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On Friday after work, Hugh and I decided to go for a walk on the beach. The big question here is of course, which beach? We have so many to choose from! We decided on Farnborough Beach, but further north than we’ve been previously. Farnborough Beach is ENORMOUS and, as is typical here, so few people out and about:


The beach accesses here are all conveniently signposted so you can remember where you parked:

The letters identify the beach (so FB here = Farnborough Beach) and the number identifies the specific access point on that beach. Very handy especially for an enormous beach like Farnborough.

In the video above, most of the beach sand looks dark and that’s because of the crabs that dig holes and kick out sand balls as they do so. Way back not long after we moved here, I posted photos of the pretty patterns these make in the sand. At Farnborough Beach on Friday, it was hard to discern patterns because the beach was so full of these “crab balls.” But we were in for a treat – we got to see one of the pretty crabs running along the beach!


This little guy is called a Soldier Crab. And here he is digging into the sand:


We also saw some washed-up jellyfish:

We are in late summer now and that is apparently when jellyfish are most likely to be seen. May have to stick with swimming at the Yeppoon Lagoon for a bit…

The beach accesses all have water taps and showers so you can rinse the sand and salt off. In the summer, the “cold” water taps actually produce warm water but this tap was actually HOT when rinsing my poor feet off:


Note the classic Aussie footwear, the thong 🙂

Speaking of footwear, I’ve previously mentioned that there are quite a few people who walk around barefoot here. Hugh and I were picking up a pizza on Friday night so I grabbed a photo of this young fellow waiting in line at the pizza place with us:

Hugh commented that parents must save a fortune on shoes here – a) no need to buy winter ones and b) no need to buy any at all! After I took this photo, another mom came in with 2 kids and both were shoeless as well. It doesn’t draw my attention at the beach or on sidewalks, but it does in restaurants, shopping malls, and airports! I asked someone at work who grew up here about the heat of the sidewalks on bare feet and she said when you start walking barefoot at a young age, you develop thick, calloused skin so you can tolerate the heat and debris.

When we were leaving the beach, I finally got a photo of these birds:

They’re mostly black but white underneath and they’re really small. We always see them on power lines but usually at busy intersections when I can’t get a photo or examine them closely enough to determine what they are. This time it was a quiet area and I was able to identify them as Tree Martins. Before we left the beach, we stayed in the parking lot for a few minutes while I ordered the pizza and we watched about 10 Tree Martins diving into a backyard swimming pool!

Hugh caught an exciting bird moment on video this morning! I previously mentioned that we have Nankeen Kestrels (very small hawk) in the area. We usually see them on the top of light posts and I posted a photo of one on our front fence once. But Hugh got this amazing video of one enjoying a bath in the bog filter of our front pond this morning (I was still asleep – no early bird getting the worm here…):


How cute is that! Oh, as I’m looking at the pond, I’ve been forgetting to tell you that not only have our 4 original fishies survived, they’ve created a new one! He started off small and brown but he’s getting bigger now and is almost completely orange. He’s a big chicken though, as soon as we get close to the pond, he dives for cover. Of course, if there’s a Nankeen Kestrel standing right above you, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from the surface 🙂

Near the beginning of Hugh’s kestrel video you can hear a bird singing in the background – this is my beloved Pied Butcherbird. He has returned to start singing to me in the mornings :). Caught him standing on the front fence one day this week:

Pied Butcherbirds look a lot like magpies and the magpie song can sometimes sound like the Pied Butcherbird’s, so it took me a long time to distinguish them. But the Pied Butcherbird has a black hood and white breast so once you look for that combo, you can easily distinguish them. And the Pied Butcherbird song is so pure whereas the magpie’s version is a little rougher. I’m so glad to have the Pied Butcherbirds back singing for me! Now we just need it to cool off a bit more so we can have the windows open again so I can hear them more clearly in the mornings.

On that note, the air con unit in our bedroom died last night, but fortunately the ceiling fan was enough to keep the temperature sleep-able. I’ve had a feeling that the unit is on its last legs but was hoping it would survive a few more weeks and then we wouldn’t need it for awhile and could replace it at our leisure. Shouldn’t have waited. Between being in a rural area and there being a general labour shortage, it’s going to be awhile before we can get it replaced. So hopefully the temperatures continue to get down to 25C over night so the ceiling fan is sufficient, or we’ll have to move into the spare bedroom for awhile (that air con unit is fairly new). The sun has shifted in the sky the last few weeks so it no longer beats down on the west side of the house where our bedroom is, so that helps too.

Speaking of air conditioning, I wanted to let you know what our electricity bill was like with running the air conditioning. For Aug-Oct, we used 331 kwh and our bill would have been $231 for the 3 months except that the solar we kicked back into the grid more than offset that and so our bill was $0. For Nov-Jan, we used 1315 kwh (I’m never sure if it’s kw or kwh, always mixed that up with my Tesla too)! So that 3-month bill would have been $555 but we kicked back $160 worth of solar to the grid. We started running the air con in the house in mid-November and since then, we almost always have the unit for the common areas running in the day and the bedroom unit running at night. So even if we’d had to pay $555 for 3 months, that’s only about $100 more than what we would have paid at home for the same conditions. And now for the next 9 months we’ll be rarely using air con and generating a lot of solar, so we shouldn’t have to pay a penny again until next February.

It’s been about a year since Hugh and I have gone to a yoga class and we were finally able to get to one on Sat evening (Celine – would you consider moving back to Australia, we so miss your classes!). It was a Full Moon Yoga, done outside near the beach. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, so we didn’t get to see the full moon, but boy, was it nice doing yoga outdoors listening to the waves (although the class started at 6:30pm and that’s when the noisy Lorikeets swoop into all the trees along the beach, so we had to tune out their screeching for awhile!). We have REALLY missed yoga classes. This was a good one for our first time back to it – slow pace and not-too-difficult poses. But we certainly could tell that we’re out of practice, yikes, the shoulders and hips were not very loose. Most of the outdoor yoga classes here are at 6am and, well, not exactly our preferred time of day. We are both waking up about an hour earlier than we did in Canada, probably because of how early the sun rises here. But to leave the house before 6am is still a bit of a stretch (ha ha, good yoga pun :)).

We made new friends at the yoga class last night – Wendy and Darcy. Wendy used to be a speech therapist in New Zealand, small world! They are new to Yeppoon, just having arrived here in September, so we’ve invited them to join the pickleball crowd.

When we got home from yoga, that nice-sounding Peron’s Tree Frog that I told you about was right close by, somewhere in our front yard. It was dark so we couldn’t find him, but I did get an audio recording of him warbling away: (you can hear his warbling over top of the sounds of the pond fountains).

We just finished watching the 1-2 game in the Scotties – wow!! Looking forward to watching the finals – but they will happen on our Monday here and I’ve got a busy day at work (it’s our Orientation Week this week – so strange having that in Feb/Mar instead of September!), so will be watching the recording later. For any of you on Facebook – please don’t share the results so we can stay in suspense!

Have a great last week of February, everyone!

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