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

A PHOTO FOR THE WEEK 25 NOVEMBER

Sometimes, when we look through an old album of faded photographs, there is one that stands out from the others.  We don’t always know the reason… but there is something in it that catches the eye.  This week’s photo could be such an example, except that it was taken on a grey day, only three months ago, on a trip south through The Broadwater in Northern New South Wales. As I drove along the river’s edge I was taken by the serenity of the scene and felt compelled to turn back and try to capture the mood.  The road, narrow and busy, forced me to drive some distance before I found a side road where I could make the turn.

A grey day on the river at Broadwater in NSW

The day was so dull and grey that it has made the photo almost seem like a Black and White even though it was taken in full RAW colour.  Post processing has been minimal as everything I tried to do to make it less dreary seem to spoil the effect.

As in all things in the photographic world, the image is only appreciated at the wit of the observer and each of us will have his or her own take on what they think of it. Some one once coined the phrase about the eye of the beholder and  me…..  well, I kind of like it….. I’d love to get some feed back as to what you, the critic, feel about it…. Good or bad, there is no wrong answer, so please leave a comment below…

Brunch At A Marcoola Cafe

Waking this morning with the sound of the rain on the roof of my van….. Put me into a mood to spend the day relaxing and taking some time to catch up.  Nothing in the cupboards tempted my taste buds and so here I am at the “Bulli” cafe at Marcoola Beach, just a few kilometres up the road from Maroochydore.

Taking some Me time, enjoying brunch at Bulli Cafe in Marcoola

This little backwater block of shops is not a place you would normally stumble on as you make your way along the David Low Way towards Noosa.  To get here you will need to turn off just after the northern end of the Sunshine Coast runway and head towards the beach.  Turn in by the shops and you will find it secluded but busy at this time on a Saturday morning.

The Specials Board at Bulli cafe at Marcoola Beach

I was welcomed with a friendly greeting and shown the choices from the menu, as well as offerings from the specials board.  I decided on the baguette, with avocado, cheese, tomato and bacon.  To this I added an orange juice and a short black coffee.  Total price $15.50.

Faced with a choice of inside and alfresco dining, I opted for a table just outside the door, but far enough under the awning to get protection from the drizzling rain.  The outlook gives the impression of a little beach town, almost left behind from the maddening world, with a little park and pagoda across the un-curbed street and back-dropped by low sand dunes shielding it from the coastal breezes. 


Staff providing great service at Bulli Cafe in Marcoola


I found myself looking at a fellow patron, a couple of tables over, who looked extremely familiar.  Try as I might, I could not get the brain cells to dredge up the memory of who he was, or how I knew him.  Such a frustration… so much for relaxing the mind.

The orange juice arrived first, followed closely by the short black.  With the number of people here, I had expected a bit of a wait but, within a very short time, the baguette arrived, nicely presented, and I tucked in.

My Brunch… Bacon, Avocado, Tomato and Cheese

Now baguettes are not a staple of my diet….. I don’t eat a lot of bread… but this one was definitely good.  The bacon, not so crispy that it shattered (just as I like it) but cooked enough to satisfy most tastes.  The coffee was strong, (just as it should be), and there was a refill offered not long after I had drained it.  The orange juice was…. well there isn’t a lot that you can say about orange juice… it is what it is, but in this case it was cold and refreshing.

As I sit here writing this at the cafe table, the rain is starting to fall more heavily meaning that the walk back to my truck will be wet.  This is, of course a sign that I should order another coffee and wait it out.

The group with the “guy” that has cause me so much frustration got up to go and I stopped him to ask…..Alas,  He didn’t know me..  came from Brisbane and had a brother in North Queensland who looked just like him but none of this gave me that lightbulb moment.  We parted company with me none the wiser.

Across the street, a family has become stranded in the pagoda as the rain increases intensity.  Although it is not a downpour, it is enough to make even a short dash across the street uncomfortable.


Stranded in the rain


This is November on the Coast, but today is definitely a jeans sort of day.  It is not cold, but the rain kind of makes you feel that you need just a bit more cosy-ness in your day.  Just the right sort of weather for brunching at Bulli in Marcoola

Early Summer

Summer seems to have come early on the Sunshine Coast here in Queensland.  Hot sticky nights that are normally the preserve of January and February have begun to test the powers of getting a good night’s sleep.

Now this might sound like a good old whinge, but as I sit here enjoying a coffee in my “today” office at Banjo’s Bakery and Cafe on the Sunshine Plaza at Maroochydore, I find have discovered a tiny micro climate where the breeze is sweeping along the banks of Cormeal Creek.  How pleasant is this welcome break from the oppressive heat I have so recently stepped away from?

The view today, is somewhat less inspiring due to the development of the Plaza building on the opposite side of the creek, but in the fullness of time this will transform into a relaxing and tranquil space.

Banjo’s is one of my favourite coffee spots in the Plaza.  I am particularly fond of their Danish, be it the apricot or apple version, and it is the latter that is the pick for today.

 

After a very torrid week at my other job, I am taking a bit of me time to reflect on places where I have recently been and work through the photo’s that I took along the way.  The travelling, it seems, is the easy part of this travel writing business.  It is the editing and writing that take up the time.  Still I find playing with words a satisfying pass-time, made all the better by a good latte.

Some years ago I started taking photos of letterboxes that I came across along my travels.  The ingenuity that goes with the crafting of some of these is astounding, and this is especially the case the deeper into the bush one travels.  On a recent trip to Rockhampton, I drove along one stretch of road and found several examples, each seeming to be trying to outdo it’s neighbour for uniquisity.

GMail…..If you are handy with a chainsaw you can whip one of these up in a few minutes.  Good use of an old dead stump at the gate.

Cream Anyone?  There will be some who can remember the old cream can.  Some even who have dragged them onto the back of a truck before carting them off to the milk factory.  This one has weathered the years well and is still doing stirling service in its new role as a mail box

Shades of D’Arth Vader…….  Turned on its head, this “passed its use by date” gas bottle could be a reminder of Ned Kelly from the past or maybe D’Arth Vader from the future

This Hollow Log has found a new life set up on a tree fork and keeping the weather off the few letters that get delivered in this day of electronics.  Maybe it also doubles as a shelter for a wayward possum on a cold night.

 

 

 

      44 Gallon drums were common place on rural properties back in the day.  They still can be found storing liquid and, with the tops cut off, make an excellent storage bin or, like this one, a mail box.

 

Not sure obout this one….  Cooked the motor, perhaps

 

A bit more traditional, but liked the attention to detail with the tin coping around the eaves

All of these boxes were scattered along one short stretch of country road I travelled as I headed out to Seventeen Seventy and are probably the highest density of odd-ball mail boxes I have come across.  There are others out there that are weird and whacky which I will bring to you as I see them.

If you enjoy this post please feel free to share it with your friends and if you would like to leave a comment I’ll be happy to respond.  Thank you for taking the time to drop by……….