Page 151: Pam's Birthday in Tin can bay. and more.
  Pam's Birthday  

We celebrated Pam's birthday and our thirty fifth wedding anniversary while in Tin Can Bay.

We booked into "Snappers on the Marina" for Sunday lunch and every course was perfection. Even Pam, who is no mean cook herself, declared it was the best meal she had eaten in a very long time. And it was all paid for by son Nic in Perth.

Here she is, the Birthday Girl.

Not only the food was lovely, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed, the waitress super attentive and the outlook over the marina was of dozens of yachts bobbing at anchor.

If ever you visit Tin Can Bay, Snappers on the Marina is the place to eat. We've already booked it for our seventieth wedding anniversary - start saving, Nic - having checked out that there is wheelchair access. I'll be 104, you see, and Pam will be . . . well, Pam will be younger.

  The view from Snappers on the Marina, the sun low in the winter sky.  
  My dessert at Snappers restaurant. It's called an Eton Mess and eaten it certainly was. Mess refers to my waistline afterwards. And the sulphur crested cockatoo against a grey sky - what is the connection? Well, none whatsoever.  
  This Masked Lapwing is more commonly known as a Plover - or a 'pullover' if you're Pam.
There are two races of Masked Lapwing; this one is of the race novaehollandiae and is
commonly found across most of Australia. It looks as if it got its mask out of a cornflakes packet.
  Goodbye tin can bay, hello emu park  

Leaving Tin Can Bay we pointed north to Emu Park, five hundred kilometres distant. We have, in the past, done trips of 750 km in one day but we decided to break this trip in the middle, overnighting at a free rest area called Granite Creek. We arrived there mid afternoon on a Sunday and since we couldn't connect to power, we had no television. We couldn't connect to a water supply either and so we had filled one of our ninety litre tanks before leaving Tin Can Bay. Thus, with our fridge and water heater switched over to gas operation and our twelve volt water pump and lighting powered from our battery, we were perfectly comfortable for the night.

The next morning we pushed on north and arrived at Emu Park to a warm welcome soon after noon. Good old Jim Waterman is the Bell Park manager and things are never dull with Jim around.

You may remember that last time we were here, following a particularly happy happy hour, Pam walked into a palm tree. This was a source of great hilarity at the time and clearly hadn't been forgotten. As the picture below shows, we found the tree well cushioned with 'bubble wrap' and cordoned off with cones. See what I mean about Jim Waterman?

  Pam's Palm.  

Bell Park Caravan Park in Emu Park (phew, that's a lot of parks) is, in my opinion, unique. Apart from its location a few metres from the beach there's an atmosphere of friendliness. This is due, I believe, to Manager Jim impressing his personality on the place in a way I can't remember experiencing anywhere else. In the centre of the park is a covered area where happy hour is celebrated at around five o'clock every afternoon. Jim invites everyone in the park, so with the social lubricant of a drop of alcohol added, it's impossible not to make new friends and those friendships spill over into daily life in the park. My major problem is remembering people's names when introduced to several at once. Or even one at a time, let's face it!

Jim is almost always at happy hour and often his lovely wife, Susie, is there too. It beats me how Susie does it but she looks younger every time we stay here. Jim's sense of humour is very infectious which results in a lot of good natured ribbing and a stay at Bell Park is always a lot of fun. So much so that when we enquired about the possibility of booking for next winter we were told the park is booked out for the next five years!


Every night we fall asleep to the sound of the waves on the nearby beach and every morning I awake to the sound of laughter. Pam says that's because I wake up after everyone else; it's still quiet when she gets up.

Our friends Rob and Colleen James were already here when we arrived and as always it was great to catch up with them. Rob and Colleen are from Mount Gambier in the deep south of South Australia where you can smell the penguin pooh when the wind blows from the Antarctic. We first met them in Denham, Western Australia, in November of 2008.

  Friends Rob and Colleen at happy hour. Err, that's HAPPY hour, guys.  
  Emu Park from the air. The caravan park is at the bottom of the picture, separated from the beach by a strip of bushland. The large grey roof on the left covers a new shopping centre under construction. The red spot on the inset map marks the location of Emu Park.  
  In defence of the fruit bats - Soapbox time.  
  Fruit Bats, a.k.a. Flying Foxes. The innocent source of much paranoia in Australia at present.  

Let's leave the bats alone! A few people and several horses have died after contracting Hendra virus. How many people died on the roads in the same period? How many people died after falling from a ladder? How many died of electric shock or a drug overdose?

This extremely overstated outcry against the bats is perhaps caused by the revulsion felt at the physical appearance of some bats and/or the fictitious Dracula story.  Perhaps it is encouraged by fruit growers or horse owners who have been affected.

Even Pam had to say, "Ahhhh" when she looked at this picture - and she doesn't like bats. But then, Pam doesn't like
dogs either. You can see why they're called Flying Foxes.

Until a direct link is confirmed connecting the bats to human deaths, why can't we leave them alone? There are millions of fruit bats in Australia but only a handful of humans have succumbed to the Hendra virus.

Do we ban tobacco? No, we don't, yet the suffering and death caused by smoking far exceeds anything these little creatures could unwittingly do. Think about it; live and let live.

  Wonderful Technology  

Over the last few days our niece, Amy, has been travelling to Australia from England. She stopped over for a few days in New York and was caught by Hurricane Irene with all flights grounded. Her poor mum, Sandie, was beside herself with worry. Not that she needed to worry, Amy was having the time of her life on a Sex in the City tour. The hurricane only clipped New York and Amy was soon airborne and bound for Sydney after a Los Angeles refuelling stop.

While checking out the New York weather and flight information we came across an on-line site which displayed Amy's flight details, how high she was, how fast she was travelling and showed her position and track on a map in real time.

The picture below is of a different flight and just for demonstration purposes. Here American Airlines Flight 104 was 345 miles out of JFK Airport bound for London. The orange line shows the plane's progress and the panel to the right of the map shows more details.

In the case of Amy's flight we were able to sit in a caravan in Queensland and watch her progress across the world. Isn't technology something?

  A snapshot of the computer screen as a flight from New York to London is tracked.