Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef

First holiday up for 2013 (and the very end of 2012) was a quick visit to Exmouth and Ningaloo Reef.

We were there for a bit over four days, with our main focus on snorkelling. We had one day rained out due to the effects of Tropical Cyclone Mitchell, which was a few hundred kilometres from us for the first two days. But we got some very good snorkelling in. But to prove it, here’s some video using Robert’s new toy, a GoPro Hero camera:

Here are a few other highlights from the trip:

The very last phonebox (or so it seems), in the middle of the National Park:

Last Phonebox

The view from the lighthouse:

LH Panorama

Charles Knife Canyon:

CK Pano

Helen and an echidna found by the side of the road:

Helen and Echidna

And finally, a couple of sunsets:

2012 Sunset

Wobiri Sunset

Not pictured: Harold E Holt Naval Communications Station (don’t want to give anyone any ideas), the turtle we saw at night doing a tour of the rookery, and the sheer ‘mining boom-iness’ of the cars and people in Exmouth.

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The all purpose list of things you could buy Robert

For no particular reason, of course…

Updated January 2013

ThinkGeek things

  • Cthulhu Ornament http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/gear/c8d1/
  • Caffeine molecule ornament http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/gear/c80e/

Other online

  • First Party polo (any colour, XL) http://www.pennyarcademerch.com/fp-polomens.html
  • Historyshots Prints: Race to the Moon, Whale Chart, Panama Canal, Dow Jones, Confederate Army, Union Army http://www.historyshots.com/otherartists/4022.cfm
  • Edward Tufte: Napoleon’s March (translated), Cyclogram http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/posters
  • LumaLoop camera strap http://www.luma-labs.com/


  • Guggenheim (21004)
  • Fallingwater (21005)
  • Ultimate Falcon (10179)
  • Death Star (10188)
  • Taj Mahal (10189)
  • Eiffel Tower (10181)


  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Tufte) http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_vdqi
  • Envisioning Information (Tufte) http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_ei
  • Visual Explanations (Tufte) http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_visex
  • Beautiful Evidence (Tufte) http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_be
  • Damp Squid (Butterfield)
  • Rogue Leaders (Smith)

Comic Books

  • Calvin & Hobbes Complete
  • Absolute Sandman Vols II – IV

Computer Games

  • God of War Collection (PS3)

Videos, DVDs and Music

  • Helvetica (Documentary)
  • Planet Earth
  • 300
  • Battlestar Galactica: The Plan
  • District 9
  • Star Gate SG1: Season 1

Other Stuff

  • Settlers of Catan (mind games)
  • Stratego
  • Star Trek 3D Chess
  • Cufflinks (prefer solid colours/patterns, not pictures)
  • Telescope (reflector style)
  • Chocolate fountain
  • Tefal Quick Cup (water boiler/cooler)
  • Doughnut maker
  • Jigsaw puzzles (2000 piece plus, artwork etc)
  • Shuttle Kinetic Sculpture (Socrates)
  • Jupiter Kinetic Sculpture (Socrates)

Things that cost far too much

  • Life sized dalek http://www.thisplanetearth.co.uk/main/
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2008 (previously posted on facebook)

Another year gone! The best word I can use to describe it is flux.

Starting in January with a new Budget process and a new course of study, I don’t think anything has been certain for me all year. I remember being hopeful that a new government would lead to great work, but instead it seemed to focus on things other than what I work on (and on buying more votes). With everyone else, I got through the Budget, though not without a lot of unnecessary pain. Thankfully I’ve now almost finished legal workshop, with just the placement to go. Of course I don’t know what I’m going to do about that yet, but at least I have a few ideas.

Through February and March I thought I was getting on top of things, but in April I lost one of the reasons for that. I did enjoy learning from the experience of being on two interview panels rather than not doing anything back at my desk but by June I knew that I needed to leave my job, and I was extremely happy to get my old one back. Of course when I went back, it wasn’t really the same job anymore.

In July Robert and I went to Fiji to celebrate my 30th birthday, and for Robert to have a much needed rest between his round the world trek and intense report writing phase. It was great, but short, so one of my ambitions for next year is a real holiday (i.e. one that lasts for more than a week). We also went to New Zealand in November for a long weekend, which helped me to avoid the American election result, if only for a little while, and had various trips to Sydney and Melbourne through the year.

The other reason for considering this a year of flux is that I don’t think I’ve ever been so ill in one year. Ear infections, flu, bronchitis – rather than any more serious – but still I think I’ve lost at least three months this year to feeling ill. Funnily enough that’s an unfortunate byproduct of trying to eat better and exercise more which is supposed to make you feel better!

Ambitions for 2009 include trying to relax more, photography classes in February and finishing legal workshop.

Robert snorkelling
Cloudy Bay
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Things we went and had a look at today

For no particular reason we went for a drive around the area South of Canberra today:

  • Mt Stromlo observatory: was closed, but the view from Mt Stromlo is still great. And the 2003 fires are more and more of a distant memory in terms of the landscape around there.

  • Canberra Deep Space Tracking Station: quite a nice little visitor’s centre. The highlight is the rock collected by Apollo 11 – incredible stuff. But lots of other nice space-nerd stuff.

  • The Corin Uplift: Have you ever had a long and involved discussion about speculative geology? Well, if not, try heading to the Corin Dam area, home of the Corin uplift. If the geology there doesn’t interest you, well, you probably don’t like rocks.

  • Gibraltar Falls: Nice little waterfall in the Corin area. Made me wish I had my swimming gear.1

  • Corin Recreation Area. According to the sign, the ‘longest alpine bob sled’ in the southern hemisphere cost $30 to have a go (albeit for a day pass). Too expensive.

  • Namadgi visitor’s centre. Just picking up some leaflets – sometime soon we’ll be back for some walking and maybe a little camping. Namadgi is a great park.

  • The Nolan Gallery. A fantastic little gallery. Which was sadly closed until further notice, so we couldn’t have a look around.

  1. Actually, I had my swimming gear, I just didn’t have any towel. 

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2008 in review: Robert

2008 was a difficult year, but really good in a lot of ways.

My work year was dominated by working on Treasury’s Climate Change Modelling. The report that I helped write, Australia’s Low Pollution Future is a major piece of work. But delivering it was a lot of work. Pretty much from February through to the end of October we were working on producing the modelling and writing the report.

The first half of the year was marked with a lot of uncertainty following the election of the new Government, along with the difficulties involved in working out exactly what was needed for the work project.

The only major break away from it was an overseas trip to meet with other modellers overseas, and to attend a few conferences. I travelled to the Netherlands, Sweden, London, Paris, Berlin and Washington DC. It was a good, but exhausting trip were I learnt a lot.

Immediately after that Helen and I travelled to Fiji for a weeks of holiday. That was fantastic, and I think without that week off I wouldn’t have made it through the year sane.

But after that, it was straight back into the intense period of the project. I’ve never really worked that hard that long – there have always been periods of hard work, but they’ve always in the past been balanced by times of relaxing. In this case, it was pretty much non-stop. Even once the report was done, we had about one day of down time before we were straight back into more intense work – both responding to the coverage and criticism of our report, and also running four recruitment rounds for my unit.

Between all that, there’s been less time for things outside work than I would have liked. A couple of overseas holidays wedged in there (Fiji and New Zealand), but the two weeks of Christmas leave have been the longest period of time I’ve had away from working all year.

For 2009, there’s a lot of exciting stuff to look forward to at work. But my biggest hope is to spend a bit more time on personal stuff, because I certainly didn’t do much in 2008!

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Fiji photos

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Winter photos

These are rather depressing but hey the garden isn’t meant to look great in winter.

Pergola of death

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Peeking platypus

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10 megapixels!

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This is where we will stay in Fiji.

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