Flamers and fireworks…hello 2018!

The Alpha Odyssey


Normally that’s a call you hear on a battlefield when rockets and artillery are raining down, but it was also yelled out several times during our new years eve celebrations aboard SV Billaroo in Patong Bay, Thailand. Every now again, an errant paper lantern, lit by revellers on nearby Patong Beach to accompany new years’ wishes into the atmosphere, would break from its skyward arc, and come plummeting down towards our yachts. One of these “flamers” (so-nicknamed because they were usually on fire) actually hit the mast of a yacht in front of us! (Hopefully there was no damage to the halyard or anything else.)

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Earlier in the night we went ashore for a quick walk through the infamous Patong Road precinct. It was only just gearing up for the big night ahead, but we were still accosted by hawkers trying to flog “ping pong shows” as we made…

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

What is a snake’s favourite subject?

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!)


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.


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??).


Random acts of kindness

Kindness is free, so sprinkle it everywhere!

According to the Pastafarian holy calendar, today (30 May) is random act of kindness day. (I’m not a Pastafarian, but as mentioned in a previous post, I like some of their ideas and concepts). And regardless of religious persuasion, the concept of doing a random act of kindness for a complete stranger is a good one.

So today, it’s a reminder to be kind. Help out the old lady who is struggling with groceries walking down the street. Or the lost tourist. Or the mum who has her hands full with a toddler’s poo detonation!

What random acts of kindness did you do today?


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