Butterflies, Birds, Reptiles, Stingrays and Sharks

Today is my birthday so I decided I would have to better last year’s swimming with dolphins outing.

Port Stephens N.S.W. has a Shark & Ray Rescue Centre but now they also have a butterfly room.

Injured and surrendered reptiles are also a new additions.

There’s also an out walk-in bird aviary which also has a turtle pond. Unfortunately, the water was stirred up with heavy raindrops. So no turtle photos in the pond. However, this cheeky one decided he liked to sit on my head.

We then headed for the stingray tanks before not so calmly climbed in with the sharks.

These stingrays were like slippers as I scuffed around the tank. The water was murky but there were definitely sharks swimming past me and around me.

Archived in: Travel & Retirement

Getting started for 2023 Birthdays

I actually started in December when I made Birthday cards for three family members and a friend who have their birthdays in the first few weeks of January. Now I’ve completed a few of each – male, female and a couple of children’s cards – although I’m yet to make and cards for the younger boys. Our eldest grandson will be 18 in February but he loves penguins. I do have a shop bought card with a photo of a group of penguins on the front so I might give him that one. Does anyone know if a “group” of penguins is correct or is there another name?

Archived in: Travel & Retirement

Hunter Valley Holiday

Here are some more photos of our week’s holiday in the Hunter Valley.

Archived in: Travel & Retirement

Cider, Wine, a Cheese Platter and Fabulous Views

After doing a little grocery shopping this morning we decided to head back to Harrigan’s for lunch before visiting the Cider House. Thankfully we were sheltered by the hot sun while we shared a paddle of three tasting size ciders and the taste of a local red wine.

The cheese platter was delicious and made to fit our taste and my allergies.

This child size house looked so adorable.

It was empty so we supposed it was for children to visit while their parents tasted.

Archived in: Travel & Retirement

It’s Getting Close

If there’s one thing I like to do, and I can do it more now in retirement, it’s card making. Throughout the year I make birthday cards for special people in our life. Now that Christmas is not to far away, I have set aside October to make the Christmas cards which are to be posted. I don’t know about where you live but our slow mail is really slow. It took two weeks for my daughter’s wedding anniversary card to reach her place just over 2 and half hours away by road. We could have delivered it in person if it wasn’t for being unable to travel that far yet.

Just a few Christmas Card varieties I’m making this year.

Archived in: Retirement

Walking and Rolling Out and About

This morning’s weather was loads better than recent weeks. The sun was shining and very few clouds to spoil the blue of the sky. The chilly wind off the mountains in the west also had ceased.

The Coastal Walk was tempting but beyond the Breakwall it gets rather rocky for walkers as well as rollers. That is – Not friendly for prams wheelchairs, roller skaters and skate boarders. Norm is improving with his steering but occasionally I almost get flipped out of the wheelchair or bogged. All fun.

The painting on rocks along the Breakwall has been around for quite a few years. Some I saw were dated back in the late 1990s. Graffiti is rarely seen here which is probably why the rock painting began in the first place. People tend to respect other people’s art work; no matter how bad it is. Some people wrote commemorative messages for pets, family members a or friends. I wish I could show more but there’s way to many photos for WordPress.

On our return along the Breakwall we stopped for coffee and dessert at one of our favourite eating places – the Pancake Place. A very bright place to eat.

This is why I don’t like selfies and teaching Norm makes it no better. LOL!

On our return along the Breakwall we stopped for coffees and desserts at one of our favourite eating places – the Pancake Place.

Archived in: Retirement

New Skills and Bird Watching

Retirement can be challenging but there’s always something to learn and do, especially when it comes to the garden.

Well done, Norm. You’re never too old to learn new skills. I can’t wait to see what other species of birds will visit the garden.

Archived in: Retirement

Whales Ahoy!

It’s whale season here on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, Australia. Whales head north to warmer waters from the Antarctic to breed and give birth. Just a few days ago, we were taking the ocean road to head home the long way when I spotted a whale breaching of the coast. We parked the car at one of the lookouts and enjoyed the view. Unfortunately, we left our camera at home. Today we set off with the right equipment but sadly they were 15 to 20 kilometres off-shore. Even the long distance lens didn’t help. We met a gentleman who is one of the official whale counters who told us that 396 whales passed the headland and just a couple of kilometres off the coastline yesterday. Sadly, these are the best of 50 photos we took today.

Because you have read this far, I shall reward you with a few photos taken back in June 2016 – three years before we moved here. We had brought my dad up here from Sydney for a holiday. The whale watching cruise was the highlight of his trip. These whales came within 20 feet of the boat with one coming up alongside the boat to check out the humans.

Note: Boat owners are not allowed to approach whales but sometimes the whales come to the boat so engines are switched off to wait for the whales to move on.

Archived in: Retirement

Happy Birthday to the Man I Love AND Congratulations on 50 Service in the RAAF

Forever and Always. I’m so blessed to have you as my wonderful husband. You’re my best friend, my partner in life, my husband, my hero, my love妃y everything. You make me so happy just by being the man and the husband you are. Even after all this time, you never stop amazing me. – Happy Birthday!

Archived in: Announcements

Two Days in Port Stephens – oops. Take 2.

It’s been two days since we returned from a two day break in beautiful Port Stephens. The weather was nice with just a few showers over night. This is where we stayed. This photo is a photo of an advertising photo taken from the other side of the golf course. The apartment we stayed in was on the first floor facing the golf course in the building centre right of the photo – one of the taller buildings with the triangle frame at the top.

Neither of us play golf. It’s the tranquility of the place that lures us there.

On the first morning we took a ten minute drive to Nelson Bay where we enjoyed a quiet coffee while we waited for the ferry to take us to a little riverside town named Tea Gardens.

It’s near quietness was due to it being a day before Easter and the school holidays had not yet begun.

The ferry was pretty old but it added to the glamour of the trip. There was only half the passenger capacity so social distancing wasn’t a problem and the captain, and one crew man, were very informative.

Photo by Norm

With the swells being quite high through the heads, it was not easy trying to stand let alone holding a camera and taking photographs. These are just a few photos taken on the way to Tea Gardens.

After some window shopping, we wandered around to read the lunch menus on various cafe and restaurant windows. We settled on the Seagrass Cafe with gluten free options. I ate just over half of my meal. Norm ate all of his and almost the rest of mine.

The Singing Bridge was named after the hand-railed pedestrian fence had been installed. Apparently when the wind blows, from a certain direction at around 80 kilometres an hour, a very loud whining can be heard up and down the river until the wind lessens and changes direction. On the first occurrence, those who heard it were quite frightened by it. We didn’t get to hear it though.

The outing took just over three and a half hours with our return ferry ride being escorted at one time by a lone dolphin. We did see a few dolphins leaping out of the water some distance away on the trip out too.

Photo by Chrissy

Most of the time away was just to relax and watch the day go by. Returning home on Good Friday would have been OK except for road works that backed up traffic. We discovered just over this hill, two lanes suddenly became one. This photo was taken when the traffic came to a dead stop. We then proceeded at a speed of 2-4 km an hour for the next 5kms. As soon as we past the roadworks, the traffic disappeared.

Archived in: Retirement

Just a few Holiday Photos

We have been in this beautiful town of Coffs Harbour since Sunday March 13th. We have so far visited the dolphin and marine research centre, a pebble beach, walking trails, spa, swimming pool and restaurants.

We also visited the Honey Place today but no photos. The information on beehives and whole honey process was very interesting. We’ll be here in Coffs Harbour for another three days. When we return home, there will many, many photos to sort through.

Archived in: Retirement

Happy Birthday to Me

What did I do on my 65th Birthday? Swim with a dolphin, of course.

She’s teaching the dedicated team of vets and researchers more than they can teach her.

Archived in: Retirement

White Picket Fence

I have always wanted a white picket fence. Because we live in an over 50’s lifestyle village, there are rules for height and colour etc. The local Bunnings store had these garden surrounds made from treated pine.

Day. 1 & 2. Painting the pieces.

Day 3. Joining the pieces together and marking the location of where each spike will go.

Tightening up the nuts, bolts and screws.
Just in time for a clean up before lunch.

After we had eaten Norm’s wonderful roast beef dinner cooked to perfection in the outdoor kitchen the rain came down in force. It was such a heavy rain we couldn’t see the new fence from the front window.

Over the next few days, I’ll touch up where the ends were cut as well as hiding the screw heads with white paint.

A job well done, Norm. Your handyman skills are improving.

Archived in: Retirement

Riverside Walks & Views

Archived in: Retirement

Morning Walk

I hope you enjoy some of the animals I met on one of my morning walks this past week.

Archived in: Retirement

Cruise time

With the floods receded and the weather beautiful, we decided to take a dolphin sighting cruise.
My dear friend, Lyn at The Call of the Pen is visiting for a few days.
To our surprise, we were the only ones on the dining room level of the boat until lunch. There were only a few small groups in other areas. At a quick count, there was probably only a dozen on board. No problem here with Social distancing.
Some of the debris from the floods are still coming down river.
Many of these prestige homes were under water to at least first floor just a few weeks ago.

Archived in: Retirement

Summer Garden

Bottle Brush bush weighed down with it’s first season’s bloom.
Sunny places to sit and wander.
The sun shines on the bird bath making it glisten.
We’ve had a lot of rain. This time last year we were in a drought. When the drought broke the lawn turned into a marsh land but the drainage our son put in back in August 2020 is working perfectly. https://riversidepeace.com/2020/08/19/more-activity-in-the-yard/ Gumboots no longer required.
Still planting and harvesting.
It’s amazing to think this was our backyard in January 2020.

Archived in: I’m in the Garden