Did you know that Hawaii is the shrimp capital of the world?
I didn’t, until I went there. I met so many different shrimp, each with their own laid back outlook on island life.
There was Surfer Shrimp, who took me on a wild ride over on the North Shore.
Hula Shrimp gave me free dancing lessons.
I even visited the biggest shrimp in the world, at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co.
Chef Shrimp gave me a personal tour of his van at Waimanalo Beach,
and it was here I met the best shrimp of all – Coconut shrimp!
Delicious and nutritious!
I’ve been whale watching with my old buddy Manny. We sailed on the Ocean Spirit, a sleek catamaran, out into the Auau Channel off the island of Maui.
Manny and I were given the job of Official Whale Spotters.
until far away in the distance we spotted a telltale water spout.
Whale up ahead!
The boat isn’t allowed to go closer than 100 metres, but this whale was very friendly and he came up to us. Isn’t he a beauty!
Instead of watching whales on the way back to the boat harbour at Lahaina, Manny and I watched the captain.
We learned how to steer the boat and read the instruments. It’s very complicated.
When we got the boat safely back to shore, we received the Captain’s seal of approval – Whale Watchers Extraordinaire.
We made a new friend who wanted to come home with us.
But he wouldn’t fit into our bag!
After visiting Walkabout Creek Hotel, I was inspired to take up a new career as a crocodile hunter. Mick Dundee makes it look so easy in the movie.
First I had to find some crocodiles.
Even though there were plenty of warning signs, I didn’t spot a single croc until I got to Windjana Gorge in the Kimberleys; and then I got more than I bargained for!
There were crocs everywhere.
That scaly skin, those prehistoric tails and those teeth…I just couldn’t bring myself to go too close.
I’m certain this one was sizing me up as a potential meal and I wasn’t sure I would be able to run fast enough if he decided it was dinner time. I didn’t stay long enough to find out!
I felt like a failure until I met this friendly fellow in Broome a few days later.
He just wanted to show off his amazing smile and he assured me he wasn’t hungry.
Maybe he didn’t want to pick fur out of his teeth!
Have you seen the movie “Crocodile Dundee”? It’s one of my all time favourites.
That man is so cool, calm and collected – a lot like me actually.
I wanted to walk in the footsteps of Mick Dundee, so I called into the Walkabout Creek Hotel at McKinlay in outback Queensland.
Just like Mick, I sat at the bar with a long cold beer.
I was a bit worried when Kelly the barmaid pulled out a knife, until I realised it wasn’t just any old knife.
It was Mick’s famous knife.
I wouldn’t like to be on the wrong side of Mick. That knife could do some serious damage.
I waited for some time on the shady veranda but Mick didn’t come by.
He must have been too busy chasing crocs.
You know how much I love doing work experience. It’s great fun to walk in someone else’s shoes for a day.
When I went flying with Sam from Kingfisher Tours at Kununurra, I thought my secret ambition to be a pilot was about to be fulfilled.
We were going to fly this six seater Cessna 210. It was such a small plane – how hard could it be?
I had visions of sitting up front and maybe even taking over the controls under Sam’s watchful eye. We may have been in a tiny plane but it turned out size was to be my downfall.
I was too small to sit in the front seat next to Sam. This big guy sat there.
I was even too small to sit in the middle.
My seat was right up the back
which turned out to be not such a bad thing. The view was fantastic.
So instead of piloting, I sat back and let Sam do his job. We flew over Kununurra and the mighty Ord River,
along the vast expanse of Lake Argyle
and over the ancient beehive stone formations of the Bungle Bungles at Purnululu National Park.
Perhaps instead of being a pilot I should take up aerial photography.
Looking out the window was an easy skill to master.
See more of our flight over the Kimberleys over at The Eternal Traveller
Have you ever seen something that is larger than life and been a little disappointed? Do you remember when I went to the Big Banana hoping to find the biggest banana split on record, only to have my dreams dashed?
It was a sad day.
Thankfully my belief in bananas has been restored – by none other than Choco Narnars, the friendliest banana in the world.
Mr Narnars, or Choco to his friends, lives in Port Douglas in far north Queensland. He has a stall at the markets every Sunday at Anzac Park where he sells scrumptious, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. One of his bananas is the perfect treat in the tropical climate of the north.
His curvy yellow treats are not only delicious, they are also very good for you. They are organic and with their crunchy choc topping you get your daily serve of fruit and dairy all in one.
What more could you ask for?
A banana dance…that’s what!
Did you feel the earth move last week? If you live on the mid north coast of Queensland you might have, because there have been eight earthquakes in the last week, with the strongest at magnitude-5.7. Luckily they were well off the coast so there’s been little damage.
Where I live we didn’t feel the earthquakes at all, but in case we do have one I’m prepared!
I’ve been to earthquake training at the Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Centre in Tokyo. The centre, run by the Tokyo Fire Department, offers free training sessions on what to do if an earthquake strikes.
I had to memorise all these instructions before receiving my certificate from the teacher.
The earthquake simulator left me feeling very shaky and the post-earthquake display was a little too realistic for my liking.
I hope I never have to put my knowledge into practice.
After reading my last letter, my good friend Yvonne commented that I should reconnect with my extended Castor family. This week I was invited to a family reunion and, with Yvonne’s comment on my mind, I was happy to accept.
The love of travel and adventure must run in the family because my distant relatives, the Beaver Brothers, make their living taking tourists on thrilling canoe adventures.
I’d like you to meet them all.
This is Uncle Beaver. He is the boss of the family business and in his spare time he loves fishing. I’m guessing by the look of him that he loves eating too!
And here are my cousins. They all work in the family business.
Cousin 1 keeps watch in case anyone falls out of the canoe.
Cousin 2 is charged with checking for holes in the canoe. With those teeth, he could easily create a few holes.
As for Cousin 3, please don’t ask me what he is doing. This is all I saw of him the whole time I was there! How rude!
Uncle Beaver asked if I’d like to join the family business but I’ve decided to stick with what I know best.
Yodelling and eating cake are where my talents lie!
Can you see this sign almost hidden behind the Mr Twirly Ice Cream van at Brown Lake?
When I first saw it from a distance, I was sure it said “Beavers Only”. I was quite excited, because I’ve never been anywhere exclusive before and I thought I was the only beaver in Australia. Perhaps I was about to meet some kindred spirits.
What a shock I got when I went down to the water’s edge. There were no beavers, only people – swimming, fishing and playing beach volleyball, and being very loud about it too.
Didn’t they see the sign?
Lucky I went back to check before I asked them to leave.
Perhaps I need to visit the optometrist.
You know how much I enjoy doing work experience. It’s great fun to spend a day in someone else’s shoes. But sometimes it’s good to sit back and let that person just get on with it. That’s what Manny and I thought when we sailed from Bruges to Damme on the paddle boat Lamme Goedzak.
We had seats with a first class view of the tree lined Damse Vaart.
We couldn’t help ourselves though and decided to help the captain just a little, by keeping watch in case anyone fell overboard.
When he noticed how helpful we were, the captain invited us onto the bridge. We figured he needed someone to watch out for other vessels on the canal.
Now I can add ship’s captain to my CV!