Wednesday, December 7, 2011


We’ve been in Aussie-land for nearly a month now and are loving it.  Other than all the rules, it feels fairly familiar and civilized.  It’s been so long since we’ve written that I’ll write a quick re-cap of where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing.

The first week in Bundaberg, of course, was spent cleaning up the boat, getting rid of clutter, and lots of washing.  It had been about 8 months since we’ve been on a dock with unlimited dock water to be able to do this.  Plus, we are anticipating our sending things home, so it was time to unload anything that is no longer of any use, or that has just fallen apart a bit too much.  Remember that marine life is hard on everything – any clasps, buckles, or other metal pieces on clothing or shoes will rust or tarnish.  Our toaster oven became an eyesore with all the rust and knobs had fallen off.  It was time to send it to the toaster oven heaven in the sky. Much of our clothes have seen better days or heavily outgrown.  Cutlery has rusted.  Books have gone un-read or in need of letting go. 

By the way, we wouldn’t recommend making landfall in Bundaberg.  While you can save money on entry fees by joining the Port to Port Rally, you spend more than that at the marina.  Anchoring out is not much of an option since dinghy fees are $25 per day (and STRICTLY enforced – our friends who came to our boat for dinner were practically chased down for parking their dinghy at our boat), and the river currents make it uncomfortable anyway.  The marina is in the middle of nowhere, and while there are free shuttles to the town, the return is on limited and inconvenient bus service, and the town is certainly less than exciting. After we left, the marina insisted on getting our credit card number to charge for a stamp (less than a $1) for forwarding a letter to us. Bundaberg is a sad place for an Australian welcome.

Nonetheless, highlights included our rendez-vous with good friends, the Port to Port Rally events which were well done and a-plenty, as well as seeing live kangaroos in the wild – they live across the street from the marina.
Dingo in the surf on Fraser Island

Fraser Island
Next we moved on with the boat down to Mooloolaba, about an hour’s car drive north of Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast.  Our trip down included an amazing stop at Fraser Island, the longest sand island in the world.  We rented a 4 wheel drive, the only way to get around on the island, and saw wild dingoes, spectacular beaches, and gorgeous rainforests (the only place in the world where rainforest grows on sand).  That one deserves a blog in and of itself, but included driving for miles along the beach, getting stuck a couple of times in the sand, helping others who had gotten stuck, some cool hikes, drifting down the freshest water creek I’ve ever seen (the kids were drinking it the whole way down), seeing a wreck, swimming in pure rainwater lakes, and more.

Michael and his koala friend

Baby croc

Cute roos
Our boat is now docked in Mooloolaba, a beach town through and through.  The weather is perfect, the beaches are gorgeous with huge surf, the boardwalk runs forever and the stores are, well, enticing.  While in Mooloolaba, we visited the famous Steve Irwin’s Australian Zoo (Steve Irwin is the crocodile guy who died a few years ago from a bat ray harpoon to the heart).  We fed kangaroos, petted koalas, jumped with wallabees, touched crocs.  Amazing zoo and highly recommended.  Again, a blog in and of itself – if only there were time…

Kids and David (note licence plate)

Bubby's happy to see the kids!

Then on to Sydney where Michael’s mom was going to be for a few short days on a tour of Australia.  We  got here in about 12 hours of driving and are staying at an apartment so can do most of our own cooking.  Saw Fagel (Michael’s mom) and Annette (her friend and travelling companion) for only a day and a half but got in some good ‘bubby’ time and caught up over dinners, touring and wine. We also have been hanging out with our good friend from home David Arfin who happens to be here at the same time.  What luck!  We also had dinner with our friend Behan of s/v Totem who was our guru on the Pacific crossing as her family did it last year and are now live-aboards in Sydney (soon to be Brisbane). 

Highlights of our trip to Sydney: Walking through the incredible historic buildings that now house shopping arcades, the Town Hall, and other venues. Walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then visiting the South Pylon Museum. Opera House Tour – we got to watch a part of a ballet rehearsal for Romeo and Juliette.  Visiting the Fish Market, the world’s second largest only after Tokyo, where we had great fish and chips.  The Maritime Museum was a hit with the four ships and submarine we could board.  The Jewish Museum is extremely well done, with a history of the Jews of Australia, which pretty much parallels Australia’s own history, and where we heard a Holocaust survivor speak.  We visited the Great Synagogue built in the late 1800’s and attended Friday night services, but then after that and the Jewish Museum, its tour was disappointing (although the building itself is worth a visit).  We spent an afternoon at Bondi Beach, famous for its surf and people watching.  The Barracks Museum gave us insight into how early convicts lived.  When visiting the New South Wales Parliament, we got to go into both Houses since they are on recess now.  Perhaps the highlight for the kids was the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum - Danielle is happier than I’ve ever seen her.  We’ve tried to get out sailing on the Bay but it’s been cold and raining…
We’ve been busy, and have been walking a ton.  Tomorrow we’ll head to the Blue Mountains for a couple of days and then head north again along the Gold Coast and then the Sunshine Coast back to the boat where boxes await packing up.

Will try to keep up on the blog more regularly…

-Barb from Sydney
With no clue what my latitude and longitude is but not feeling lost!

1 comment:

  1. Hugs to Danielle and Harrison from your adopted grandparents- you're still our favs!!!
    Larry and Vicki miss you guys