Australia :: June 1994 - March 1995

Subject: On the road again. . .
Date: August 29, 1994 18:20

22:26 The Spirit of Capricorn (Queensland rail Brisbane->Proserpine) :: 25 AUG 94

To be precise, on the train again.

One can sum up Australian rail service in a single word: slow. That is, slower than all other means of powered travel. Not only that, it is just barely enough less expensive than flying to make it a viable option and the only temptation of rail over the cheaper and faster buses is comfort: sleeper cars make overnight trips bearable; showers in sleeper cars make the morning after an overnight trip livable.

09:19 The Spirit of Capricorn (Queensland rail Brisbane->Proserpine) :: 25 AUG 94

On the other hand, I generally prefer train travel to buses or aircraft. In relative comfort one gets to see the countryside between destinations. Of course, there's little to Queensland's north coast other than sugar cane and gum trees. The highway parallels along one side and small scale rail tracks, for transporting cane, the other. At the moment forested mountains rise from the plain to the east. Something about them makes me think of the 4077 MASH so Korea might look like this, or at least Hollywood's impression of Korea looks like this.

Buildings vary, but you look for the grand old Queenslanders painted in the colours of Federation, green and gold, with corrugated tin roofs and encircling verandahs railed by cast iron. They stand high on stilts so the cool breeze blows all around. The advent of air conditioning brought about architectural changes. The verandahs are boarded up and glassed in, the stilts lengthened to add a finished basement. So much for the romantic.

New construction tends toward the simply dull.

23:18 Airlie Beach, Queensland :: 26 AUG 94

I spent much of the night catching up on long overdue tasks: entering receipts into MS Money and balancing the accounts; logging video tape I shot long ago; transcribing bits of paper with addresses into my contact management software. I've been delinquent in these for over a month. <sigh>

Two other tasks for the day. Find a dive company for several days scuba on the Great Barrier Reef. (Success) Find a means for connecting to CompuServe. (Failure verging on despair.) Tomorrow will most certainly see me traipsing door-to-door asking businesses to please let me use their phone line. Why does this have to be so hard?

10:47 Airlie Beach, Queensland :: 29 AUG 94

How does this sound?

Oceania Dive Co. Presents
7 Day Open Water Course

Become a certified diver
on the most desirable yacht in the world!

Your course includes:

PADI International Gold Card
3 days theory and pool training
1 day trip to the Whitsunday Islands
3 days and nights on the reef aboard the Anaconda II
Use of PADI dive open water manual
Diving log book
All gear hire and air fills
Night diving
All meals and linen while on board the yacht

Dive Bait, Black or Fairey Reefs, all part of the outer Great Barrier Reef. Maybe do a night dive, multi-level dive, drift dive or photography dive. A maximum of 20 like minded passengers are under the professional guidance of our 3 highly qualified resident dive crew.

Anaconda II is the largest maxi-yacht [whatever that means] in the world. This magnificent ketch-rigged vessel is 25m long with a 6.1m beam, a 30m main mast and 23m mizzen mast and has circumnavigated the world 2 times! As well as an expedition to the Antarctic.
You'll feel completely at home with the large air-conditioned saloon, 8 private cabins and 5 bathrooms. You'll enjoy the TV, video and hi-fi stereo and you'll be impressed with Anaconda II's complete state of the art refit for diving with twin compressors and air bank system.

All this for $495 Australian. Hard to beat given that many charter operators provide 3 and 4 day sailing trips to the reef (no scuba) for just $100 dollars less. Not only that, Oceania's proprietor, Keith, has politely provided me with phone-line access while we're still on dry land.

Now I've got to get back to reading the PADI dive manual. Homework, sigh.

Patrick. -- Responses Sought --