24 January 2007

Woolwich Marina, Sydney, Australia

Greetings all! I know it's been a while since we have written. But Team Sandpiper has been busy with home stays, more exploring, attending a rockin' concert, and entertaining Dad and Grandma.

We ended our last entry with a most anticipated 'home stay' at Paul and Brenda's (the cousin of Emma, from S/V Blue Sky) house in Parramatta. Upon arrival the Champagne flowed to celebrate Emma's birthday. Emma and I quickly took advantage of the free laundry, while Tom and Jim jumped on the Internet to order boat parts. Laundry in Woolwich is an expensive chore. It consists of lugging the bag up the hill to the bus stop, riding the bus 20 minutes to the nearest town (Hunters Hill), and dropping it off at the laundry. Having someone else do the laundry is great, but it can get pretty pricey. Our average bill is $50 for 25 pounds.

At Paul and Brenda's house we immediately felt at home. We relaxed in the pool, played darts, and enjoyed all the space of a big house. Paul, who did the food for New Year's Eve, put on another fabulous spread. Big thanks to the Byrne-Quinn Family!

On January 16th we attended the ruling Tenacious D concert at the Hordern Pavilion, Fox Theatre, Sydney. For those of you who don't know, Tenacious D is Jack Black's (comic actor from films such as 'School of Rock' and 'King Kong') rock band. Jack, and his friend Kyle Gass, both play the guitar and sing about everything from friendship to Karate, with a lot of Black's added off-beat comedy. The day of the show we actually saw Kyle in town. I of course got star struck and just stood there with my mouth open. The show started right at 9pm with an acoustic set playing all my favorites. Then they cranked up the volume and rocked the audience until 11pm. The crowd, about 3500 in all, sang along to every song, enjoying every bit and skit that Jack and Kyle threw at us. They ended the show with The Who's "Pinball Wizard". A most excellent night!

Dad and Grandma arrived the next day. We met them at their hotel in Kings Cross that afternoon. Since their arrival we have kept them busy walking all over Sydney and beyond. We did an hour tour of the Sydney Opera House followed with lunch at Doyle's in Watson's Bay. Doyle's is an Australian staple serving up fish and chips for over 100 years. We've toured the Australian National Maritime Museum and shopped both the Paddington and Paddy's markets.

Just this past Sunday we hopped a bus at Sydney's central rail station for the Hunter Valley wine region. We toured several wineries, our favorites being Tempus Two and Brokenwood. The ride home found us on a slight diversion, as a bush fire started just off the main highway. We ended up arriving home 2 hours later than expected due to traffic. As of today the fire is still burning.

Today (Tuesday the 23rd of Jan) we hit the famous Bondi Beach. I had made us a 1:00 lunch reservation at Bondi's Icebergs restaurant. Here you get a beautiful view of the beach and can watch the surfers in action. Lunch was outstanding! We had everything from figs to stingray, and of course dessert. It was such a nice relaxing afternoon. We didn't leave the restaurant until 4:00... a 3-hour lunch! We then got Grandma's sandals off and toes in the Tasman Sea. With a water temperature of about 56 degrees, it's quite a shock just for the toes.

A pleasant stroll on the sand, and we ended in North Bondi and caught the bus and train back to Kings Cross. The next few days include Dad doing the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb, an Australia Day cruise complete with fireworks (no... not on Sandpiper), and more sightseeing.

Some of you know we threatened a trip back to the states in March. But have since changed our minds. It is quite a long journey and would like to do it when we are not put on a schedule. We our however, going to explore as much of Australia as we can. We are starting with a 2-week trip to Tasmania starting February-01. We also plan to head up the coast as early as the season permits to spend as much time as we can explore the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef.

If you're a fan of the Google Earth, then be sure to check out their Australia Day photoshoot to see a really good close-up for Australia Day where there are supposed to be over 200,000 people just in Darling Bay in the city. Google will be taking photos of the festivities from a small airplane, where they will get 4 times more detail than usual. So look for us in the crowds. Australia Day is the 26th of January. Don't forget that we are a day ahead from the U.S.

Also, if you're keeping up on our photos, then keep on checking as we try to update them whenever we find an Internet café. Also, we now have a mobile phone while Down Under. So give us a ring at 0424-071-004. You might have to add a 61 in front of this if calling from the U.S. for the Australia calling code.

Cheers, Amy

Go Colts!

Notes From Ron:

  • To call Tom and Amy from the US, dial 011-61-424-071-004. 61 is the country code for Australia.
  • Australia Day is the Australian version of the US's Independence Day. Like our "Fourth", Australians celebrate with lots of Australian flags, picnics, a day on the beach, and a great fireworks show after sundown. Also, it is in the middle of the summer. It commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove on 26-Jan-1788.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are enjoying Australia. I have been reading your blog as a sailor dreaming of doing a circumnavigation with my partner ourselves one day.

However that aside, I am a misplaced Australian (from Brisbane) now living in freezing cold Canada.

I loved seeing your pictures of my home town and even more so the fact you loved staying there so much.

You definately have to go back for a longer period of time - 4 days in Brizzie is NOT enough :)