John Jacobsen


John Jacobsen

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Manly June 28th 2015

We finished packing up and Lauren, Andrew and John headed to breakfast, leaving Sonia one final attempt to get a great photo of the cockatoos. Before coming to join us at breakfast, Sonia was informed that the weather was too rough for the seaplane to fly and we would need to get back to Hamilton Island by boat. While not a big disappointment, the boat was leaving sooner than we had planned for, so it set us into a bit of a scramble to finish breakfast and snatch a few pastries for Sonia. The boat ride was luxurious but quite bumpy due to the stormy weather and we were quite happy when the one-hour trip to the airport was over. We arrived at the airport with just enough time not to be rushed. We arrived in ... read more
Cockatoo Playground
Cockatoo Watching People
Ready to Pounce

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Whitsundays June 27th 2015

We had no scheduled activities for our last full day in the islands. The morning was much cloudier and still breezy making ocean activities less appealing. Sonia was up and out early to work on her photography while the kids slept in a bit. After another late breakfast we opted for a hike over the top and to the opposite side of the island to Blue Pearl Bay. We borrowed snorkeling gear to take with us, despite the warning that it was low tide and it would be difficult to get out of the shallows into the reef. The hike with snorkeling gear was some good exercise, first climbing to the lookout point that Sonia and John had visited previously and then descending through a number of switchbacks on the far side of the island, with ... read more
Blue Pearl Bay 1
Lettuce Leaf Coral

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Whitsundays June 26th 2015

We slept in and lounged about the room for a bit in the morning, making it to breakfast just as they were about to finish service. Sonia and John returned to the marina after breakfast to watch the daily feeding of the giant grouper. The skies were again a beautiful blue, but it was much windier than the previous day and our plans for waterskiing had to be cancelled due to the wind. As an alternative, we were offered an opportunity to go jet-skiing which we accepted, although Andrew was quite disappointed that he was not old enough (16 yrs) to be allowed to drive. The tentative plan was that John and Lauren would drive two jet-skis and Sonia and Andrew would ride on back, but Sonia ultimately decided to stay on land and shoot photographs ... read more
Jacko, the 500 pound grouper
Jacko coming up for food
Lauren on Jet Ski

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Whitsundays June 25th 2015

We awoke to beautiful blue skies and headed over (at a leisurely pace) to the extensive breakfast buffet. When the hostess seated us, a curlew (about the size of a duck, but with very long legs) that had been hiding out beneath our table scurried out to forage for dropped pastries. It was a startling sight at first but after several meals we’ve concluded that the open air restaurants make it impossible to keep these birds out. After breakfast we still had some time before the day’s big event so we headed over to the marina to see the daily feeding of Jacko, a 500 pound grouper. The event is mostly an attraction for the under-eight set, but we quite enjoyed watching the giant fish jump out of the water to grab food from the brave ... read more
Tidepools at Whitehaven
Whitehaven Beach
Family Photo on Whitehaven Beach

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Whitsundays June 24th 2015

No one was happy at the 5:45 wake-up call, but there is only one daily non-stop to the Whitsunday islands and we didn’t want to miss the plane. Heavy rain started to fall in Cairns just as we were ready to board the turbo-prop, and we struggled to avoid getting soaked as we crossed the tarmac. We arrived at Hamilton Island just after 9am and then boarded a small seaplane for our short trip to Hayman Island. Views (and photos) were fantastic from our cruising altitude of 1000 feet and the skies were pleasantly sunny after our rainy morning in Cairns. The plane did in fact land on the water and then taxi onto shore on Hayman. Andrew noted that the sea-plane can travel on land, sea and air! We were pleased that our rooms were ... read more
John, Lauren, Andrew taking in the view from the seaplane
Andrew Disembarking
Low tide

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Mareeba June 23rd 2015

We slept well in our rustic tents (we did have beds with mattresses and blankets…) awaking to the sound of rainfall through the night and then the birds at daybreak. The laughing kookaburra was particularly remarkable and did seem to be amused with us. After making coffee (or something approximating coffee) with water heated on the gas barbeque, Lauren, Sonia and John went off for a short hike before breakfast. We spotted some wallabies just a few yards down the road. The short walk was a pleasant climb to the top of a hill with views overlooking the lagoon. Back at the lodge we had a light breakfast. John argued that since he had tasted the ants up at Cape Tribulation, it was Sonia’s turn to try the Vegemite® at breakfast. This Australian food staple is ... read more
Andrew outside the eco-tent
Bizarre Sculpture
Termite Mound

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Mareeba June 22nd 2015

We had a relaxing morning, with breakfast overlooking the river followed by packing up at a leisurely pace. John took another quick swim in the river, but asked Sonia to come along and spot for crocs. After checking out of our cabin, we decided to hang out for a bit in the beautifully appointed library (and use their WiFi) before hitting the road. The drive to the Jabiru Lodge in the Mareeba reserve was about an hour and a half, starting with a steep winding climb into the mountains. The terrain changed from rainforest to grassland, dotted with thousands of termite mounds, some as large as boulders. Unlike in the rainforest, wallabies and kangaroos are common in the grasslands. At the lodge we checked in and moved into our two eco-tents. The tents were rustic but ... read more
Brush Turkey
Jabiru Eco-Tent
Mareeba Wetlands

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Mossman June 21st 2015

We decided to take it a bit easier today, cancelling our morning tour to relax and enjoy this amazing resort for the morning. Silky Oaks enjoys a lovely natural setting in the rainforest along the banks of the Mossman River. Swimming in the river is encouraged and when we inquired about crocs the desk staff said they are too lazy to come this far inland. For good measure they added that many locals swim farther downstream, so if they were wrong about the crocs laziness, the locals would likely be eaten first. The cabins are spread out enough that each seems totally immersed in the rainforest. After making good use of the internet (available only in the main lodge here) we had a lovely breakfast in the open-air restaurant overlooking the river. John and Sonia started ... read more
Contemplating a Dip in the Billabong
Swimming at the Pool
Goofing Around

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cape Tribulation June 20th 2015

We enjoyed sleeping in a bit before checking out of the lovely Sea Temple Resort for a drive up to Cape Tribulation. After getting breakfast and some snacks in downtown Port Douglas, we embarked on the trip north. The two-hour drive was quite scenic and included a ferry crossing at the Daintree River followed by signs warning us that we were in “Cassowary Country”. We stopped for lunch at the Turtle Rock Café in the town of Cape Tribulation where we later met Mike, our guide for the day. Our pre-arranged tour took us up the “Bloomfield Track” which was passable in Mike’s four-wheel drive Land Cruiser. Mike was a very knowledgeable and personable guide with a genuine passion for the area. He explained to us the origin of the name “Cape Tribulation” (the starting point ... read more
Crossing Emmagen Creek
Crossing the Creek on Motor Bike
Cowie Beach

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Port Douglas June 19th 2015

We had to be up early for our day on the reef. After a 7:30 pickup from our hotel we were en route to the reef by 8:30 aboard the SilverSonic along with about 70 other snorkelers and divers. The speedy boat makes the 70 km trip to the outer reef feasible as a day trip with plenty of time mid-day to explore the reef. Although sea-sickness medicine was offered on-board, seas were calm and no one looked bothered by the ride. We opted for the simplicity of snorkeling and there was still plenty to see. Snorkelers were encouraged to wear stinger suits to protect from possible encounters with jellies or other things that sting and scrape. The water was a warm 77F, but it was still difficult to regain body heat after long periods in ... read more
Ready to Snorkel
John and Andrew below the waves
Lauren and Andrew

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