Gary's back, for a few days at least

I am returned from a very relaxing week's holiday in the Whitsundays, on Hamilton Island, all of which is part of the Great Barrier Reef. Highly recommended, especially if you have kids.

The Whitsunday group of islands was discovered and named by Captain Cook, who US readers will know better for finding Hawaii, but in his extra time he also discovered the east coast of Australia. Hamilton Island is named for Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson.

Cook certainly sailed the Whitsunday passage, but I never expected to see another naval vessel make the same trip. I definitely never thought to see one from the room in which we were staying:

This is an Australian Navy warship at the southern end of the passage, which we woke to see one morning. It looks like it has plenty of room, but what it's heading towards is this:

Which is another view from our room. The second view is to the left of the top one.

I have sailed these waters in a 40 foot yacht, and believe me, once you get through that gap in the second picture, there isn't a lot of water under your keel. Even at high tide there are places where you have less than a meter to spare.

So I am watching this navy ship steam up, wondering at what point it's going to ground.

The navy ship stops, backs, turns, and exits the way it came in.

What happened? Did they make a wong turn? Are our captains that incompetent? Did some junior officer blow it?

Next morning we are at the beach, and up comes the same ship. On the same course. It stops at the same point, backs, and exits the way it came.

I'm at a loss to explain, unless they were practising how to get out of a dead end, using a real dead end.

I kept writing on the holiday, and I was surprisingly productive even using a notepad and a pen and writing only when the girls were doing their own thing. I am disconcerted to report that lying on a lounge on a gorgeous tropical island, next to a pool with women wearing bikinis, I was not as distracted as I am by my internet connection at home. This is a sad commentary on my personality, but also does not bode well for the time I spend on the net. Clearly I'd be more productive if I didn't spend so much time doing netty things.

I'm not home for long. In three and a bit days I get on a plane for the US and Bouchercon.

I am slightly amazed to see my pre-positioned posts actually appeared. Thank you everyone who stayed with me! I've replied to your comments, and fun they were to read too.


SomedayAuthor said...

Gary, glad you seemed to have enjoyed your vacation and I hope your trip to the US is a safe one. I know it will be long! It's true about the internet, what a time sucker! The connections are nice though, most of the time.
I have a quick question for you but if you don't know off the top of your head don't waste anymore time thinking about it. I put the first chapter of my WIP up on my blog, which is set at the Delphi oracle in 39CE. One suggestion was that I needed more description of the surrounding and since I'm a Rome person, i thought I would ask the Greece person if he had any reading suggestions on the topic. If nothing comes to you I will slog through Google Scholar and see what I can find. Thanks!

Gary Corby said...

Hi Trisha, yes we had a wonderful time!

The good news is, Delphi is extremely well known. There are numerous maps around. Just google "delphi map" and you'll get one very quickly. Be careful to subtract any later Roman additions. Fortunately, I don't think there'll be any additions at Delphi, but don't trust me on that.

There are also numerous pictures of Delphi ruins on the net.

I'm writing this quickly and I'll check more later, but the guy you want is probably Strabo. If he were alive today, Strabo would be a travel writer for Lonely Planet. I can't off the top of my head recall whether he visited Delphi, but if he did then he'll be gold for you, because he wrote not more than a couple of decades before your date. Anything he has to say will be precise and relevant.

Herodotus mentions Delphi frequently but he's hundreds of years before your time and mostly concerned with what happened there.

I know it's grossly unrealistic, but I highly recommend walking around Delphi yourself. It's an amazing experience. The path uphill winds past every major building and that's probably the best way to approach it if you're looking for atmosphere.

Google "delphi images". There'll be a zillion.

Any pictures will show you the area is very steep and Delphi is actually perched on the side of a mountain. Remember to mention the view; it's spectacular!

CKHB said...


The farthest north on the coastline that we got during our trip was Rockhampton and Great Keppel Island... lorikeets!

Mimzy said...

Wow. That view is spectacular!

I understand about the internet distracting you too. Whenever I have to write a paper I usually unplug the ether net cord. Otherwise I'm off giggling at comics and getting sucked into TV tropes and don't get anything done.

We're glad you're back!

Gary Corby said...

Hi Carrie, those are great places to be! If you like lorikeets, you should visit our place. We can sometimes get them to swarm if we put out sliced apple.

Hi Mimzy. Yes, I'm considering the same practice from now on: pulling the internet plug until I've done my daily words. I might try it when I'm back home.

Chris Eldin said...

Glad you had a great time! The pics are gorgeous!

For me, I find the more time I spend on the internet (like now), the more I crave it. I've been really cutting back, but I do go on benders.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Glad you had a great trip, Gary. I'm sure you'll have fun in the U.S. too.

And I agree- a trip to Delphi is a must! I was there this July and it was amazing. I was actually inspired to write some poetry which is definitely not my forte. Climbing to the pinnacle of the island was one of those experiences I'll remember until I die. Or have Alzheimer's. :)

Gary Corby said...

Hi Chris, I'm glad you spent some of that precious internet time visiting!

Thanks Stephanie, yes, I'm very much looking forward to meeting all those people in the US I only know via the net.

Yamile said...

What lovely pictures! I always write my best when the kids are playing outside, and I sit by them with just a notepad and a pen. By the way, I finished my fist draft last week, and (on a night I got only like 3 hours of sleep)I had a dream that you were coming to the States on your book tour, and I was supposed to make dinner for you and Janet. My house was a wreck, and I was wearing pajamas. When I woke up I was so relieved it had been a dream! I'm terrified of Janet, just because she's such an awesome agent, one of my dream agents :-)

Gary Corby said...

Congratulations on finishing your first draft Yamile! Now for the revisions...

I hope dreaming about Janet and me coming to dinner is not the start of a descent into insanity.

Crystal Posey said...

My internet connection is always my biggest distraction, okay that and books.

Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures. Love them.