Hisss-tory

 

I’m a sucker for lame jokes. Like this one:

What is a snake’s favourite subject?
Hisss-tory.

I like a bit of history, but snakes, not so much. Still, I’ve had a few snake/history combinations recently.

In 1911 the SS Yongala sank after steaming into a cyclone off the QLD coast. All souls on board were lost, including a race horse and a prize-winning bull. The wreck wasn’t discovered until the 1970s, but is now one of the best dive sites in the world. I recently had the fortune to do a dive trip out to the Yongala and although the seas were a bit choppy, the diving was indeed excellent. The wreck sits in 26 metres of water, so you don’t get too much bottom time (and as it is a gravesite, wreck penetration is forbidden) but we saw giant Queensland grouper, colourful angel fish, and sea-snakes! Apparently they are more deadly than land snakes, but have brittle teeth that struggle to bite through human skin (or wetsuit). I didn’t test out the theory (but they did get pretty close!)

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Meanwhile on land, while we were bushwalking up to an old World War II fort constructed on Magnetic Island in 1943, I nearly stepped on another deadly snake: a coastal taipan. Unlike most other snakes that usually beat a hasty retreat when humans come stumbling by, taipans usually stand their ground. And this one did, eyeing me off. He ended up winning the stare-off and I cautiously backed up. We proceeded to the fort, learnt a bunch from the informative displays, and checked out the fantastic view. On the way back down we were lucky enough to also see koalas in the trees.

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Anyway, talk of shipwrecks and islands has led me to life’s big questions #3: If your ship sank and you were stuck on a deserted island, who would you want to be stuck on there with?

I’m thinking Bear Grylls, for his survival skills; Josh Richards, the Aussie ex-Army scientist/comedian who wants to get selected to live on Mars, because I reckon he’d be bloody handy too; and my bestie Sondra, because she’s great company. And maybe a Telstra or Optus technician to get wifi up running…(otherwise how would I blog about it??).

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Message in a bottle

The other day I was beachcombing on a deserted tropical island (Russell Island, in the Great Barrier Reef), and I found a bit of sea-glass. It was all milky white and smooth along the edges from being churned around in the ocean, rubbing up against sand and rocks and dead bits of coral.

On closer inspection, I could see the faint remains of the branding: Coke. In a previous life, it was a coca-cola bottle!

It got me thinking: if this bottle could talk, what stories would it be able to tell?

Where was it from? I’ve been to some pretty remote places: Bougainville (an island in PNG), Afghanistan, Uganda. But I’ve always been able to buy coca-cola, so it could be from anywhere. Who drank from it? Was it just an afternoon thirst-quencher? Or was it a mixer for a party? And where has it been since it fell in the ocean? Did it float for a while, past big tankers and small little yachts, or creatures from the deep? Or did it sink straight to the bottom and roll around with the other detritus on the sea-floor. And where are all the other shards of the bottle?

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Post publication edit: Andrea from the Daily Post and I have similar thoughts about transience

My very-much-cliche, out-of-focus bokeh photo wasn’t originally intended as such.

A month after the much anticipated super-moon (which caused thousands of people to ascend Mt Coot-tha hoping to catch a glimpse of a giant honey-coloured orb, only to get trapped in a traffic jam from hell), I was back up Mt Coot-tha for the next full moon.

I got there early. There were only a handful of other hopeful photographers, and so I managed to get a prime front-row spot along the lookout guard-rail. I laboriously set up my tripod and camera, got it just right.

At the expected moonrise time there was …. zip. The moon was trapped behind a layer of haze. This happened sometimes. It was such an anti-climax. The little pack of photographers waited, hoping that it would still appear.

After lots of minutes, I was convinced the moon was a no-show. I packed up my tripod and fancy camera, walked back to my car already thinking about what to have for dinner, and started to drive down the hill.

Partway down there is a gap in the trees, and at the exact moment I drove by, the moon decided to show itself.  Hovering over the Brisbane skyline. I swerved to the curb, parked the car and jumped out with my point-and-shoot. No time for fancy tripods.

In the end, NONE of my shots turned out except for a couple of accidental bokeh shots. Truly accidental, because they happened when my point and shoot failed to auto-focus. But the results were accidental beauty: a bokeh moon over little coloured bokeh lights:

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And because I was going through a Prisma phase (the cool little app that creates art from photos using a bunch of different filters), I prisma’d the photos to mix it up a little more:

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Cheers to you moon.

Oh, and for any in-focus stalwarts out there, here’s a recent one from a clear night.

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