Joan and Steve returned to their suite on Wunnunga Crescent here in Yaroomba last night and are on their way to Brisbane today and then to Sydney for 3 days. It's been fun to hear of their adventures north...they spent 3 days on this 1902 sailing ship in the Whitsundays snorkeling and beachcombing with 30 or so other adventurers from 'round the globe. Here's Steve with a friendly lorikeet, and their pirate ship the Solway Lass. I don't know if we are going to get a chance to hop of one of these so we're living a little vicariously through our visitors.......
Frazer Island was awesome. We were on a two day tour which was a great mix of riding on the bus, hiking,swimming, and relaxing. Kevin, our driver, was an easy going Aussie bloke. We could even understand his ramblings, stories and jokes (mostly).There were huge bumps in the 4 WD track across the 80 mile long, 10 mile wide lump of sand. We were amid rainforests, spectacular clear freshwater creeks(see above),saltwater pools, dingoes, a shipwreck, lakes, and the most absolutely stunning vivid double rainbow that made the intermittent rain SO okay. This is lake McKenzie, an aqua blue gorgeous piece of liquid, here displaying Kodak moment visuals. As a special treat for Mothers's day we said yes when a biplane pilot asked if we would like to hop aboard for a 20 min. scenic tour of the island and the coast. From the air I swear we were looking down on a broccoli forest.........
Last weekend we added a new member to our household. Tom continues to be concerned "Willy" is about to go sideways as he (she?) spends a lot of time gasping but I hold the view that this is normal goldfish behavior. Pet ownership here has brought up again Melissa's plea for a dog,to which my answer has drifted towards "How 'bout chickens?" She is game, Eli has no comment, and Tom is NOT on board. I think the field next door could sport some chooks quite nicely and fetching fresh eggs certainly has a greater appeal than dealing with dog doo. But to reiterate what I heard from my mom and dad about a thousand times....."we'll see."
Perhaps you have heard Australia in the news in the last few days as we have a new national hero. Jessica Watson, just turned 17, is a plucky, phenomenal teenager who just finished her solo circumnavigation of the globe in a 30 foot sailboat! She left 7 months ago and arrived in the Sydney harbour Sunday escorted in by a huge flotilla. The PM Kevin Rudd was waiting for her, in addition to a crowd of thousands. She's still in Sydney celebrating her birthday, but soon will return home to Buderim, which is about 20 min. from here! I've never been much of a celebrity chaser but seeing her would be a bit of a thrill. Melissa, inspired by Jessica's accomplishment, announced she was going to ride her bike to school Monday. She did, but there were more hills and it was further than she thought, so when she got home she decided enough of that, the bus works just fine thank you.
She (Melissa not Jessica) is learning to juggle in her drama class, and Eli is getting an inch taller every month it seems. He is in the water most afternoons making the best of our oceanside digs. I'm happy for him to have this time to"play" after school. I have fond memories of vacant lots, dirt, creeks, and neighborhood kids. Many of today's kids(including mine) are driven to and fro their organized sports/lessons etc. To be able to come home from school and walk down to the beach for a surf with his mates is frosting his Aussie cupcake.
We are enjoying the beach, a bit of gardening, the occasional fishing adventure, hiking new trails, and planning our next adventure. Since 4th of July falls on a Sunday, we're throwing a party, figuring winter in Yaroomba certainly can't be much colder than July in Arcata........more than once we have shivered in our fleece on our deck on 11th st watching fireworks.
Events in Bangkok have been on our radar lately. Tom's associates there have stayed safe so far but we are worried as this is much more bloodshed than has ever been seen in Thailand's recent history. We are hoping for a peaceful resolution to this crisis in the not too distant future. Tom is scheduled to fly to Bangkok in two weeks. He is completely at ease in traveling to a city with tanks in the streets but for the record I am not!
We have missed out on some annual events already, and will miss more before the year's end, but so it goes. In place of the kinetic sculpture race, farmer's markets, and the labor day bash at the cabin, we have an indigenous festival called the dreaming ( my birthday),Fame, the musical ( Melissa's birthday), and ongoing new adventures in this beautiful, kitchy, expansive, and welcoming land down under. Keep in touch....we miss you all.