... which is most scarily bearing down on Northern Queensland right at this moment. As we left our hotel, they were starting to batten down and cover up - here they are trying to protect a big painting above reception, using nets and ropes from their Cyclone Preparation Box - but given the magnitude of the winds that are already starting to blow, I think that they might do better to take it down ... driving into Cairns, there were huge long lines for gas, and the supermarket parking lots were overflowing. There weren't any spare seats on the planes leaving the crowded airport (which is now closed); and the Red Cross were flying in. We have been extraordinarily lucky in our timing (now safe in hot and dry Adelaide), just as Queensland is extraordinarily unlucky to be facing a cyclone the size of Katrina - or worse - the Prime Minister, on TV, has just said this is likely to be the worst cyclone that Australia has ever seen: maybe even worse than the one of 1918. Windgusts of over 300 kmh being forecast, and a huge potential tide surge.
This is what the beach looked like in the morning: strange hazy dark clouds.