Hot and cold: from New Year in heatwave Australia to mid-winter Geneva

Somewhat belatedly, a few photos from a quick trip to Australia in the New Year break 2016-2017 to visit my family in Noosa on the Queensland coast.  Flying from the midwinter Geneva around zero C to heatwave in the middle of summer – middle 30s C and then back to a cold spell at -4 C. Around 35°C temperature drop from my last Saturday on Sunshine Beach to the first day in Geneva.

img_5674

Even though it was hot, there were some stormy days and some dark clouds on Noosa Main Beach. It was much more crowded when the sun was out.

Continue reading

Fraser Island – largest sand island in the world

While in Australia in July, we hired a 4WD for a trip to Fraser Island, largest sand island in the world. From Noosa, it was a 50 km drive on Cooloola Beach to Rainbow Bay, then across to Fraser Island by barge to drive up 75 Mile Beach on the eastern side.

DSCN0609

Waiting at Rainbow Beach for the barge to cross to Fraser Island.

Early morning light on 75 Mile Beach

Early morning light on 75 Mile Beach

Continue reading

Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls

When I was in Harare in April 2000, I  took a day to go to Victoria Falls (victoria-falls-and-the-zambesi-river). When I saw the bungee jump off the bridge across the Zambesi Gorge below the falls, I had to do it. This is arguably the best bungee jump in the world, with a 111 metre plummet (nearly 400 feet) towards the Zambezi. The short video below is taken from an old VHS tape of my two jumps. That’s me after the 15 second intro.

Continue reading

Victoria Falls and the Zambesi River

00968_n_10af2g2zzb0968

Victoria Falls

Some years ago, I was in Harare, Zimbabwe, for a WHO meeting and took the opportunity to make a flying visit to Victoria Falls, about a one hour flight away. While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, it is classified as the largest, based on its width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft),[ resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls.

01060_n_10af2g22v41128

Continue reading

Surfing at Noosa

 

This Easter, the boys and I went to Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia to visit relatives. Apart from heavy rain storms the first couple of days it was hot and sunny just like mid-summer. We went to the beach every day and the boys had some surfing lessons (boards). I also did a jet ski trip with each of them out to the open ocean to jump waves at speed.

Nine Stanes, Eslie the Greater and Eslie the Lessor

I have had a longstanding interest in megalithic monuments since I was a teenager. In part sparked by my interest in astronomy as a teenager, since the megalithic monuments of Europe show that Neolithic humans had sophisticated astronomical skills. And in part, by my interest in deep ancestry (see previous post https://mountainsrivers.com/2014/03/11/maternal-ancestors-bronze-age-iron-age-roman-britain/). And also by their connection with the barrowdowns of Middle Earth. On my first extended trip to Britain, I visited various megalithic stone circles in England and explored the barrows around the Ridgeway near Oxford.

So on my trip to Eastern Scotland last Easter, I took a look on the internet to see whether there were any megalithic monuments within an easy drive from the area I was staying in near the villages of Mathers (https://mountainsrivers.com/2014/05/20/the-villages-of-mathers-easter-2014/). And discovered there were three stone circles about 45 km north-west of St Cyrus where I was staying. Continue reading

Zen practice in Japan

My main Zen teacher in the 1990s was Hogen Yamahata, known as Hogen-san to his students, who travelled regularly from Japan to conduct sesshin, and in the late 1990s started to spend more of his time in Australia. I was planning a visit to Japan in 1995 and hoped to visit Hogen-san at his temple, Chogen-ji, near Mt Fuji. Apart from the fact that I found out he was actually visiting Australia at the time I planned to go to Japan, his long-term student Peter Thompson advised me that Hogen-san’s temple was only a small family temple with one or two students at most. and that it would be better for me to visit Bukkokuji, where Hogen-san had trained with his main teacher, Harada Tangen Roshisama. So in 1995, I went to Bukkokuji and spent a week training with Roshisama.

00779_n_10af2g2zzb0779

The entrance to Bukkokuji, a Zen monastery in Obama, Japan.

Continue reading