Social Distancing

The South Coast of NSW is idyllic in that it is not so far from the big centres of Sydney or Canberra yet seems a whole world away from the hustle and bustle of twenty-first-century living. More than that, there is a plethora of tiny bays and hideaways all along the coast between the small town centres that provide the necessities of everyday life. It is in one of these places that I have come to relax and recuperate.

As the sun sets on another South Coast day over Durras Lake, I find myself reflecting on the places life has taken me, it is quite possible that this may be the best of them

In this crazy world we are living in, with pandemic conditions calling everything we have known into question, I have found myself living in this perfect place for self isolation. Someone suggested that this is really an excuse for me to indulge in a reclusive lifestyle and there may well be some truth in what she said.

As I write this, I am lying back in a hammock, over looking the garden, and watching the parade of parrots, pigeons, and other birds that come to feed from the seed feeder hanging from the rafters.

One of the regulars in the garden is the Brown Cuckoo Dove. Doesn’t stay long but will visit the feeder for a quick snack

The news that keeps popping up on the banner headlines is almost exclusively about the Corvid-19 virus and what we may or may not expect over the next few weeks. As the reality of it all begins to sink in, I find myself thankful for this place and it’s quiet solitude.

One thing that is a positive is the time it gives to catch up on all those things that procrastination has allowed me to put off…. writing this instalment for example.. with just the birds for company, I can sit back in the hammock and write away to my heart’s content

I can walk on the beach, bush walk or simply stay at home mowing the lawns or doing some online courses that hopefully may pave a new pathway forward for me. Contrast this with the lives that so many others have to lead, particularly those in the health care field, putting themselves in harms way on a daily basis, and one gets a truly different perspective of what life is about.

If I should find myself in a country wide lock down I can think of few place that would be better to be than where I am right now. Keep safe people and take this thing seriously. It may not be you who feels the effects…. but it may be someone close

Taking Time Out

After spending the last four years as a Trainer/Assessor, my voice has finally gone from a sexy growl to a downright rasp. Time then to take stock at what is important in the work/life balance and so have decided to tip the scales more in favour of the life scale. To that end, I have taken a few months off to rejuvenate and headed south to a little village on the NSW South Coast. I am house sitting for a relative who is away for a bit so it has worked out nicely.

Now I would tell you the name of the village but no one here is keen to see the crowds that exposure would bring. Suffice to say, it is a sleepy little village that somehow managed to survive the fires that ravaged this part of the coast earlier this summer. Surrounded by burned out National Parks, this village is nestled in a small oasis of bush where the native fauna and flora can recuperate peacefully as they rebuild their numbers. The fire ground is starting to show signs of life although there are many places where there seems to be little green showing through.

Waking early when there is little that needs urgent attention seems so much easier and, to make the most of the day, the lake calls for a spot of fishing. The choice here is to fish the shore, paddle the kayak about or perhaps take a surf caster to the ocean to try for a tailor or two.

The easy option is always fishing the lake shore where this morning it yielded two nice flathead; not big, but big enough for the pan.

Now it doesn’t come much fresher than hooked at 0730, on the barbecue at 0830, and eaten before 0900.

And so it would seem that the work balance is fading fast as an appealing option for this traveller. Maybe it is time to get serious about seeing what there is in this world. Please leave me a “Like” as that is what it takes to get a blog like this off the ground. Would love to hear comments you may have about your travel experiences.

Life Is A Beach…. Best Served In The Morning

Known the world over for it’s racy nightlife and amazing beaches, Surfers Paradise has become something of an icon of what is Australia. It is also a place where lessons can be learned. Town planning has allowed massively high towers to be build right along the foreshore. Beautiful they may be, yet they destroy the ambience in the afternoon as their massive bulk casts long shadows across the beach.

Not On My Watch!

Today I watched a documentary on Netflix called Chasing Coral, having previously watched another documentary called Chasing Ice. Their collective message regarding the state of our world made me realise the urgency of the peril that we face.

Getting the feel of weightlessness at Sabang.  This was one of my first dive experiences after training with Asia Divers Dive shop

I have recently had the privilege of diving on coral reefs in the Philippines with Asia Divers in Sabang and am in awe of the beauty that lives just below the surface of the sea. Perhaps because of that experience, this has touched a deeper nerve.

A Longhorn Cowfish. one of the Boxfish familyPhoto Credit: Mathewatts Photography

If you were to do nothing else today, your time would be richly spent in taking the one hour and twenty minutes to watch this documentary, Chasing Coral. When you do, take a moment to reflect on just what the consequences of not listening to the message will be, and ask yourself, “What can I do?”

The beauty of a coral reef may become a rare thing in the future unless action is taken soon.  Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

Coral is a living organism working together to the greater good of all of the parts. One polyp, on its own, can do little, yet as part of the reef, it is responsible for much of the life in the world. Likewise, on our own, what each of us does may seem insignificant, but if enough of us work together, we can bring about the change that is so badly needed. All it takes is for someone to follow another’s lead and then someone else to follow them and so on and so on. However, if no one begins the cycle, nothing will change and we do not have the luxury of waiting for someone else to do it.

A pair of Clown fish enjoying a prickly lifestyle Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

Perhaps it is our fear of change that prevents us from looking at the reality of what is happening in this world. We hold on to what we know with such tenacity that we do not even realise what is slipping away from us on a daily basis. This is not just a political issue… it is a human responsibility. It is the world we will leave our descendants..

Corals can grow to a great size often resembling the trees on dry land. Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

This is our watch…..We are all responsible…… We can make a change….Will history portray the Millennials as the age of humanity that brought about the downfall of the mammals, or will it show that we are better than that?

A turtle takes a moment’s rest on one of the beautiful  coral reefs at Tabbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea in the Philippines.  Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

My blog, Street2stream.com, is about life. Be it the way we live (Street) or the way we interact with nature (Stream). There is nothing more fascinating than cultural diversity and the way that people interact with each other. Perhaps I lied… the amazing world of nature is also as fascinating, I would be remiss if, in the light of this documentary, I did not make a statement on the consequences of doing nothing, and to encourage my peers to do what they can, as individuals, to protect these beautiful reefs, along with the delicate food chain upon which, all species rely for survival.

Coral carpets the ocean floor at Tabbataha Reef.  Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

I was always of the mind that nature was so much more powerful than any other force in this world. I still believe that, and this is what makes me afraid for the human race. At this point in history, humanity is making a vital difference to all of nature. Sadly, not in a good way. The world that I knew as a young man is much different now. The weather is much what it has ever been on a daily basis. Some days it rains some days it doesn’t: Some days it’s hot, some days its cold. The issue though, is that it is the climate, not the weather, that is changing, and that change is destroying our beautiful coral reefs. Chasing Coral demonstrates this in a most graphic way. According to the documentary, in just one year (2016), on the Great Barrier Reef alone, 29% of coral died and with current projections, it will take just 30 more years before virtually all of the world’s coral fields will be wiped out.

This tiny sea slug comes in a variety of colour. Nudibranchs are common dwellers of the reef. Credit Mathewatts Photograhy

It is likely that where ever we live in the world, we will have heard about coral bleaching. For me, in Australia, it has been about the Great Barrier Reef and, until I saw a segment near the end of the documentary, I didn’t realise just how widespread the bleaching was. It covers the entire globe! This information doesn’t come from scientists or politicians but from everyday people who just happen to dive for recreation.

Another colourful example of a Nudibranch
Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photograhy

When the coral goes, the ongoing effect on the downstream chain of life will play out like a game of dominos as each species collapses from the loss of its food chain supply. This is not a distant futuristic possibility……. it will happen on our watch…… Children born today, will likely not enjoy the pleasures of diving on coral reefs as we have been privileged to do. Nature will prevail and, like the sickening reefs who purge the distressed chlorophyll from within, it will discard humanity and then go back to rebuilding a healthy world….. We just won’t be a part of it. As I have said, Nature is a powerful force.

A stunning Juvenile Angel Fish
Photo Credit: Mathewatts Photography

As I said in the beginning, taking an hour or so to watch this documentary and reflecting on what it truly means for our future will be the most important thing you will do today.

I believe this is a conversation that needs to be had. It needs to be in every home, every workplace, every pub, and restaurant. It needs to be in our schools and universities and it needs to be in our parliament.

Paddleflap Frog Fish. A most beautifully ugly fish.
Photo Credit:Mathewatts Photography

It is arguably the most important issue facing this world and yet it is largely ignored. This is my contribution. If I can encourage just a few to watch this documentary and they, in turn, can do the same, maybe it will add a few more straws to the camel’s back until we can release the brakes on doing something before we reach that point from which we will not recover

If, after watching the documentary, you feel the same way, please share this….. it just might make a difference

My son Mat and I pose for a photo on my first Diving experience at Sabang with Asia Divers.  Mat is responsible for all of the photographs on this blog.  You can check out more of his work on Instagram at Underwaterescape