Ready for a rest after jam-packed January

What a start to 2023! Two road trips, many brunches, lunches, dinners and other get-togethers, a night of music to celebrate a birthday, and lots of beautiful moments enjoying the Australian bush on our son and daughter-in-law’s (Ben and Sarah) glorious property!

One of the many beautiful moments on Ben and Sarah’s glorious property

There have been so many precious times during our last few weeks in the Southern Hemisphere. Some of these include catching sight of animals we don’t see in Turkey or anywhere else we have travelled recently – green tree frogs, scary-looking spiders, kangaroos and wallabies and amazing goannas and other large lizards.

I just love these chubby green tree frogs
….less so the spiders
An eastern grey kangaroo at Ben and Sarah’s
Spot the goanna or is it a bearded dragon?

We’ve taken our grand duckies in the 4WD to swim in the creek and watched wild ducklings grow up, helped paint a fence at the front entrance to Ben and Sarah’s, lit big bonfires, and experienced a drenching tropical downpour!

Off to the creek with the grand duckies
They seem to quite enjoy the ride
Following Sarah to the creek
Aah! The cool creek water sends
them “quackers”!
Hannah and Lucy enjoy the cool water too
The wild baby ducks prefer the dam
We helped to paint the fence
The fence is finished – time to oil stain the gate
Almost finished!
Lucy keeps her distance from the bonfire
Riding in the back of the ute is a
popular pastime
The fire trailer set up just in case!
A tropical downpour obscures the view from Ben and Sarah’s deck
The rain was so heavy that it brought one of
the gutters down!

We have also unpacked our belongings stored in the garage of our townhouse, given away and chucked heaps of “stuff”, scanned thousands of photos so we could throw the hard copies away, and prepared the townhouse to rent out furnished and organised an agent to find tenants.

Our townhouse ready to be rented out
Small but neat

We have now honed down our belongings in Australia to the items in the town house and ten boxes stored in one of Ben and Sarah’s sheds.

We were kind of sad to leave our little house
Perhaps a little big for the small back yard!

One of our road trips was to the coastal resort of Mooloolaba where our sailing friends Mike and Jill from S/V Yantara have recently bought a fabulous apartment.

Mike and Jill’s fabulous new apartment

It was a fantastic surprise that other sailing friends from our adventures in South-East Asia were joining us for some of the time.

Everyone too busy chatting to look up
for a photo!
Kelly and Mike at dinner
Cindy and James with Dave in the background

We had a brilliant catch up with Cindy and James (S/V YouYou), Andy and Kelly (M/V Quintessa) and Rita and Dave (S/V Beach House.)

An amazing full moon lights up the surf
Coming out of the surf club after dinner
Selfy time!

A few days later we were heading south to Sydney where we stayed with long-time and very special friends and godparents to our kids, Libby and Tas.

Us with Libby!

En route we stayed a night in Coffs Harbour where the small marina looked almost the same as it did when we stopped there on our 28 foot timber yacht “Rondo” on the way to Papua New Guinea more than 35 years ago!

Love this view of the beach at Coffs Harbour
The yacht marina looks exactly the same as it did more than 35 years ago!
Some of the boats look as though they’ve been sitting in the marina for more than 35 years!

In Sydney we met up with Raylee who we spent time with last season sailing north from Didim towards Istanbul when Raylee was a guest on our sailing buddies’ (Sue and John) boat S/V Catabella. We were joined by Raylee’s daughter Brooke and her partner Sue and John’s son Matt, who we had met briefly when they stayed on Catabella towards the end of last year. What a great reunion and a lovely lunch together!

Not such a great photo of the group but Collaroy Beach looks lovely!
Ah that’s better!

We also stayed a night with another very old and dear friend and former work colleague, Jackie. We had a great day visiting the Australian Museum and later, the fabulous new Sydney Modern – part of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Jackie and Jonathan at the Australian Museum
Although recently renovated the museum still retains its original galleries
The museum has a very fine mineral collection
Some of the colourful exhibits at the
Australian museum
One of the sculptures has outside
Sydney Modern
The spanking new Sydney Modern is part of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
This artwork was made up of tiny models made out of cardboard depicting what “home” means to hundreds of contributors.
All done by mirrors! An intriguing view of life in a high-rise building
Even though I knew it was all done by mirrors looking down gave me vertigo!
Jackie’s gorgeous cat Mischief

Back in Brisbane, as well as making precious memories with various local friends, we had a great evening with more sailing friends from Turkey – Deborah and Peter from M/V Entre Nous who we had met at Didim Marina and who also have a land base in Brisbane.

A great evening with Deb and Peter

A special highlight was a wonderful seafood lunch with Ben on a “retired” prawn trawler on the Brisbane River. Fabulous oysters, prawns and Moreton Bay Bugs!

The “retired” prawn trawler where we ate a fabulous seafood lunch
Tucking in to our delicious lunch!
Jonathan and Ben post lunch!

In mid January we celebrated our good friend Bruce’s birthday at his traditional annual gig when musicians gather to play some of his favourite music. Over the years these evenings have featured various genres from rock to classical. This year was a fabulous mix of big band sound and Gypsy jazz- a fabulous evening!

A fabulous evening with a “big band“ sound
Bruce played too!
Gypsy jazz as well, played by
some of the best!
A brilliant birthday celebration!

It’s been such a busy month that we felt quite exhausted by the end of it and ready for a bit of slothful rest before embarking on our next adventure!

Our grand doggie Lucy, enjoying
the last of the sunlight

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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