Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hastings Wharf

(Bensville walkies #1)

Hastings Wharf Bensville

Winter in Woy Woy.

Actually up the road a bit in at Hastings Wharf in Bensville but I couldn't resist the alliteration.

This is looking west towards Woy Woy. What you can see is the end of Shelly Beach Road in Empire Bay (left), Cockle Channel between Empire Bay and Davistown, and a bit of Davistown on the right where the mangroves are. That's Kyoga Avenue, Romford and Alkoomie Close in Davistown. Not that you can see the houses. Away in the distance there you've got yer hills and ridges behind The Bays on the other side of Woy Woy.

Bensville, Woy Woy & Gosford

Bensville is the orange dot near the right hand edge of the map, bit under halfway up.

Bensville is a wee town in a quiet bay on the eastern shore of Brisbane Water. It has just under 3,000 peeps, four shops, a park, a scout hall and the wharf.

In March 1788, just after landing at Botany Bay, Governor Phillip, the boss of Straylya's first colony, came up from Sydney and had a sticky. He looked round near Bensville and other parts of Brisbane Water and went back to Botany Bay. (More on that.)

Davistown from Hastings Wharf Bensville

This is Davistown seen from Bensville.

Bensville is named after Ben Davis, of the local ship-building clan. He built 15 ships there in the 1870s. Davistown is named after another of the Davises. Bensville was called Sunnyside before it was changed to Bensville. Very apt. (More on that.)

Scout hall, Hastings Wharf Bensville

Bensville scout hall nestled in amongst the mangroves and casuarinas and gum trees.

Hastings Wharf Bensville

Mangrove tree. Just for pretty.

Cloud sandwich, Hastings Wharf Bensville

Cloud sandwich. There was one cloud. This was it.

Nice moody snap of the wharf itself

Fabulous Bensville photos by Bobesh

Moon or Mars?

Whatcher reckon? Do we go back to the moon and learn more stuff about it and probably about us or do we aim for a colony on Mars?

Peak of Eternal Light (coolest name ever for a lunar colony)

What's in it for us? (SETI Home board on what would spur Mars colonisation)

Mars Society Australia (Cool photos & mock-ups)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Glug glug

Woy Woy peninsula

This is Woy Woy peninsula as it is today. Not flooded. The peninsula is 1 metre above sea level. That's roughly 39 inches, American readers.

The tsunami warning a few days ago got everyone's brain ticking on where they would run to if the next warning is for real.

The peninsula is flat, except for the lone peak of Blackwall Mountain and the ridges at the back of the peninsula. We would all hurtle up the mountain or up the ridges obviously but what would it look like flooded?

Woy Woy peninsula flooded

Woy Woy under a couple of metres (roughly 6.5 feet) of tsunami.

Woy Woy peninsulaWoy Woy peninsula flooded

Would we all make it if a proper tsunami hit?

The population of the peninsula was roughly 35,000 in 2006 so let's call it 37,500 now.

And bear in mind that Woy Woy is the world's largest above-ground cemetery so we got a large number of Dear Old Things to be gathered up and hustled up the hill. And most of them would refuse to go without the budgie or their handbag.

So, assuming we all made it, with budgies and handbags, that's 37,500 bewildered people perched atop Blackwall Mountain and crowded into the half dozen streets high enough to be above the new water-line.

Interesting scenario.

Let's just have another stunned look at the peninsula under flood, shall we?

Woy Woy peninsula flooded

There it is.

I can't see my house.

I can't see my walkies.

All I can see is the top few floors of the Excrescence, the new island that used to be Blackwall Mountain and the deck of The Rip Bridge.

Railway station? Gone.

Pubs? Gone.

Bustling Downtown Woy Woy? Gone.

West Street? Gone.

Booker Bay? Gone.

Ettalong? Gone.

Umina Beach? Gone.

Pelican Island? Gone.

Rileys Island? Gone.

St Huberts Island? Gone.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Non event

After the tsunami

Taken today.

The tsunami would have come in through the mouth of Broken Bay (heads pictured) and hit at Umina Beach (in foreground).

Australia & NZ map on last night's post

After the tsunami

After the tsunami

Taken today. You can see how much damage there isn't.

Box Head from Umina Beach

View South from Umina Beach

Similar views taken a couple of weeks back.

Box Head from Umina BeachAfter the tsunami

Before and after

View South from Umina BeachAfter the tsunami

Before and after

Bit of an anti-climax but it got us thinking about where we'll run to when the real thing comes.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand

"Four more strong aftershocks have shaken Fiordland this afternoon following last night's 7.8 earthquake.

One quake measured 5.3 and hit the area at 12.24pm. Another tremor, measuring 5.6, was felt 20 minutes later, followed by a 5.1 quake at 1.30pm.

The latest, at 2.13pm, measured 5.1 and was at a depth of 12km, 80km west of Te Anau.

The initial quake, which was centred 100km northwest of Tuatapere and 12km deep, struck at 9.22pm yesterday and triggered an alert from the Pacific tsunami warning centre in Hawaii."

Full article at NZ Herald

Not drowned

Still here. No tsunami.

The warnings came around bedtime last night so most of the neighbours didn't even know about it.

Peeps up round The Entrance (half an hour up the coast) copped damage from big seas last weekend so they must have been really pooing themselves. Half their backyards floated out to sea already then there's a tsunami warning.

Sydney Morning Herald this morning

The damage in Kiwiland (New Zealand) seems to be fairly minimal. No deaths reported. They gotta go round and check all their bridges and whatnot. And in an area called Fiordland, that'll take a while.

NZ Herald article, map & links to photos

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tsunami or puddle

Caught the very end of a news update a few minutes ago and nearly weed myself. There was a graphic of an earthquake in New Zealand and a line all up the NSW coast where a tsunami is expected to hit.

Woy Woy is barely a metre (about 39 inches) above sea level. I pictured myself hurtling up to The Rampart with my computer under one arm and a blanket under the other to sit out the night with my fellow Woy Woyans.

Right now some bloke on the ABC is saying don't panic but don't get yer camera and go down to the beach because you'll be the first death if the big wave does come.

Latest off the Met's warnings pages

Issued by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre (JATWC) at
09:25 PM EST on Wednesday 15 July 2009



Tsunami warning for the marine environment for parts of NEW SOUTH WALES.

Threatened areas extend from Gabo Island to Seal Rocks including Batemans Bay, Bellambi, Botany Bay, Gabo Island, Jervis Bay, Kiama, Merimbula, Montague Island, Moruya, Moruya Heads, Narooma, Nelson Bay, Norah Head, Shell Harbour, Sydney Harbour, Ulladulla and Wollongong.


Although major evacuations are not required, people are advised to get out of the water and move away from the immediate water's edge.

Next update will be issued by 10:25 PM EST on Wednesday 15 July 2009

For latest and further information call 1300 TSUNAMI (1300 878 6264) or visit".

So basically it'll be about the same as a king tide at Christmas time only a lot faster.

Map & full text of warning

Acros the ditch

(Country in black above Australia is Papua New Guinea. Grey islands are part of South-east Asia.)

"We've had big differences in the measurements of the quake , ranging from 6.6 by GNS Science, to 8.2 by a tsunami warning centre in Hawaii - we're issuing a precautionary message," said an emergency management spokesman in Wellington, Vince Cholewa.

People ran from restaurants in Queenstown as buildings shook, and lights and phone lines went down.

It was felt across the South Island."

Full article at New Zealand Herald

"The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the earthquake was about 160km west of the city of Invercargill, on South Island, at a depth of 33 kilometres, US Geological Survey (USGS) reported.

Police in the town of Tuatapere on South Island say they have reports of minor cracks in buildings and stock falling from supermarket shelves, but there'd been no reports of serious damage or injuries so far.

The quake was felt widely across the South Island.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre also issued a warning, saying: ``An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicentre within minutes to hours''.

The centre added it was not immediately known if a tsunami had been generated."

Full article at Sydney Morning Herald (includes quake map)

Shaky Isles

"There are betweenn 10,000 and 15,000 earthquakes in and around New Zealand each year. Most are small, but between 100 and 150 are big enough to be felt, according to GNS Science.

The biggest known quake in New Zealand was the magnitude 8.2 Wairarapa earthquake of 1855.

The biggest New Zealand earthquake since instrumental recording began was the 1931 magnitude 7.8 Hawke's Bay earthquake."

Full article at New Zealand Herald

That's why NZ is known as the Shaky Isles.

And while we're not panicking

Australia now has 20 swine flu deaths and 10,000 current cases of swine flu.

Are we panicking? No, we are not. Okay, maybe that really panicky type down the pub who reads News of the World and believes it but not the rest of us.

Told yer.

Swine flu: [predicted] 10,000 death toll 'alarmist'

In strangely related news

Got 7th place in a NZ travel blogger awards thingy. Thank yer kindly, Tripbase.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009
Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Blue sky cold day

(Random walkies in Koolewong)

Cycle path at Koolewong

Cycle path at Koolewong.

Lovely avenue of trees along this part of the path. A long stand of casuarinas whispering in the wind on the park side, mangroves with the water slapping about their roots on the water side.

(Kept typing root instead of roots. Wonder what I'm thinking about!)

Koolewong from Koolewong

Koolewong from Koolewong.

Koolewong is a shallow bay. This is taken from one side of the bay looking at the other.

Well, okay, technically it's two bays. This bay and Murphys Bay.

Shady Koolewong from Brisbane Water Drive June 2009

Shade on the ridge and the soft filtered light through the casuarina needles.

Soft weird light through the casuarinas

Soft weird sky seen through the casuarinas.

Brisbane Water Streets - Koolewong

That's Koolewong there in the red box. It's a narrow strip of flat land and a couple of streets going up the ridgeside a bit.

It has bugger-all streets compared to Woy Woy. Or compared to anywhere really. Except maybe Patonga, which has five streets.

Pissing down most of the week. Today can't make up its mind. I can. I'm off to a barbie. At which I will not eat bacon, pizza or those really fat sausages not matter how good they smell. Nor will I be imbibing of the amber fluid. How boring is that?

By the way

That Rip Bridge photo everyone loves got invited to the Best of Australia group in Flickr. One of them invite-only photo groups. Goes to show how a bit of practice can turn a crap photographer into a decent photographer.

How to take decent photos

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Views from a bridge

Booker Bay from The Rip Bridge

Booker Bay from The Rip Bridge

Look at that water. Still as. There was a cold cruel wind yesterday but otherwise it's been days and days of still blue skies. Magic winter weather.

Hardys Bay from The Rip Bridge

Hardys Bay from The Rip Bridge

I love the swirly patterns on the water. Some of them are obviously boat tracks but the big patches seem to be made by the sandbars. Which we have heaps of. Which is why we have the Great Dredging Debate

Ettalong knob/Booker Bay sandbar

Somewhere in my increasingly large photo archive at Flickr is a nice view from the mountain showing most of the sandbars. Can I find the bastard? No, I cannot. Didn't tag the effing thing properly, did I!

The Rip Bridge from Hardys Bay (plus photos of Bustling Downtown Hardys Bay)

Stupid health

I ain’t on death’s door or nothing. Just not terribly sprightly at the moment. Had to have more tests last week. Dr says I’m to stay off the booze for a year, a whole year for fuck’s sake, and go easy on the pizza and bacon.

So I’ve chucked out all the bacon and bought myself a T-shirt that says “designated driver”. Sigh.

Local linkage

First one is Woy Woy hero bunnies at Biker Bunnies.

Second one is some keen bushwalkers have bunged up a new local freebies website called

They've got “various walks in the Brisbane Water and Bouddi national parks including Warrah Trig, Patonga, Maitland Bay and Staples Lookout.”

It’s got some good local photos and some chat about each walk and you can print out a map to take with you. Holding it up the right way is yer own responsibility.

B day

Shit. I've spent so much time on the first B of the day I'm in danger of missing the second.

Saturday is B day:

Bonking (if my sex drive is at home to visitors)

(Tuesday is soylent green day.)