October 27th, 2004

The Bush camp has banned/blocked all non-US visitors to its homepage as shown here –

It is probably something to do with ‘outsiders’ trying to hack the site which seems like a hugely drastic measure to take, especially when there’s probably a lot of Americans abroad. Then again you only have to look at Iraq to see what other drastic measures the current US government are willing to take!!

October 27th, 2004

The music in my little camping holdiay video was by Elliott Smith. Triple-J radio have got a 1 hour program that you can tune into and find out more about the legend. Click the icon below –

October 24th, 2004

Its 20h30 on Thursday night and the phone rings…its Rach reminding me that we are all going camping tomorrow morning. So I race to K-Mart and buy a 4 man tent (which turned out to barely sleep 1), sleeping bag, inflatable laying on thingy, torch, paper cups/plates, 30 cans of coke, 30 packets of crisps and a box of ‘decadence’ chocolate chip cookies hoping that these items would be ‘sufficient’ for camping, which was probably very naïve of me.

Leaving at 07h30 hours from Sydney, we headed North for a location called ‘Seal Rocks’. Rach, Tiina, Mike and myself set off for the 310km drive up Pacific Highway. The weather in Sydney was pretty terrible when we left, rain, rain and more rain, after about 1 hours drive it cleared!!! We arrived at the camp site after about 3.5 hours and set up all the tents as quick as possible but it appeared that the rain had followed us up from Sydney as it started to thunder.

Rach and Tiina at Base Camp

As a newbie at Ozzie camping I was filled with apprehension as I looked out onto my tent that was now being rained on rather heavily by a large thunderstorm, so we started drinking Coronas…

The rain cleared and things started to look brighter! The camp site is called ‘Treachery Camp’ because it is right next to ‘Treachery Beach’. The sunset is awesome and after running up some rather large sand dunes we managed to see the last glimpse of the sun as it disappeared over the headlands and I took this photo with very shakey tired hands –

Bigger better photo of this here

So after this excitement we go back to base camp and Mike and Rach prepare Lentils for dinner –

We sit around eating and drinking and then, not long after eating the ‘decadence’ chocolate chip cookies, we hear a rustle in the bushes. My heart rate increases, could it be a killer snake/crocodile/shark, these thoughts were racing through my mind, but no, it turns out to be a possum –

It looks cute and is cute, but he tried to eat our food as soon as we turned out backs!! He was not scared of us at all, coming right up to the fire and then sneaking round the back of our camp near our tents! We packed all of the food away and all went to brush our teeth, when we got back Possum was, as expected, in the camp looking for food but he could not find any! I went to sleep that night feeling fairly safe and happy with my camping experience so far. As far as the tent went that evening, apart from a little bit of of initial dampness from the thunderstorm I slept absolutely fine and all through the night…..

I work up at about 09h00 on Saturday morning to hear Tiina saying “oh my I’ve just seen a huge snake!!”. I got out my tent and Tiina was saying it was about 2 metres long and black and red and it was by the Billabong –

This is me wearing my Billabongs at the Billabong (also living on the edge as I am wearing shorts and flip-flops in snake infested area)

So I get out of my tent and, before I even have breakfast, we are out looking for this snake with Mike’s camera. In absolute terror (in my mind at least) we spot this slivery snake in the bush. It turns out to be a baby of the one Tiina saw but still pretty scarey. It was a Red-bellied Black Snake (photo to come when Mike get’s his film developed). So with ‘danger’ nearly at the front of my mind we head back to the camp for breakfast. The sun was shining and it was an absolute beauty of a day! I for some reason, decided NOT to take my surf board up with me. This was a crazy mistake as the beach at Seal Rocks had the most perfect waves and better still there was hardly any people on the beach –

Rach dramatically running towards the sea (no waves in this picture)

We had a lovely day relaxing on the beach, I even learned how to snorkel thanks to Mike and Rach! That was excellent although I didn’t see anything of interest apart from the ocean and the sandy floor. As I didn’t take my surf board I was just body surfing the waves which is actually pretty good fun (not as much as surfing proper though). Tiina and myself then took a walk out over the rocks to have a look around. When we looked out to sea we saw some Dolphins swimming across the sea near the beach! It was amazing!!! Although I have seen them closer in at Whale Beach on the North Coast it was still pretty cool!

So as we headed back to the camp down the very bumpy road. My car has a 4WD option so we decided to take it down one of the little dirt tracks towards the beach. I was actually pretty unsure my car could handle it, after all, it is a 1989 Vitara with red alloys. I put the car in the 4WD option and headed towards the beach, I asked everyone “do you think we should go down to the beach” hoping for a voice of reason to say “no I think we should go back”, this did not happen and moments later we are in this situation –

Its no use waving Tiina, that won’t get us out!!!

Luckily we weren’t more than 10 minutes walk from the camp, where we got some helpful advice to let on how to get the car going again. We even got some Ozzies to help us out –

I really felt English at this stage

Here is a checklist for 4WD driving –

A. Know what you are doing
B. Take a little gizmo that lets you take air out of your tires and tells you what pressure they are at
C. Drop the tire pressure from 40PSI down to 15PSI
D. (most importantly) Change the gauge on the hubs of the front wheels from ‘free’ to ‘locked’ so that the car is actually in 4WD

After doing these things in the checklist (thanks Ozzie guys) I was away and driving on the beach like a dream!! So after that danger we were back at the camp for night two. Tiina is a two times national silver medalist runner in Finland, but that did not stop me from chasing running with her up and down the beach that evening. Although as I write this I feel like I have paid for it as my legs are completely seized!

Not long after settling down, drinking a few beers and looking back on a day of fun and extreme danger, Tiina says “oh look there’s a spider!!”, I look down to my left from the seat I am sitting on to see a spider which was suspiciously shaped like a Funnel Web.. the deadliest spider in the world!!! –

Looks fairly tame here

Looks like Atrax Robustus could kill you here (macro photo taken through a plastic cover)

Funnel Webs contain a toxin called ‘atraxotoxin’ which will give immediate pain followed by muscle spasms and cramps, foaming at the mouth and excessive production of tears. It is possible for the victim to suffocate or drown in their own internal fluids. On second looks it may have been a mouse spider although it doesn’t have the pincers that they have. Although to be honest either way it was very very scarey, especially how close it was to us all. It looks very familiar to the third picture on this page –Funnel Webs.

After the drama we drank some more alcohol/tea and went to sleep, thankfully I did not dream of spiders!!

Next morning we packed all our stuff away and decided to give the 4WD trip another go! This time we were a lot more successful and went for a drive down one of the huge beaches they have in NSW –

Not a person in sight (apart from us obviously). Whilst looking out to sea at this random location Rach noticed something strange going on near the horizon… it was a pod of whales breaching the ocean!!! It was an unbelievable sight to see!! These huge creatures were jumping and turning in the air as they jumped out of the sea. They were black on one side and white on the other, which I think means they were hump back whales, they also had the tell tale fin! We told some people at a local cafe we saw whales and they told us that they were moving back to Antartica.

Although virtually impossible to see (as my camera has no zoom) the white thing in the water on the horizon is the splash from a whale that just breached –

Mike took a picture with his zoom lens, so hopefully when he gets that developed and scanned there will be a better picture to show!!

For all of you who got this far, there is a video to download of the trip! I used Windows Movie Maker that appears to have been updated along with SP2 for the PC, it has loads of features, like text,credits and transitions etc.. so I’ve made a pretty cool video I think. It’s basic layout is this –

A. Mike’s Quote of the Holiday
B. The camp
C. Driving on the Beach
D. More Driving on the Beach
E. ‘Wheel Cam’ (thanks Mike)
F. Seal Beach on Arrival Day
G. Tiina looking sad as it rains and we have to go home
H. Closing Credits

Right Click..Save Target As.. then Open (10 meg download) (requires sound!)

An excellent weekend, that was probably my most favorite weekend EVER!!!!!

October 21st, 2004

You might remember in February I saw a truck in Shad Thames that had ripped of Ebay’s logo.

Well I have found the same thing out here on the otherside of the world!! Outside our house is this van –

Is suspiciously similar to –

October 19th, 2004

At 08h30 this morning Pumpkin (Tag’s bird) flew over the back fence and has not been seen since. If you live in the Woolloomooloo area and have seen the bird in the picture please contact me ASAP.

October 16th, 2004

Big surfing day planned at Palmie (Palm Beach aka Summy Bay) today. We got there and the waves were pretty cool! I was parallel to a breaking wave at one stage and got to see down the tube that is created as the wave breaks, it’s really cool!! Dan, Henry, Lyly and myself went for the surf. Here is surfer chick Lyly with her long board –

However, surfing had to end prematurely. Which was ashame because it was just getting good and the waves were becoming easier to ride. The reason we had to stop is because hundred of Blue Bottles (Physalia Physalis) appeared on the beach –

Blue Bottles are not one organism but a number of organisms. The blue wire coming off the back of them can wrap around your hands, feet, neck or face and will give you hundreds of stings “similar to a bee” (according to Dan, who is on the left of the picture above and got stung by one once) the tentacle can get upto 10 metres long!! We moved down from Palmie to Whale Beach where there weren’t so many, just as we were about to go in they also started to appear again and the life guards put up the ‘caution blue bottles’ sign. There were plenty of surfers out there so we were going to push on and go in anyway. Then we saw someone get stung, have it removed by the life guards, then wrapped in the silver blanket you get put in when in shock and eventually put onto a stretcher and carried off into an ambulance!!! That completely put us all off going in!! This is from the Blue Bottle factfile “Blue Bottles can deliver a painful sting even when washed up dead on the beach. If stung, remove any part of the animal still sticking to the skin with tweezers or a gloved hand. Apply a cold pack to relieve the pain. Do not rub with sand or a towel, nor wash with alcohol or vinegar, as this will only make the pain worse. In extreme cases resuscitation may be needed and medical attention should be sought.”
RESUSCITATION!!!! Did anyone say this country had dangerous creatures?!?!

So instead we just sat on the beach and played musical instruments, there are four musical instruments in this picture, can you see them all? –

We were also luckly enough to see some dolphins surfing at whale beach. It is ashame that the blue bottles were there as we were planning on going out right where the dolphins were, that would have been crazy surfing with them!!

Off to a BBQ now, its the ozzie way…..

October 16th, 2004

Brandom (who lives at the other house and is from Texas, the lone star state, he should be an ambassador from Texas as he is not the stereotype cliché of a gun-toteing, oil guzzling, country crushing American) is leaving to move to Brisbane where he starts his new job. So last night we all went out to celebrate. Matt also got a job that saved him from having to go back to the UK so it was cause for a celebration. First we started in the Old Fitzroy where Brandom did his trademark ‘car bomb’ – this is in real time –

We then moved on to a place called ‘Sushi-Suma’ that is probably the most popular Sushi place in Sydney. We had to queue outside with the rest of the common folk for 20 minutes before we got a table –

The food was really nice, although I am not too big a fan of raw fish it was still good. It is fairly cheap as well, here is some Sushi stuff in a dish –

We them moved on to the Cleveland bar where Brandom and Matt had more ‘Car Bombs’ and Tequilas!!!

A great night out I would say which is typical for this great city!!!

Off surfing now, I may even get a picture standing up today as we are all going up to Palm Beach (Summer Bay) for a nice day out!!

October 13th, 2004

Sorry for the lack of updates. To be honest all I have been doing is surfing, although today the waves are non-existent so I went to the International Australian Motor Show to see the nice cars. After looking at all of them I decided that the Porsche Carrera S is my favourite. Here is a picture I took of it –

It is about 35 degrees today so I am off to the pool!!!

October 5th, 2004

It seems hard to believe that G2007.COM is one year old today. Started on October 05 2003 it has come a long way since then. Why even bother doing it you may ask? There are two main reasons for doing it. The first is that it allows people at home to know what I am doing and secondly, it allows me to remember all the things I have done, as well as those little details that I would probably forget along the way. It is fun because other people can see it, I would get bored writing a personal diary, this is much cooler! This is the 128th post in a year.

Some highlights of the past year include –

City of Djinns
The story of arriving in India.

What sort of dog is that?
The story of the trip to Agra and the Taj Mahal.

You’ll feel better if you lie
Some pictures around London.

Getting up too early for work.

The Last Weekend
Out with Gino and Dino in Shoreditch for my last weekend in London.

‘Some place called Woolloomooloo’
Finding a flat in Sydney and some pictures.

The long road to Canberra.

Birthday Australia Style
Celebrating 24 in Sydney

We’re happy in My Blue Heaven
The Blue Mountains weekend trip

What does G2007 mean?
G stands for my first name, Gary. 2007 is the last word on the linear notes of the album Pisces Iscariot by the worlds best band Smashing Pumpkins. Read the rest of the linear notes here.

October 3rd, 2004

I am not a very big fan of politics but it is very hard to not notice the political things that are going on here in Australia. The current prime minister of Australia ‘John Howard‘ is up for re-election. A lot of Ozzies are not happy with their troops fighting in Iraq. Margo Kingston has written a book called ‘Not Happy John‘ for all those interested in this viewpoint. Anyway you might remember the sky adverts that I was showing. Well today while we were at the Navy open day (where we actually got told off for entering a restricted area of HMAS Ballarat FFH-155) the plane was writing the title of the book in the sky. Later whilst we were at the Manly Jazz Festival I found this little sticker on a lamp post on the promenade –

Check out the surf in the background. This is the southern end of the beach and it is still pretty good. The northern end has 5+ ft swell which is too scarey for me!

Went out this evening for beers to watch Roosters vs. Bulldogs. Bulldogs won (which was bad because Roosters are from East Sydney and that is where we live) – I did not get too drunk as tomorrow looks like a return to surfing!!! Woooo!!!