Our Life Afloat

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Blog of Jack and Jude
explorers, authors, photographers & videographers

Fun in the Sun and a whole bunch more ~


Fun in the Sun

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While cold icy winds blast Tasmania, Jack and Jude have been revelling in tee-shirts and shorts back at our shack in the Northern Rivers. We’ve been enjoying a few outings in the great outdoors after the marathon of getting our lady ready for her winter ordeal. We’ve been on a couple of camping trips with our kayak – one just the two of us, and another with our merry band of little adventurers ~ The Three Musketeers – Riley (10), Kylen (7) and newcomer, Ashtyn (5).

Nymboida River
Directly after settling in and enjoying a gala weekend with our family, we took off for the Nymboida River when heavy rain threatened our shack. Going inland lost those nasty clouds that we knew only too well from Tassie, and finding our way to a favorite spot alongside the transparent waters of the Nymboida River, we made camp right alongside our cute little 4WD that we affectionately call Chipmunk, because it’ll go just about anywhere, even straight up a tree we believe!  

Simply grand to be away paddling everyday, and coming back to a blazing hot fire under the stars shinning brightly in a clear black sky. But we had one tiny mishap. Must have got a bit cocky and tried to charge upstream through a rapid, and blew our approach, hit a rock, stalled, then got washed backwards to be pinned against more rocks. While calculating what to do next, Mother Nature took control, and we swamped! Yiks! One paddle floated away as we scurried to save Jude’s expensive camera and our electronic gizmos like ipad and PLB that were stored in a Pelican case that started floating downstream for the open sea. The positives are: we saved those expensive items and learnt a lot. Miraculously we even found the lost paddle downstream caught in rocks…..
 

Clarence Gorge
Over the Queens Birthday long weekend, we loaded up the Three Musketeers, our kayak, and enough food to feed an army then drove towards the end of the road to The Gorge, and camped alongside the mighty Clarence River. As everyone knows, Australia’s in drought, so the mighty Clarence appeared a ghost of it’s once mighty self. Probably not a bad thing when you hear we loaded all three of those devils into our double kayak alongside ourselves – then paddled upstream to the gorge and waterfall, a full day’s outing covering at least 12 to 15 kilometres.
 

Yet Another Speed Bump

They won’t stop! Well, yes they will, but the alternative isn’t so appealing!
While the little ones love em and only want more, Jack wants them to go slo-mo……

In a small but rowdy affair, Jack cranked up another milestone. He’s promised to only celebrate the BIG ones, so check back in another five years. The last one he thought grand was fifty, having never thought he’d notch up a half century. But it’s true what’s said about speed bumps, it’s downhill after them. Still, he’s been heard to mumble how grateful he is to have good health, a beautiful wife and family worth every moment. Aye, with so much yet to do, he keeps humming Let it be.

 


Killing goats to appease the volcano gods

A once powerful Australian Prime Minister thinks doing anything about climate-change is like “Killing goats to appease the volcano gods.”

If you think that’s outrageous, then how’s this: The majority of the human population would vote for jobs and growth over saving the remains of the animal kingdom. Dig it up, ship it out, creates jobs and growth to further what we believe is fast becoming a sterile, rather boring future.

At seventy-five years of age, Jack’s been wondering when the supreme specie is going to take control of its future instead of letting ancient dogma continue to destroy Earth and its glorious possibilities. He can’t help wondering, why we’re a wrecking ball to other species, clean air, and plentiful water?

The Industrial revolution has come and gone, leaving us the capacity for a comfortable, healthy life, but our weakness – greed, always wants more – more wealth – more power, which is surely taking quality of life away from our sons and daughters, and our grandchildren.

Humanity loves a dream. We’ll sacrifice, and work amazingly long hours, and spend heaps to reach the heavens. That’s why Jack and Jude think we need a dream for our future that humanity can focus on achieving. We don’t mean one with surreal spaceships flying hither and yon. No extraterrestrials if you please. We are the supreme creature here, and we think it’s time to dream up a future without wars and hunger that’s in harmony with a well balanced Earth. So let’s kick start the discussion.


Plastic Waste – Where to from here?

Only 9% of plastic has ever been recycled.

Only 9% of plastic has ever been recycled. Photograph: Clemens Bilan/EPA

 

 

Efforts to be eco-friendly seem to have gone to waste as many communities find themselves with nowhere to send their plastic refuse, making it terribly sad for those of us who want to do our bit to save Earth and have been collecting our plastic waste, sorting it, and cleaning it with the inner glow that it will be recycled – And now learning that nearly half is becoming just more landfill!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It’s a fact, mixed plastic isn’t recyclable. As a society, we have been merrily using plastic just about everywhere thinking it would be recycled. Making it worse, manufacturers have doubled up on the stuff with that in mind. But now, No one wants the stuff! Except the impoverished, who burn it for fuel, releasing horrible toxins. Another fairy-tale blown out the water by human-kind’s reckless grip on reality.
 
 
 
 

Macquarie Harbour Fish Farm Trash Update

The War on Waste has awoken many of us to the tragic side of plastic. But Jack and Jude are no-strangers to this. These last fifty years we’ve been seeing increasing human trash on the shores and seas, and on very isolated isles and atolls. Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that we’ve been rising the alarm about plastic fish farm trash in Macquarie Harbour, which is a very special case for several reasons. One is that it’s World Heritage, an area of significance legally protected by international treaties.  And secondly, it’s a nearly closed body of water that little escapes. And that’s an interesting point. What we are finding in Macquarie Harbour illustrates just how much plastic waste escapes from fish farm leases. What we see in that nearly landlocked harbour represents what is escaping from all the other farm leases and gets washed away into the wider seas. Of the fish farms In Macquarie Harbour, Tassal have been in operation since 1986. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Macquarie Harbour Farms Represents All Fish Farms
Shifting attention to Macquarie Harbour with its insidious problem of fish farm ropes breaking down into micro-plastic, we received an update from the head of Tassal’s Aquaculture, Mr. Mark Asman.

In an email he told us that he’d gone to Macquarie Harbour and walked the shores of Brisbane Bay at the location of our last expose on Fish Farm Trash, and had seen various pieces of debris. And that he has been told the amount of debris is declining (with each successive effort), but it needs continuous effort to get where we want.

He wrote, “So the plan will be to 1. Keep on the culture side by “stopping it at the source” (we think this is having a real impact, just takes time) , 2. Continue the regular shore line clean ups by the staff and others and 3. Working on a solution like you mention, a permanent crew to walk the shore lines…I hope to have more clarity on this when you return.”

That sounds encouraging. And we sure hope it happens and is not just illusory promises. Mark has been talking about “changing the culture” from our very first conversation.

In replying to Mark’s email, we pointed out that Tassal has been in the fish farming business since 1986. That’s  thirty-three years. And that Tassal employs 1261 people. We know many and they are good people who work hard to produce farmed salmon at approximately 20 leases in six regional areas within Tasmania. Tassal is a public company listed on the ASX. In 2017, Tassal earned a NET profit of A$58.08 million, that’s the net increase in shareholders’ equity.

Sustainability
Tassal prides itself on not only what it produces but how it produces it. Check out their website. “Our consumers can be confident that the Tassal Salmon has been raised by an environmentally and socially responsible company.” In July last year, Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries (DPIPWE)  introduced a “zero tolerance” for marine debris. And that for a company claiming such high environmental standards, achieving “zero tolerance” for marine debris should rank above all else.

In our email to Mark, we mentioned that what we recorded in Macquarie Harbour these last couple of years would have been going on for many years at every fish farm lease. The difference? – All that trash floated away across the oceans.

And we had some proactive suggestions to reduce fish farm trash:

  • permanent crew walking the shores collecting trash
  • lengthened the soft eye net ropes so they can be secured to the pens – many blow away.
  • filter out the micro-algae when cleaning the nets instead of releasing it to drift round the harbour (the gunge)
  • filter out the molluscs when cleaning the nets instead of releasing them back into the harbour.

First Community Harbour Clean Up – April 2017


On to Brighter News –

Around the World in Ever Increasing Circles
Available for Christmas

Jack and Jude have nearly completed their next book that they hope will be available for Christmas. It has grown into a tome of gigantic proportions – 200,000 words – nearly 500 pages with high hopes of colour photographs of family adventures exploring Earth, covering a monumental era in the lives of the Four J’s. A transitional period when our two sons grew into men and took charge of Banyandah to navigate her thirty thousand miles around the world after departing from Cairns in February 1984.

Here’s a snapshot-
If you have one thousand and fifty days of free time – twenty seven thousand Australian dollars in spare cash, and do not mind sleeping out in the middle of an ocean for two hundred and forty-seven nights (that’s one in four nights), then you too can circumnavigate the world like we just did!

Around the World in Ever Increasing Circles 1984 – 1987


SIR JOHN FALLS HUT – AN ALTERNATIVE VISION

Our Wildcare group, the Friends of Macquarie Harbour and Waterways, was not happy with what the Parks Heritage Officer recommended for the restoration of the old Hydro hut at Sir John Falls. It’s been wasting away for decades without any TLC by Parks who took over responsibility for it that long ago. In fact, it’s in such bad condition, no one wants to stay in it and do battle with the rats and snakes, the smell. And when we formed our Wildcare Group, restoring the hut was put on our official Parks list of things to do. But after reading the Heritage report, we baulked. Who wants a maintenance nightmare – with poor facilities – in one of the most isolated, wettest parts of Tasmania? Not us. So we conjured up our vision and submitted to the authorities who, lo and behold, are open to what we have in mind and want to see more.

Sir John Falls – Gordon River

Next step will be to produce an architect’s perspective drawing outlining what we have in mind. And that’s a modern, dry abode offering good light and warmth, reusing as much as we can, and adding long lasting materials. It is located in one of the most majestic locations in Tasmania with heaps of attractions around, providing free accommodation.
Surely you would want to chip in a few dollars for that….

Here’s an idea of a design we’re using as a guide. 

In this project, natural ventilation is driven by wind-pressure and by stack ventilation where warm air is exhausted from the higher clerestory windows. IN winter when the clerestory windows are shut, stratification of warm air due to solar and internal gains offset heat loss from the upper roof and window area keeping the space warm. ©2010 Earth Studio.


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Comments

Our Life Afloat — 2 Comments

  1. Hi jack and Jude
    Another great blog.Thanks once again.We will be back in Tassie in our new home MV Sealeaf this summer. A look at the west coast and Port Davey are again on the rough plan.If you and Jude are down there again ,we sure owe you both a beer.
    Health and happiness to you both
    Brian and Sandra Dorling
    MV Sealeaf

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