Tag Archives: rain

Heading Down Under

It’s been a few days now and lots of things have happened. I will start where we left off last time.

We arose on Jan 29th to a lovely sunny day. It was lovely, but super windy. We had the highest waves we’ve seen yet on Kenawa island.

We boarded up the Earthship as best we could and then headed over on the boat later in the morning to Poto Tano. The wave action made that quite interesting.

We met up with Suji one last time and he showed us where to buy the ferry ticket. For the two of us it was 34k, which is a lot less than the 200k the taxi driver got from us to buy our ferry ticket on the way over. The taxi drivers at the airport will all try to rip you off.

Fortunately, Katrina recommended a smal B&B to us that would pick us up at the port, drive us there and then take us to the airport the next day, all inclusive for 700k. Thats rougly $70CAN. It is a really good deal, the driver and owner of the B&B speak English quite well, and they don’t try to weasel more money out of you.

I snapped this random picture during the ride there.

Yes, that is a scooter coming right at us in our lane. This picture doesn’t even show half of it. Instead of sticking to lanes of traffic, it works closer to a flocking pattern. Yes, they generally stick to the left side of the road, like the UK and Australia, but there is no speed limit so there is lots of passing and being passed, not to mention other vehicles parked on the road, pot holes and random crowds of people.

That being said, the speed is never very high. On the more major roads, we might get up to 80kph, but that was the top end. We asked about accidents, and we were told that it happens a lot less than what you might think. I guess when you grow up in a culture where spaces are small and cramped that you’re just used to the roads being the same way. They figure it out as they drive.

We made a few stops before arriving at the B&B, but for those details, you will need to check out Kat’s post. By the time we made it to the B&B (called “Sama Sama”, which translates to “You’re Welcome”), it was really pouring rain. The car driver parked as close as he could to the door and we made a dash for it.

They don’t usually serve dinner, but because we couldn’t go out due to the rain, they served us a really nice veggie curry dish, with fried egg and rice. It was great after so much rice and fish.

The rain eventually calmed down enough for us to make the trek out to our cabin, but it was full night by that point. As a result, all of the pictures you’re about to see we took the following morning.

This was the hut that we stayed in. The sleeping pad is just big enough for a standard double mattress and a narrow walk way beside it.

There is a doorway at the back of the hut, with some stairs that lead down to the toilet and shower. The shower water is not heated, nor is there a sink or mirror. We were pretty cozy while the wind howled around us.

It was much nicer the next morning and we were able to get a view of our surroundings. Like all of these fun signs.

During our ride with the driver yesterday, he put on some music. The first song was Indonesian but after that he played stuff from North America. The first American song that came on was “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns and Roses, which we thought was rather apt for the location.

You can see a bit of the mountain in the background between the trees there. Kat looked it up and it is an active volcano with around 12,000 feet (3650m) of elevation.

You can’t really see it too well in the pictures so far, but there is a sheer drop right in front of the path that goes beside the huts, probably 3 or 4m (9 to 12 feet). Right on the edge of that was this swing that was attached to two trees. Here is Kat trying it out.

I tried it too, but that picture is on Kat’s blog.

Before breakfast we took a short walk down the hill, to experience the Indonesian wilderness. We discovered this small stream at the bottom.

Looking back up the hill we just walked down looked like this.

Fortunately there was a path with bamboo steps in it to prevent all of the dirt just washing away in the rain. That made the trek pretty easy.

We came across this guy lying beside the path. It’s a land snail and not a small one either. That shell is longer than my hand is wide.

Here is a close-up of the stream.

And the little waterfall going the other direction.

Beyond the stream was a little rice paddy. There are tonnes of these all over the area.

After we made our way back, we found this little toad just hanging out in the dirt.

Some other fun things that were growing right on the property of the B&B are these.

Yup, bananas. Lots of coconuts too. I even found one of these trees.

It is a bit dark, but I think you can see the papayas hanging from the top there.

That was it for our little forest foray. We had banana pancakes for breakfast. No maple syrup here, just chocolate sauce.

We wanted to have lots of time at the airport, so we headed out on another lengthy drive. It took about 1.5hrs to get there, but the weathere was nice and we didn’t have any misshaps on the road.

We had to wait to check in for our flight as we were a bit too early, but it wasn’t too much.

The previous flight from Bali to Lombok was on a propeller plane and took about an hour and 45min. We were on a jet this time and it was under an hour. We arrived around 14:00 and our next flight wasn’t untill 23:00 so we had a bit of time to kill.

Eventually, we made our way through the first security check, to then line up at the check in desk with about a thousand other people all going various places. It was divided up by destination so we didn’t have to wait too long.

Once we made it through that, there was another checking of our credentials, then we had to go through Indonesian exit customs. I guess they really want to make sure you do actually leave when you say you are going to.

From there you walk through a massive hallway with the most glitzy shops you can imagine, selling things like perfume, watches, luggage and jewelry. All the things I go to the airport to buy 😛

At that point we stopped to have a bite to eat before heading to our gate.

The weird thing I noticed about our gate number, was that it was the same gate as several other flights scheduled at roughly the same time. All we could do was head over and see what was up.

When we reached the gate, they had all of the waiting area blocked off and you had to go through another security check. This one mainly for confiscating any water or other liquids you may have just bought on the way through.

It wasn’t setup very well as if your flight wasn’t one of the immediate ones being loaded, they wouldn’t let you through. Also, nothing was labeled so you had to get in a line and get rejected before you could figure this out.

So, not only did this create more lines, it created a lot of confusion and congestion between the passengers milling abount trying to find out when and where they needed to be.

Now I get the whole security thing, but if you’re going to take everyone’s water away, and then charge money on the plane for any type of service or beverage on a 4+ hour flight, that’s a lot like extortion. I wasn’t impressed.

Once we made it through that process, and they strarted to load the plane… or at least that’s what we thought they were doing. They did the ticket scanning, we went through the gate and then we got on a bus.

The bus drove out to the middle of the runway, they glued on some wings, and then backed the bus up into a huge elastic band. The band let go and we were launched into the stratosphere. We now know what it’s like to travel by Airbus.

Okay, that last paragraph was a bit exaggerated, but they did bus us out to our plane, which explained how they could load several flights from the same gate, just by directing you to a different bus.

It was an overnight flight, so we had planned to sleep most of it, but it was tough. I have slept on many flights, but this one it was really difficult to get in a position that was either comfortable or wouldn’t make some part of my body go numb.

We landed in Cairns, Australia just before 6am local time. Went through customs, got our bags, and found our driver to take us to the hotel. It’s nice having someone waiting for you.

Unfortunately, the hotel wasn’t even open at that point, let alone have our room ready. We waited a bit and when they opened up at 7am we were able to stow our luggage there while we headed out and did other things.

First thing we did was have breakfast. There are a lot of shops and things closed that early in the morning but we were given directions to a breakfast place. It was nice not having fish, for a change. I had eggs benedict, with ham and spinach. Definitely worth it.

After breakfast we had a lot of time to kill, so we wandered around the neighborhood until we came to this park.

We had been walking for a while at this point and needed to sit. They have these really big trees here too.

I say big tree, but really it’s several smaller trees all combining together like some wooden Voltron to form a super tree.

Here is Kat acting like she is having and amazing time, while secretly suffering from sore feet.

As we continued to wander we ended up out by the harbour. We came across these lovelies just hanging out on a post sticking out of the ground.

These next two guys are mud skippers. They’re a bit like a cross between a fish, a tadpole and an eel. They skip along the water and then hang out on the rocks.

Last, but not least, there were a bunch of pellicans just hanging out waiting to have their picture taken.

These are not small birds. The tops of their heads would probably reach the top of my thigh. They didn’t seem too concerned with people taking their picture.

That was a lot to cover, so I’m going to leave it at that. We have a trip to the Great Barrier Reef tomorrow and a rain forest tour on Friday. We should have lots to tell after those adventures.

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Earthship Island, Day 21

Two days ago we came upon this guy. He was much larger than most of the other hermit crabs we have come across.

He looked quite oversized for his shell so we tried offering him a bigger one.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t going for it. I don’t think he liked being handled so much and just wanted to get away. We left him be, but he still didn’t take either of the shell options we offered.

The mornings here are usually pretty nice. The wind is calm and the tide is out. Sometimes the sun shows up too.

Yesterday afternoon the clouds rolled in and we were pretty sure it was going to rain on us. Here is what it looked like looking out from the Earthship.

It wasn’t long after I took those photos that the sky opened up and the rain came down.

It was fascinating to watch as the rain smooths out all of the waves coming to shore.

This rain was driven by strong winds from the south, so the back of the Earthship fills with water.

I had put a towel over the door to try to reduce the wind and rain coming in. It did cut down on the wind, but didn’t do much for stopping the rain.

Out front, we saw this guy out in his boat in the rain storm.

He didn’t seem overly concerned. He did pull into shore in front of the Earthship to bail out his boat and the headed back out, sticking to the shoreline.

I was watching all of this and thought to myself, “how many opportunities will you have in your life to go out and experience a tropical rain storm?” So I ran out into the rain and had a good frolicking.

I have to say that compared to the rain water, the ocean water felt like bathtub warm. I yelled out to Kat, who took the picture, “This is the coldest I’ve been since we arrived!” The rain was chilly, but not unbearable.

I can mark that down on my list of exciting life experiences.

Earthship Island, Day 13

Good day and welcome to day 13 of our stay on Earthship Island. It’s not exacly like Fantasy Island, but it’s what was available.

Yesterday we decided to tackle the fixing of the screen on one of the vents over the door.

As you can see from the picture, it has suffered some damage, Probably due to the earthquake that also cracked the wall.

Here is a close-up of the screen. You can also see how much the rebar has rusted due to the salt and humidity.

Why they didn’t paint it like the outside ones, I cannot say. Though, it may be something as simple as they ran out of paint.

We decided on a simple patch, which isn’t the greatest, but it would make things better than it was. We used bailing wire to sew the patch on, which was tricky because if you pull too hard it damages the screen. We wanted to try using string, but we would need some sort of needle to thread it through the screen, which we didn’t have.

We managed to get it installed, and it’s better than it was, but far from perfect.

In other news… playing with hermit crabs.

This has become an almost daily event for us now.

We find them on the beach all over the place and you just can’t resist picking them up.

Mama Kenawa brought in a fresh batch of coconuts the other day, so we all got a coconut with a straw. It was quite tasty.

It actually rained here yesterday while we were having dinner, and it came down pretty hard. Not sure how well you can see that in the picture.

Here you can see all of the boats up on shore. These are the boats all of the locals use for fishing.

Looking to the east of us, you can see the rain in the hills on the island next to us.

Approaching from the south is more rain for us. This is good as it adds more water to the cisterns.

When it rains hard, it comes right through our back door, as it’s mostly just screen to let the breezes through. Fortunately, the floor is concrete and brick so it doesn’t affect it too much.

I have to say that the water just in front of our Earthship is fascinating. All of the other ocean water I have encountered has had some degree of surf. We have had some surf, but on many occasions, it’s almost completely flat. I find it a bit bizarre that I can skip stones on the ocean water.

I’ll add that to my growing list of new experiences.

Soggy spring

I would love to say that we have accomplished a whole lot in the last month since I posted, but unfortunately we haven’t. This is largely due to the weather. I think this past May has been the soggiest one on record. Rain is pretty common in May, but it has been rather severe this year.

Our area was pretty lucky in that the worst we had were a few basements where the sub-pump broke and they wet basement floors. Other parts of Ontario and Quebec had full blown evacuations and states of emergency. When you come back to your house after it all resides and find that the water was up to the level of your counter-top in your kitchen, you could say that we had a lot of rain.

My last post was on May 2nd and it wasn’t long after that when things started to get crazy. We had two days of severe rain, then this happened on the 7th.

Yeah, that’s right. It started snowing. This has been known to happen in May, so it wasn’t so much of a big deal, except for the fact that it didn’t stop. I bet you can guess when I took the following picture?

That wasn’t the end of it either. It just kept snowing, right through until the 9th.

You can see that there wasn’t a whole lot of accumulation, but still, three days of snow in May?

Someone needs to turn up the outdoor thermostat.

That wasn’t the end of it either. I think we had a day or two break and then we had two more solid days of rain. When I say solid, I mean around 60mm (2.5 inches) of rain. That number may seem small, but if I put that in equivalent snow terms that would be 60cm (2 feet) of snow. It rained A LOT!

Those were the two heaviest days, but we’ve had quite a few days where it rained since then. Not nearly as bad. On May 14th we had a severe thunder storm which included hail. I had just done my weekly trip to the dump and it started on my way back. I was pulling into the driveway when the hail started so I sat in the truck for a bit and snapped this picture of the hail building up on the windshield wipers.

Not only has it been wet, it hasn’t been particularly warm either. We’ve had a few days above 20C (68F) but not many. And on those days when it isn’t cold and raining, the bugs are bad enough to pick you up and carry you off if you aren’t careful. The black flies especially are having a bumper year. We’re hoping the dragon flies will show up soon and we have seen one or two, but the big swarms of them have yet to arrive. They help a lot with reducing the biting insects.

All of this wetness has put a big damper on our firewood harvest this year. Going out in the pouring rain to cut down a tree isn’t a great thing to do. It’s even more inadvisable if there is high wind. Don’t try cutting down a tree in high wind and expect it to drop where you want it. I avoid that at all costs.

In addition to this, because of all of the rain, there were times we couldn’t even get the truck up the hill for fear of burying it out of sight just because the ground was so saturated with water. We still can’t drive to the top of our hill because a lot of water is draining down the road and it’s very squishy.

Of course there is the bug factor as well. Once you do get a decent day to go cut wood, you have to deal with the bugs. So, needless to say, we are behind in our firewood harvesting.

Fortunately, we haven’t been completely idle. We did get started on installing a new sink and finishing the counter-top around it. Here you can see the cutting of the hole where the sink is going to go.

Slightly closer so you can see the sink outline in pencil.

There we have it, a hole for a sink.

We even have a sink to put in that hole too! We bought it at the Re-store which I have to say, is kind of a hit or miss in terms of whether it’s really worth it or not. The sink we bought didn’t have holes for faucets, nor did it have a strainer basket. We weren’t too concerned about the faucet holes as we aren’t likely to have any faucet for a while. A new strainer basket cost $20 for the cheap one. The sink cost us $45. I could have bought a brand new sink for $100 that included holes for the faucet and strainer basket. Add some tax in there and you start to wonder if it was really worth the savings. Things to think about if you ever go to the Re-store for building materials.

Now for the counter-top we decided to use a 19mm (3/4 inch) piece of plywood with red oak veneer. One sheet of that will set you back $85 so you don’t want to mess it up. I cut out the piece to size for the counter first.

I scribed the hole for the sink from underneath and then cut out the hole for the sink as well.

Voila! New counter-top. Well, almost. The counter then went out to the staining and finishing department. I can say that it has been stained and had two coats of varnish put on it. The next step is to put a thick coat of epoxy on it to make it durable and waterproof. We have the epoxy, but it is sensitive to temperature and humidity so that part has been put on hold until things dry up and warm up a bit.

So it’s been a slow start to the year. We haven’t planted anything in the garden yet either because it’s been so cold. Last night we had a low of 2C (36F). Yes, we had a fire. They say we should be safe for planting after the full moon in June, which is this Friday. We can only wait and see at this point.