Monday, 4 July 2011

Sailing not swimming: Manly in Queensland not Sydney

Flying 11s, 29ers and Lasers at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron on Manly Harbour 
 When tourists come to Sydney they often visit Manly Beach, an enticing strip of golden sand that forms the backdrop for a surf beach world-renowned for its gnarly breaks. Up until recently, I'd never realised there was another Manly in Australia.

But here I am, not far from Manly in Brisbane, Qld, where Miss Hissy is sailing in a regatta on Moreton Bay. I'm not familiar with Brisbane at all. When I was here two years ago for an RWA conference, I spent most of my time at the hotel in workshops, so only glimpsed the city. It'll be interesting to see how it's changed since the floods early this year that swept away the riverside walk.

We're staying in Cleveland, which is an outer suburb. It's also a 20 minute drive to Manly (it looked closer on the map when Spanner booked the accommodation).

This morning I went for a walk around Cleveland's Raby Bay, which is crammed with mega-mansions that sit cheek-by-jowl and consume every centimetre of the land they occupy.

They come in every style, with the only common factor being that size matters. They are bloody gi-normous - there's no room for modesty here. I can't begin to imagine the resources that were gobbled up in their construction or the energy it must take to maintain them. Bali inspired, US White House, angular deco, Swiss Alps and RSL club architect-designed homes jostle for prime position along the man-made canals. One home for sale boasted a block 2373 square metres with its own private jetty.

The area is flat - excellent for weekend cyclists, it reminds me of Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne in that respect - because Moreton and Raby Bays must have, a long time ago, been filled with mangroves. In Raby Bay it seems most of the mangroves have been tarred over and replaced with sparsely spaced palm trees.

I didn't see a lot of people in Raby Bay and not one car on the tessellated bricks roads, but the few dog walkers I passed greeted me with big smiles (something that doesn't happen a lot in 'sour-puss bum face we're too busy to bother being friendly' Sydney).

However, the lack of human activity led me to speculate that some of the residents may have got lost as they rattled around their own homes and eventually died. The mansions have become mausoleums that will one day sink back into the mud from which they rose.

It's just a thought... 

Back to the sailing: there's not one breath of wind to be had today. So Miss Hissy will 'choke'. She loses her mojo when there's no breeze so she'll be in a foul mood when she and Spanner get back to Cleveland this evening.

I can't wait.


Anonymous said...

meanwhile PP has invited a visiting Canadian rock band and its road crew back home to party and raid the fridge

Shayne said...

This is not funny! I have been checking on PP via the dog, and the dog assures me everything is fine in Sydney. But I did wonder whether her food had been spiked.

Anonymous said...

You know the dog might be in cahoots with PP. I know Peggy-Sue lies when she says she hasn't been lying on Cheryl's bed. D-B