Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're baack!

Well, of all the flights we took, and we took about 12 to-ing and fro-ing from everywhere, the flight from Vancouver to Toronto was the worst.  We were delayed for 4 hours in the Vancouver airport, but told to wait in 15 minute increments so we didn't leave the airport.  Because we are readers, at least we can hunker down and pass the time, but apparently we missed the free snacks and drinks because we didn't look up from our books.  It was just juices thought, so we weren't that upset.
We met a woman on the flight who had been to NZ and Australia for about the same time as us.  She was about 10 years older than we are and she had done walking tours of all the places we went. She did a 4 day hike around Milford Sound. She said the food in the huts was great most of the time, but the sleeping arrangement were not that great. She said most of the people were under 30, but she didn't have any trouble keeping up.  She was telling us the Milford Sound hike was an option of her walking tour and only 4 people went on the hike, she did and some one closer to her age and one father and his son. You can never tell by looking at people!  I often thought when we were on the trip, that some of the dive leaders may have had misgivings when Spud and I  asked to go on dives, based on our appearance. But they never showed it, not be even a flicker of a face muscle! And unlike all the young people selling tickets at the attractions, they never asked us if we were seniors!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cromell, New Zealand

4 Dec. 2009
The fiddleheads are just opening up here, and there are peonies and  columbine in the forests. It's nice to have a second spring.  We stopped in Cornwall and they have a preserved historic section of very old buildings from the town in 1835 to 1880. When they build the dam the flooding increased the riverbed and the town decided to preserve buildings.  There are quite a few buildings.   This town too, was founded on the gold rush, but settlers quickly moved in.  It is still not big, but the wine industry is booming here and there are wineries all over.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Bondi Beach, Nov. 30 2009
A trip out to the eastern suburbs on the train with a bus connection took us to a beach where we could snorkel in the Tasman Sea.  It was a sheltered cove called Clovelly.  As you know Spud has a penchant for gadgets and always seems to find useful (and not so useful) little items he likes to produce when the occasion demands.  For this trip he had bought some "Towtab" towels. They come in a package the size of a gum box. When you wish to use them you simply fill their individual container with the equivalent of a cap full of water. So after our swim in Tasman Sea we added water to the towel tabs and anxiously awaited the results. Spud unfurled the tab and handed me a towel the size of half a J-cloth.  "I think I'll need two."  I said.
 The water in this sea, which joins New Zealand, was just 19 degrees, so Spud opted for a book on the beach while I set out with my mask. He found two cuttle fish shells and saved them to bring home, but when we entered New Zealand we were forced to thrown them in the quarantine bin or face a fine!  The customs officer with dog was walking around the baggage claim area and as we unlocked our suitcase to get the shells and throw them out, I discovered an apple in my purse as well.  I brought them over to throw them out in the 'amnesty bins' when the officer intercepted me and said "Oh that was what the dog smelled."  Ditched just in time!  Kiwis and Aussies treat their island's biodiversity very seriously.
Now back to the Tasman Sea in Australia,  I saw a very large blue grouper I know Don would like to meet on the end of a hook.  It was the most beautiful aquamarine colour, just staying still while the cleaner wrasse did their job of removing the algea and bacteria from him.  In this colder water there was big leafed kelp.  I was looking for some of the fish I had seen in the aquarium, but I only saw ocean bass and some of the more common fish. We then walked along the path that follows the ocean in a version of our own "Great Ocean Trek". This tourist trek connects the beaches in the east.  It was a blustery day, as Winnie-the-Pooh would say and the breeze off shore was cool but we made the walk to Bondi Beach, the super well-know surfers' beach. Just as we boarded the bus back to town the rain started.  But as Spud said, we always have our towels!
Back to the hotel to weigh, repack and reweigh our luggage in order to meet the weight requirements for our flight.  We also had to finish our wine and port we bought in the Hunter Valley before flying out! Oh the stress!
Don't forget. Keep the comments coming.  Oh, here's a picture of the x mas tree made from recycled pot bottles that we saw in Sydney.