Monday, 18 May 2009

Happening 14 - 2008/09 December to March

Australian Holiday

Audrey hadn’t been back home in over a year and we were both chomping at the bit, keen to be back with family and friends, and the thought of a cooler climate, a large comfortable bed, western food plus plans for interstate travel all heightened our impatience. We needed a holiday from our job; the daily grind of simply messing about in boats.

December 1st 2008 finally arrived and early next morning our Air Asia flight landed at Coolangatta. Audrey’s mother Lavinia met us for we were staying at her suburban Kenmore, Brisbane house.

Back home again. Roast Lamb tonight!

Our little Pontiac ‘Fiero’ came out of storage and like headless chooks we raced about seeing friends, doing business, shopping, checked out our two rented houses at Karragarra Island and Cannon Hill, and the days raced by. But wherever we are our early morning daily walking exercise routine still continues, now for over fifteen years.

It was time to catch up with friends, so we drove to Yandaran just north of Bundaberg to spend a few days with fellow Rally cruising friends Wal and Robyn who, in their yacht ‘Annwn’, have since returned to Oz. They have five acres of lovely shaded parkland where bird life abounds and we marvelled at the brilliant red and green hues of the Australian Parrots and the blaze of colour of the Rainbow Lorikeets that came to the feeding station at their rear patio.

Rainbow Lorikeets

Wal recently bought a top-of-the-range zero turn ‘Fastrak Hustler’ ride-on mower for their five acres of lawn – told Bruce to give it a try; it was so much fun he spent the entire day mowing the whole property. Bruce is still puzzled how the ‘little boy’ in him got conned into a full day’s work!

The 'little boy' mowing

Worse still, Yandaran was suffering a caterpillar plague, as reported in the national media at the time, and for my joyful sins I spent the next week covered in itchy red rashes, removing invisible hairs from the pores of my bare arms and legs. Bugger!

Enroute home we called on Bruce’s Brisbane Boys College schooldays’ friend Ian MacLennan who, with wife Pam developed an old Burnett River cane farm at Wallaville, inland from Bundaberg, into one of Queensland’s bigger state-of-the-art Citrus Orchards, principally producing Mandarins and Oranges. It was a real treat to see them again after a few years, to reminisce the past and catch up on all that has happened since.

Before we knew it Christmas was upon us. Christmas Eve we feasted on seafood at Lavinia’s, the Napier clan joined us for breakfast next morning, followed by a traditional Christmas lunch with the Vidgen tribe at the Gold Coast.

Christmas Breakfast in Kenmore

During the week after Christmas, we had an overnight visit with long-time friends Ron and Margot Finney at their lovely Noosa Beach canal-front home, almost an annual occurrence which we greatly anticipate. New Year’s Eve was shared with old schooldays friends Peter and Barbara Eldred at their picturesque property adjacent to the scenic rim of Springbrook National Park, through part of which we enjoyed an early morning 4km trek that took us up hill, down dale and under waterfalls.

Trekking with the Eldreds - Springbrook National Park

Located high in the Gold Coast hinterland, with a clear mountain stream and fish ponds gurgling through it, their large acreage, in addition to natural bushland, comprises a productive well represented orchard and the grounds and gardens present as ‘open- house standard’; the stuff of many peoples dreams. Even the resident ‘vermin control’ officer, a robust carpet snake is a welcome guest sunning itself in the vegetable garden!

2 metres of 'vermin control'

Enroute home on New Year’s Day we lunched with other lifelong friends Anthony and Denise Goodwin at their brand new home in the newly developing, internationally acclaimed Currumbin Valley ‘Eco Village’ . Perhaps the largest house in the Village, it is attractively and intelligently designed - a beautifully built home with a difference, just so liveable, & no doubt the envy of many.

The Goodwins fantastic eco-house (we look forward to seeing it after landscapping)

Thus ended a truly marvellous whirlwind week that saw out the 2008 Festive Season.

We spent the next few days relaxing at Kenmore watching the South Africans whop the ‘invincible’ Aussies at Test Cricket, saw the movie ‘Australia’ at the cinema, mowed the lawn and other exciting things like that, and now it was time to travel farther afield.

So on 5 January 2009 Audrey and I headed out west on a six hour drive to visit my long time work colleague and our dear friend Margaret Neill at her ‘Newstead’, Surat cattle property. Our previous visit in June ’07 was during a serious drought but now the property was green following good rains, the river waterholes were full and running, the cattle were in good condition and the young calves were just superb. Following a working life career associated with it, ‘going bush’ nourishes my soul.

Marg then took us down to St. George to her sister Jo and husband John Knights’ huge Cotton farm. Cotton requires a lot of water and the extensive earthworks development in constructing above ground ring tanks, that hold 5000 mega-litres (five thousand million litres) of irrigation water, is quite mind-blowing (not to mention mega-bucks expensive).

Most people associate Pelicans with the seaside, and quite so. But many Pelicans fly to the outback to breed before returning to the coast. Here in the shallow backwaters of one of John Knights extensive dams we counted over 300 Pelicans in a single flock. Amazing! (Grab a book on early Australian verse and read Mary Hannah Foote’s poem ‘Where the Pelican Builds its Nest).

About one-third of the flock, St George, SW Qld

Four days later we were back on the road again, on a 1060 km run from Surat, SW Queensland to the old distinguished town of Bowral in the New South Wales southern highlands. We departed ‘Newstead’ at 4am, cautiously on the lookout for kangaroos ‘til daylight, travelling via St George, Moree, Scone, Putty and Penrith, arriving late afternoon at Audrey’s aunt June’s ‘Culreuch Cottage’ in Bowral. We spent four ever pleasant days with June, enjoying dinner parties there and with retired naval warship commander David Farthing and wife Judy in their nearby Mittagong home. Bruce also made a short day trip to Canberra for lunch with PNG days’ friend Roz Murray and Hector.

Aunt June's (2nd from left) Dinner Party

There’s not much fun having a seriously nippy sports car if you don’t give it a run occasionally, so on a quiet, flat, secondary road between Quirindi and Scone in central NSW I asked my Pontiac ‘Fiero’ to show me its stuff, which it did for a couple of kilometres – flying smoothly at 166 k/hr and still more squirt left in the tank. No doubt about it, the aero-dynamic rear spoiler keeps the car firmly on the road.

The Pontiac Fiero - our Lunch spot at Bermagui, NSW

Departing Bowral we took the scenic route through Kangaroo Valley down to Nowra, then along the New South Wales southern coast through the stunningly picturesque towns of Ulladulla, Bateman’s Bay, Moruya, beautiful Narooma and Bermagui, where they filmed that delightfully funny movie, ‘The Man Who Sued God’, and where we ate lunch on the knoll above the river mouth. On through Merimbula and stayed the night in Eden. As a parochial Banana-bender I readily accept the beauty of this southern coast.

Bermagui River - Scene of lightening strike in Film 'The Man Who Sued God'

An early start next morning finds us in Victoria travelling the Prince’s Highway through Cann River, Lakes Entrance, Sale, Leongatha, and into the Mornington Peninsular arriving at our new friends Geoff and Sandra Spinks’ lovely Mt Martha home, where we enjoyed four days of wonderful hospitality with them. They showed us all the local sights including the high peak of ‘Arthur’s Seat’, then we spent one day sight-seeing in Melbourne where we enjoyed the 88th floor view from the Eureka Tower, the highest viewing level in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Spink's lovely home and garden - Mt Martha

We farewell Mt Martha mid January and head for Sorrento to take the Car Ferry across Port Phillip Heads to historic Queenscliffe, from where we travel the coast road through Torquay to Lorne, then veered inland via quaint tiny Birregurra, (where we had a super hamburger lunch for $6), continuing on via Colac, Camperdown and Warrnambool, arriving at Port Fairy, south western Victoria, at 5pm. Along much of the way from the NSW/VIC border we remarked how dry the countryside was, not the usual lush green pastures one associates with Victoria, but very dry drought-stricken forests and grasslands.

We’d been invited to visit fellow 2006 Sail Indonesia Rally participants John and Joy Marwood, owners of the swift yacht ‘Touché’, by now good friends with whom we’ve cruised SE Asian waters, at their Port Fairy home. Named after an old sailing ship named ‘The Fairy’, this very pretty river-port town is bathed in both history and charm and the local hostellery, “The Stump”, boasts to being the longest continually licensed hotel in Australia, which was reason good enough for us to breast the Bar.

Charming Port Fairy - SW Victoria

The surrounding districts around Koroit were settled by Irish immigrants and still reflect their distinctive character, with much local industry centred on dairying. The area’s colourful history includes stories of bushrangers and illicit whiskey stills, and the Marwood’s son Tim, who makes high quality boutique ice cream, also runs a legal whiskey distillery in his nearby Timboon village restaurant. Fascinating!

With John and Joy Marwood in son Tim's Restuarant/Distillery, Timboon

Not far from Port Fairy is the western end of the well known scenic wonder, ‘The Great Ocean Road’. We’d purposely bypassed it coming down since John, who grew up there on a dairy farm quite close to the ocean frontage, suggested they accompany us on our return to point out all the best spots, which is exactly what happened --- spectacular picture postcard ocean coast scenery, culminating in the famous ‘Twelve Apostles’, spectacular limestone rock stacks that rise up to seventy metres from the sea.

Spectacular scenery along the Great Ocean Road

By the time we got to what is left of the 'Twelve Apostles', there was a southerly change and the mist rolled in from the Great Southern Ocean

We said farewell to John and Joy at Lavers Hill near Apollo Bay, then skirted around Melbourne and continued on up to the Yarra Valley to visit Gary and Sue Richmond, whom we met in 2006 on the Rally in Indonesia. They have a lovely hilltop home at Launching Place, were great company and generous hosts. The following day Susie took us sightseeing around much of the upper Yarra Valley, including the tranquil ‘Cement Creek’ Air Walk, a high boardwalk through the forest canopy with the clear running creek below, and we lunched at the upmarket Tokar Winery with its fine Rose Gardens.

Bruce with Sue Richmond, Yarra Valley

Tokar Vineyards and Rose Gardens

Like millions of others around the world, that evening we watched President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony, and wondered how Martin Luther King Jr. would have felt to be there!

Early next morning we bid the Richmond’s farewell and headed north for Bowral, driving through Healesville and other areas that two weeks later were to become the horrific scenes of this nation’s worst ever natural disaster, the February 7 ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires which claimed over 200 lives.

Three nights were spent in the garden town of Bowral with its leafy avenues and many stately old homes. Built on what was originally the grazing property of surveyor and explorer John Oxley until 1863, it is more readily identified through its most famous son. Though born in Cootamundra, (Sir) Donald Bradman spent most of his youth and played his first cricket here as a boy, and a visit to the local ‘Bradman Museum’ reveals a surprisingly in-depth history of the game of Cricket in Australia and England, together with fascinating memorabilia, and honours ‘The Don’s’ amazing career as the world’s greatest ever cricketer.

Vineyards and their Boutique Wineries are prevalent throughout the southern highlands, many with restaurants, so we lunched once more at Mittagong’s Buusaada Winery. My experience with many fledgling wineries is that their wine is both over rated and over priced.

Bruce with June and Lavinia - Buusaada Winery, Mittagong

Departed Aunt June’s Bowral home in the dark at 5am on Sunday 25 January and driving slowly through built-up nearby Mittagong in the early morning dewy mist, veered to avoid a kangaroo sitting on the street-lit road, which decided to about turn my way and subsequently bowled him over at about 2kph, fortuitously leaving neither party damaged.

We took the New England Highway back to Kenmore, Brisbane where we arrived late afternoon to conclude a most enjoyable 21 day three State tour.

The following three weeks were spent doing nothing in particular apart from visiting friends at Mooloolaba Beach for lunch, researching what government benefits I could expect upon turning 65 on 13 February, and celebrating that significant event with a dinner party at Kenmore with twin brother John (who attained this milestone 20 minutes before me) and twenty two close friends, mostly all from childhood days. Audrey and Lavinia catered magnificently and a great night was enjoyed by all!

65th Birthday Boys

A quick day trip across to Karragarra Island to leave my car (with Alan “Mr Fiero” McClelland who imports them from USA) for service during our impending absence in New Zealand, to where we flew on 18 February to visit our good friends Ralph and Yvonne de Gruyter, sailing friends whom we met in Brisbane on their world circumnavigation some years ago.

Ralph and Yvonne with dinner on the super-yacht

Ralph was there to meet our mid afternoon Qantas flight and, after collecting Yvonne from her office we went for cocktails on the luxury yacht of which Ralph is paid skipper. It is reputedly the second largest mega-yacht in Auckland and Ralph’s job as Master is to cruise her with owner and guests around the Pacific. We had the privilege of meeting the (local) owner who joined us for Sundowners. This USA built beauty is luxury plus, with large cabins and all the trimmings, and the engine room is awesome – appliances of every sort everywhere, a million wires, pipes and tubes, and so clinically clean you could eat your food off the floor.

Caught 6 Snapper

We spent only one week in New Zealand but packed each day full, including a weekend ‘down the Bay’ on Ralph and Yvonne’s sailing yacht “Aureo”, where we caught and ate Snapper fish and met up with another kiwi couple, Bill and Josia Whall, with whom we cruised the Pacific in 2003. Some days we took Ralph’s car and drove all around Auckland, recalling memories from our stay there in 2002, and revisited the Australian Gannet colony at Muriwai Beach on the west coast from Auckland.

From left: Bill, Josie, Ralph, Yvonne and Audrey

Gannet Colony, Muriwai Beach, NZ

Most nights we ate out at restaurants or with their families, other than when we cooked BBQ’s on the deck of their superb hilltop home with its commanding views overlooking Maraetai Beach and Waitemata Harbour. Since this home was undergoing extensive renovations Audrey and I stayed in their other Maraetai house nearby, having it all to ourselves, just as we did back in 2002/03.

Maraetai Beach and Waiheke Island - view from Deck

The New Zealand week was over in a flash and we were back at Kenmore where we spent the next ten days leisurely preparing for our return to ‘Envy’.

After 14 weeks back in Australia, on Friday 6 March we spent a happy last night with Anthony and Denise Goodwin in their modern spacious and airy Currumbin Eco-Village home, and they drove us to Coolangatta Airport for our 9am Air Asia return flight to Langkawi, Malaysia next morning.

We now have our cruising hats on once again, living our other life, and working hard at losing the extra weight we put on Down Under.

(PS: We have each lost over 10kg since returning here 10 weeks ago!!)

Cheers til we meet again in ‘H-15’.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Happenings 13 - 2008 June to December

Australia, Borneo & South China Seas

Mid June 2008, only five days after our return to Sebana Cove Marina from land travels in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia (reported in ‘H-12’), Bruce flies out of Singapore for Thursday Island to help twin brother John pack and relocate back to Brisbane.

Thursday Island Panorama

John’s career with Q’ld Health had been medically terminated following assessment of his suffering early Alzheimer’s, so I went to help out. Six days later we departed this beautiful little island which was home to my parents during their earlier life, and flew to Brisbane, where it took a further five weeks to find suitable accommodation for John in a retirement village, and unpack his 270 cartons!

Meanwhile Audrey sailed with other cruising friends to Kuching in Sarawak, Borneo to attend the annual ‘Rain Forrest Music Festival’, which we’d planned and prepaid weeks before. ‘Muso’s’ from all around the globe are invited to perform their unique ‘ethno-music’ over this popular three day outdoor event. Audrey then flew back to ‘Envy’ at Sebana Cove Marina in Malaysia, just across the strait from Singapore, to where I returned on 3 August 2008.

On the foredeck of Muscat, Audrey, Sue from Court Jester and Alison from Muscat on the Santabong River, Kuching, Sarawak.

One week later ‘Envy’ departs on our 640 n/mile non-stop South China Sea passage to Borneo and that first afternoon we got caught in a so-called “Sumatra”, gale-force winds of 30/45 kts (mostly above 40kts) and totally unrelenting for half an hour. Then on day three, just about half way across this vast sea, we copped another belting where it howled a strong gale to 46 kts for an hour, and bucketed down rain as well. On both occasions we just held ‘Envy’ head to wind and rode it out – some days at sea are just soooo much fun!

We quickly prepare Envy for the storm coming from behind

Then shortly after midnight on day four, sailing under a waxing three-quarter moon, a huge flying fish (alias - missile) landed in the cockpit narrowly missing Audrey who was standing watch, and by daylight the wind had died so we were motoring on an oily smooth sea. Passed downwind of two very smelly fishing boats during the morning and that afternoon had a pod of nine playful Dolphins frolicking at the bow; and for as long as we stayed and watched, they continued their skylarking performance of dives, rolls and flips.

One of the playful dolphins
The sea was a lovely mid blue colour and as clear as crystal, though we did have close shaves with two large floating logs and a truly huge tree root-bulb floating close by; we shudder to think of what goes silently floating by unseen in the darkness, though on more than one occasion we have felt a bump in the middle of the night, and ‘Envy’s’ bow has a few waterline chips as testament to this. Borneo waters are notorious for large logs that flow down jungle streams into the open sea, and navigating log strewn inland rivers is a daytime job - not for the feint hearted.

Floating log off the Borneo Coast

At 0800 hrs on day six we arrive at our destination, Miri Marina in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, after 120 hours non-stop at sea, having averaged 5.3kts. Many of our close cruising friends were already there and we celebrated our arrival with a get-together that evening in a carnival spirit that extended for the next ten days.

Cruisers 'get-together' at Miri Marina, Sarawak

A couple of days later we were off again, heading north to Labuan Island, to participate in the 5th annual Borneo International Yachting Challenge, a regatta series of sailboat races held both at Labuan in Sabah state and Miri in adjoining Sarawak state. There is an additional 110 nm overnight passage race between the two cities, which are separated by the tiny, fabulously oil-rich nation/state of Brunei, with its many brightly lit oil-rig platforms which clutter its coastal seas, together with those of neighbouring Sarawak.

We were happy to pass this Oil Rig Platform during the day
Since Brunei's sandy coastline is about 120km of straight exposed beach, the Sultan spent $millions building a protected artificial harbour large enough for multi-qquatic activities, complete with 'Disneyland' type entertainment claimed to be the biggest in the world, as a gift to his people. The Facility is called Jerudong Park, and we stopped there in perfectly calm conditions enroute to Labuan, but didn't see any aquatic or on-shore activity whatever. The sandy beach of its island entrance was a perfect spot to relax and share 'sundowners' watching the colourful sunset.

Sunset at Jerudong Park

But not everything is beer and skittles in wealthy Brunei. We've heard talk, some visiting Aussie yachts have recently got a hard time from Brunei officials when entering. The story has it that the Sultan’s brother Prince Geoffrey, who owns a large cattle station in the NT, was in the habit of casually jetting in and out of Oz in his private plane without clearing Customs or Quarantine, and took exception to having this practice stopped. So it’s official ‘un-official’ payback for Aussies.

Another Gala Dinner

To boost participation and massage tourism, all competitors are paid US$400 and given two nights’ free accommodation at 5 star hotels in both Labuan and Miri, plus gala dinners and entertainment at no cost; it is certainly an incentive to lure cruising yachties away from peninsular Malaysia to out-of-the-way Borneo.

Welcome to the Labuan Gala Dinner

Traditional Dancer at the Labuan Welcome

Trophy Presentation at Labuan

About 25 cruising yachties were competing and we were delighted to get a 2nd and two 3rd placings in our division for the three events. Aud's mum Lavinia was on board as crew, having flown in from Brisbane to join us for a two weeks’ visit, and we spread the ‘word’ that we had imported a special octogenarian international racing tactician from Australia!

Start of the Overnight Race from Labuan to Miri

At the trophy Presentation Dinner upon conclusion of the Regatta in Miri, I was asked, with little forewarning, to offer official thanks to the Minister for Tourism and his delegates, Trophy Sponsors and Race Officials, as spokensman on behalf of the competitors. The total surprise of this got my heartbeat going, my blood alcohol count plummeting and my meal abandoned as I scribbled thoughts on my table napkin, but miraculously it all went off OK, with a standing ovation to the officials.

Bruce thanking the Officials and Sponsors on behalf of the Competitors

Trophy Presentation at Miri

Now that the Regatta was over, Lavinia, Audrey and I left 'Envy' at Miri Marina and flew down to Kuching, (Chinese for Cat) the capital of Malaysian Sarawak and widely considered ‘the pearl of the Orient’ with its well kept commons and general parkland appearance.

During our six days there we stayed in a very comfortable riverside high-rise hotel and visited every-thing worthwhile seeing around town, including their famous 'Cat Museum', entirely devoted to any-thing and everything feline. We even had another close encounter with Orangutans in the wild at a small reserve not far from the city. The red-haired residents were quite used to humans and would pass us very closely by with scarcely a second glance. By their standards, no doubt, they probably considered us quite ugly.

Cat Museum, Kuching

Who are all these people bothering me?!!!

Audrey and Lavinia, Riverfront Esplanade, Kuching

Streetscape, Kuching

Lavinia departed for Australia and we flew back to Miri on 5 September from where, a few days later, we commenced the 600nm passage back to 'duty free' Tioman Island off eastern peninsular Malaysia. The night sky, under a fine full moon, was ablaze with light from the many offshore oil-rig platforms, and the following day (#2) several large copper banded sea snakes, two logs and three dolphins passed us closely by.

A strange phenomenon also occurred that same day about 200 km offshore; four Swallows paid us a visit, circling the boat then stopping for a rest. Two birds sat on the radar tower for several hours, but one Swallow sat on Bruce’s shoulder and another in Audrey’s lap where they remained for some minutes before seeking quieter refuge elsewhere. They appeared exhausted and beyond fear or caring.

Our theory is they hitch-hike a ride out to sea on fishing boats and then for whatever reason decide to return to land but find the distance too much for their small wings; they are unable to rest in the water as sea birds do, so continually fly til they’re worn out. Two were missing next morning and two were found dead on the boat.

Half way across the South China Sea drama began when ‘Envy’s’ alternator died and with it our electrical generating capacity, which meant no power for lights, ship’s radio, radar, electronic navigational and other safety equipment, so for the next three days our 2kva Honda auxiliary petrol generator sat strapped to the deck providing the essential power requirements.

We made landfall after a five day passage just after midnight in a small bay at Aur Island where our cruising companions ‘Court Jester’ and ‘Jaraman’ had arrived two hours earlier. Noted for its good diving, we spent two days at Aur Island snorkelling and recovering from our sleep deprived crossing, then moved on the 35nm to Tioman Island.

Can’t imagine why Tioman Island is ‘duty free’ – it’s a tiny little unremarkable island with a small new marina; it boasts little more than modest backpacker accommodation and a handful of very basic cafes and souvenir shops. But it’s a pretty little place, with a good marina, and a two hour ($25 return) ferry service to the reasonable sized mainland town of Mersing for shopping, supplies and spare parts. There were very few tourists to be seen on Tioman, and its ‘duty free’ shopping was not very cheap.

Quiet Main Street of Tioman Island

After one week at Tioman Island, which included two visits to Mersing for alternator repairs, ‘Envy’ then island hopped in company with ‘Court Jester’ and ‘Muscat’. On the way we were puzzled by some dark spots coming over the horizon ahead, which looked like distant tiny islands but none were shown on our chart and upon closer approach turned out to be buildings sitting on posts, many kilometres off the coast, in seas of 15/20 metres depth. We think they are fishing holiday complexes.

'Sea Building' off the East Coast of Malaysia

For seven days we headed southwards through the Tioman group, visiting North Sribuat, Tingi, and the Rimba Resort on Sibu Island, plus an overnight stop at Lompat Point enroute back to Sebana Cove Marina where we stayed for only a short three day stopover. On this passage one of our group suffered engine problems and, with the little breeze to sail, was towed for much of the way.

'Court Jester' preparing to tow 'Muscat'

Then we went upmarket, moving ‘Envy’ across to the flash ‘Oneº 15’ Marina at Singapore’s exclusive Sentosa Island where we spent two weeks doing maintenance and shopped til we dropped! After several visits over two plus years, we’re getting to know our way around the island pretty well.

One Degree 15 Marina - Behind 'Envy' the new Residential Towers on Sentosa Island

A further 14 days were spent sailing easy day-hops up Malaysia’s now familiar west coast to Penang, where we purchased a new air-conditioner for the boat. In this climate you can’t live without it. Bruce is having dental ‘implant’ work done here for less than half the cost back home.

Ten days later we departed exciting Penang, the ‘culinary capital’ of Malaysia, for the final two day hop back up to our Rebak Marina 'home base' at Langkawi. Audrey’s birthday was celebrated enroute with a swim and beach BBQ at our favourite, small and cosy Lovers Bay, in company with our two cruising yacht friends.

We spent two weeks in Rebak Marina preparing ‘Envy’ and ourselves for our imminent departure back to Australia for three months holiday, where we arrived on an Air Asia flight at Coolangatta early morning on December 2nd 2008.

'Envy' de-commissioned at Rebak Marina for our return to Australia

Like Jekyll & Hyde, we’d left one lifestyle behind in SE Asia and were returning to our other in Oz.

The adventure continues soon in ‘H-14’.