Archive for October, 2010

Handy hints #3

It’s been a while since I posted any hints on energy efficiency, so here goes:

Lighting –

  • Use compact fluorescent lighting where possible right now – yes, I know CFLs have mercury but the mercury produced by burning coal to produce the extra energy to light incandescents outweighs this considerably; …and, yes, you CAN get CFLs that can be dimmed – you just have to look for them;
  • if the colour of CFLs puts you off, look for CFLs with a ‘colour temperature’ between 2500K-3200K or specified as ‘warm white’ – these approximate the colour of incandescents;
  • replace halogen downlights with LED replacements – these are becoming available now and, by doing the changeover, you can use a downmitt to restore a semblance of insulation to your ceiling where your downlights are;
  • use daylight wherever possible – after all, it’s free; 🙂
  • ….and, of course, if no-one is in a room, there is absolutely no need to have the light on, so TURN IT OFF!
  • Broome, Geraldton and beyond….

    The bus trip to Broome was uneventful and I arrived at about 7:30am and was greeted at the bus stop by Bart, one of my hosts for tonight, who gave me a key for their home. I rode out to their place, unloaded my bike & trailer and headed off to see the renowned Cable Beach which undoubtedly lives up to its reputation – this is truly one exquisite part of the country, made even more so by the location, as it is, in the middle of the WA outback.

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    Rockhampton-Darwin

    Well, Rockhampton was where my east-coast cycling adventure finished – from here to Geraldton, in WA, I will be catching buses. (Thanks a lot Greyhound – you have made my journey that much more doable.) I can rationalise this in any number of ways: the distances between towns is now getting very large; the towns (and populations) are getting smaller; the temperature/humidity is rapidly increasing; and I wish dearly to get home to my family for christmas. Aside from all of that, my purpose is to speak to people in order to help them reduce their energy consumption, their energy bills and, consequently, their greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst a ‘road-trip’ across this wide, brown land holds certain drawing power, the need to do what I am trying to do holds more.

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    Agnes Water-Rockhampton

    Today’s journey will take me to Gladstone (about 130km) so I need to make haste. I manage to cover the 30km back to the Miriam Vale turnoff before 9:15am so I take time out for a cake & drink at the roadhouse I had lunch at two days prior. It is then back on the road and my next stop is Miriam Vale where I stop for morning tea of a bun and strawberry milk. I hear of a couple of cyclists travelling in my direction in front of me.

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    Bundaberg-Agnes Water

    Well, my trip that day to the reef didn’t materialise so I just veg’d out in Bundaberg for the day. Another disappointment: my promised talk that evening has been abandoned! I don’t know what happened but there is no use worrying about it now. 🙁
    The next day saw me on the road by 7:30am as this was to be a big day with predicted hot temperatures and I wanted to get into Agnes Water in the early afternoon. I was soon making good progress. Before very long I found myself near the turnoff to Rosedale. I decided on the 2km detour in order to get something to cool me down – the temperature was really starting to climb! I made it to the general store and splurged on a box of icy poles – next question: could I eat all 8! A: no – not really, but the proprietor suggested putting the excess into my drink bottle which I duly did.
    Back on the road with the next stop being the roadhouse at the Miriam Vale turnoff for lunch. The people there were very friendly and, after my re-fuel, I continued on towards Agnes Water where I arrived just after 2pm. I headed for the information centre as I had a contact there that could help with some media exposure – thanks Georgia.
    With a couple of photos of me and the bike outside the info centre for good measure, I then went to find myself lodgings and some food to keep me going until dinner. I settled on the Backpackers 1770 in town as it was close to everything and had reasonable rates. It was then that I discovered that, contrary to my expectations, I had a spare day up my sleeve so I quickly booked a daytrip to Lady Musgrave Island – at the southernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef. This is a coral cay which means that, if it wasn’t for the coral, it would be “Nothing Atoll”! 🙂 It looked like I would get my wish of a trip to the reef.
    The bus was to pick me up at 8am so it meant another early night. The next day dawned overcast which was unfortunate but I take what I get and am thankful that I am getting to see the GBR at all. I gulp down my breakfast and get the bus down to the Town of 1770 wherefrom the tour departs. Our journey is on the MV “The Spirit of 1770” – a reasonably large high-speed catamaran-style vessel. Unfortunately the crossing is quite rough that day, so my hastily gulped down breakfast just as hastily comes back up! 🙁
    The trip takes about 90 minutes to get out to the island and I am allocated the first island tour. We get out to the island on a glass-bottomed boat and so we get our first view of the reef. The island is built out of coral and the plant-life has been taken there as seeds inside birds and so the island has developed over time with abundant Pisonia forests and bird life. Many turtles also breed on the island though we missed out on seeing any during our walk. We then headed back to the pontoon where a sumptuous lunch was being served.
    After lunch, I went on a semi-submersible trip around the lagoon to see the view from below water. Whilst the coral is quite amazing, I was somewhat disappointed with the colours which I thought of as ‘washed-out’. Perhaps bleaching is happening here or maybe the overcast conditions have made for a less than ideal viewing day. Nonetheless, I had a good time and topped it off by snorkelling amongst the coral & tropical fish. Quite an experience!
    Fortunately the trip back to the mainland was considerably calmer so my lunch didn’t go the way of breakfast. We arrived back at about 5:45pm after a full day’s adventure. Again I will be getting up early in order to ‘beat the heat’ so it’s an early dinner and off to bed. Keep Reading…