So often over the years we’ve had people tell us how much they enjoy following our adventures. Many say they “live vicariously” through us as we travel to exotic ports and see things relatively few people will ever see. But, the truth is that everyday can be an adventure if you just take time to look around you and participate.
As we sit here on Dazzler, who is by all accounts empty, we are essentially landlocked. Yes, we have a beautiful view here in the Scarborough Marina but because we’ve taken off all the tools and safety gear we are not set up to take her out sailing. So, what’s an adventure seeking couple to do? Well, we make our own adventures out of day trips around the area. Over the recent weeks we’ve taken some fun and interesting trips around Brisbane and the neighboring towns.
We rented a car from Koala Cars in Scarborough at an amazing marina customer rate of $25 AUD/day so we do have wheels but here in Australia they also have a wonderful train and bus system. Both are super clean, efficient, cheap and fun to ride.
Brisbane proper is about an hour by car or train from the marina. Recently we took the train down to the city centre to do a little exploring and what a fun day it turned out to be.
The train ride was $13 AUD/person round trip which, when you figure you don’t have to pay for parking in the city turns out to be a bargain. Hourly parking in the garages can run as much as $11 AUD per hour so why wouldn’t we take the train? And, you can go on the Translink website where they have a journey planner that makes it super easy to plan your journey. You simply enter your start location, end location and the time you want to leave after or arrive before and it will give you options for the trains and/or buses you can use to get there.
On this particular outing we’d done some research and decided to make a day of visiting the Queensland Maritime Museum, take a walk through the Brisbane City Botanical Gardens, do a little shopping and then have lunch at Gilhooley’s Irish Pub. Why Gilhooley’s? Well, we have a favorite John Wayne movie, Donovan’s Reef, and in the movie one of the lead characters is named Gilhooley. On one of our other trips to the city we saw this place and decided we just had to stop.
The Queensland Maritime Museum
We left on the 0915 train to avoid the rush hour crowd. The ride was quite peaceful as the rather empty train swept through some beautiful countryside. On the northern portion of the trip the towns are much smaller and quaint reminding me of small towns of years gone by. But, as you approach Brisbane proper, a town of roughly 2.6 million people the buildings are taller and you see a lot more gang tagging and graffiti around the tracks. Everywhere you look there are people scurrying about. It’s hectic and rather exhausting to watch.
We had to make one train change but the system here is so easy to use it was no big deal. Upon arrival at South Bank Station we exited the train and had a short, less than a quarter mile, walk to the museum. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to be on walkabout.
The Queensland Maritime Museum is a fascinating place to visit. Interestingly enough the whole idea of this museum came about in 1969 when members of the Queensland branch of the World Ship Society were asked to display maritime artifacts at Navy Week. These volunteer members, realizing the number of such artifacts that existed in Queensland alone, formed a committee to see about putting together a maritime museum.
When the government said they had no intention of creating such a museum the volunteers decided to go it on their own. Today they have over 150 volunteers who help to maintain the museum and the artifacts on display. These people are dedicated sailors and yachtsmen and women who share knowledge, experience and great stories with anyone who passes through their doors.
For us, one of the highlights was a walk through the now decommissioned WWII frigate, HMAS Diamantina. She sits on dry ground these days as they walled off the river to give her a place to be displayed.
One of twelve frigates that were commissioned during WWII, Diamantina has a rich history. In 1960 scientists aboard her discovered a fissure in the ocean floor that was more than 4000 fathoms deep (7.24 km or 4.5 miles). The fissure is just west of Cape Leeuwin, Australia in the Indian Ocean. Its depth makes it the deepest trench in the Indian Ocean. The trench was named the Diamantina Trench due to the fact that she carried the researchers who made the discovery.
While this would be a grand achievement and worthy of discussion the HMAS Diamantina has a far greater distinction. Of course everyone knows of the official Japanese surrender that took place under General Douglas MacArthur aboard the USS Missouri on 2 September 1945 but it was actually on 1 October 1945 that the final Japanese surrender occurred. This took place at Ocean Island in Kiribati on the deck of the Diamantina.
As we boarded this historic vessel we were greeted by one of the volunteers who joyfully spoke of the history of the museum and the Diamantina. He beamed with pride as he regaled us with the stories he had heard from others and those he had witnessed himself. After a time chatting we set about exploring the old gal. Considering her age and the fact that she has been flooded a couple of times I’d have to say she is in pretty good condition.
The displays on board were excellent and we even got to see the actual final surrender document. We walked up and down the ladders and read each and every note and plaque. It was fun to read the Captain’s log entries but also very difficult as the handwriting is a bit faded and, well, much like a doctor’s handwriting.
Of course there were other great exhibits as well. They have a collection of Fresnel lenses from lighthouses. It’s fascinating to see one up close. They also have many other types of artifacts that are also quite interesting to view. And, they even have the actual sailboat that belongs to Jessica Watson, the sixteen year old who sailed solo, unassisted and nonstop around the world in 2010.
A movie, True Spirit, was released earlier this year on Netflix. While we have yet to see the movie I can say that we’ve seen and touched the very vessel she used to sail around the world. They even have a replica of the inside of the boat which we were allowed to enter. Boy is it small!
Sadly Miss Watson did not receive the record for being the youngest to perform this feat because she did not travel at least 21,600 NM. That is the distance of the globe at the equator and in addition to other requirements such as crossing the equator and traversing the four capes she would have needed to travel at least that distance. She did not and therefore was not granted a world record.
But, she did receive many other awards and accolades that are quite suiting for an achievement of this caliber. Of course all of this came with the usual criticism one has to expect in the world today. Many called her parents reckless and the Australian Childhood Foundation questioned her parent’s fitness to raise a child. Once again we see others who are afraid of taking risks questioning and condemning those who believe life is not life unless you live it with zest seeking out adventure along the way. As cruisers we too have experienced the naysayers who would rather see us captive in a room than at sea exploring the world.
Take Me To The Park, You Know How I Love The Park
We spent a couple of hours exploring the maritime museum and then headed off toward the Brisbane City Botanical Gardens. The stroll took us across the Goodwill Bridge which is a footbridge spanning the Brisbane River. Brisbane officials have done an excellent job of making places for their citizens to explore the greener side of life.
On the other side of the bridge we reached the gardens. It was such a lovely day and so many people were about picnicking, walking, running, cycling you name it. And the gardens, WOW! What lovely gardens filled with stunning flowers and lush green lawns. There’s even a bamboo grove. Passing underneath the towering shoots we heard the bamboo playing a symphony of crackling rhythms as the wind caused the tall shoots to swing to and fro tapping each other in perfect time.
We had hoped to stop by the Police Memorial but we missed a turn and by the time we realized it we were so far on the other side that we decided it was time for lunch. So, off to Gilhooley’s for an Irish meal. Dan had the fish & chips and I had the beef & Guinness pie. All the while we listened to upbeat Irish music and sipped on ice cold Guinness beer.
After lunch we took a leisurely stroll through the city and did a little souvenir shopping. I picked up a beer koozie and a kangaroo Christmas ornament to add to our collections. When we finally decided we’d had enough fun and plenty of exercise we made our way to the Roma Street Station and hopped on the afternoon train back to Kippa-Ring.
Everyday Can Be An Adventure
Another day, another adventure in the books. An unknown author once said, “Adventures don’t come calling like unexpected cousins calling in from out of town. You have to go looking for them.” And that’s so true! If you look around you there are adventures just waiting. There’s places to be explored, people to meet and fun to be had. Every adventure doesn’t have to be a sailing trip across oceans to an exotic beach so go out there and find your adventure! It’s waiting on you.
Until next time,