JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Monday, 30 June 2014

In search of the elusive Ulysses Butterfly

Last year we purchased a Locals Annual Pass to four of the local attractions:  The Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas, Cairns Wildlife Dome in Cairns, The Rainforest Station at Kuranda and The Butterfly Sanctuary also at Kuranda.  Things being as things are, we only managed to get to two of the attractions.  Today was the last day before the pass expired so I made up my mind to go to Kuranda and visit the butterfly sanctuary.

Now, anyone who knows me well, understands why I love butterflies.

"Butterflies live moments not months, and have time enough"

We are blessed that we live in an area where we have a variety of butterflies in the garden, most notably the Ulysses and the Cairns Birdwing.  We have other varieties but they are the two that are most well known.  To photograph either of those butterflies requires lots of patience and a very fast shutter speed!  Particularly the Ulysses who never seems to stop.  So you would have thought that a visit to the Butterfly Sanctuary would have given me lots of opportunity to photograph the Ulysses, but, not on your nelly! They are just as fast in an enclosure as they are in the open.
These are my (poor) attempts:

The Ulysses is the biggest one in the above photo.  I stood for ten minutes waiting for it to open its wings and fly and of course just as I gave up and moved away, it also flew away!

These are some of the other beautiful butterflies within the confines of the sanctuary.

I had a very enjoyable time at the sanctuary and was surprised that I was there almost two hours.  After the sanctuary I wandered into the village for a bite to eat.  I still love the atmosphere of Kuranda and it was very  busy  (school holidays of course!) and my BLT sandwich ordered for lunch took over half an hour to arrive.  Still, it was tasty.

Here are some interesting facts regarding butterflies:

Sunday, 29 June 2014

So....what's been happening

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post and life has been hectic.  Trips to Cairns to see specialists.....Philip to Julia Creek for work commitments....(are we ever going to entice day workers back from the mines?)....an unscheduled trip to Charters Towers to say goodbye to a family friend.  This has been the order of the last two weeks.  Hubby and I meet in Charters Towers for the funeral on Thursday.  We both arrived on Wednesday as the funeral was at 10am on Thursday morning.  We stayed in Charters Towers Thursday night and said goodbye to each other Friday morning as I headed east and hubby headed west.
The rain has finally subsided here and it IS lovely to see the sun shining.  The garden is looking like it wants to burst at the seams with all the flowers that my gardener has planted...I will photograph them in a couple of weeks....but for the time being here are some photos that I took this morning.

This is our breeder mob.  They should start calving this coming week.  They are looking like they need supplement so a trip to Mareeba tomorrow to buy some lick blocks.

We call this cow "Dingo Girl".  You might notice that she only has half of her right ear.  When she was a baby she was attacked by dingoes.  She was missing for 10 days before our neighbour found her and brought her back to us.  Her mother took her straight back onto the teat and with plenty of antibiotics to heal the dingo bites she is now a mother herself and about to have her second calf.  Amazing!

The gardener has plenty of jobs to do in our garden.  Head down, butt up as the saying goes!

A little sunbird enjoying the comfort of the sprinkler amongst the pink salvia.

Pink everywhere in the garden at the moment.  The pink azaleas are particularly beautiful at this time of the year.

Another show of pink flowers.
We tried covering the mandarin tree but the birds are still eating the fruit.  Ah well.  Must share the love!

Sunday, 15 June 2014


There is something about waterfalls.  They are usually in places that are difficult to reach, but they are always worth the effort.  The waterfall that we visited yesterday was no exception.  It was a three hour hike (return) into the falls that I scored on the difficulty scale as an 8 out of 10.
We have had quite a bit of rain in the past week that made the hike more difficult.  The rocks were very slippery and we found it easier to walk in the shallow creek rather than trying to negotiate the sides of the creek.
Six of us set off at 11am.  We had decided in advance to have a bbq lunch at the top of the falls.  Richard was our pack-horse and carried all the food and bbq!  The other men did offer to carry some of the load but Richard is a mighty man and took it all the way...well done Richard! The first two-thirds of the journey into the falls are fairly easy going as we made our way along the creek.  When we reached the first of the smaller falls it became more difficult and by the time we reached the last climb to the big falls I almost had a panic attack.  My knees were telling me they were tired and I really didn't think I could make the climb but with gently persuasion from my darling husband I did it!
It was so worth the pain because the falls were spectacularly beautiful.  We sat on a rocky ledge at the base of the falls and I marvelled at the great walls of rock, interspersed with ferns, that surrounded us. It was a huge cavern.
Richard quickly unpacked the bbq and lunch makings and we settled at the base of the falls for a rest. Lunch was the tastiest meal I think I have ever eaten.  We were all hungry and quickly devoured the sausages, onion, coleslaw and kebabs.  I tried to put thoughts of the return journey out of my mind at this stage.  I was worried about the steep descent but as it turned out, it was easier than I thought.  Taking Di's advice I slid back down over the slippery rocks rather than climbing.  There were still a couple of tricky spots but the men were there with guiding hands.
I actually only slipped once on the rocks....all I could think was to save the camera!  And I did run into an ants nest that had me throwing camera, back-pack and shirt to the ground!  The only other little mis-hap was holding onto a jutting rock, while descending, that gave way and hit the inside of my leg.  A bit of a bruise (to the ego!)
Would I do it again?  Give me a few weeks to get over the aching bones, and yes.....probably!

The first half of the trek was relatively easy

It was easier to walk through the shallow water 

The first of the little falls

I would have been happy staying right here!

The first glimpse of the falls and knowing that I had a slippery climb in front of me.

Here at last!

The towering rock face that surrounded us

Chef Richard cooking us lunch

All along the way we found lots of varieties of fungi.  This variety looked like coral.

And this variety were little cups holding water
A very happy me after the climb to the top of the falls.

Base Camp at last!

Friday, 13 June 2014

That's my boy!

This is a photograph of my dog "Hudson".  He's just had a bath and is at his cleanest.

This is a photo of him today...

Hudson has been rat chasing.  The dogs just love it and they almost bury themselves trying to dig out the rats, and yes, they do kill (but not eat) them.  We have had about 150mm of rain in the past five days so you can imagine how wet the ground is.....perfect for digging!

They mostly dig out in the paddock but if they can smell a rat in the garden it's all for one.  We don't encourage the garden but but I would rather back-fill a couple of holes than have a plague of rats.

We have a python in our shed....we've only seen it once....and you would think that it might keep the rats at bay but I guess there is just too many for him at the moment.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Cairns Ironman 70.3

This was it.  The race that Philip and his team had been training for.  For months.  Cairns Ironman 70.3.  We arose at 4.00am to a wet and gloomy morning.  We meet the rest of the team at 4.30am so that we would have plenty of time to drive out to Palm Cove where the race was to commence at 7.15am.  It was just as well that we gave ourselves plenty of time because the traffic was heavy and most of the road had been closed to single lane.  The bike transition area was also a 500m walk from the car parking area.  Philip and Tracey familiarised themselves with the bike transition area.  There were literally thousands of bikes.

An ocean of bikes
A bleak morning

It didn't take long before the first of many waves of swimmers were called to start the swim leg.  A distance of 1.9km. 

The teams were the last category to be called and it was also the biggest category....181 teams.  The Tri-Umphants were in the mixed team category....92 teams.  Tracey swam a blistering fast time of 41.28 mins.

92 Team Swimmers lined up and ready to go

All the spectators made their way along the beach to where the swimmers would exit the water to start the bike leg.

Tracey made her way to the bike transition and Philip and her quickly exchanged the timer band and Philip was on his 90km ride.

The cyclists rode down the esplanade at Palm Cove before reaching Captain Cook Highway

Philip said his ride would take the best part of three hours so we made our way back into town to await his return.  I found a great spot right on the cycle finish line and waited. 

As I have said in earlier posts I have been a triathlon wife for more than twenty years so I'm quite used to the waiting between swim, bike and run but this was the longest wait I have ever made!  In fact I was unprepared for Philip when he crossed the line!  He had taken only 2hours 54minutes so it was a made scramble for the camera...all the while juggling an umbrella....to take these shots.

Philip made his way to the transition area where Jodie was waiting for him.....also unprepared!   Damn he did a good time!  Time now for Jodie to run the 21.1 km.  
Once again I had to juggle umbrella with camera to try and get the photo of Jodie.  Boy!  Is she fast!

Jodie thought she would take about an hour and fifty.  She actually did it in 1hour 46mins.  Blistering speed!
While I was waiting for Jodie to finish, I made my way over to the finish line for the presentation of medals to the Ladies Open winners.  

The winners of the Womens Open 70.3
I am so proud of Team Tri-Umphants.  They were placed in the top third of the teams, and that is a remarkable achievement for a team that have only competed in two triathlons.
Tracey and Philip joined Jodie as she crossed the finish line (all teams were encouraged to do so) and the smiles on their faces says it all.

Lots of smiles at the finish line

And congratulations!