Congratulations on Being Alive

Merry Christmas can wait. This time there is something much more epic than Christmas.

Humanity as a whole should receive an award for surviving (yet another?) apocalypse. We are so lucky to be still kicking here. I checked and all my body parts are still intact. Most if not all of the buildings and houses outside my window are still standing too. Brilliant.

I know this message to all humanity is late. December 21st passed a few days ago. But I just wanted to make sure nothing was going to happen before I started congratulating humanity. Now, everybody is officially a superhero that has survived an extinction-level event.

Now I've gotten that out of the way, Merry Christmas everyone. Have a warm, fluffy, cuddly good time with your loved ones and don't punch each other on Boxing Day.

Moreton Island

Finally, the last post about my adventure in Australia which ended about a month ago. After this one I can get on to talking about life in Penang again. So during one of my final days in Brisbane I visited Moreton Island, which proved to be every bit as beautiful as Rottnest Island, but in a different way. Rottnest has limestone reefs. Moreton has an ocean with 3 distinct shades of blue. Rottnest has Quokkas. Moreton has dolphins.

This is Moreton Island.

There is a full-fledged resort/hotel operating there.

Remember me saying that the ocean had 3 shades of blue?

Iced coffee with cream. Shingun's favourite.

We decided to take a boat ride out to feed some wild fish. There is a man-made shipwreck near the coast of the island. I was told that 16 old ships and barges were deliberately sunk to create a habitat for fish to breed.

Our ride to feed the fish.

Our "pilot".

This is the man-made shipwreck.

Visitors are also allowed to snorkel near to these wrecks to get a closer look at the wildlife.

Looks like a staircase.

And here are the wild fishies!

You won't believe how many of them there were.

And they are smart enough to know it's feeding time.

This bird actually dived underwater and tried to grab the fish as they circled our boat.

It is interesting to note that Moreton Island has its own desert. Yes desert. If I am not mistaken Moreton is the 3rd largest island on the planet made up entirely of sand. So well, where you get lots of sand, you get a desert. And the desert was freaking hot.

You've got to take a bus or 4WD to get to the desert.

You might be wondering what there is to do in the desert, but this is where the real fun starts.

Sandboarding, folks! Soar like an eagle or crash like a turkey!

You climb all the way up that slope, then ride a wooden plank down. Wheeee!!!

I look like an idiot. But ah well who cares.

I did not snap any photos of the real sandboarding action, obviously because I was busy having fun. The sandboarding itself was worth the trip to the island.

After getting my pockets filled with sand, I went back to the greener part of the island for Kookaburra feeding. Kookaburras are carnivores. They kill their prey (rodents of whatever) by snatching them up with their beaks and then banging them against hard surfaces like tree trunks. Ouch.

These smart wild birds flew onto the sign by themselves. They look like they're listening intently.

Nice shot. The one on the right was swallowing its piece of meat.

When the sun sets, the dolphins go to shallow waters to get fed. So it's never wise to leave the island too early. You'll miss out on the dolphin feeding.


 These wild dolphins are unafraid of humans.

You are allowed to feed them, but not touch them.

 Dolphin feeding involves a lot of coordination and shouting, because the waves are too loud.

The people in blue will take you into and out of the water safely.

The only downside to the trip is that the boat ride back to Brisbane is bound to make you seasick. The water is choppy at night, and that night was the very first time I ever got seasick. Not a pleasant experience. But all in all a nice trip and certainly worth the go if you haven't been there.

Australia Zoo

For those who don't know, the Australia Zoo was once run by the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. That was back when he was still alive of course. It was great to finally be able to visit his zoo. I'm still a big fan of his documentaries.

Travelling on public transport from Brisbane City, it took us more than 2 hours to reach this place called Beerwah, where a free shuttle bus (van?) ferried us to the zoo. By the way, I was lucky enough to visit the zoo on the annual Steve Irwin Day. The zoo celebrates this day every year in memory of the Crocodile Hunter. Visitors basically join the fun by strutting around in khakis.

Definitely a fan.

This was the free ride.

The large signboard that means you are at the right place.

Plus the large banner to remind you how special the day is.

So like I said, khakis. This was a choir by the way.

 Asian small-clawed otter. They're fast.

Of course, the Crocodile Hunter's zoo had a fair share of crocs.

Big ones too.

Steve Irwin was basically everywhere on that day.

 Snapped this photo by accident.

Steve's wife Terri, son Robert and daughter Bindi during the opening ceremony of the event.

They allowed the birds to fly around during the opening ceremony. See the pair of parrots?

Somehow they managed to train the parrots to fly around instead of away.

This is a condor. Largest flying bird on the planet.

I don't know what that is. But it got close enough for a good shot.

Tropical birds flying in circles.

After allowing the birds to make their rounds, the staff (some I remember seeing on TV) fed crocodiles in the same way Steve Irwin used to feed his crocs. That means they allowed the crocs to go crazy and splash and thrash.

Robert Irwin fed the tiniest crocodile =)

The big ones were left to the grown-ups.

There was a big splash 1 second later when the crocodile tried to eat this guy.

But apparently he's not afraid of big scary reptiles.

And there he goes again.

Crocodiles are capable of jumping straight up to eat you. Know that?

Okay enough of man-eating reptiles. I'm moving on to the tamer inhabitants of the zoo.

That's a wallaby. To me it's a tiny kangaroo.

Shy porcupine.

And we have the wombat. which is rumoured to be unusually stupid...

...and stubborn.

Red kangaroo: like a boss.

And of course, we can never omit the koalas.

This is a new section of the zoo. Work was still in progress here when we visited.

But we still went in anyway to see giraffes.

And this bored-looking rhino.

Last but not least there was the animal hospital, which deals with any and every injury regardless of whether the animal fell down a tree, got hit by a car, or whatever. Most of the patients we saw were koalas. Apparently they get into trouble a lot.

Treatment room.

And there we have an injured koala resting.

I'm sure the little guy's going to be all right.

And that is all for Australia Zoo. Now I'm going to stop staring at the computer screen. I've been staring at the laptop all day at work. Enough radiation for the day.