Dan and Justy Down Under


January 31, 2005

Dan or Justy

"This is the last time I take you to tour a rum distillery." she said. I think she means it.

Bundaberg is known for its rum. Except for a 3 year period just pre-WWII when it was shutdown for a massive fire, it has been in operation since 1888 supplying Aussies with a variety of molasses-based alcoholic beverages.

The fire is still with us in the form of draconian regulations for the tour-ists. Anything capable of producing electrical current is prohibited. Cameras, mobile phones, watches, pacemakers. I made up that last one, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone on staff thought of it and was shot down by the lawyers.

So we couldn't document this amazing place in pictures. It is a chemical factory, in essence, and looks the part with a few remarkable exceptions. They can't produce molasses for half the year, so they store it in a large well. Up t 5 million litres. We got to walk over the large sea of molasses, bubbling from its own internal heat. You could snorkel it (and I bet you'd find something down there), but the ticket has something about asking you to leave if you do. If they're adamant about not allowing open shoes of any kind, I think they'd look askance at full-body immersion in their raw material.

I was one of only a couple people to memorize the name of the common yeast used in the fermentation process. They promised me a prize in the gift shop.

By law they must age the rum for 2 years. This they do in massive vats constructed of Appalachian White Oak trees. Each vat can hold 90,000 litres and they have over 300 of them. That's a lot of rum.

Tasting time arrived and I opted for their liquer and milk. Yum! I had another in quick succession and was quickly soused. I introduced myself as Dan Schnoker. My prize was a 4 foot tall plastic cutout of a Bundy Rum+Cola can. It fits the inside of our van's windshield and we'll use it for a sunscreen.

Itinerary Highlights
January 20: Winery Tour
21-23: Moreton Bay Diving
25: Australia Zoo
26-30: Lady Elliot Island
February 13: Diving the Yongala
15-17: Cape Tribulation + Daintree Rain Forest
17-20: Atherton Tablelands
22-28: Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard
March 11-13: OzTek Dive Conference: Sydney
14: Fly to New Zealand
20: Poor Knights Islands Diving
31: Mt. Cook
April 2-4: Queenstown
TBD: To Be Dreamed

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