Pelican Wave

You cannot help noticing them, their beauty and sheer size and gracefulness on water and in the air is very impressive, however, on land they are quite comical to watch as they sway from side to side careful not to trip over their very large webbed feet.
Pelecanus conspicillatus - the Australian Pelican.
As though the pelican was waving goodbye, leaving for it's breeding grounds thousands of kilometers inland, it was possible for me to get this photograph.
In Australia they are found living widespread on freshwater, estuarine and marine wetlands and waterways including lakes, swamps, rivers, coastal islands and shores, well anywhere that water can be found.
Pelicans mainly eat fish, however, they are also opportunistic feeders and eat a variety of aquatic animals including crustaceans, tadpoles and turtles. They readily accept 'handouts' from humans, and strange items has been recorded in their diet. During periods of starvation, pelicans have been reported capturing and eating seagulls and ducklings. They hold the gulls under water and drown them before eating them headfirst. Pelicans also robs other birds of their prey. I guess it is a case of 'I am larger than you therefore I can bully you or eat you'.
Pelicans weigh 4.0 - 6.8 kg, are 1.6 - 1.8 m long. They also have large wings and a wingspan of 2.3 - 2.5 m. They have an extremely light skeleton, weighing less than 10% of their total body weight.
Pelicans are not capable of sustained flapping flight, but can remain in the air for 24 hours, covering hundreds of kilometres. They are excellent soarers and can use thermals to rise to considerable altitudes. Flight at 1,000m is common, and heights of 3,000m have been recorded. By moving from one thermal to the next, pelicans can travel long distances with a minimum of effort, reaching air speeds of up to 56 km/hour.
The wild pelican's lifespan is approximately 25 years.
When it's very hot pelicans flutter their throat pouches to keep cool.
Normally they are also silent birds, except for the occasional grunt.
I never tire from watching them. They are incredible birds.

Ships of the desert

Riding a camel is not as easy as one would think it to be.
A couple of friends and myself decided to give it a try, after all it seemed to be a lot of fun.
Mounting the camel seemed the easiest thing to do until I was informed that the said camel only had one huge hump (a Dromedary camel) and all that time I was perplexed looking for two humps and a hollow to rest my buttocks in so that I wouldn't fall off too easily.
First I lifted one short leg across the very wide body of this huge animal, while holding onto the saddle handle, for dear life trying my best not to fall off on the other side.
Stretched open like a can of worms, I wished I had much longer legs, While desperately trying to keep a little dignity it seemed as though my friends was having the same problem.
Soon it was time for these beautiful animals (although they smell awful) to rise to a standing position. Not knowing if the backside or front side are going to go up first I precariously balanced to and fro. (When the camel rises, it straightens its hind legs first, thrusting the rider forward with a jolt, so one needs to hold on tight to the saddle handle.)
A bit difficult when you are trying to lean back as far as possible and fighting gravity at the same time. At this time I was visualising, flying across the camels head, landing flat on my face in the sand with my behind staring the camel squarely in the face. It's big teeth coming down and the camel taking a huge chunk out of my soft all too well rounded rear end. At this point I must have lost some precious braincells from that visual, because I cant recall whether the guide helped me onto the camels hump or whether I miraculously grew taller for a few moments and mounted it all by myself.
At about 2 metres off the ground I just could not get the rhyme 'Humpty Dumpty' out of my mind. Falling off was not an option and getting squashed even less of an option.
(The Dromedary camel weighs about 690kg - 1521lb)
The camel starts moving with a really strange gait. Do keep in mind that the camel's gait is also different from that of the horse. It moves in a parallel fashion with both legs of the same side, while the horse advances the front leg of one side together with the hind leg of the other side. That is why the typical back and forth swaying movement in camel riding is different to that of horse riding. My butt was already aching after the first step trying to hold on with butt cheeks clenching painfully.
One friend points out that there's a few dolphins playing in the surf close to us. From that height you can see a lot more than on foot and I start enjoying the view and thinking less about my aching butt.
After about a kilometre of walking along the beach, the guide brings the camels to a stop, where he gave us a bit of a history lesson about camels and their lives in Australia.
Then the guide did something that freaked me and there was nothing I could do about it except sit on a hump. He walked up to the camel at the front, touched it's ding-dong and rubbed his hand against my leg.
We started the trek back to base.
Before reaching our destination the guide tells us what to expect and what to do when the camels kneels down.
'You are supposed to lean back as far as possible and keep your body up straight. In the most likely event of not adhering to the given instructions you are bound to go flying over the camels head'.
(Of course the same visual came to mind when we mounted, not a pretty sight)
As soon as the camels came to a stop. The camel behind me came alongside me and started rubbing it's neck against my leg. Ewwwwwwww.........he/she/it must have smelt whatever it was that the guide rubbed on my leg. The rope around its mouth and neck scuffed my leg and I yelled out for help from the guide, who at this time were helping my friends off their camels. No sooner or my camel dropped to its knees and I felt myself losing my balance. Thank heavens the guide acted quickly and with a huge whack he pushed me all the way back onto the camel enabling me to exit with the tiniest bit of dignity in tact.
Will I go back for another ride?
You bet I will, as soon as the butt ache stops !


Amber, orange, red the skies burn with fire's heat from the sun across the Indian Ocean.
I stand in awe watching nature's palette of hue's forever changing, bringing darkness and then.........
A new day dawn's, bringing promise of perhaps another sunset as beautiful or perhaps even more beautiful.
A soul at peace

Juma - The movie star!

Seperated by thick glass it almost felt as though I could touch him.
Born at Mogo Zoo, New South Wales, Australia on 1 April, 2004.
Juma (the Indonesian name for mountain summit) is a stunning looking and powerful Sumatran tiger.
It is the smallest of the tigers alive today - a Sumatran male will measure an average of 2.4m from its nose to the tip of its tail and weigh between100-170kg.
Sumatran tigers are endangered species, with about 350 remaining in the wild.
With a very laid-back personality, Juma is often used for filming and is normally the first adult tiger to be introduced to new handlers at the Australian Zoo (also better known to some as the Steve Irwin zoo).

Island Getaway

North Stradbroke Island
38 km long, 11 km wide and 30km Southeast from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
North Stradbroke Island is an island paradise.
It is one of the great sand islands being formed by the same forces which created South Stradbroke, Moreton, Bribie and Fraser Islands.
It is noted for the long, clean white beaches of its eastern coastline, the rich diversity of its flora which includes wild orchids, and its isolation and peacefulness.
The warm colours from the boat and unspoilt beaches caught my eye as well as the trees partly awash in sunlight and shade.

A storm just passed and a moments reprieve to capture the perfect rainbow in the distance.
A snowstorm engulfing the volcano's, Mt. Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe (pronounced Na-ra-hoi) - also known as Mt. Doom from 'The Lord of the Rings" and Tongariro.
The rain clouds above us shadows part of the Tundra, covered by prairie grass.
We stood in the rain capturing the beauty before us.
The Desert Rd was closed due to heavy snowfalls so we travelled along back roads, where a winter wonderland awaited us at the foothills of Mt. Ruapehu.

Walkabout Wombat

It is unusual to see a Wombat in the wild in Australia.
They are very shy animals.
This photo was taken at the Australia Zoo also known as the Steve Irwin Zoo.
A wombat can grow up to 1.2m in length and weigh up to 35kg.
They love digging burrows with their specially designed thick paws.
A pouch which faces backwards protects their young from flying dirt while the mother digs a burrow.
They live in all sorts of areas such as coastal forests, alpine woodlands and grasslands.
They mainly eat coarse native grasses, sedges, rushes, succulent plant roots and tubers and pasture grasses.
Wombats are mostly nocturnal, usually coming out at night to graze when the temperature is lower. However in cold periods they may be seen out during the day either grazing or basking in the sun.
The wombat breeds while food is plentiful throughout the year.
Gestation lasts for one month, then a jelly-bean sized Joey is born which attaches to a teat in its mother’s pouch.
The Joey will leave the pouch at 10 months but will stay with the mother for another eight to ten months.
From the time the juvenile leaves the pouch it begins to substitute increasing amounts of plant material instead of milk.
At between 12-15 months of age it stops suckling altogether.
They commence breeding at two years and live for about 15 years in the wild or up to 20 years in captivity.

Middle Earth

A familiar place for fans of the - "The Lord of the Rings"

South Island - New Zealand

Allow your imagination to roam this beautiful land which we call paradise.

The Sound of Australia

An Aboriginal Song Man playing the Didjeridoo
The instrument in his right hand produces a rhythmical sound to the humming of the magical Didjeridoo.

An Angels View

Sunset 36,000 ft. above the Coral Sea.

Shadows reflects the approaching night on the ocean below.

Goodmorning Gold Coast

While warm golden sunrays awaken some holiday makers at the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, others enjoys the reflections of the buildings on the beach during their early morning exersize.

Our Australia

Together we walk upon this earth, our meeting purely by chance or was it?
You looked up and saw me there only a few feet away from you.
We both stared at one another.
You raised the camera as I watched your every move.
The rain pelting down around us. Something else we share upon this earth.
There was no threat, only respect and awe.
Afterall this is our Australia

Endangered Species

Fijian Crested Iguanas come from the islands around Fiji.
It’s the only place in the world that you can find this beautiful creature.
One of the rarest lizards it the world, there are less than 2000 left in the wild.

Purple Rain

I was lucky enough to find this beautiful flower in my garden in Australia.
Photographed during the 1st rains after many years of severe drought.
The Osteospermum plant originates from South Africa and the name is derived from the Greek osteon (= bone) and Latin spermum (= seed). This plant belongs to the daisy family commonly known as the African Daisy or South African Daisy, Cape Daisy and Blue-eyed Daisy.

The Lady of the Lake

The Earnslaw steamship was named after Mt Earnslaw, a 2889, metre peak at the head of Lake Wakatipu, situated on the South Island of New Zealand. The steamship was built solely for the use on this beautiful lake at the foothills of the Remarkables mountain range and Queenstown, also known as New Zealand's Aspen. It was built in the 20th Century by John McGregor and Co shipbuilders from Dunedin at the cost of 21,000 pounds to the railways.
At 48 metres long , the biggest boat on the lake. Transporting the Earnslaw was no easy task. When construction was finally completed she was dismantled. All the quarter inch steel hull plates were numbered for reconstruction just like a puzzle! Then the boat was railed by goods train nearly all the way across the South Island from Dunedin to Kingston at the bottom end of Lake Wakatipu.
Six months later, after being rebuilt, on 24 February 1912, the TSS Earnslaw was launched and fired up for her maiden voyage to Queenstown. Her captain was the Minister of Marine, so the ship must have been fairly important to have a minister as her skipper.
The Earnslaw worked transporting sheep, cattle and passengers to the surrounding high country stations.
In 1968, the Earnslaw was very nearly scrapped but fortunately she was rescued. In 1984 she was taken out of service for a huge makeover. Her 12 metre high funnel was painted bright red, with the hull a snow white, and her kauri timber decks glassed in.
In March 1990, the Earnslaw carried two very special passengers, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Other royalty to travel on board have been the King and Queen of Belgium and the Prince of Thailand.
As of 2007, the Earnslaw is still in routine operation carrying tourist passengers across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Complete with entertainment in the form of a piano and a pianist.
Working fourteen hour days in the summer months and cruising 11 months of the year is an enviable record for a beautiful steam ship over 95 years old.
Each of the Earnslaw's screws is turned by a driveshaft driven by a triple-expansion steam engine. Passengers have access to a walkway in the engine room, where they can observe the operation of the engines during the cruise

Golden Slumber

Central North Island, New Zealand. Lake Taupo, the largest and deepest lake in the southern hemisphere which can also be seen from space. The lake formed during a volcanic eruption 73AD which could be seen from China.