Meeting Australia

 

 

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Arriving in Bundaberg the Cruising Club had organised dinners and luncheons as well as sight seeing for the participants. One night was the prize giving night and surprisingly we won a prize for arriving close to our ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival). A week before leaving Port Vila all boats where asked to email to the rally organizers their estimated arrival times in Bundaberg. We did not think much about it, but managed somehow to arrive within 5 minutes of our ETA! All the kids also got a prize for participating, and Camilla an extra one for entering the story/ poem competition.

Participating in the Port2Port Rally was also three more Norwegian boats; Selene, Blue Marlin and Celin. We had not seen Celin since Bequia in the Caribbean and Blue Marlin since St Lucia in 2005. It was nice to meet them again and we had to take a team picture.

Celin, Selene and Blue Marlin with the Nuts

Arriving here also marked the start of boat work. Coconut was hauled out of the water have the bottom painted and a few small jobs done after the first week. The Nuts then moved into a house not too far from the marina, but far enough to warrant renting a car to get around. Surprisingly we where to share with the couple from Blackwattle. We thought they where very sporty wanting to share a house with a family with small kids. Later it turned out that the lady who rents the place had double booked. We both thought we where to have it by ourselves! But it all turned out good and we enjoyed each others company for a few days.

The kids quickly got settled in and found friends. Camilla found a good friend in the neighbourhood that had three horses. So she was of every day riding and we hardly saw her as she also spent the night with her friend as often as she could. It was such fun to se the girls ride their horses everywhere as if it was a bicycle. They where on the beach, in the village, in the farmlands and even rode to the marina to see the boat and jump some fences.  Colin found a good friend in Henry. He is from one of the boats in the marina and are staying up on the hard for 6 months while doing repair work. Henry loves all the things Colin loves so it is Gameboy, Lego and fantasy games all day long. Then Sean from Sowalu arrived as well and all was good. Lesley and I also quickly met people and developed a network. Lesley's aunt and uncle in South Africa has some friends whose son lives here, so a connection was made. Spencer, Julia and their kids are great people and we got to see quite a lot of them. We where invited for dinner parties and days on the beach, and got to meet their network of friends. It is surprising to learn how many South Africans live here in small rural Bundaberg.

Life here is so easy. The weather is nice and there is plenty of space. It is the first country we have visited that has a good warm climate but no 3. world issues. Everywhere else we have been with beautiful beaches, warm water and tropical climate has been 3. world countries with poverty, corruption, lack of education and a culture with values very different to ours.  We have fallen in love with many of these places but living in those countries you would always be a minority, and always be in a 1. world bubble within a 3.world environment. Here you can relax and feel at home.

Camilla in our garden in Burnett Heads Buying melons at the farm

Coconut was cleaned up soon after arriving and we had two prospective buyers look at here within the first week. The third possible buyer drove up from Brisbane to see Coconut and two other boats while she was still on the hard.  It is not the best time to see a boat when she is up on the hard I guess. Especially as we had quite a few jobs on the go and headboards etc where taken out to be replaced. The couple on Selene, Jørn and Eli from Norway, helped us out while Coconut was up on the hard. There was sanding and painting to be done. It was great to arrive at the boat in the morning and find that work was already progressing. We ran into some problems though with the paint and had to do the job twice so Coconut ended up on the hard quite a bit longer than we anticipated.

Visiting Australia cannot be complete without seeing Australia Zoo. This is Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwins place made famous through TV. If you can see past the enormous amount of Steve Irwin worship and merchandise (CD's, DVD's, Clothes, toys, books and ..... ) it is a fantastic place. It is exceptionally clean and friendly. For us it was quite an experience as we got to interact with the animals. We patted Kan  garoos, Koalas, Wombats and Dingoes. The Koalas and the Wombat was quite switched off. No noticeable sign there that they recognised us at all. The Kangaroos and the Dingoes on the other hand where more switched on. Meeting the Dingoes was a special treat for Camilla and Colin as only four people got to meet them in a special enclosure. At first they seemed a bit like domestic dogs but when you watched their eyes there was something else there. You could sense the wild predator within the cuddly package.

Colin with his friend Camilla and Colin posing with Dingoes

One night on the beach in front of the house Turtles came up to lay their eggs. The local volunteer game ranger came up to the house to fetch us at about eight a clock in the evening. We got to watch the turtle make her way up on the beach, lay her eggs and then sigh of relief as she hit the water and swam off. It was quite an experience for us all. The ranger picked all the eggs up after the turtle was on her way to relocate them to a safer place. In the process we got to count and handle the eggs.  She laid 142 eggs and will come back again in a week or two to do it all again. Apparently she can repeat the cycle up to 5 times in one season, but it will take a long time until she is back again, between 2 and 7 years.

 Colin touching the eggs Camilla and friends Chenae and Tori

Turtle being measured Colin and Sean  Kids watching

Unfortunately also this stop has to come to an end. We are now heading south to Brisbane via the Great Sandy Strait behind Fraser Island, the worlds largest sand island. There is a berth booked for Coconut in Scarborough Marina about 30 min drive north of Brisbane. We hope to get there in 4 - 6 days depending on the wind and how exciting the cruise is.

This site was last updated 11/28/07