Mackay, Australia

18 September 2015 – 2 November 2015 – Mackay, Queensland, Australia – Kookaburras, Platypus and Kangaroos OH MY! –  By Anne

After an excellent 11 day passage from Vanuatu, including sailing through the Hydrographer’s Passage in the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, Joyful made landfall in Mackay, Queensland, Australia!  In very boisterous and exhilarating early morning winds, with gusts to gale force, we sailed Joyful through the outer harbor, into the inner harbor, and quietly approached the customs dock in the clean and modern Mackay Marina.  Who kindly took our dock lines?  A delightful official from the Australian Border Patrol.  He knew Joyful’s arrival day by information given from the Australian Border Patrol’s airplane, which made a low pass over Joyful’s mast the day before, as we sailed through the Great Barrier Reef via the Hydrographer’s Passage. The officers in the plane spoke to us via Joyful’s Very High Frequency (VHF) radio as they flew about one hundred feet over Joyful’s mast, welcoming us into Australia. Our clearance into this amazing country way down under was easy, trouble free, and impressive. All the officials who came aboard Joyful were polite, professional, and friendly, which gave us a great impression of what our stay in Australia might be! Now that we had met some native Australian humans, it was time for us to meet some native Australian critters! Kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras, wombats, Tasmanian devils, platypus, and of course the notorious salt water crocodiles!

We decided to stay in Australia for the cyclone season, as the other boats in the BPO, only about 4 days after our arrival in Mackay, sailed northward to Southeast Asia. This opened doors for us to accomplish many goals of Mission Joyful as well as the BPO in both Australia and Indonesia. We spent months in Australia and Bali doing humanitarian work, music and art ministry, as well as scientific data collecting, community, and educational work.

Sights, Sounds, and Critters of Mackay and Surrounding Areas
By looking at the multitude of photos I took of our life on Joyful in Queensland, Australia, before we sailed Joyful south to the Tasman Sea to avoid cyclones, I hope you will be able to imagine what a great country is Australia. The best part of it is the people, the animals, and the land and sea! Oh yes, the stars as well! Please read the captions under the photos that tweak your imagination. Everything I saw was interesting to me, so I took lots of photos for you! Please read the captions under the kangaroo photos. You won’t believe your eyes!!! Also, if you like platypus, read their photo’s captions, too! We were so happy to have seen these remarkable creatures in the wild. Now you can, too, by looking at these photos. Before we sailed away from Mackay, we flew in a small plane to Keswick Island in the Great Barrier Reef, and there we walked amongst some awesome plants and creatures and played a game of Australian beach cricket! Amazing fun!

SCIENCE
Secchi Depth – Because of ocean currents everywhere in the South Pacific, we have only had success in taking a Secchi depth while in marinas, anchorages or moorings. A few days after making landfall from our passage from Vanuatu, we took a successful Secchi depth while in Joyful’s berth in the beautiful Mackay Marina. Only a substantial seawall constructed from giant boulders separated Joyful from the relentless pounding waves of the Coral Sea, which formed as they crossed the South Pacific. Right before the waves crashed upon the Australian Eastern shore, they marched through the Great Barrier Reef near the Hydrographer’s Passage. The waves’ progress ceased as they abruptly encountered the mighty sea wall. The seawall was newly reinforced after a cyclone destroyed the top half of the seawall and caused great destruction inside of the harbor. In the calm marina waters, one bright day, from Joyful’s port bow, Flat Mr. Davis and I lowered the Secchi disk the Round Hill Bears of the Round Hill Elementary School in Round Hill, Virginia kindly constructed for Joyful. Through the use of this disk, we are able to measure the depth at which the Secchi disk was no longer visible in the area of the sea where phytoplankton live and transmit the data to the Secchi Depth app. That depth is called the Secchi depth. Phytoplankton are the basis of life on this planet, even way down under the equator in the land of Oz! The Secchi depth taken in Mackay was 3.30 meters (about 11 feet).

Observing Other Marine Wildlife
We were delighted to find out that sharks, stingrays, tuna, jellyfish, and tropical fish of fancy designs lived in the water around Joyful in the Mackay Marina! Now, let it be known that we didn’t see any sharks, but the locals warned us they were there! They even said there was a salt water crocodile who patrolled the water in the marina from time to time, and most folks did not feel totally comfortable getting into the water to check their zinc or prop shaft!

Bird Sightings
Scientists at Cornell University’s Department of Ornithology are studying the migrations of birds from all over the world. We send them any photo of a bird we take during this circumnavigation, no matter how blurry it may be! They told us they can identify birds, even if the quality of photo is poor. This a relief, because it is quite challenging to capture the image of birds as they are usually on the move, looking for insects, or a sailboat to perch upon! We were able to photograph some fantastic birds of Australia while here in Queensland on the East coast. We saw some kookaburras, a fascinating bird that raises its young with the help of previous generations, magnificent electric blue kingfishers poised over platypus ponds as they spied their dinner all about in the tropical forest. We saw stately, proud looking white and black ibis, and even had dinner with one at a picnic table in the park next to Joyful! Countless Rainbow Lorakeets ignored us as we walked amongst them as they hopped around the lawns across from the marina. Gray and red galahs, members of the beautiful parrot family, entertained and amazed us in the trees many places we walked while in Mackay. We saw hundreds of exotic birds with black and white feathers about the size of a Canadian goose in the estuaries, along with long legged, huge footed plover look alike walking effortlessly on top of lily pads growing in a river near the shore of the Coral Sea. Cormorants sunned themselves before diving into the waters to catch their lunch. Australian fan tailed turkeys strutted about, and one even had a worrisome close encounter in front of us with a monitor lizard in the tropical forest one day. We were relieved that the lizard and the bird decided it was to their mutual benefit not to attack one another! Magpies dressed up in their pristine black suits with short white shoulder cloaks seemed ready for a formal affair at the governor’s mansion. Awesome seagulls amazed us as they demonstrated their aviary fighter pilot skills outside a cafe overlooking Joyful at the marina. Every day we saw other gorgeous birds, many of whose images were lost due to the slowness of our digital camera. I hope you enjoy the photos of the birds we were able to photograph! I thought of you as I observed these great Australian critters, and hoped the photos would do justice to them for your sakes!

Monitoring Radiation Levels
One of the scientific projects with which Joyful is involved is that of recording the radiation levels that we experience along our sailing route. Radiation is a form of energy that comes from various sources (e.g. x-rays, radon gas, nuclear power plants, etc.), which, if the levels are too high, could cause a health hazard. On Joyful, we use a GQ Electronics GMC-320 Geiger Counter to take radiation level readings. The data we record is sent to the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center (NETC), a world wide volunteer radiation reporting site. NETC posts radiation readings from numerous sources, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and volunteer reporting sites, into a data base; the summary is shown on www.netc.com.

We are happy to announce that in Mackay, according to the data supplied by Joyful’s Geiger counter, the radiation levels were low, as has been the case so far as we sailed Joyful half way around the world! In Mackay, the lowest reading was 6 counts per minute (CPM), and the greatest was 18 CPM.

MISSION JOYFUL, BPO, COMMUNITY, AND EDUCATION
Our endeavors to participate in community works, educational opportunities and Mission Joyful events in Mackay were successful and fulfilling. Our desire to involve ourselves with the Australian and sailing communities while here in Mackay, revolved around missionary work through our Mission Joyful, as well as those of the Blue Planet Odyssey.

Mission Joyful’s goals are to:

Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

1 Peter 4:9-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

Speech, Music Ministry, Art Ministry at the Local Lutheran Church: We were most honored to have been embraced by the members of the Mackay Community Lutheran Church (Evangelical Lutheran), where we gave a lecture on our missionary work around the world through Mission Joyful and our scientific, educational and community works through Blue Planet Odyssey. I also played my guitar in some church services there, taught several art lessons about Jesus Christ, and led the Sunday School children to hold a professional art show highlighting their paintings about Noah’s Arc. Through their devotion to the art show, they raised over AU$500, and the children chose to donate all that money to their church! We also donated art supplies to the church to help them create their own art ministry program.

Music Ministry at an Elder Care Facility: We held a music ministry event in a local elder care facility in Mackay, where the residents and staff enjoyed worshiping the Lord together with the minister of the Mackay Community Lutheran Church, his opera singing wife, Jeff, and me. The Holy Spirit was there, of course, and everyone had a marvelous time singing together and listing to classical guitar music, old time gospel hymns, famous opera arias, and popular show tunes! As always, all the glory goes to God!

Art Ministry at the Mackay Marina: One of the missionary families we met in Bora Bora, who earlier helped me teach 60 Tongan children about Jesus through art, attended an art ministry event at the Mackay Marina. During the workshop I taught there, Beatrice and Gabriella learned how to create beautiful calligraphy so they can use the Italic hand to augment their watercolor designs. They wish to use calligraphy in their artistic designs to spread the Word of God as part of their missionary efforts. You can see in the photo how much fun we were having!

Artistic Inspirations from the Lord About this Landfall of Mackay, Queensland, Australia
As on every ocean passage between landfalls, and at every landfall on this circumnavigation, I endeavor to create a piece of artwork which reflects a significant observation worthy to be remembered. Within each design, will be a passage from the Bible, the Word of God. I am designing the art during the circumnavigation, and plan on creating the finished work during certain times while on land during the circumnavigation, culminating the book at Key West, when we finish the round the world voyage. I will use the media of watercolor and gilding with 24 carat gold and silver, in the same method used by monks who created Bibles and books of hours during the medieval years in Europe. Then, I hope to publish a book of my works of art so others can see God’s glory throughout the world.

At this landfall of Mackay, Queensland, Australia, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me this Bible verse to use in my design for my book:

Psalm 37:4
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

The Bible verse, Psalm 37:4, reminds me that God loves us and listens to our hearts. He knew I wanted His hedge of protection as Jeff and I sailed almost half way around the world to Australia. He knew once we arrived here, I wanted Him to show us ways we could serve Him. He knew I hoped to see His great creations found only on this vast continent, tucked way down low in the Southern Hemisphere. Indeed, in the few weeks we lived in Queensland on Joyful, we made many kangaroo, platypus, kookaburra, and other animal friends, walked amongst His majestic paper bark trees, gazed in amazement at wild koalas, made lifelong friends of kind Australians who also opened their hearts to us, and we were able to achieve many works for the Lord including art and music ministry events. Praise the Lord, God is good!

Departing Mackay, Queensland, Australia
Please stay tuned for the next edition of my blog, featuring Joyful’s passage from this interesting portion of Eastern Australia, southbound through the Coral Sea, through the Tasman Sea, to the idyllic waters just north of Sydney, called Pittwater. There, Joyful will be protected from possible cyclones, which are horrendous hurricanes. Join us through the blog! There will certainly be awesome scenes of wonder on the seas for you!

 

 

1. This is a photo of the Mackay Marina we took while flying to Keswick Island a few weeks after we sailed there with Joyful

1. A few weeks after we sailed Joyful to the Mackay Marina, we took this photo while flying to Keswick Island.  If you look very closely, you will see Joyful!

2. Joyful in the Mackay Marina. Joyful is the yacht with the tallest mast in this photo. The breakwater was rebuilt and raised during the past 5 years to try to keep waves from enterin

2.  Joyful had a good berth in the Mackay Marina.  Joyful’s mast is the tallest mast just left of center of this photo.

3.  Joyful had an excellent berth next to the new stone breakwater in the Mackay Marina. The sea was very rough on the seaward side of the wall.  They had recently finished building an extension of stones on top of the breakwater after cyclonic winds forced the sea to come over the breakwater into the marina.  You can see an automobile on top of the breakwater as the owners enjoyed the view from the road.  Notice how tall the dock pillars are to enable the floating docks to float up with the high tide, and downward with low tide.

4.  I removed Joyful’s yellow quarantine flag a few minutes after docking here, as Joyful had cleared customs, immigration, and quarantine.  Joyful flew her Australian courtesy flag day and night from her starboard flag halyard as long as we were in Australian waters.  Joyful flew the Mai Kai Yacht Club of Bora Bora pennant from her port flag halyard.

5. Joyful at Mackay Marina bow view. After sailing half way around the world, only a little of Joyful’s anti-fouling paint wore off from the leading edge of her bow. She used Interlux Micron 66.  Joyful has many layers of anti-fouling paint, plus many layers of base coat to protect her gel coat and fiberglass hull from being harmed by barnacles.

6. Joyful had no problems at all as she sailed half way around the world!  Joyful is self sufficient in her energy producing capability.  She obtains power for her battery banks through three solar panels and a wind generator.  If there is no wind, or no sunshine for a day or more, Joyful’s 55 horse power Volvo-Penta marine diesel engine will manufacture voltages for the house and engine batteries.  Joyful is wired to be able to use 110 v power while in a marina in the USA.

7. The tide was low when this photo was taken in the Mackay Marina. The range was more than 6 meters! The docks floated, so Joyful did not have any trouble with her dock lines! You can see how high the pillars are where the docks float up and down.

8. Anne enjoyed Australia’s bounty of fresh strawberries, and other goodies!  Before Joyful sails away from a landfall, we buy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meats and fish to keep in Joyful’s freezer.  We eat very healthy and wonderful food at sea.  Joyful keeps 4 months of food for 4 people on board.  When we reach landfall, we restock so we will never run out of healthy food while at sea!

9. When we come to a landfall, we stock up on fresh fruit, vegies, bread, cheese, and other perishables! We eat very well on Joyful, but on ocean passages, we run out of delicate fruits and vegies; however, we still have canned and freeze dried meat, fish, vegetables and fruit.  Oh yes, chocolate and other goodies, too!

10. It was kind of shocking after so many days at sea to observe sunsets with objects between the sun and our eyes other than Joyful’s rigging and sails!

13. This is just a sneek preview of what extraordinary things you will see in this blog entry. Kangaroos and wallabies, one with a joey in her pouch, at sunrise on Cape Hillsborough, Aus

11.  One morning we got up before sunrise and drove to a nearby beach.  Every morning wild kangaroos bound out from the land onto the beach.  This photo is just one of many in this blog entry you will see of this fantastic experience!

12. The Blue Planet Odyssey is an example of how international organizations, governmental bodies, and private citizens can work together as one unit to do good throughout the world.

13. Cornell Sailing Events is the organizer of the Blue Planet Odyssey.

14. UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, partnered with the BPO.

15. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission partnered with the BPO.

16. The WMO, the World Meteorological Organization partnered with the BPO.

17. The consortium, JCOMMOPS partnered with the BPO.

18. The Caribbean island of Martinique partnered with the BPO.

19. Sailing missionaries, Ken, Beatrice, Josh, and Gabriella, whom we met in Bora Bora, shared another fun picnic with us! Jeff kindly took the photo but kept an eye on his plate of food.

20. A wild ibis dressed casually for the picnic.

21. These ibis birds were amazing! They flew in squadrons. They would eat out of your hand and not hurt you!

22. Jeff and Anne with Pavlovas, the national dessert named after a ballet dancer! They are marangue with double cream and fresh fruit!

23. Beatrice, Gabriella, Ken, Josh and Pavlovas.

24. This is Joyful’s dosimeter to monitor levels of radioactivity in the air as we sail the trade wind route around the world. We send the data to a scientific entity.

25. Anne and Flat Mr. Davis took a Secchi Depth reading from Joyful in her berth in the Mackay Marina.

26. Flat Mr. Davis stood by with the Round Hill Bear’s banner which was signed by all 500 students!

27. Flat Mr. Davis helps Anne recoil the guy line and 50 meter tape so the Secchi disk will be ready to use the next time.

28. Jeff and Flat Mr. Davis enter the data into the Secchi app. The Secchi depth was 3.3 meters, and the water temperature was 32.3 Celsius.

29. This is the blanket the Huntsville First United Methodist Church’s Chapel congregation and volunteers kindly gave us this blanket to take everywhere in the world so they can follow our missionary work.

30. I held an art ministry event at the Mackay Marina when I taught the sailing missionaries, Beatrice and Gabriella how to write Bible verses in calligraphy and add it to their paintings.

31. Beatrice, Gabriella are committed to use their God given gifts to serve others. I taught them the Italic alphabet so they can use it with their painting skills and combine Bible verses with their art work.  It will help them share the Gospel all over the world.

32. Beautiful Beatrice from Sweden on Elin in Mackay Marina, Australia. This sailing missionary family assisted us several times with art ministry events in the South Pacific, including here in Mackay and Phillip Island!

33. Anne played her classical guitar and beautiful Janine, the pastor’s wife, sang Amazing Grace with the guitar music during the church service at the Mackay Lutheran Church.

34. Anne coming back to Joyful after a music ministry event in Mackay, Australia. When people see my guitar and hear about our music ministry events, they become inspired to do similar things to serve others.

35. Jeff giving a Mission Joyful briefing to the Mackay Lutheran Church.

36. Anne and Jeff held art ministry events at the Mackay Community Lutheran Church. Anne taught children how to make art to be in a Noah’s Ark art show. The children donated all the money they earned, which was over $500 to the church!

37. Beatrice encourages a youth with his drawing of Genesis verses about Noah’s ark.

38. Beautiful young Gabriella helps a student with her art work about Noah’s Ark.

39. Students draw as Gabriella, Beatrice, and Anne encourage them.

40. Students make Noah’s Ark drawings for the art show. Beatrice kindly encourages a student at the far end of the table.

41. Anne made examples of ways Bible verses about Noah’s ark could be made. This is Anne’s example of Genesis 6 14.

42. Anne’s example of Genesis 6 22.

43. Anne’s example of Genesis 7 16.

44. Anne’s example of Genesis 6 19.

45. Anne’s example of Genesis 7 12.

46. Anne’s example of Genesis 8 11.

47. Anne’s example of Genesis 8 4.

48. Pastor Mark and Jeff discuss the Noah’s Ark Art Show.

49. Jeff and a brother in Christ at the art show assemble art kits so the children who could not attend the lesson can still learn about God through art. We donated all art supplies so every child could take them home.

50. Students line up to teach the congregation about Noah’s Ark through their drawings for the art show.

51. Student’s show their Noah’s Ark drawings to the congregation and invite them to the art show. The children chose to donate all the money earned through the sale of their art to the church! They earned more than $500!

52. Adelaide shows the congregation her drawing of two caterpillars who went into Noah’s Ark.

53. Jade showing the congregation her drawing of Noah’s Ark.

54. Student Stella showed her Noah’s Ark drawing to the congregation. This one is of two elephants who entered the ark.

55. Anne thanks Beatrice and Gabriella, missionaries also sailing around the world, for their help with the art show.  They helped Anne teach about Jesus through art in Tonga, as well.

56. Anne with some of the students with their Noah’s Ark drawings.

57. Adelaide with her drawing of caterpillars.

58. Student Hunter’s drawing of Genesis 6 22.

59. Student drawing of Genesis 6 14.

60. Student Olivia’s drawing of Genesis 6 19.

61. Student Joey’s drawing of two cats – Genesis 7 16.

62. Student Luke’s drawing of two spiders – Genesis 7 16.

63. Student Olivia’s drawing of two butterflies – Genesis 7 16.

64. Student Brooke’s drawing of Genesis 7 12.

65. Student Jade’s drawing of Genesis 8 4.

66. One Sunday we put on another art ministry event at the Mackay Community Lutheran Church by teaching the children, through art, about sanctification and redemption.

67. The children were able to understand the essence of sanctification and redemption through Jesus Christ.

68. Janine, the pastor’s wife, joined the class and made a powerful statement through art.

69. The young preteen, Victoria, made a touching drawing exemplifying the essence of redemption.

70. Victoria also made a powerful drawing regarding Sanctification.

71. At another art ministry event at the Mackay Community Lutheran Church, Anne taught children about Jeremiah 29 11. Here, the children tell the congregation about their artwork and how it relates to the Bible verse.

72. Jeff, Janine, Mark, and I put on a music ministry event at the Northview Aged Care Centre in Mackay, Australia.

73. Jeff manages the computer and sound system during the music ministry events.

74. Music ministry event – Anne playing her classical guitar to the residents of the Northview Aged Care Centre in Mackay, Australia.

75. Janine sang Amazing Grace as I played it on my guitar. She also sang several popular tunes and some opera arias! She had a voice like an angel!

76. We were delighted to see so many plants in Australia that we had never seen before!

77. Bird – Mackay picnic – Wild rainbow lorakeets in the park.  Hundreds of these colorful birds congregated in the park.  They were in the grass, air and trees!  They were all chattering to one another, probably saying, “I like your blue, green, yellow, and red feathers!”

78. Red and grey galahs.

79. Birds – Moon over Mackay with gulls flying overhead at sundown, October 28, 2015.

80. Birds – Seagulls enjoy food scraps at the Mackay Marina at sunset October 28, 2015.

81. Birds – We saw a snazzy looking brown and white pigeon walking down the street in Mackay.

82. Cape Hillsborough, about a one hour drive by car North of the Mackay Marina on the East coast of Queensland, was the first natural area we visited in Australia. We went there to see the wild kangaroos on the beach at sunrise.

83. Ken, Josh, Gabriella, Jeff and I arrived at Cape Hillsborough at sunrise because that is when the wild kangaroos came out. Some say they drink fresh water that floats on top of the sea water.

84. Right as Flat Mr. Davis approached the mob of roos, as they are called, they found the special kangaroo food an official put on the sand for them minutes before I took this photo.

85. The kangaroo called for him, “Flat Mr. Davis, where are you?”

86. Flat Mr. Davis was happy to see an official from land gave the kangaroos some special kangaroo food to eat. The kangaroo in the front left of the group might have a joey in her pouch!

87. The wallaby in the front left, has a joey in her pouch.

88. Kangaroos and Jeff. It was silent on the beach, but we felt like screaming in awe!

89. The wallaby in the fore left of the group, has a joey in her pouch! In the video you can see her jump out of the way of the large gray kangaroo who didn’t want her to eat his food.

90. Kangaroos and wallabies on Cape Hillsborough Beach at sunrise.

91. We called this roo, Padre, because he, like all of them, had a cross image on his chest, formed by the way his hair grew.

92. These are Great Grey Kangaroo back leg footprints. Kangaroos can kill you if cornered by kicking with their back feet, clawing you with their lethal claws on their back feet and their front feet.

93. A Great Grey Kangaroo with Sailors for Christ at sunrise at Cape Hillsborough. The roos would not usually allow us to come within 2 feet of them. They were very peaceful and really interesting to observe.

94. Australia – Flat Mr. Davis and Anne meet a fantastic Kookaburra bird.  They are family oriented birds who fiercely defend their young.  When a kookaburra sees a snake on the ground or in a tree, the bird will grab the snake, fly high up into the air, and will drop the snake.  If the snake is still alive he will either repeat the actions, or thrash the snake on the ground until the snake dies.

95. Flat Mr. Davis with a Kookaburra at Cape Hillsborough, Australia, September 2015.  Kookaburras stay with their parents for a long time, as they help raise the next generation!  Kookaburras have a remarkable vocal repertoire!  They have a hilarious sounding “laugh”, which sounds like this:  “K-k-k-k-a-a-a-a-a-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-ur-ur-ur-ur-ur-aaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!”

96. We went to Eimeo Beach, half way between Cape Hillsborough and Mackay, about a 30 minute drive North of Joyful. There were crocodile warning signs because saltwater crocs are extremely aggressive and will kill you! Sometimes crocodiles swam around Joyful and the other boats, the locals said.

97. Crocodile warning for people on land or in the sea at Eimeo Beach.

98. Anne on Eimeo Beach. No crocodiles at the moment, but people are snatched away by crocodiles sometimes on the beach! We avoided getting near the mangroves and did not go there at dusk. The southern section of the Great Barrier Reef begins around these waters. Keswick Island is in the background.

99. Jeff and I rented a car with our sailing missionary friends, Ken, Beatrice, Josh, and Gabriella to see the kangaroos on Cape Hillsborough beach, and to see wild platypus in Eungalla National Park about a 2 hour drive west of Joyful.  This photo shows Jeff driving in a right hand drive car in Australia to the national park to see the wild platypus.

100. A sugar cane field on the drive to Eungella from Mackay, Australia.

101. This is a sugar cane field with a sugar refinery in the distance in Mackay.

102. Platypus – Josh and sister Gabriella on the road to see the wild platypus.

103. Sailors for Christ share a lunch on the way to see the wild platypus.  We called ourselves, “Sailors for Christ” because Jeff and I met several sailing missionaries in the South Pacific, and we all ended up sailing to the same islands between Bora Bora and Queensland, Australia.  There are only so many islands in the South Pacific, so boaters tend to see one another again most of the time!

104. Young sailing missionary siblings, Gabriella and Josh, enjoy tea together in the Australian countryside on the way to see wild platypus!

105. Kenny and daughter Gabriella enjoy lunch at the Pennicle Pub on the way to see the wild platypus.

106. Beatrice and Jeff, along with Ken, Josh, Gabriella, and me, sat at the Pennicle Pub’s front verandah to eat the cafe’s world famous Australian beef pies and other foods.

107. And God created plants! Truly, a wonderful Creator!  These blossoms were on a tree next to our car in the Pennicle Pub’s cafe’s parking lot.  The blossoms are as large as a human hand!

108. Queensland countryside is varied and always beautiful.

109. On the way to Eungella, we stopped to see a rain forest and waterfall.

110. We hiked through a rain forest to arrive by this remote rain water pool. Prehistoric looking fern trees and other exotic flora captured our attention!

111. Josh swam in this pool by a waterfall midway up the mountain toward the rain forest.

112. The Queensland countryside is clean, quiet, and inviting!

113. We drove past sugar cane fields on the way to Eungella from Mackay.

114. We saw a train with train cars filled with sugar cane. September is a good month to harvest sugar cane.

115. The Queensland hills and fresh air was a great place to relax a little after sailing half way around the world!

116. We saw a guanna, a wild Australian lizard as we walked toward the rain forest in Queensland, on the way to the platypus pond in Eungella.

117. This is a good photo of the guanna’s back.

118. A wild turkey and a wild goanna lizard. The turkey approached the lizard, and the lizard seemed not to be concerned. The turkey then walked away!

119. The turkey walked away without an incident. The guanna also walked away and was probably glad there was no fight!

120. A wild Australian fan tailed turkey walked away from a guanna in a Queensland rain forest.

121. Australians, like the British, drive on the left side of the road while in forward propulsion! We passed beautiful countryside on the way to the Eungella National Park to see wild platypus in a pool.

122. A Kookaburra sang in a tree in Eungella National Park, Queensland, Australia, in September, 2015.

123. As we parked our car near the platypus pool, we heard two kookaburras calling out with their distinctive laugh! We looked up, and there they were, laughing at us!  If you want to hear their amazing voices, perhaps try looking kookaburra sounds up on YouTube, or on a bird app.

124. This remarkable vine was growing around a tree in the rain forest near the platypus pool.

125. This is a close up photo of the plant growing on the outside of a tree.

126. At the Eungella National Park a few feet from the platypus, we saw this interesting plant growing on the trunk of a tree in the rain forest.

127. Anne and Jeff watch for platypus in a pond in Queensland, Australia.  We were told the best time to see platypi is around sunset or sunrise.  We were all very hopeful, and as you will see, our hopes were rewarded!

128. The wonderful sailing missionary family we met in Bora Bora also are spending the cyclone season in Australia, and we visited Eungella together to see the platypus!

129. This is an educational photo of a platypus from a zoo. I will include several photos I took of alive platypus (photos 132 – 148) we saw at the Eungella National Park in a pond in the rain forest.

130. This photo is of a sign in the Eungella National Park which explains about platypus feet. Amazing!

131. We had to arrive at the platypus pond just before dusk. The Platypus only come out to feed during sundown and sunup, and only for a few minutes, as well!

132. As the evening light dwindled, a platypus emerged from the pond’s floor to breathe before submerging to hunt for more food.

133. While looking for platypus, we kept our eyes open for other wildlife.  This extraordinary Blue Kingfisher bird was only about 3 meters away from me.  The bird oversaw a platypus in the pond below his perch.  In this photo the platypus is seen at the surface of the water directly above the bird’s head.

134. A blue kingfisher bird waited patiently for a fish at a platypus pond in the Eungella National Park, Queensland, Australia, on September 27 at dusk.

135. A kingfisher waits on a branch over a platypus pond to catch a fish.

136. A platypus takes a breath of air in the center of this photo, as a blue kingfisher observes from a tree in the lower right hand portion of the photo.

137. This is a close up of the playpus that was under the kingfisher.

138. We had to be extremely quiet and just stare at the pond until a platypus came to the surface to breathe. We could see them eat on the bottom of the pond in some areas.

139. There were about 4 platypus feeding in this pond when we were there. Each one looked identical to the others, but we kept track of where they were, and we think there were 4! Look for the platypus in the center of this photo!

140. A This photo shows that the platypus feet have long, strong claws. Platypus stopped eating to swim to the pond’s surface for a breath of air. They only took a 5 second break for air, and stayed submerged for about 1 minute.

141. Fresh water turtles shared the pond and river with fish and platypus. The water was clear enough for us to see the platypus eating on the bottom of the pond!

142. Fresh water turtles, about 12 inches in diameter, shared the pond with the platypus.

143. A platypus emerges with his bill toward the camera. He is looking at YOU and says, “Good on ya, mate! Come visit me in Australia!”

144. This photo shows a fresh water turtle swimming above a platypus.

145. A close up of this platypus shows his thick hair and powerful tail. This platypus blended into the water and shadows, perfectly camouflaged!

146. We saw a snake in the water where the platypus live.

147. At dusk, more animal and insect noises could be heard. It would have been lovely to stay all night long at the platypus pond!

148. We had to look very hard to see the platypus come up for air in the pond.  In the center of this photo, you can see the concentric circles of water surrounding a platypus as it emerged for air.

149. A wild Australian fan tailed turkey gets ready to fly directly toward my camera.  The turkey was next to the platypus pond in a rain forest in Eungella National Park, Queensland, Australia.

150. While we drove back to Joyful, we spoke of how fantastic the platypus, birds, and trees were. Then the sunset captured our attention! Every minute in Australia is full of awe and surprises.

151. This is a sign identifying the fantastic “Melaleuca leucadendra” weeping paperbark trees in a natural forest in Mackay, Australia, within walking distance from Joyful. Joyful has a berth in the Mackay Marina.

152. I am standing by a weeping paperbark tree in a forest near Joyful in Mackay. The bark is soft, & feels like cork! It peels off naturally & falls to the ground. I did not peel this bark, I am standing near the tree to show the size of the tree.  The sheets of bark had peeled off naturally.

153. Another day, we visited a paperbark tree forest near the marina. These trees are spongy to the touch, like cork! Their layers are as thin as paper! But about 4 inches inside this “bark, is a strong interior, like most trees have.

154. Gabriella and Josh, young missionaries who are sailing around the world with their parents, inspect the paper trees.

155. A shiny black water bird with a red face considers his lunch to be as he walks softly on top of some water lilies in a Mackay river.

156. This shiny black water bird is taking a really close look at his lunch to be!

157. Walking by the estuary in Mackay, we saw these water birds thinking about their lunch.

158. We saw hundreds of these white and black water birds in a river in Mackay.  They were the size of geese.

159. While we were walking by a river leading into the sea, we spotted two types of Australian birds sitting on one tree branch. I think the two on the right are cormorants.

160. A white heron type bird with a yellow beak wades near water lilies as other water birds swim by in a Mackay river.

161. An Australian magpie has thin, but powerful legs and feet, ideally suited for gripping onto twigs during cyclones!  This bird stood next to our table as we ate lunch in Mackay.

162. I saw a pigeon at an outdoor cafe in Queensland, Australia.

163. Hundreds of very vocal, social Rainbow Lorikeets flew around the park near Joyful, in Mackay, Australia, who communicated with one another on the ground and in the trees! It was amazing!

164. The Rainbow Lorikeets were a real treat to see! We were throwing a boomerang in the park near them, and they did not care!

165. Rainbow Lorikeets by the hundreds perched in some trees in the park by Joyful. They were chattering loudly and were not concerned that we were near!

166. Rainbow Lorikeets socialize in a tree near dusk.

167. Rainbow Lorikeets were a sight to behold!

168. Rainbow Lorikeets were speaking to one another.

169. These Rainbow Lorikeets were having a good time!

170. Jeff took a photo of Flat Mr. Davis and Anne as they inspected the airplane before taking off for the 15 minute flight to Keswick Island from the Mackay Airport.

171. Flat Mr. Davis, as well as we, had to be weighed before boarding the small single engine propeller aircraft to Keswick Island.

172. We flew in a small airplane from the Mackay airport to Keswick Island in the Great Barrier Reef. Joyful is waiting for us to fly over her in the Mackay Marina, which is in this photo.

173. Joyful is the 10th boat from the right nearest to the breakwater.

174. Joyful is safe in this marina unless a cyclone hits. During winds of 35 knots, Joyful and the other boats bob around with some vigor.

175. Joyful is the 10th boat from the right. During a cyclone, before they rebuilt and raised the height of this seawall, logs and storm surge crashed over the seawall into the marina.

176. The Mackay Marina was well marked with leading lights seen during the day and night.

177. Air plane – Flat Mr. Davis remembered sailing Joyful into the Mackay Marina in gale force winds only one month ago. Now he saw her from the air.

178. Flat Mr. Davis saw Joyful in the Mackay Marina from the airplane.

179. Jeff also likes to fly.

180. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne enjoyed seeing all the nearby islands of the Great Barrier Reef from the air. They liked sailing through the reef on Joyful, too.

181. Flat Mr. Davis announced to all 8 people aboard the airplane, “LAND HO KESWICK ISLAND”!

182. Keswick Island with other Great Barrier Reef islands in the background.

183. Flat Mr. Davis liked flying in the airplane, and is now ready to explore an island in the Great Barrier Reef, Keswick Island.

184. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne examine several bee hives which are occupied by Caucasian Bees that live on Keswick Island. They make delicious honey which tastes exactly like caramel sauce.

185. Bees – Flat Mr. Davis read this sign about Keswick Island bees and wanted you to know about them, too.

186. Bees – Flat Mr. Davis got close to the bees, but they did not sting him because he did not disturb their hive.

187. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne hoped there are no poisonous snakes or spiders on Keswick Island. The caretaker said there were none living on the island.

188. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne enjoyed the view from a blustery hill top on Keswick Island.

189. Curlews – We kept seeing more curlews trying to protect their eggs. Look closely and you can see the mom and pop leading us away from their nest. They are running in front of us.  The next photo is an enlargement of the two curlews in this photo.

190. Look closely at the well camouflaged curlew couple running right in front of our truck to lead us away from their nest on the ground.

191. Look closely and you can see two curlews running ahead of the vehicle on the dirt road. There is a curlew in each tire track. They were trying to lead us away from their nest. They lay their eggs directly on the ground. The egg’s only protection is the parents acting as decoys.  That is why the parents run away from their nest in front of an animal which might eat the curlews’ eggs or babies.

192. This is a photo of an ancient palm plant on Keswick Island, which grows one ring in a hundred years. This is one of the oldest types of plants on earth, from the Jurassic Era.

193. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne discussed if they should go swimming, but they decided they did not want to scare the sharks. There are sharks in that water and sometimes deadly jellyfish, depending on the month of the year.

194. Flat Mr. Davis saw several types of coral on the beach on Keswick Island. The round one by his foot is called a Brain Coral.

195. Bird information.

196. Cricket – Basil Beach on Keswick Island in the Great Barrier Reef.

197. Cricket – Anne and Jeff playing Australian Beach Cricket on Keswick Island in the Great Barrier Reef.

198. Cricket – Jeff and Anne playing cricket on the beach on Keswick island.

199. Cricket – Anne hit the ball with her cricket bat.

200. Cricket – Anne pitching a cricket ball to Jeff on Basil Beach on Keswick Island in the Great Barrier Reef.

201. Cricket – Anne hit the cricket ball and is ready for some tea and scones.

202. Marine turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Keswick Island!

203. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne enjoyed the view from a hill top on Keswick Island.

204. Flat Mr. Davis saw the pandanus tree and wanted you to see it close up. Can you see Flat Mr. Davis in the tree?

205. Flat Mr. Davis saw a pandanus tree. The leaves have sharp saw tooth edges that will cut your skin. He also noticed that birds like to eat the fruit, but people do not.

206. Pandanus trees can be seen in many locations in the South Pacific. The locals like to use their leaves for many things, one of which is for roofing material.

207. Flat Mr. Davis made some butterfly friends on Keswick Island.

208. One of Flat Mr. Davis’ butterfly friends.

209. Flat Mr. Davis noted how the rain forest changed during different seasons.

210. Keswick Island has a rain forest with interesting paper bark trees, Eucalyptus trees, and others.

211. Jeff helped Flat Mr. Davis observe the paper bark tree swamp.

212. Paper bark tree swamp.

213. The paper bark tree swamp on Keswick Island.

214. The paper bark trees of Australia are quite spongy to the touch, but extremely strong inside. The native populations used all parts of the trees to support their lifestyle.

215. The black line was made by ants.

216. The black line is made of ants on this tree on Keswick Island!

217. Flat Mr. Davis looked for wild koala bears in the forest, but they were on the next island, Saint Bees.

218. Every few hundred feet along the dirt road, the terrain changed and we saw new and amazing sights.  This was the beginning of a grasstree forest.

219. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne look at the countless tall seed pods of the Keswick Island grasstrees on the top of the hill.

220. Flat Mr. Davis wants you to inspect the seed pod close up. It has very sharp seed shells.

221. Flat Mr. Davis hopes you can see these amazing grasstree plants in person someday.

222. Flat Mr. Davis stands on the green part of the plant. Once a year the plant sends up a tall shoot with the flower on top. It grows up to about 6 feet in 24 hours. The stalk is very hard like bamboo.

223. Jeff and Anne stand amongst the grasstrees on a Keswick Island hilltop. St. Bees Island is in the background.

224. Flat Mr. Davis thought he saw a snake, so Anne ran away.

225. The grass trees create tall seed pods which form white blossoms.

226. The hard stalks of the blossoms are used by aborigines for many purposes.

227. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne inspect the interesting grasstree plants living on top of a hill on Keswick Island.

228. These grass trees were so amazing!

229. Unbelievable beauty was everywhere on Keswick Island.

230. Anne ran back for Flat Mr. Davis and they continued touring the island in the four wheel drive vehicle. Here they saw more awesome views through the seed pods.

231. Keswick Island looks very similar to certain others in the Great Barrier Reef.

232. We thought this island was one of the most beautiful on earth because of its flora, fauna, and geology, as well as for its view of the sea and other islands. Plus, Keswick Island is not too spoiled with a lot of houses and other buildings.

233. Keswick Island is next to St Bees Island. St Bees Island has the largest number of koala bears in the world.

234. Taking off on Keswick Island, in the Great Barrier Reef. Saint Bees Island is in the distance.235. A departing view of Keswick Island.

236. We were thankful to have seen Keswick Island and its wonderful plant and animal wildlife.  The caretaker, who lives on the island, is devoted to preserving nature as much as possible.

237. Jeff helped fly the airplane back to the Mackay Airport. It will be my turn next time, I hope, with Flat Mr. Davis as my co-pilot!

 

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