Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Whitsundays Holiday - Part 2

Day 2 – Monday 13th October
Continued from here:

The sun finally rose after an interminable night in Cid Harbour (2). It had been a very hot night, but because it kept raining we were unable to have our hatches open so it was rather stuffy in the cabin. Milord snored and twitched until I was ready to kill him and I had managed to get sunburnt the day before which didn’t help, as every time I moved in my sleep that woke me up too!

(How silly is that? Lily-white after a Sydney winter we walk into the tropical sun without any sunscreen or even a hat. Born in Africa, living in Australia – I have no excuse! Milord also has no excuse, and his burnt baldness was bright red for days until it started to peel. Nice.)

Milord volunteered to move into another cabin for the rest of the trip, which made a great improvement and will go on the to-do list for next time! The beds on a boat are just too small to share with a large man.

Apart from that our anchorage had been perfect – out of the wind and practically no rolling.

I made coffee and orange juice and unearthed provisions from the bottom of the chest fridge, and Milord cooked us bacon and egg sandwiches on the deck barbeque. Although we had the occasional rain shower it was pleasantly warm and we were sheltered by our awning. We tidied up, consulted the charts, packed away the awning, raised the anchor and headed north again.

We were headed to Butterfly Bay on Hook Island for a spot of snorkelling, which involved us sailing past our proposed night anchorage in Stonehaven (3) on the way. We got to Butterfly Bay (4) a couple of hours later, took the dinghy to the reef and dropped its little anchor on a patch of sand, and slipped into the sea.

Diving in the Whitsundays is horrible. The islands are close to the mainland so there is plenty of runoff carrying silt, plus the tides get compressed and churn up a lot of muck too. The visibility is not great – probably about 5m (15ft), so once you get to 5m it’s pretty murky down there! We dived on our last trip and didn’t enjoy it, so this time we had decided just to snorkel.

The reef and fish are superb, although the visibility isn’t very good. The water was 26C which is a little chilly – we didn’t wear wetsuits but a shortie wetsuit would have been nice - I might have to buy one! I did wear a “stinger suit” which is a full-body swimsuit that protects you from sunburn and coral. I’m glad I had that, because whenever I went swimming without it I came up in little incredibly itchy welts on my body that lasted a week, possibly caused by bits of jellyfish or nymph anemones. Luckily I’d thought to pack antihistamine ointment and pills.

We snorkelled for about an hour and we saw huge napoleon wrasse and a school of baby barracuda in addition to the normal oodles of fish among the coral. It was pretty good.

Then back on board for a shower, and we headed back to Stonehaven with a ham and cheese roll and a beer in hand.

Dinner was barramundi (fish) on the barbeque with salad and white wine, watching a spectacular sunset. Our anchorage was a bit rolly and gusty, but we hoped things would settle down in the night.

...continued here.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Lazy Weekend

I'm busy busy busy at work... so busy in fact that I decided to come in for a few hours on the weekend to get ahead. Milord dropped me off just before 10am on Saturday and I bleeped my way into the building, then hopped in the lift and waved my pass across the sensor to go to level 25.

*bleep* Lift ignores me.
*bleep* Lift ignores me.
*bleep* Lift ignores me.

Aargh - my access has not been updated since I moved floors! I manage to get to level 21 where I used to sit, and wander the floor asking people if they can get me to level 25. No luck. I ring my manager at home and she tells me no one else of my team is in and she can't help me.

So I went back to the ground floor, crossed the road to the supermarket and did my weekend shopping, and caught a bus home after ringing Milord to tell him I didn't need fetching.

The rest of the day was spent like this:

Sipping wine on ice under the big umbrella while reading the newspapers. This is the best angle of my backyard.

Sadly it actually looks like this.

And this. Rather revolting really, but we can't do anything about it until our finances recover - probably next year!

Most of the planes pass to the side of our house.

But the odd one comes right overhead!

And this is what happens when you send your spouse out shopping for nibbles at the asian supermarket:

Rather peculiar!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Whitsundays Holiday - Part 1

We flew from Sydney at 7am, landing two and a half hours later on Hamilton Island at 8:30am (Queensland does not do daylight saving!). We made our way to the marina, to be told that our boat had not turned up yet, so we left our bags and browsed around the waterfront. It was a lovely day, warm and sunny with scattered clouds.

At 10am our boat finally arrived in the marina (1), and we went aboard to meet our "briefer", who gave us a quick rundown of the boat, discussed our sailing plans, and took us out on the water to check Milord’s sailing prowess. We got rid of him at about 11:30 and headed off to sea with a couple of cold beers.

This is the living area of the boat looking forward – a 41foot Beneteau monohull. There are 3 double cabins – one in the bow and 2 aft. There are 2 toilet/showers, an electric fridge, gas stove, cd player, electric lights, and a gas barbeque on deck - just perfect for two people!

I had sent the charter company a list of provisions and it was all aboard, packed neatly into cupboards and fridge, including a decent amount of beer and wine. Fab.

We went north, with a following south-east wind which was perfect for easy sailing.

By mid afternoon we were anchored in the lee of Whitsunday Island, in a very sheltered bay called Cid Harbour (2). I rustled us up a late lunch of cheeses, salami, ham and French bread, and we opened a bottle of cold white wine and relaxed in the shade of the awning over the back of the boat. When we got hot we stepped overboard for a swim, and as night fell we had hot showers then cooked up T-bone steaks with stir fried vegetables.

Then to bed in crisp sheets watching the moonlight in the clouds through the skylight…

...continued here.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Back from Paradise

We are home after an idyllic week sailing around the tropical islands called the Whitsundays (because they were discovered by James Cook on Whit Sunday in 1770). We had every kind of weather including rain and wind, but also enough sun to accidentally get quite a tan!

I’m going to try to do a detailed blog series about our trip, because I couldn’t find anything on the blogs about sailing a hired yacht around the Whitsundays and I think it could be useful and informative for anyone out there who is contemplating it.

In the meantime though, I am trying to get my head back into work mode, while my desk bobs in front of me… I get a sort of sea-echo for a week after I get off a boat, and my body tells me everything is moving slightly as if it’s floating!

I love this photo - it says it all! It would make a good ad for Billabong, don't you agree?

Thursday, 9 October 2008

2 Working Days...

...and I'm on holiday!

Yay! I need it too, I've been working 12-hour days lately, which is why you haven't heard much from me. Our deadline is Friday.

On Friday afternoon I will be leaving work early to go to a wedding, Saturday is the "recovery barbeque" (seems to be an Aussie thing), and first thing Sunday we fly up the coast to here to go sailing for a week. Oh I can't wait!

Speaking of weddings, last weekend we went to a wedding in the Hunter Valley, a wine region 2 hours north of Sydney. It rained all weekend but stopped for the ceremony and the barbeque the next day, which was lucky. Milord somehow managed to lose 3kg (6 pounds) in a week to be able to do up his suit pants on the day! I wonder if he's kept it off for this weekend's wedding?

The ceremony and reception were held at a little vineyard called Tallavera Grove, overlooking a valley of wet green vines. I liked the flowers hanging in glass decorating things.

Here we are all glamorous (and shiny - note to self, carry powder!). I lurve the red dress, and it will be getting another outing this weekend too!

The wedding was at midday, followed by lunch and so on, and we left the venue at dusk. By this point I had had far too much to drink, so Milord and I headed back to our accommodation for a lie down. I woke up at midnight fully clothed with the lights on, cleaned my teeth and removed my makeup and went back to bed! I think I slept through most of my hangover which was brilliant.

We had brunch with a friend in the area, and her cactus was flowering:

Then we went to the home of the wedding couple for a barbeque. They had roasts on a spit and a band and DJ and unlimited booze. It was a good party, but we grabbed the offer of a lift at about 7pm and had another early night. I hear the party carried on until the early hours and everyone looked very rough when we popped by the next day to fetch our car!

This sheep is actually an icebox:

At some point in the weekend Milord and I passed our 6th montheversary too. That went fast!

Last night was the stag/hen night of the couple getting married on Friday. The hen night was pretty sedate - I got there a couple of hours late anyway because of work so didn't I drink much - and I was home in bed by 11. Not so the stags! Milord got in at 3:30am after about 6 pubs and clubs, slurring and stinky and obnoxious (although it's possible that anyone would be obnoxious at 3:30am). At 4:30am I moved onto the couch to get away from the stinky snoring, and when I snuck into the bedroom to get my shoes to leave for work this morning the fumes nearly knocked me down!

I'm pretty sure he won't be feeling good today!

Right, better get back to work. If you don't hear from me before the weekend I probably won't get a chance to post again until I get. back. from. sailing.... woohoo!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Odd Things

I've seen lately...

On my walk to work I passed the rear of a large building. In the center of the parking lot a couple of men were laying out a patch of turf on the tarmac. It would have been in the way of anything trying to enter or leave.

Today I saw a cyclist on one of those "lying-down" bikes sail through a red light in the middle of Sydney. 4 lanes of traffic had to stop or dodge.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Back off the wagon...

And just fine, thanks!

Milord and I cracked the bubbly last night, which was very pleasant and I was very tiddly after just one glass! I threw together dinner and we started the next bottle of wine...

...and we were useless cheap dates. We stopped after half the bottle and went to water. Today was fine, Milord is still losing weight and girth and is on track to fitting into his suit in 2 days time!

Tonight could be a different story...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Break open the champagne!

Septsober is over! Woohoo!

I have a very good bottle of "traditional method" sparkling wine in the fridge awaiting my arrival home after work (who else finds it really annoying that we can't label it "champagne" any more?) as well as a decent sauvignon blanc to follow.

Our diet is doing it's best to stay on track this week as we are off to a wedding on the weekend and Milord is 2cm off getting his suit pants done up... that's down from 3cm on Saturday so it is possible he'll get there in time! It's quite amazing how fast my man can lose weight when he puts his mind to it.

I look fine in my dress but it wouldn't hurt me to lose half a kilo or so. The forecast for the weekend is hot and rainy, so I'm not fully decided on what I'm wearing yet. Either a full length red satin halterneck, or a blue/black mid-calf lace/satin number. I'm dying to wear the red, but it might be too hot for a midday wedding in 30C humidity!

I had no takers on the Ocsober sponsorship, so I'll spend that $100 on new earrings and a handbag! Mwahaha...

Roll on hometime and a glass of bubbly!

[update: 20 minutes to hometime and Milord is emailing me time checks... unrelated news check out the view from my office window. Isn't that just totally awesome!]