Coffs Harbour 2015 and a birthday I will never forget

This year saw me travelling to Coffs Harbour during May – this trip coincided with my 30th birthday and what a birthday it was! Here is a day-by-day review for this trip:

Day 1: Monday May 4 – Travelling Day: Left Dubbo at 0630 (on Qantaslink flight QF2037 – Bombardier Q300, seat 2C) arriving in Sydney at 0745. 3 and a half hour transiting time at Sydney Airport then boarded Qantaslink flight QF2108 (Bombardier Q400, seat 19D) at 1100 for the onward flight to Coffs Harbour. Arrived in Coffs Harbour a little before 1300. Found my shuttle bus and headed for my accommodation. Arrived and checked in – then off to Park Beach Plaza to do some shopping for some important supplies – rest of the day free to relax and refresh before the next day’s happenings.

Day 2: Tuesday May 5 – Dolphin Marine Magic: Day one of several days at Dolphin Marine Magic. This day used my free pass which I received with my animal adoption package.

Bucky and Zippy - Dolphin Marine Magic
Bucky and Zippy – Dolphin Marine Magic

Day 3: Wednesday May 6 – Relaxation Day: Was very fortunate to be able to meet up with a friend of mine and his amazing canine companion (and a selection of their friends) for a coffee date (not once but twice – second one coming up a little further down the post). Tex and Bundy live up in the Coffs Harbour area and Tex invited me to a weekly coffee date and chat. Spent the most amazing 3 hours with them…..

Tex & Bundy Charity Fundraisers - Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour
Tex & Bundy Charity Fundraisers – Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour

Day 4: Thursday May 7 – Dolphin Marine Magic and my birthday: Woke up this morning with excitement…. today was the day of my previously booked and paid for (A$195) dolphin experience at Dolphin Marine Magic. Headed up to Urban Espresso Lounge for breakfast as I needed to pick up a wetsuit from Jetty Dive which is just nearby. I picked up my wetsuit and headed back down to Dolphin Marine Magic. Arrived there to hand in my paperwork (which I had filled out for my Shallow  Dolphin Experience), only to be told there was some amazing news at the bookings counter. I walked over to the bookings counter and handed my paperwork to the lady there – she then issued my wristbands for my in-water encounter. I looked at the wristband on my left wrist – it was orange instead of purple/pink (the colour of the Shallow Experience wristband) – it was only then I was told that my Shallow Dolphin Experience had been upgraded to the top-level Ultimate Dolphin Swim (valued at A$370). It took me a moment to take in what I had just been told – I got to get photos of all my land and water based interactions taken all morning and videos of my amazing in-water animal interactions. I also got to meet the CEO of Dolphin Marine Magic, Paige Sinclair – it was only then I found out which of the dolphins we were going to interact with…. and wasn’t I in for a surprise! During our pre-encounter brief, we were told we were going to interact with Calamity – Paige gave me a hint that it wasn’t Calamity…. I looked out to the pool and saw it was Bella, not Calamity. Only after I had looked, the Marine Mammal Specialist who took us through the brief realised it was indeed Bella. Then it was time to get into the water – I was a little apprehensive as I had never done this experience before but once in the water, I was fine. I had the most memorable and magic day with the animals – a birthday so special I will never forget it!

Seal Hugs - myself and Rocky
Seal Hugs – myself and Rocky
Seal Kisses - Me and Rocky
Seal Kisses – Me and Rocky
Double Dolphin Hug with Bucky and Zippy
Double Dolphin Hug with Bucky and Zippy
Dolphin Kiss - me and Bucky
Dolphin Kiss – me and Bucky
Feeding Zippy during the Marine Magic Presentation
Feeding Zippy during the Marine Magic Presentation
Hand push with Bella
Hand push with Bella
Water fight with Bella
Water fight with Bella
Me and Bella - hugging
Me and Bella – hugging

Day 5: Friday May 8 – Dolphin Marine Magic: Second day in a row – got a annual pass as part of my present the day prior so I got to use that instead of paying for each day’s admission. I had so much fun photographing the animals I never got to photograph on my birthday

My gorgeous friend, Bella
My gorgeous friend, Bella
CHART is a dedicated animal rescue service being co-ordinated by Dolphin Marine Magic in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local vets. Their aim is to build a dedicated animal triage hospital on the grounds of Dolphin Marine Magic
CHART is a dedicated animal rescue service being co-ordinated by Dolphin Marine Magic in conjunction with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and local vets. Their aim is to build a dedicated animal triage hospital on the grounds of Dolphin Marine Magic
A special bond between trainer and animals
A special bond between trainer and animals

Day 6: Saturday May 9 – Relaxation day: Took a day off to head over to the central business district and look around then a day of washing.

Day 7: Sunday May 10 – Harbourside Markets, A1 Coffs Coast Tours and Dolphin Marine Magic: Had a day to head over to the Harbourside Markets and have a look. While I was there, I decided to do a 30 minute escorted Harley ride with David “Laarz” Laarhoven and the team from A1 Coffs Coast Tours. After that, I decided to do another quick visit to Dolphin Marine Magic on the way back to my accommodation.

First time sitting on a Harley - and this beaut FLHX Street Glide took me on my 30 minute tour
First time sitting on a Harley – and this beaut FLHX Street Glide took me on my 30 minute tour
Another trainer/dolphin oment
Another trainer/animal moment

Day 8: Monday May 11 – Dolphin Marine Magic: I love this place so bad I could not stay away! This day was another photo day – to get more photos I missed from previous days….

Embarrassed seal....
Embarrassed seal….
Showing husbandry procedures
Showing husbandry procedures
Simply gorgeous
Simply gorgeous

Day 9: Tuesday May 12 – tour of the Coffs Harbour region: Today saw me touring around the Coffs Harbour region with a few of my fellow accommodation guests. Really enjoyed this as you don’t get to do these at all.

Our little tour group outside the Big Banana
Our little tour group outside the Big Banana
Looking down from Sealy Lookout in the Bruxner Flora Reserve
Looking down from Sealy Lookout in the Bruxner Flora Reserve
Park Beach from Sealy Lookout
Park Beach from Sealy Lookout
Kangaroo on the Moonee Beach Headland
Kangaroo on the Moonee Beach Headland

Day 10: Wednesday May 13 – Second coffee date (twice over): Coffee date time again…. both at my mate’s main haunt in Coffs Harbour and a quaint little cafe up in Nana Glen called the Idle In Cafe. Tex took me up on his amazing Moto Guzzi Stelvio motorbike

Day 11: Thursday May 14 – Last day and Dolphin Marine Magic: Sadly, this was my last day in Coffs Harbour. I decided to check out of my accommodation and head down to Dolphin Marine Magic for one last look…. got to get a couple more photos for all times sake!

Alert Seal - the trainers were doing a training exercise prior to the Marine Discovery Presentation
Alert Seal – the trainers were doing a training exercise prior to the Marine Discovery Presentation
Marine Discovery Presentation - Dolphin Feed
Marine Discovery Presentation – Dolphin Feed

Overall, the 11 days I spent in Coffs Harbour were amazing…. would I do it all over again? Yes I would – but I would try to stay for a fortnight to be able to do all the things I want to do because I still missed out on things…..

A New Addition…..

Disclaimer:
There’s a cuteness overload in this video – if it doesn’t make you go, “Awwwwww”, well, my friends, that is your fault, not mine!


I’d like to introduce the latest addition to Dolphin Marine Magic’s Australian Sea Lion family – this is “Storm” and he is only 6 weeks old. He’s already making an impression on the staff at Dolphin Marine Magic – here’s a little video of “Storm” at play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOJ4nrpTv1M

A buyer’s guide to tyres

Do you wonder what is getting your car’s engine motion down to the ground once it leaves the transmission??? That’s right – it’s your tyres! Here are a few things to remember when it comes to those big black rubber rings on your rims:

  1. Buy the best brand you can afford – for me, the tyre of choice is the Hankook Optimo K415 in 205/65R15 99H. The Optimo range is also available in a H426 pattern but the H426 does not come in a 15″ size – having had the K415’s before, I opted to stick with them.
  2. Ring around for pricing and availability – it helps to ring a few tyre shops and get prices to compare and ensure they have them in stock. When I got my new Optimo K415’s, I rang two shops in Dubbo: Hannaford Tyre and Suspension ($105 each and would need to be ordered in) and Dubbo Tyres and Batteries ($88 each and in stock). I stuck with Dubbo Tyres as they had done a good job on the previous set and always hold stock (being a Hankook Masters dealer, that helps a lot!)
  3. Ensure your wheels are in alignment – it’s very important to make sure that you have a wheel alignment carried out when your new tyres are fitted. When we had our previous set of tyres on, we had to have the lower control arm bushes replaced – the alignment was severely out but it did not affect the wear on that set.
  4. Keep an eye on your pressures – monitoring your pressure ensures that the tyres wear evenly. It’s also important to check them when they are cold – checking them when they are hot will mean they are higher than when they are cold.

These little tips are provided by me on the basis that you are a everyday motorist and would like help to understand.

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Hankook Optimo K415 205/65R15 99H

Reading your tyre info on the sidewall:
Do you know how to interpret the sizing info on your tyres? Here’s a breakdown on what those series of numbers means:
205 – tread width in millimetres65 – aspect ratio (ie. the height of the tyre off the rim)
R – radial (steel belted)
15 – the rim size for the tyre in inches
99 – load index (99 is 775kg or 1709lb per tyre in a single tyre format as seen above)
H – speed index (H is 210km/h or 130mph)

Other information on the tyre can be interpreted as follows:
M&S – Mud and snow
Extra Load – indicates that a tyre is capable of sustaining high loads
And many more….

Welcome to 2017!

Well – the new year is here at long last! With it, it brings me to some little items of high importance…

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Bring on Saturday March 18, 2017!

I will be travelling to Brisbane in March to spend a week relaxing and see this amazing duo from Ireland in concert – this trip will complete the trifecta of capital cities on the east coast of Australia.

I still have a few little things to sort out for this trip – going to visit Sea World on the Gold Coast and do one of their amazing Animal Adventures…. I have not chosen which one as yet as they are all amazing! Then I have to book my flights – will be flying with Jetgo Australia again.

Aviation Passenger Experience

I was inspired to share my passenger experience in aircraft – here it is as follows:

Name: Joseph Hupp
Location: Dubbo, NSW, Australia

Aviation Experience (Passenger): I have experience in many different aircraft types (rotary wing/helicopter and fixed wing) – aircraft I have flown in as a passenger are as follows:

Rotary Wing (Helicopter):
Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III

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Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III – the JetRanger III was the first helicopter I had ever flown in….. the smell of burnt Aviation Turbine Fuel (AvTur) is one thing I will always remember!

Robinson R22/R44

TIF in a Robinson R22 – it is harder than it looks!
Robinson R44 Raven II VH-RIZ. This helicopter is the helicopter that keeps me in the air!

Eurocopter EC120B

Fixed Wing:
Bombardier Dash 8 (Q300/Q400)

QantasLink Bombardier Q400 VH-QOK

Embraer ERJ-135LR/ERJ190-100IGW

Embraer ERJ-135LR VH-JZG
Jetgo Australia Embraer ERJ-135LR VH-JZG

Boeing 737-800

Which aircraft is my favourite? If I had to choose one aircraft out of the above, I would have to say the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 is my favourite…. quiet, fast and fuel efficient, the Q400 is the best choice from a passenger’s viewpoint!

A review of the Great Whites 220mm 18 diode round LED driving lights

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Great Whites 220mm 18 diode round LED driving lights in action…. Denning Decker TV5580

I recently had the opportunity to see a set of Great Whites 220mm round 18 diode LED driving lights in action – to say I’m really impressed is an absolutely true understatement! I truly like how quick these lights start up – almost instantaneously unlike a HID light which takes time to start…. another plus with these is that they use relatively little power on the circuit so they will not flatten your battery/ies if your alternator decides to cark it!

The light emitted from these is a crisp, white light which virtually mimics daylight – this allows you to see a wider view of any animals on the side of the road and can take appropriate action where possible as evidenced on this trip…

I would highly recommend these lights as they are the best! They may not be cheap (at $660 including GST per light – see Great Whites 18 LED Wide Angle Round Light for more info) but the extra initial expense gives you added safety!