The Dolphins of Tin Can Bay

I live not too far away from a little town with the cute sounding name of  Tin Can Bay in the South East corner of Queensland, Australia.  Tin Can Bay is famous for it’s friendly dolphins who swim into the bay every morning where they can be seen up close and personal!  These are wild dolphins that swim right up to the beach and expect a feed from the humans who go there to see them! Let me explain how this came about.

Back in the 1950’s, an injured dolphin breached himself on the sand at the local Barnacles Cafe. The Dolphin (an Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphin), was covered in scars and so he got the name of “Old Scarry”. The locals fed him and nursed him back to health. He returned to the wild when he was fully recovered, but kept coming back to the bay for a feed from the locals. As time went by, he brought more dolphins with him!

In 1991, one of the female dolphins arrived in the bay with a calf and the local school children named him ‘Mystique’.

Mystique is now the alpha male of his pod and is also scarred from his many battles, including a battle with a bull shark in December 2007. Once again a dolphin sought refuge in the cove at Barnacles with volunteers feeding and caring for him around the clock for 10 days. Once he was able to hunt for himself, Mystique thanked everyone with an aerial display before heading out with Patch (another regular to the bay), to return to the wild.

Feeding Mystique

He still visits the bay daily – the third generation to carry on this tradition. He is about 19 years old.

Patch is a female member of Mystique’s pod who started to come into the Cove to feed after the disappearance of Scarry. She is thought to be around 23 years old and weigh just over 200 kg. In comparison to Mystique she has very few battle scars and she is throwing a pink colour as she ages.

More recently another young dolphin known as ‘Harmony’ began visiting regularly with Mystique. Harmony is a juvenile male thought to be about three years old. This makes the fourth generation of dolphin to feed with the locals and visitors to Tin Can Bay. Harmony is also quite scarred for one so young and appears to be holding up the family tradition of liking a good fight.

Mystique, Patch & Harmony

Harmony is very inquisitive and likes to check out his human visitors from a distance.

Because these dolphins are wild, their arrival time cannot be guaranteed, so it is suggested that visitors arrive at Barnacles Cafe between 7am and 8am. Visitors can get in the water with the dolphins as they swim past, sometimes touching or nudging their legs, looking for a feed! Fish can be purchased on site to feed these beautiful, gentle mammals. I have waded knee high into the water with the other tourists and fed these magnificent creatures and it is an experience I will never forget. They really do nudge against your legs and let you gently touch them; they seem to enjoy the experience as much as the humans!

Patch in the shallows

It’s very plain to see why we are so passionate about these beautiful creatures – they seem to love inter-acting with us, enjoying our company, and love performing for us! It’s an absolute thrill to see them – especially since these ones are truly wild!

It is certainly a wonderful experience for the whole family to treasure forever, and I feel so privileged to live so close to this place, to enjoy the dolphins whenever I feel the urge!

Weekly Photo Challenge-Old

 

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is OLD.
Here are some of my interpretations of Old.


Post Office Hotel, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia

 

 

 

This is the Post Office Hotel in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. The hotel was built in 1889 which is quite old for Australian standards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum & Kids

 

I was rummaging in my OLD photos and found this one of  my mother with me and my two older brothers when we lived in Scotland; one of my brothers is wearing a kilt if you look
closely- the one on the left of the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Laughing Kookaburra

Every day we are being visited by three Kookaburras who come and sit on the pool fence, so I thought I would share the experience with you, as they are one of my favourite birds, and so comical when you hear them “laughing” – thus, they are nick-named the Laughing Bird!

Kookaburra

The three Kookaburras fly down to our patio most afternoons when the sun is lowering in the sky and the temperature is cooling down. I love that time of day – it’s so peaceful and calm, so hubby and I (and our little dog Poppy), sit outside enjoying a glass of wine, (water for Poppy) and relax!  It’s just perfect!

These three birds sit on our pool fence watching our every move, and don’t seem to be put off by our dog wandering around.  They have even become tame enough to take a morsel of food from my hand,

Eating out of my hand!

although we don’t want to get into the habit of feeding them regularly, as I do believe they need to find their own food and not become reliant on us.

The Kookaburra is native to Australia and New Guinea, and belongs to the Kingfisher family. They are quite a large, stocky bird and can be up to 17 inches in length. They have a large bill and their head looks oversize for their body – our kids used to call them the “bovver boys” because of the way they look!
Their feathers are black, brown, white, and a little bit of blue; they can live for about 20 years.
They are carnivorous, eating frogs, lizards, insects, other small birds and snakes – even poisonous snakes! They bash them on a hard surface to kill them – I saw this for myself one day when there was a brown snake on our street (brown snakes are deadly). The kookaburra kept flying down at the snake, being very wary not to get bitten; he finally managed to kill the snake and flew off with it hanging from his beak! I kicked myself for not getting it on video.

Of course, the kookaburra is known for it’s unmistakable call which sounds uncannily like human laughter – hysterical laughter! They can be heard laughing at any time of the day, but dawn and dusk seem to be their favourite time in our area – they wake me up every morning at 5am with their maniacal cackling! But I don’t mind, I love them and it makes me smile, listening to them calling for their mates and marking their territory!

Kooky

Australia has so many unique birds and animals, and I feel privileged to see these wonderful creatures every single day in my own back yard.

Anyone for the Beach?

Rainbow Beach is one of my favourite beaches along the East Coast of Australia; it is in the Wide Bay region of Queensland, Australia.  The water is clean and clear – so clear you can see the fish swimming around your feet, tickling your toes!  It’s a great beach for both swimming or surfing and it never seems to get too crowded. There is ample space to stretch out your towel and pitch a windbreak if you so wish, for some protection from the hot sun.

Dogs are allowed on certain sections of the beach which is a bonus for dog owners, as we know how much most dogs love to jump about in the surf to catch a stick or a ball!

The beach is made up of fine, almost white sand which is so fine, when you walk on it, it squeaks under your feet!

However, it wasn’t always known by this pretty name – this beach was home to a large sand mining industry until 1976, and was known as Back Beach. The current name comes from the unusual rainbow coloured sand cliffs – and they really are all the colours of the rainbow!
So giving it the name of Rainbow Beach seemed very fitting!

Rainbow Beach, Qld

In an Aboriginal legend the cliffs were coloured when Yiningie (the spirit of the Gods representing Rainbow) was killed in a fight, spreading his ‘colourful’ spirits across the cliffs.

There are walking treks round the area, but if you like a bit more action, there is hang gliding, paragliding or scenic flights – a truly unforgettable experience.
Like to fish? The area is renowned for great fishing. In fact, Four Wheel Drives are allowed right on the beach!

Slightly to the north of Rainbow Beach at Inskip Point, you can catch a ferry over to the world famous Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world. It is said that this is the only place now where there are any pure-bred dingoes left. A word of warning though – please do not feed the dingoes!

This is truly an awesome spot with plenty of activities to keep everyone happy, and if you ever get the chance, you should put it on your list of places to visit!

http://www.rainbow-beach.org/

Puppy Size

This is one of the neatest stories you will ever hear.  You will know precisely what this little girl is talking about at the end!
“Grace keeps repeating it over and over again.  We’ve been back to this Animal Shelter at least five times, and it’s been weeks now since we started all of this”, the mother told the volunteer.
“What is it she keeps asking for?” the volunteer asked.
“Puppy size!” replied the mother.
“Well, we have plenty of puppies, if that’s what she’s looking for.”
“I know . . . we have seen most of them,” the Mom said in frustration.
Just then, Grace came walking into the office.  “Well, did you fine one?” asked her Mom.
“No, not this time,” Grace said with sadness in her voice.  “Can we come back on the weekend?”
The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed.  “You never know when we will get more dogs.  Unfortunately, there’s always a supply,” the volunteer said.
Grace  took her mother by the hand and headed to the door. “Don’t worry, I’ll find one this weekend,” she said.
Over the next few days, both Mom and Dad had long conversations with Grace.  They both felt she was being too particular.  “Well if we don’t find one this weekend, we’re not looking any more,” Dad finally said.
“We don’t want to hear anything more about puppy size, either,” Mom added.

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Sure enough, they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday morning.  By now, Grace knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller dogs. Tired of the routine, Mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of the first row of cages.  There was an observation window so you could see the animals during times when visitors weren’t permitted.

Grace walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look.  One by one, the dogs were brought out and she held each one.  One by son, she said, “Sorry, but you’re not the one.”

It was at the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup.  The volunteer opened the cage door, and the child carefully picked up the dog and held it closely. This time she took a little longer.

“Mom, that’s it!  I found the right puppy – he’s the one, I know it!” she screamed with joy. “It’s the puppy size!”
But it’s the same size as all the other puppies you held over the last few weeks,” Mom said.
“No, not size . . . the SIGHS. When I held him in my arms, he sighed,” she said.  “Don’t you remember?  When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart.  The more you love, the bigger the sigh!”

The two women looked at each other for a moment.  Mom didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and as she stooped down to hug the child, she did a little of both.

“Mom, every time you hold me, I sigh.  When you and Daddy come home from work and hug each other, you both sigh.  I knew I would find the right puppy if it signed when I held it in my arms.” she said.  Then, holding the puppy up close to her face, she said, “Mom, he loves me – I heard the sighs of his heart!”

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Close your eyes for a moment and think about the love that makes you sigh.
I not only find it in the arms of my loved ones, but in the caress of a sunset, the kiss of the moonlight and the gentle brush of cool air on a hot day.
They are the sighs of God.
Take the time to stop and listen; you will be surprised at what you hear.
‘Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.’

I hope your life is filled with Sighs!!!