Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Safety is an illusion so keep taking chances

Last week saw the worst flooding that South East Queensland residents have ever seen. Toowoomba, the town where I was born, had such a severe flash flood that it is being called an 'inland tsunami'. Toowoomba has never flooded like this before - it is actually at the top of the Darling Downs mountain range. No one expected it and it just reinforces that safety is an illusion. I feel terrrible for all those thousands of people who have lost their homes or loved ones. But I'm also uplifted by the amazing generosity of community that this disaster has brought out. Tens of thousands of volunteers offered to help clean up in Brisbane after the flooding. We were only able to help out for a few hours ourselves before having to fly back to Townsville. But while we helped our friends from West End, I witnessed hundreds of people all gathering together to clean up their community.

The flooding also reached my parents place which is on top of a mountainous range. You can see from the photos just how much water was around. Mum emailed me the pictures of the flooding and it's so bizarre to see the property looking like this as it has been in a severe drought for nearly 20 years.

We were in Bulimba at Rene's parents place while the flood hit Brisbane and we walked down to the river a few times to see rise. The water reached 26knots and destroyed/damaged many houses in other suburbs. Because of the ferocity of the water, it ripped up many pontoons boats in its path. As we watched a yacht spin out of control down the river, I thought how grateful I am that we sailed Anima to Townsville. We could have been in serious trouble had we stayed in Brisbane (not to say we won't be in serious trouble if a cyclone forms here on Feb 18th which is the king tide!). 

The back road at Christmas (my parents place).
The same road during the floods!
The same pump shed - the creek has never been this big!

The old pump shed at home.
Toowoomba's main street during the flash flood.
Watching the Brisbane River rise at dusk.

Upon arriving in Townsville, some of our lovely marina neighbours collected us from the airport. They had been looking after Anima who was in perfect condition. As a nice touch, John had opened up some of the hatches and turned on some fans so that she wasn't so hot and stuffy when we arrived. Nell and Rosie from next door had been bailing out our dinghy for us which they think is a fun game! We'll miss their help and laughter when they head south for a few months.

It's so humid up here. I feel a little like a vampire that only ventures out from the airconditioning occasionally. When I do, I now wear a large U.V 50+ long sleeve shirt and a hat or even a U.V 30+ umbrella too! I burn within a couple of minutes up here and have decided to be a total sun-safe dag rather than get burnt every day like so many whiteys.

It's straight back into the jobs - Rene has been working at his laptop almost non-stop while I've been ticking off boat jobs from the list. It's not long now before we head off again. In three short months, we plan to set sail for Cairns, and then up to Darwin by July to enter the rally up to Indonesia. That's the plan anyway! Fingers crossed that nature plays nice and we stay safe. 

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