Cruising the Waterways of the Gold Coast

Trip Start Dec 25, 2006
Trip End Jan 30, 2007

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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Today was to be my last day and as I needed to do some admin things, Lillian helped me with the post office and such like. It was then a wander around the shops as I wanted to look for a couple of items. Mainly a pair of shorts as I have discovered that I haven't brought enough of them with me. As we wandered around I noticed a river cruise and thought that would be a grand way to spend a couple of hours. Booking the tickets, it was then back to the apartment to grab a drink. This was via the beach, the surf was huge and people had been getting into all sorts of trouble the day before as the surf had been big the day before.

One of the interesting aspects of the Gold Coast that doesn't get published or marketed' are the number of the deaths that occur off the beaches. The day we went to Currumbin, the life guards where unable to save a man, who got into trouble. The waves were so fierce, strong and large, that although they had managed to get to him on the rubber duckie, a wave took him away from them. Sending him undoubtedly down on to the sea bed. He did reappear and they brought him to the beach where they tried there best, but it wasn't to be. The day before such was the population of people in the surf, 'surf rage' was occurring. People were cutting each other up on their boards, hitting people and it was general chaos. The Life guards were having a torrid time trying to keep people out of trouble; one woman decided that she could take her child into this rough sea, wearing arms bands. This is not the best course of action as it caused a rather a lot of consternation in the press and other people on the beach.

Surfers Paradise has some of the strongest rips and undertows along this coast line. They are vicious, (photo) I went for a walk along the beach towards the end of the day and the water can go from being splashing over your feet to knees in one wave. When the waves dissipate back into the sea the suction is so strong it cause's a set of back ripples. When the waves hit this back flow the sea gets ever more churned up and suddenly the sea instead of flowing in and out it can also flow sideward's as waves mash into each other from all directions (photo).

This is some very heavy surf and should be treated with respect, which obviously people don't when on holiday. Most of the people in Surfers Paradise were Australians on their annual holiday. Since the Bali bombings they are now staying in their own country and most go to this patch of the coast. Because of the weather, it rarely rains, never gets too hot or cold, as it has own micro climate. Coupled with the outstanding surf.

Anyway back to the river cruise this was great fun. Boarding the ferry meant having a photo taken with a parrot (well it wasn't a parrot, but I can't remember what type of bird it was and it was bright blue). From this entertainment, we embarked to discover that afternoon tea was laid on. Scone's, cream, jam plus a variety of cakes. Very civilised. Having selected the food, Lillian and I found a nice spot out on the upper deck, laid out our food. We had already stopped on the way to the cruise at one of the local sushi, so it was a banquet fit for kings...

The ship, took us around the waterways of the Gold Coast. (photo) The originally idea was to base Surfers Paradise on Miami, but it has out grown itself somewhat. They various islands and the houses where explained as was the building history about the whole area. Potted history time. The area initially was built out of regained land and the original islands are 1.5 meters lower than the new islands that have been built. This is because in the 1970's a typhoon hit the region and flooded the Gold Coast badly, the wash back caused even more damage. The civil engineers discovered that water didn't have anywhere to go as the access to the sea was and still is poor. The manmade canals constricting the water flow so causing more problems that shouldn't have been there. This typhoon also altered the outflow of the river into the pacific. It moved it further northwards.

Also due to the winds and the large surf the power kites, kite surfers and wind surfers had retreated to the channels behind the main waterfront. The cruise showed off the variety of modern architecture wonderfully and showed that the area isn't full of high-rises as you would think from the beach.

During the cruise, we partook in a couple of Pina Coladers, which meant that I wouldn't be leaving that evening, but early the next morning instead. So later that day I took a walk along the beach, 2nd of the day to see the differences. During the morning, the beach is flooded with sunlight and was very busy (photo), by the afternoon the high-rises which have been built along the foreshore suddenly have a 2nd use other than look good. The sun tracks round and causes the high rises to cast long shadows over the sand. Which because of the strength of the sun, people emigrate into the shade and happily frolicking the rest of the day away here or in the sea. These shadows also create wonderful sun patches on the surf. Which when illuminated against a blacking sky as a storm started to brew. Creating dramatic landscapes, which I attempted to capture. (photo)
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