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We’re still here…

Posted in: Uncategorized on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Never fear dear, loyal, patient, neglected readers, we are still here.

Life is being a harsh mistress of late. Between the daily requirements of boat life, planning a wedding and working to pay for rapidly approaching wedding we’re left with very little time.

And thanks to the rapidly approaching wedding part, very little sanity either!

Source: https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/159831762/navy-wedding-anchors-away-wedding-cake?ref=market

Yes, you read correctly! For those who don’t know, we’re getting married in a little over two months!

2 MONTHS!!!

I am totally not having multiple stress related freak outs a day. I’m completely fine!

I mean there’s only the ceremony wording to finalise, entertainment to sort out, reception styling to agree on, cars to book, continue arguing about whether or not we’re having a photo booth, oh and the invites to send out.

So our apologies go out to all who check our blog only to find nothing new has been posted, and to those readers who take the time to comment and haven’t had a response yet. Please stick with us as we promise to get the blog back on track soon.

I'll just leave this here...

I’ll just leave this here…

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Blogathon Review

Posted in: Uncategorized on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

As most of our readers know during the month of June I participated in the WordCount 2013 Blogathon event which challenged bloggers to post a blog a day for the entire month.

And it was a challenge.

But on reflection it was a beneficial one both for myself and for this blog. Early on in the month I blogged about why I was participating and what I hoped to achieve, you can read here. Although I didn’t quite state that my goal was to post everyday, it was a personal goal that I really wanted to achieve.

Obviously I didn’t quite make it to the magic 30 mark. I burnt out. Life got in the way. Someday’s I couldn’t be bothered sitting at the computer let alone trying to write something entertaining and coherent.

But you know what? That’s okay. Because although I didn’t post every day, I did learn that I don’t want to be an everyday blogger. As a result I now have a more realistic goal to get new content up every 2-3 days.

Not only did I discover a blogging schedule that suits me but I also achieved some of my other goals.

When I set out I wanted to increase readership and web hits…which I did! During the month of June average daily site visits as well as visits by new readers doubled and on some days tripled which is fantastic.

I also wanted to boost interaction with readers in our comment sections…which I did. Interacting with readers is one of the best things about blogging, I love it. Getting the email to moderate a new comment on the site still makes me do a little happy dance. So getting comments from new readers and my regulars was one of the highlights of the month.

As for my writing, well who can say, maybe it’s improved, maybe it hasn’t. But I’ve certainly done more of it which can only be a good thing.

Here are some of my favourite posts from June:

The first installment in our series showing what daily life is like aboard Tygress – ‘Through the Porthole’

The amusing things that people have typed into Google search and found our site – ‘They Typed What?’

A post about my love of books and whether or not I have too many on board (I don’t!) – ‘Books on Board’

And how could I leave out pictures of our cute cat being cute – ‘The Ship’s Cute Kitty’  

 

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More JOY Somewhere Else

Posted in: Uncategorized on Friday, July 5th, 2013

A few weeks ago I was shocked and saddened to read that Jane and Ean of s/v More JOY Everywhere and are saying goodbye to the cruising life. I think i’m still recovering actually, how could they do this to me!

I’m shocked because you don’t hear of many people giving the life up, well at least not so publicly. I’m sure for every contented cruiser sailing around the world there have been five more that have tried it, tired of it, or found it didn’t live up the brochures and quietly returned to land. There’s no shame it that, cruising long term and living on a boat is not for everyone. Knowing that it might not be for them, Jane and Ean wisely gave themselves a two year escape’ clause which after long discussions and deep reflection they’ve decided to take.

I’m saddened, as I know many of their other online friends are, because even though I’ve  never met them in person I really like Jane and Ean and enjoy their self-branded anti-inspirational take on the liveaboard cruising life.  They’re open, honest, deeply amusing writers, downright hilarious at times and I’ve enjoyed their blog immensely.

 

One of More JOY Everywhere's fun anti-inspirational posters

But they assure us that it’s not the end of their adventures or the end for their blogging which is great news.

Jane and Ean were kind enough to do a little interview…

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Joining me on the couch today are Jane and Ean of s/v More JOY Everywhere who are here to tell us why they’ve decided to sell their 40ft catamaran and return to a land based life. Welcome Jane and Ean….

Jane: Hi Sarah, it’s great to be here

Ean: This is a comfy couch, I’m looking forward to more comfy couches.

Sarah: I hear you Ean, I really miss my couch, to think of how I took it for granted all those years, it almost makes me cry. Anyway let’s get down to brass tacks…

What were the early signs that your dream was slowly sliding into nightmare territory?

Ean: Something broke. And then a second thing broke. And then a third thing. And when the 14th thing broke and I still hadn’t fixed the first thing, I knew we were hosed.

Jane: HA! I think we’re going to name our tell-all cruising memoir, “A Dream Slowly Sliding Into Nightmare Territory.” Great turn of phrase. It wasn’t only the stuff that was breaking, it was the giant sucking sound that our bank account was making, since we couldn’t fix anything, and we had to hire random dubiously-qualified “marine technicians’ all up and down the ICW (East Coast of US)

What effects was the change in your relationship with cruising having on your relationship with each other?

Jane: After the intial blame-slinging (i.e. whose stupid idea was this? – it was Ean’s by the way) we hunkered down and got really determined to “get on with it” – and then we learned to laugh at ourselves and that helped a lot. But we really expected it to get ‘easier’ over time, and it didn’t, so we were getting pretty exhausted. And finally we realised that we were acting like the boat was more important than our marriage, and that was a huge mistake.

Ean: It is not for nothing that our “marketing campaign” for selling the boat is called Operation BABSAM (Buy a Boat, Save a Marriage). It got so bad that we didn’t have the energy to have any fun with each other. We had to step back and get our priorities straight.

Was it hard to admit publicly that you were done with the cruising life, were you worried others would see it as a failure? (We don’t)

Ean: Yes

Jane: We have loved being a part of the cruising community – I was really afraid that we were going to get “kicked out of the club”, so to speak. But we’ve been gratified by the outpouring of understanding and support that we’ve received. It really helped us to “go public” because we felt very isolated while we were agonising over the decision.

Sarah: It was a brave decision, and you should be proud of making it. Because it would’ve been so easy just to let your web presence disappear and leave people wondering if your domain simply ran out, or worse, you sank, or were taken hostage by pirates or most sinister of all, that the cats had staged a mutiny and made you walk the plank.  But by going public you’ve said to the world “hey, relax those things didn’t happen, we no longer love this life and that’s okay, it’s not for everyone”. Personally not having cruised myself and not knowing if i’ll like the lifestyle it’s good to learn from your experience that returning to land is not failure.

Will you keep blogging? 

Ean: Yes, but all future posts will revolve around the lives of our cats, Isabel, Tucker, and Percy. Just kidding. We intend for the blog to be the repository of our ongoing adventures.

Jane: Sarah, you made a good point that there aren’t many bloggers who talk about the end of the dream, or what comes after cruising – our hope by continuing with the blog is that our experiences can help others who are trying to figure out what to do next…and also, of course, we honestly both like to write and we like to make people laugh at the absurdities of life.

Sarah: Oh thank goodness, the world needs writers like you! I look forward to continued posts.

What are you most looking forward to about returning to a land based life?

Jane: I am actually working on a blog post about this right now, but here’s a quick list: big bed that we don’t have to crawl over one another to get into or out of; endless showers, big bathtubs, fast internet, bugless flour

Ean: I am most looking forward to never having to fix anything. Ever.

What do you think your cats Isabel, Tucker and Percy will enjoy the most about returning to a land based life?

Jane: LAND

Ean: They will enjoy roaming around freely and biting the heads off things.

Jane: They hardly EVER bite the heads of things. But they do love to be outside…I mean outside on LAND.

How do you feel about RV’s? Will we see a four wheeled More JOY Everywhere in the future?

Jane: Four wheels – Yes! What’s your address anyway? Seriously, we would love to take a year or so to drive around Australia – it’s definitely going to be one our our future adventures.

Ean: Not an RV, per se: things break on RV’s. I am thinking rental cars and hotels/motels are more our style.

Sarah: Obviously for security reasons Jane I can’t revel my exact location, but I can tell you I live in the best city in Australia, Brisbane! You simply must fly the ridiculous distance it takes to get from anywhere in the world to Australia and explore our beautiful country!

Is the future a blank slate or have you penciled in some plans?

Ean: We as still afflicted with wanderlust, so we’re thinking of being global nomads for a while.

Jane: I just don’t know how the cats are going to feel about being Global Nomads. But we’ll figure it out. There are a few things we’re planning NOT to do; We’re NOT going to live anywhere cold. We’re NOT going to go back to our house in Milwaukee, WI. And we’re NOT going to own anything that breaks.

Sarah: I wouldn’t rule out global travel for Isabel, Tucker and Percy, I’m reminded of this story I once heard about a couple who backpacked with their cat on a 9000 mile journey.  Besides they’re seriously cute cats, I can see book and movie deals in their future.

Living the cruising life can be quite difficult and present a lot of challenges, what are your proudest moments?

Jane: One moment I remember in particular is our first international landfall in the Bahamas, after our first time offshore, a three-day passage. There was this realisation that – wow – we’re really doing this.

Ean: What i’m most proud of, right now, is that we decided to stop when we realised that the cruising life wasn’t a good fit for us, instead of sticking it out just so we could say we aren’t “quitters”.

And lastly, what will be your “take-away’s” from this experience? What has the cruising life taught you as individuals and as a couple?

Ean: #1: We’re realised that we’re best cut out for a maintenance-free lifestyle. #2: We’re learned that we can life with so much less than we though we could, both in terms of resources and belongings. #3: We’re reaffirmed for ourselves that we really like to travel, and that travelling needs to be an important part of our future.

Jane: As an individual, I think my most important lesson learned is that my marriage is the most important thing in my life. I would say that Ean is the most important thing in my life, but that sounds really sappy, and anyway he is not a thing.

Ean: As an individual, I’ve learned that, to quote Popeye, “I yam what I yam” and that trying to lead a life i’m not qualified for is a sure way to become very unhappy.

Sarah: Well folks, that’s all we have time for. Jane and Ean thanks a lot for your time, it’s been a pleasure, the oceans will be emptier without you. For those of you at home stay tuned in to More JOY Everywhere and follow Jane and Ean’s continued adventures.

 

Jane and Ean of More JOY Everywhere fame!

 

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Pandora’s Mystery

Posted in: Uncategorized on Friday, June 21st, 2013

Pandora’s Box or more accurately Pandora’s Storage Area is real. It existed under our main berth and a few months ago we finally braved the mess and sorted through it.

A jumbled mess

With a can-do, slightly apprehensive attitude we systematically removed everything and stacked it in the cockpit. We found all manner of things in that jumbled mess, at times pleasantly surprised by what we pulled out and at other times left scratching our heads in confusion. Spare parts, assorted tools, random junk and odd bits and pieces were discovered. Fuel filters, a box of leaking sealants and glues, shackles of all sizes, an impressive collection of stainless steel bits and bobs, extra foot holds for the mast, funnels in various sizes. It appeared to be the equivalent of our ‘spare bedroom dumping ground’ that we had at the house. It was a time consuming and dirty process.

Laid out neatly in the cockpit

Thankfully Ben knew the purpose of most of the items we sorted through and it was good to be able to take stock of what spares and other useful items we have on board. We worked with the guiding rule of ‘If we don’t know what it is or what it’s used for we’ll keep it just in case’ because it’s better to be safe than sorry. The items we knew we didn’t need or were in an unusable state we threw in the trash. By the end we had an impressive (read: shocking) junk pile and as with all trash it felt good to get rid of it.

There were some intriguing and mysterious items that we found that defied identification. With no idea what they are or what they’re used for we’re asking you, our internet friends to help us solve the mystery.

Do you know what these parts are?

 

A close up, a drill attachment maybe?

If you can help please speak up, leave a comment below, we’d greatly appreciate it. I have a sneaking suspicion that they’re important in some way.

 

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Here, take a card!

Posted in: Uncategorized on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Happy days! Our boat/blog cards have arrived and we think they look awesome. What do you think? A big thanks to Vistaprint for their free card promotion, I ordered 250 of the premium cards and all I had to pay was postage!

It’s going to be great to be able to hand these out to people when I tell them about our website. I hope they’ll prevent the blank stares when I say I write a blog and go on to explain about Blue Water Dreaming.  Besides any little bit of promotion is a good thing.

They’ll also be great to have on hand when we start cruising and meeting fellow sailors. Pocket sized mementos to hand out with useful contact information for keeping in touch with each other. Hopefully one day I’ll have a large collection of other cruising friends cards stuck up around the boat, and ours will be stuck up around theirs.

 

 

 

 

 

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Train or Ferry?

Posted in: Uncategorized on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Let me think, a crowded sardine can full of commuters or a peaceful ride on a cute little ferry boat down the river? Ferry of course! And what a beautiful morning for a trip down the Brisbane River, a glorious clear day in the warm sun.

The City Hopper ferry service is a free service run by the council that operates on the half hour, I hopped on at the Sydney St ferry terminal and was lucky enough to have the whole upper section to myself.  Armed with my awesome new phone (Thanks B!) I got some photos of my trip.

 A beautiful clear day with the CBD and Story Bridge in the distance.

Approaching Dockside Marina which hopefully will be our new home base in a few months. I’ll miss Manly but I am looking forward to being closer to friends and family that work in town. Not to mention the New Years fireworks display!

Getting closer to Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge.

About to pass underneath

 Looking back at the bridge after we’d passed underneath it.

Leaving sparkling water in our wake

Approaching the North Quay ferry terminal, I love my city!

I didn’t head straight into the city but took a wander along the river to check out the boats moored at the Gardens Point Boat Harbour. When I worked in town and we were still dreaming of the day we’d have a boat of our own i’d come down here with my lunch and watch the boats.  Being close to the water and the boats made me feel better, like our dream wasn’t so far away. I guess I wanted to see them again now that we’d made our dream a reality. Besides being near them was helping ease the separation anxiety I was having about being away from Tygress.

There’s no shortage of space to park your tender.

There were all sorts of boats in all sorts of conditions moored here. I’m not sure what facilities this harbour has but you can’t complain about the location and views.

Well there you have it, if you’re ever in Brisbane and even if you’ve lived here your whole life make the time to take a ferry ride along the Brisbane River. There’s not many finer ways to enjoy our city!

 

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Boat bonding

Posted in: Uncategorized on Saturday, June 15th, 2013

It’s finally happening, the boat and I are bonding, we’re becoming friends.

While my best ‘people’ friends and I would bond over drinks and meaningful conversation, laughter and hugs, for my boat and I bonding has been a different and somewhat slower process. To my surprise it has taken place through acts of physical labour. Through physical expressions of devotion.

I’ve been living aboard her now for close to a year and have been dutifully cleaning and looking after our living space each day. But it’s not been until I’ve actually picked up some tools and done some real maintenance that I’ve started to feel a bond developing with our boat. I feel more protective of her, and I feel more pride. I sweep her decks with love, and accept the chips in her paint and feel sorrow for her that she cannot yet feel the wind in her sails. I know that she’s not the newest or grandest boat around. She has her foibles like the rest of us, but through these small acts of improvement and repair I’ve come to feel pride in the fact that she’s our boat. Besides some of the newest and grandest boats around here sit lonely in their berths for months at a time. At least Tygress has people, and a ships cat to be with her each day and give her life.

Those who own boats, live on boats or sail on them will know that it is completely possible to form a deep and affectionate bond with them.  They are almost living things in my opinion.  The respond to the wind and water and are constantly in some form of motion. While a house stands fast against the elements, unmoved by wind or rain, boats roll with the punches, sometimes literally. Unless it is totally calm, a boat is always making some form of sound. Whether it be her mooring lines creaking, water gently lapping at the hull, fenders rubbing, wind through the rigging, she is always talking to you, communicating with you. After a while you learn to recognise the sounds she makes to let you know something is not right, when she is in distress.  Most of the time though, the sounds are simply happy, contended ‘I’m a boat that still floats’ sounds.

Regular readers, dear friends and followers will know that we’re in the process of having all of our windows replaced and the hatches serviced. As I’m home during the day I’ve been helping the contractor get the work done. Mostly that entails cleaning off the old silicone after the windows have been removed. It’s a messy and at times, hard job to do. But it’s one of the few times I’ve been able to contribute something more substantial to improving Tygress, other than my usual ‘housework’. And despite the dirty hands and constant worry i’m going to break the boat, i’m really enjoying it. I do at times feel like a fish out of water using power tools but i’m proud that I’ve had a go and done my best. As for the contractor, well dear readers, that is another story.

 

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Superstitious Plants

Posted in: Uncategorized on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Superstition – A widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice…

Sailors are a superstitious bunch. There’s so many superstitions my head is spinning! Here’s just a few…

  • No whistling onboard,
  • No bananas onboard,
  • Women are bad luck,
  • Naked women are good luck,
  • Changing a boat’s name is bad luck,
  • Sighting an albatross or dolphins is good luck. Unless you kill one, then it’s bad luck
  • Plants on board are bad luck.

Wait, what? Plants on board are bad luck?

Apparently plants on board or in the wheelhouse is bad luck because plants seek out the earth and that is bad on a boat. So the superstition says. And i’m going to ignore it, as my Uncle would say “Bunkum!”

Our herb garden and oh look a cat! He likes the chives.

I happen to like the greenery on our boat. I like having fresh herbs for cooking. And I wasn’t leaving George behind when we moved. Yes I name some of my plants and my butterfly orchid happens to be named George. It’s not weird.

 

He's not thriving, but he's also not dead, I count that as a win!

 

George is not the only plant we have inside. Water bottle plant used to live (read: barely survive) in my laundry. It came from a clipping taken at work many years ago and in light of it’s endurance, low maintenance requirements and the fact it lives in a bottle I hand painted it got a one-way ticket to life on the boat.

 

Water bottle plant

 

Numerous studies have shown that the presence of plants can help reduce stress, improve your sense of well being and can improve your air quality.  This is what I choose to believe, that plants are good for you and nice to look at and that can’t be bad, even on a boat.  Plus since George and Water Bottle Plant technically don’t require ‘land/earth’ to survive they shouldn’t breach the plants on boats superstition.

Do you buy into sailing superstitions? Do you have any plants on board?

For further reading on sailing superstitions:

Interested in the benefits of plants:

 

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They typed what?

Posted in: Non Boaty Bits, Uncategorized on Friday, June 7th, 2013

A selection of weird and wacky search terms that have led people to Blue Water Dreaming

Cat washing machine under the sea – a what now? We most certainly do not have a cat washing machine under the sea. Although, have you ever tried to wash a cat? Having a machine would make it a lot easier, but i’m still confused why it would be under the sea.

Yellow painted toenails – I hope never the reach the point where I’m blogging about the colour of my toenails, which just in case you’re interested are presently painted blue!

A wet man does not fear the rain – How very zen!

Fluffy the destroyer – This one made me laugh, the only thing our Fluffy is the destroyer of is a peaceful nights sleep.

Automatic car washing machine – Well this one makes a little more sense. Automatic car washing machines do exist, I know because I’ve been freaked out inside the car as we’ve gone through one. Not sure why we’d turn up in search results for them though. The mysteries of Google.

Glow in the dark alcohol – Yes please! But you’ll have to buy because we don’t have any, have never had any and definitely have never blogged about having any, I would remember glow in the dark alcohol. Unless of course I drank too much of it.

I’m a grown woman I can do whatever i want – Good for you! More power to you.

Sunshine legend 4000 BBQ – This one is thoroughly confusing, but I can confirm that we do indeed have a BBQ.

best photo ever taken – Why thank you! I tend to agree myself, but out of curiosity which photo exactly is the best photo ever taken?

Big bang top blue hair – I have thought about dying my hair blue. Yes Mum, you read correctly, blue, bright blue! So maybe that’s what this one is about, but then how would Google know. Spooky!

Breast closeup – You’ll get no such thing! The nerve, there are no breasts on our site. Strictly family friendly content only.

I don’t understand anything about my entire life – I’m sorry to hear that, how can we help?

Wet noodle lashing – I have never lashed anyone with a wet noodle in my life and I certainly wouldn’t blog about it! Wet noodle lashings are an intensely personal thing and should be kept that way.

Do you manage a blog/website? What weird and wacky search terms have lead people to you?

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Happy Queensland Day!

Posted in: Uncategorized on Thursday, June 6th, 2013

It’s a great day to be a Queenslander (not counting our loss to NSW in last night’s State of Origin) because It’s Queensland Day! We celebrate because my home state officially became a colony in it’s own right, independent from New South Wales on this day in 1859 after Queen Victoria gave her consent and signed the Letters Patent. We are named in her honour.

Some fun and completely random Queensland facts!

  • Queensland is the second largest state in Australia and covers over 22% of the total Australian continent an area of 1,730,648 square kilometres. And while I can’t tell you how many elephants, football fields or olympic swimming pools fit into Queensland I can tell you that it’s two and a 1/2 times the size of Texas, four and 1/2 times the size of Japan and nearly 6 times the size of the United Kingdom. It’s big! And it’s beautiful.
  • We’re known as the sunshine state most likely because we get on average 263 days of sunshine a year. Although lately the weather has been making a mockery of that slogan.
  • The state’s capital is Brisbane and is known as the River City thanks to the Brisbane River that winds it’s way through the CBD.

The Brisbane River at dusk

  • In 1917 the then Prime Minister Billy Hughes forms the Australian Federal Police after local police refuse to arrest the men responsible for throwing eggs at him during a pro-conscription rally in Warwick. Apparently us Queenslanders have a flair for protesting with chicken bi products, and personally I’d have thrown eggs at him too!
  • The famous Yatala Pie Shop opened in 1914! From humble beginnings over 130 years ago the pie shop now employs 70 staff and sells over 3500 pies daily and that’s not including all it’s sweet treats. Definitely a pie to try before you die.
  • In 1974 thanks the worst flooding since 1893 The Wivenhoe Dam was built, Brisbane’s main water storage facility and major flood mitigation infrastructure. Many believe The Wivenhoe Dam saved Brisbane from even worse flooding in the January 2011 floods.
  • Queenslands largest dam is the Burdekin Falls Dam located south-west of Ayr. It was completed in 1987, and has a capacity 4 times that of Sydney Harbour. Mind blown.
  • This fact will be close to many a Queenslanders heart. In 1888 the first ever barrel of Bundaberg rum rolls of the production line. Later in 1961 the company chose a polar bear as it’s mascot to represent the claims that Bundaberg rum would ‘ward of the coldest chill of winter’. Being a scotch drinker myself maybe I should switch to rum as the nights are definitely getting  a chill to them!
  • This fact is brought to you in honour of last nights game, in 1980 Queensland played it’s first State of Origin game against New South Wales and won a solid victory beating the ‘cockroaches’ 20-10. During this time of year you are either a ‘Canetoad’ (Maroon) if you’re a born and bred Queenslander or a dirty ‘Cockroach’ (Blues) if you are born in New South Wales. In the wild and on the footy field the canetoad is the a natural predator of the cockroach. While NSW won the first game in the series of three last night, the next game will be the decider of the series, and one in which i’m confident that QLD will return to winning form.
  • In 1981 our Great Barrier Reef  became a World Heritage listed site. In fact Queensland has a total of five World Heritage Listed sites. Fraser Island, the worlds largest sand island; Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, the most extensive areas of subtropical rainforest in the world; Riversleigh Fossil Fields, listed for their outstanding representation of the evolution of Australian mammals and the quality of their fossils and The Wet Tropics, an expanse of tropical rainforest extending  from Townsville to Cooktown on the north-east coast of Queensland which covers almost 900,000 hectares.
  • Queensland is home to the lung fish, a rare and prehistoric fish that is a living fossil from the Triassic period 350 million years ago. It gets it’s name for it’s ability to breathe air from the surface of the water through a lung in it’s dorsal fin. Concern for the survival of the fish and it’s habitat was a contributing factor in the abolishing of plans to dam the Mary River.
  • Queensland’s primary industries include: bananas, pineapples, peanuts, a wide variety of other tropical and temperate fruit and vegetables, cattle raising, cotton, sugar cane, wool and a mining industry including bauxite, coal and copper. Our secondary industries are mostly further processing of the above-mentioned primary produce: bauxite from Weipa is converted to alumina at Gladstone. There are also copper refining and the refining of sugar cane to sugar.
  • Watch where you step as there are 120 species of snake in the Australian state of Queensland. Most are venomous, 20 are classed as ‘dangerous’ and 16 are ‘potentially fatal’.

Got an interesting Queensland fact to share? Leave it in the comments below…

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