Tuesday, 27th February 2018
We woke up in Paradise this morning – rather early – sun was already up over the ocean and although I wanted to take some pictures some clouds hid it! Mind you although it looks like paradise, it has also its hidden dangers – a notice board to the beach says that there may be stingers (jellyfish), strong currents and………. Crocodiles!! You may understand that we only tiptoed into the ocean and were back in no time!!
Today was going to be an easy day – doing household chores – if you can call, doing the washing up, sweeping the camper floor, sorting out the laundry and just tidying up, household chores.
So before breakfast I already had a load of whites tumbling away in the campsite washing machine and after breakfast, hanging on the wash line while the second coloured laundry pile was being washed. The sun was out but we hardly had any wind, however by the time we had finished our breakfast the wash lines were full with our clean fresh laundry waiting to dry!!
I picked up a book at the laundry room and while waiting for the laundry was drying, we sat in the morning sun, me reading and Gerry doing his word puzzles………. Very domesticated!
We had a short rain shower so we grabbed all the washing off the lines as they were mostly dry and lay them in the camper – and then it was time for lunch! Healthy cheese sandwiches also filled with tomatoes, rucola and cucumber.
When we were ready, we showered and took the camper van off our pitch to drive to Mackay. That is the downside o a camper van – if you want to visit a town or historic place, you need to drive the big van and then it’s ever so difficult to find a decent parking place for the van – well it’s 7.5 meters long! This time we parked at Metro – a big DIY store with a huge parking area for its customers……. Luckily Gerry takes all this in his stride and doesn’t worry like I do!
On the way, we saw a few signs which show that there is a Maltese community living in Mackay – Vella’s Fish Bar, Mifsud Gardening Centre and Galea’s Fishing Equipment. Also, I remember as a kid, one of my father’s workmen – Salvu – emigrated to Australia to work in the Sugar Cane Fields – so he must have come to Queensland…………
So as I had mentioned the other day, Mackay was swept away by a cyclone and actually this was in 1918 ( and not as previously stated 1915) Because so much of the town was destroyed, new buildings were constructed round about the same time so the main street – Sydney street and the block around Sydney Street being Wood Street and Victoria Street have many Art Deco buildings It was great walking around and seeing that most of the colours were kept in their original state.
By the time we had our walk about – in the hottest part of the day – we were ready to have something refreshing – and this seems strange in such a country as Australia that you cannot get any fresh juices….. We went in to a couple of places and they only had bottled juices and finally when we found one that did fresh juices, their machine was shut down for the day!!!!! Well at the shopping mall, we ended up having a vanilla milkshake for Gerry and crushed pomegranate juice for me!
We got back to the camper van, which was still neatly parked, and we drove then to the Mackay Marina. This is an impressive sight to see and actually it’s like a little modern village with apartments, restaurants and a garden boulevard facing the Marina. There was also an old little lighthouse which was built in 1885 after a ship was shipwrecked off the coast on unchartered rocks.
A very high breakwater protects the Marina and as the tide is very high here – some 3 meters -, the jetties are floating jetties.
We took a walk all along the marina and then partially on the breakwater. Outside the breakwater at quite some distance, we could see tankers all waiting to get into the port and when we asked the breakwater guard what products where being imported or exported, he informed us that coal was being exported from that terminal. Apparently a huge industry in Queensland! There is also another terminal on behind the yacht marina and this was purely for sugar. Mackay is a sugar-producing town and we had seen all the sugar cane as we were driving through the countryside!
Well after that long walk, Gerry had to be rewarded with a real ice cream and this was at one of the Italian cafes on the boulevard. I had a chocolate milkshake!
By the time we returned to our campsite, we weren’t really hungry – yes ice cream and milkshakes are very filling. So we enjoyed a glass of wine with some cheese till later in the evening when I prepared an omelet on toast. It was a pleasant evening to stay outdoors, however I was being bitten by either sandflies or invisible mosquitos that I had to get inside the van. As usual we never have any late nights as we get up quite early the following morning.
Tomorrow we will be heading to Airle Beach – just across from the Whitsunday islands – not too long a stretch for Gerry to drive!