11/28/2011, Gold Coast, Australia
Pulling ourselves away from Brisbane was not easy. We had actually planned to leave yesterday (Sunday) but our friend Noel Sneddon invited us to the home of some of his friends for a BBQ on Saturday night. We got back to the boat after 1 AM so energy levels were not up to the task of getting underway yesterday.
This morning we got up at 4 AM. That is not as hard as it seems since its already light out at 4:00 and by 4:30 the sun is well above the horizon. Part of the reason it gets light so early is that Queensland does not go on Daylight Savings Time. The rational is that they are a more agriculturally focused state. I guess the farmers need to be up with the chickens.
This was one of those rare days of coastal cruising where the tide was with us for the entire day. We rode the ebb out the Brisbane river and were usually going more that 8 kts over the ground. Just around the time we got out the river and turned down the channel to the south the tide changed and started flooding south which carried us the rest of the way to our destination at high speeds, too.
Tonight we are anchored in an area called the marine stadium. Its a rectangular bay that looks like it is probably the result of dredging operations. When we arrived the land around the "stadium" was covered with Australian families enjoying the beach. Tonight is has quite a few boats anchored in it but its very peaceful and quiet. There is not as much breeze as we would like but at least its cooling off.
The photo at the top of this blog entry is a screen shot from our position report page that shows where we are anchored. If you go to shiptrak (http://shiptrak.org/?callsign=kf6bpu&filter=30) and zoom in using the hybrid mode you will be able to see the maze of islands we threaded our way through today.
The Gold Coast has a reputation for being overdeveloped and tacky. So far we have only seen large homes of man made islands and more jet skis than we have ever seen before. To the south of our anchorage we can see the skyscraper apartment buildings and hotels.
There is a lot of controversy about the way the Gold Coast has been developed in that the buildings have been placed so close to the beach that normal sand migration cant happen and the beaches are eroded away to the point that the foundations of the skyscrapers are threatened. Also, they say that the large group of tall buildings causes a funneling effect where the trade winds are accelerated between the buildings causing very high winds on the city streets.
Looking at it we think the Gold Coast is the prototype for Porpoise spit, the fictional town in "Muriel's Wedding".
We need to watch the weather and figure out when we are going to be able to get out of here and head south.
11/25/2011, Brisbane, Australia
We save the Gallery of Modern Art until we had time to do it right.
Several people had told us that it was an excellent museum if only for the building itself.
The GOMA is one of the excellent free museums in Brisbane and is located in the area called Southbank where the other museums and performance venues are located. It is located at the southern foot of the Kurilpa pedestrian bridge across the Brisbane river.
While we were looking over the handouts at the front desk we were approached by a charming older Australian lady who asked if we would join her for a tour of the museum. She conducted tours every 45 minutes or so and was an absolutely charming lady who is 6th generation.
The collection in the museum is not the best we have ever seen but the presentation is easily the the best. They did a beautiful job of presenting their extensive collection of modern aboriginal art and did not crowd the exhibits by displaying too much at one time.
They had a traveling exhibit of work by Yayoi Kusama, an 80 year old Japanese woman who did not become artistically active until her 70s. Our guide said that Kusama required people to help her by which I assume she has some keepers. Kusama did come across as a bit eccentric. They had a movie in which she talked about "habitual suicide" which is a novel concept.
Her works are stunning and I have included a couple of photos in our Brisbane gallery.
There was also a striking exhibit of photographs of a Chinese Australian named William Yang. He was born in a farming region of North Queensland and developed a career as a photographer who documented gay life in Australia. The exhibit that caught our attention was a series of photographs that documented his mother's life as pieced together from his perspective. Some of the photos were ones he took but others were family photos that he reprinted along with his hand written commentary on various stages of his mother's life.
There were exhibits of modern aboriginal art and the exhibits, and our guide, explained the aboriginal imagery developed using modern materials. Because Australia is so large there are several different artistic styles that evolved over 50,000 years. I have put a few images in the Brisbane Gallery.
There was also a collection of a wealthy Brisbanite named James C Sourris. Sourris collected Australian modern art over several years.
Our favorite part of the Sourris collection was a series of photographs that caused almost all the visitors to start laughing when they saw them. Our favorite is called "Australian Gothic" a photo of which is included in our Brisbane gallery.
The gallery has floor to ceiling windows on one floor that overlook the Kurilpa pedestrian bridge and has the effect of bringing the beautiful bridge into the collection that is on display.
This gallery is a "must see" for visitors to Brisbane
11/18/2011, Brisbane, Australia
We are both really impressed with Brisbane. Its a beautifully laid out city that is arranged around the bends in the Brisbane river. The downtown area is full of skyscrapers and the water front is covered with resaturants , bars, and dock space for the city's extensive fleet of ferries and several large dinner cruise river boats.
We really lucked out and have a mooring that is a 5 minute dingy ride from a dingy dock that gives us immediate access to the Central Business District and the Bonanical Gardens that occupy one bend in the river. The photo at the top of this blog entry shows Active Transport sitting on a mooring with downtown Brisbane in the background.
I have also uploaded, and will continue to upload, pictures of the sights of Brisbane. To access the Brisbane album use the "galleries" link to the right of this blog entry.
When we arrived yesterday we spent couple of hours wandering around the downtown area and found lots of restaurants, trendy stores, a Woolworth's grocery store and lots of other attractions.
Brisbane has a very nice system of rental bicycles called Citycycle. The entire system is managed electronically. We bought credit on line and for $2 a day we can pick up bicycles at any of many bike parking stations and drop them at a station near our destination. If no single trip runs more than half an hour all we pay is the $2 per day to use the system.
The bikes are very nice three speed bikes with disc brakes, LED head and tail ights, a bell, and a basket. They are all maintained beautifully. Even the bells worked on all the bikes we used today.
Ill get some photos of the details tomorrow showing how the bikes dock into electronic docking stations that automatically record the time you used the bike. YOu can also find out how many bikes and how may vacant docking stations there are any any of the stations. You can do that on line or at the electronic kiosk located at each station.
We took the bikes to the Cultural center of town and visited both the maritime museum and the art museum. The maritime museum was fascinating and very well done. They had a WWII vintage river class frigate that was built in Australia in the 40s. We got a lot of pictures at the maritime museum and will post them tomorrow.
The art museum was in a beautiful building and had a lot of very well presented paintings representing of various periods from the 17th century on. After a couple of years of living in Washington DC and taking several visitors to the National Art Gallery on the Mall, I find myself feeling like every other museum we visit falls short in terms of the breath of the collection. The museum here in Brisbane did a very good job with special commentary for kids.
There is also a museum of modern art that we have not seen yet. The Queensland museum, which is more of a natural history museum, is closed for renovations so we wont get to see that.
When we returned to town we walked across the Victoria pedestrian bridge which is very striking in its design. I got some photos of the bridge and will post them to our Brisbane gallery.
More tomorrow. We saw too much today to cover in a single blog entry. Besides tomorrow we are going to Kmart! The plan is to take the river cat up the river to a dock near the end of the line where there is a big kmart. Shawn was really impressed with the quality and prices at the Kmart in Bundaberg so we are hoping to replace some aging clothes and shoes.