It got to 19.4 metres, so hopefully there isn't quite as much damage there as we were expecting.

They originally evacuated to Jess's dad's place in Salisbury, a suburb of Brisbane. Yesterday morning the water started to come up at Salisbury as well, so Jess and Brett are now with us, high and dry with their animals.

Now, when I say animals; as well as our dog, cat, cockatiel, 16 lorikeets and 3 chooks, we now also have another dog, 4 more cats, 2 more chooks, several fish, a baby kookaburra, a turtle, a blue-tongued skink and last but not least, Cookie the scaley-breasted lorikeet who's sitting in our dining room imitating telephones and laughing at his own jokes. Jess and Brett are wildlife carers like us, hence the kooka and the turtle. They mainly do reptiles, so thankfully they don't have any snakes in care at the moment, else they'd be here with us as well.

It's good to see that people are pulling together to help out, like I knew they would. Jess and Brett have been getting calls with offers of help. We've also had calls from people that don't personally know Jess and Brett but know they've been evacuated.

12 January 2011

It doesn't rain, but it pours

Back in 1973, my Mum, Dad, brother, sister and I upped sticks and emigrated to Australia as 20 pound poms. It was a huge undertaking for my Mum and Dad, going to the other side of the planet, with three young kids. Mum and Dad bought a small house in Sherwood, in the suburb of Brisbane about 3 months after we arrived and Dad managed to score a job in a local factory, things were looking good.

Six months later, this was the view down our street. Those two houses to the left of the power pole were our next door neighbours. You can't see our house because it was completely under water in between them.
Welcome to Australia.
Mum and Dad had been thinking of moving down to Canberra, since we had family down there. The locals in Brisbane were so good to flood victims that they decided Brisbane was where they wanted to stay. These were the kind of people we wanted to live with, and rightly so.
After the flood, the government built the Wivenhoe Dam, not only as a supply of drinking water, but also to help prevent future floods in Brisbane and Ipswich.

We'll never have another '74 floods we all thought.

As I write this, the Bremer River is at 16.9m. If it gets to the predicted 22m, my stepdaughter's house on the banks of the river will be completely under water, just like Mum and Dad's place in '74. If you saw their house a couple of weeks ago, you wouldn't believe the water would ever come up that high.

The Logan River, which is about 300m from the bottom of my brother's back yard usually is now at over 14m and lapping the back fence. Laurie reckons that if the river gets to 22m there, they'll be inundated as well.

Even though I was only nine years old back in the '74 floods, I still remember what the people of Brisbane, those not flooded, did for the victims of the floods. It brought the whole city together.
We lost pretty much everything we'd brought from England in the floods. Weaker people than my parents would have chucked it in and gone back home, but Mum and Dad stuck it out. We had mud in our ceiling once the water receded, and I'll never forget that smell, something I suspect I'll be experiencing soon when we help Jess (my stepdaughter) and Brett (her hubby) clean their house.

When it comes right down to it, as Brett said, the stuff in your house is just stuff. They got all their animals out, and their wedding photos, memories, etc are all on a hard-drive that Brett rescued. Jess's wedding dress is still in the house, and a lot of funiture they've bought and the renovations they've done since they moved in a couple of years ago wil quite possibly be chucked out. They'll miss that stuff for sure, but if this year is anything like '74, this disaster will hopefully bring the community together.

And to think, a couple of years ago we were in a drought and the Wivenhoe Dam was at around 16%, it's now at about 170%