Sunday, 4 May 2014

Australia, Sydney - 27/4/14

We're back onboard! It was a mission but we finally got everything out of our apartment and back onto the boat. Well, onto the floor of the boat. It's taken a few days to find the floor again, but it's still there. I don't think we could have managed it without the help of Sam, who's been amazing. He spent a very long day helping us scrub our apartment from top to bottom, and we'd still be sitting there with mops and scrubbing brushes if he hadn't been so awesome. Our darling friends Nick and Candyce gave us a ride out to the boat so we could actually transport all our junk... I'm sure we've accumulated more than we had when we arrived. It took four big marina trolleys to get it all from the car to the boat. Four! It was a walk, then a train, then a walk, then a bus and then another walk between our place and the marina. I think it would have taken two days of going back and forth to move it without them, so we were super grateful to have such amazing friends.

It's nice to be back home again. The marina people at The Spit where we've been moored are amazing - they let us borrow a berth for a few days to get organised, and then for two days more so I can do some epoxy work on the bow. It's so convenient being attached to the land and I'm trying to savour it - no more marinas from now on. We've decided to let ourselves have a berth for one night after an offshore passage, two if it was particularly exhausting. But then we have to hop on back out to sea to make sure we get our money's worth out of the anchor.

I convinced Sam and Garth to come to the Easter Show with me, which was really great. They don't really have carnivals in New Zealand at all and it's been five long years since I went to the Brisbane Show. The lights and rides and candy were even more awesome in Sydney, and I had a blast. The boys tolerated it. They even let me buy new harem pants and didn't complain. We went on rides until we were dizzy, scared Garth in the haunted house, found him ANOTHER $10 replacement wedding ring (est. lifespan is now one week) and bought a heap of really cheap show bags. So that's out of my system and I ended up with a few bags of candy, which has left me pretty happy with the whole situation.

The highlight of my day was actually the barnyard, which was a huge room just filled with animals roaming around. There were lambs, kids and small children EVERYWHERE. The baby goats were climbing everything and running around making new friends and the lambs were just being adorable in general. The sheep weren't particularly excited. I saw one walk up onto a big bale of hay where a family were sitting and plonk down next to them, pushing one of the children onto the ground. They all had the "I'm too old for this shit" look in their eyes.

We patted all of the cuddly things. A piglet tried to eat Sam's shoelaces and another one kept sniffing my ankle with his tickley little nose. There was a giant pile of fluffy ducklings and I wanted to roll around with them all and then take them home. I adore ducklings, and there were hundreds. So that absolutely made my day.

The fireworks show was also pretty impressive. They had a wall of fire guns around the outside, which were synchronized with laser lights and music in amongst the fireworks. It was definitely worth the mission to get there and the sore feet I had at the end of the day.

We went to visit my darling Sarah over Easter, because she's only a four hour bus ride away and I love her to bits. She just finished building a beautiful little cottage with her boyfriend Tom on his farm, and it was really exciting seeing her new home. It's definitely winter already further south where she is and I loved snuggling up by the fire.

We explored the farm on the back of a truck as Tom drove us around. I've never been on such a gentle off-road trip - Garth revels in hitting all the bumps when he's driving. We took in a beautiful view from the top of a hill on his property, where you could see for miles.

We all just spent a lot of time chilling out. When we got a day with perfect weather, Tom led us on an expedition to climb Mt Kosiosko - the tallest "mountain" in Australia. I feel like they use the term mountain loosely over here after living in New Zealand, but before I ran away overseas my Australian ski field of choice was always Thredbo, which takes up most of the mountain. So it was pretty cool seeing it in Summer and going past all my favourite runs covered in grass instead of snow.

We caught the chair lift up to the top of the ski field then walked the rest of the way - 14 km. It was a nice afternoon hike, although both Garth and I were sore afterwards. Hopefully it prepared us for all the walking left to come! The view from the top was wonderful, and well worth the walk.

Tom is a man of many talents, and chef is amongst his long list of skills. We ate like royalty for every single meal - he served us restaurant quality food in both taste and presentation. It was heavenly! I wish we could have brought the both of them home with us, but they will be meeting up with us for a few weeks as we get further up the coast towards the exciting stuff, so our goodbyes weren't that sad.

Xxx Monique

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