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Asia-DownUnder-A-Thon 2013!



  • testerman28testerman28 Posts: 1,329 Officer
    It did NOT end when Ian shut the little Yamaha down! More later...........

    please don't tell us that pelicans followed you.. :) just kidding good on ya for dinner and getting out. great thread! safe travels
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    So.......... back at the beach, Grant hops in to hold the boat and Ian brings Chauncy back down to pull the boat onto the trailer. He had explained how his regular winch was a bit weak and how he'd re-rigged it to run the winch off the tractor's motor, "giving it a lot more grunt"!!


    We checked the mailbox on the way...... Ian hollowed out a pole and installed a door at the back!


    ......and then the slow run up the steep, long driveway with Grant now on the back of Chauncy.......


    Not our best day ever, but with 14 split kawhai and a half dozen snappers, we had more than enough for "a feed" as they say here. If Intrepid377 sees this, he'll shake his head at the "ice" situation in this fish box! :hairraiser Keep in mind that these fish are pre-chilled...... coming out of the cold waters.


    I wished that I had Jenn's "buggy whip" yellowtail rod for this nice kawhai........ Notice the rod....... the line comes off the reel, through one guide and then IN to the rod itself....... coming out of a trumpet type tip.......


    Grant takes care of washing/flushing Ascendo Tuum's Yammie and Chauncy, but with a near-draught going on, it's the minimum..........


    While I get busy doing one of my favorite post fishing trip duties, cleaning the fish! Notice the steep land right behind their house. It's literally built right into a hill!


    Ian built the heavy-duty retaining wall........


    While I was cleaning the snapper, Ian fired up the smoker and he soon had the split kawhai salted and inside....... nothing fancy here. That's their spring-fed water cistern to the right....... Cornwallis is WAY out of town and it's a bit rustic out here.



    But there's a pretty nice view from the upstairs, outside deck...... looking out over the Manukau Harbour. We launch the boat to the left of the fishing wharf.


    Ian built a hen house out back too! Jenn's sister has a bunch of chickens ("chooks") there so there are plenty of fresh eggs. The chooks will walk out front of the house to feed, but they never leave the property! That's Jenn with the wine glass and our niece, Zara.


    After a shower, some clean clothes and mixing up a rum and Coke, I asked Ian how his "Ammo reloading room" was! When he built the house, he built a room in the attic (with window out the front!) to re-load his own ammo but I had never seen it. So, Ian took Grant and I up! Keep in mind that Ian was in "Aircraft Armaments" and was a Small Weapons Instructor in the Royal NZ Air Force. He's also quite the gun collector..... of all types.


    Back downstairs, all the "rellies" were there and suddenly a rucus broke out with screaming going on down in the yard! It turns out that Zara's Spaniel "Indy" decided that she wanted fresh Chook for dinner and was chasing one around and around the front yard! From above, it really was hilarious but Ian soon had Indy by the back of the neck and some "dog training" broke out that included Indy's nose being buried in the dirt and then into the chooks feathers! :hairraiser


    Finally, "The Feed" was on with roast lamb, roast veggies, pan fried snapper, smoked kawhai, fresh green salad, etc...... From left is Delwyn (Jenn's sister & Ian's wife), Grant, Ian, nephew Blake, Zara and Jenn. Grant and his wife (hidden) have adopted Blake and Zara from Russia.


    Jenn made the 45 minute drive back into town and there, I saw the 2-bedroom unit of the same waterfront apartments that we had before our jaunt over to Waiheke........ no 1-bedrooms available so we got updraded to a 2-bedroom with a 5-story higher view! While I had been out fishing, etc, she packed the car, caught the 11am car ferry back to Half Moon Bay, grabbed lunch, had another massage on her bad shoulder and neck, checked in to the apartment and then drove back out to Cornwallis for dinner! Whew! Fishing Day Report is now complete!! :willynilly
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    While I was typing the above post, it was 8-9am Weds in Sydney which was about 5pm back in East Coast time on Tues. We flew back over last night and Jenn's "vacation" is now over. She did a 1-hour conference call from here in the hotel room........ then she ran downstairs to catch a cab to their Sydney offices to start back on her Biz Trip.

    I asked her on her way out the door, "What's your #1 goal to accomplish here in Sydney"? "Do not solve all their problems on this trip so that we'll have to come back again", she replied. "Correct", I said........ :crossed
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Ohhhhh! I forgot! Ian awarded me a Fishing Trophy for our trip and I'll take it to a little art shop in the Keys to have them mount it.

    As we were beaching the boat at the end of the trip, I turned around in the tiny, narrow cabin while I was stripping off the inflatable jacket when we all hear a pop and a loud "Pfffffffffffffttttttt" as my jacket inflates off the Co2 cartridge! :hairraiser Ian says, "Oh come on Gary, the only one who's ever done that before was ol' Stuie"! "Stuie" was Jenn and Grant's late father "Stuart" who if you look up "Old Salt" in a Nautical Dictionary, you'll see his picture!

    Two days later, Delwyn brings Jenn a few things for us to take home and she opens a small box and says, "Gary, I think this must be for you"!


    Yep!! I'm gonna frame it and display it proudly! :hail
  • GT FishGT Fish Posts: 9,448 Officer
    HA! That is funny! Very cool trip Gary!/
    That is one serious smoker..How was the fish?
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    GT Fish wrote: »
    That is one serious smoker..How was the fish?

    It was "okay" but he normally smokes it about 5 hours and this time it was only about an hour and a half. Longer would have probably made it better....... For wood, he used chunks of Pohutukawa tree which is their best known tree.

  • dpdashdpdash Posts: 5,359 Admiral
    very cool, you are lucky to have relatives in such a great part of the world to show you the true local flavor
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    dpdash wrote: »
    very cool, you are lucky to have relatives in such a great part of the world to show you the true local flavor

    Very, very true. When Jenn's folks were still both alive (passed away in 2009/10), we'd always take off with them for 5-6-7 day road trips all over the North Island....... many times with Stu's boat "Caspar" involved! And on some trips, we'd end up visiting their rellies. That was always very cool and we have lots of stories there...... I used to take a video camera with me on all the trips until 7-8 years ago so I have lots of videos of our various trips, all the rellies, etc. I need to move those over to DVD soon.

    My first trip to NZ was just over 19 years ago so like Bimini, I've been going there for a long time and on about 16 NZ trips now...... We are already planning our next one which will probably be mostly down in the South Island which is a whole nother kind of gorgeous!

    This from our trip in late 2008........ this might be Milford or Dusky Sound taken from our cruise ship. In 2008, Stu knew that he was "sick" so he sold Caspar. When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he bought 6 of us tickets on a 2-week cruise from Sydney back over to Auckland with many amazing stops in between. For those who have not seen my other lengthy NZ/Aus Reports, do a search back to 2008/09/10/11 and see if any of them are still up......

  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    After the loooooong but fun day with the fishing, dinner with all the rellies out at Cornwallis, etc, the NZ trip was winding down. We timed the fishing just right as the much needed rains moved in the next day. This taken from the new/upgraded, 2-bedroom, 7th floor unit at the Auckland waterfront apartments.


    Jenn cooked up a nice breakfast of snapper fillets, an egg and some nice NZ toast.......


    With a rainy day, Jenn wanted to run out to St Luke's mall for a few specific items and I agreed to go. But, she quickly offered, "How about if I drop you off at MOTAT and then pick you up later"? MOTAT is NZ's "Museum Of Transport And Techology" and they have an off-site Aviation Museum that Jenn knows that I like to visit every few years or so! "Uh...... YEAH" I replied! We used to visit on Weds as that was the day when the restoration hanger out back was open...... much like AvSpecs, where you can walk around and talk with the guys. These guys are volunteers and on one visit about 10-12 years ago, I ended up talking with a 91 year old guy...... who still loved airplanes!

    MOTAT has added a new, nice hanger so I spent an hour or so in there. The huge flying boat below is a Short Solent and it proudly flew between Aussie and NZ for many years in the late 40s and 1950s. She flew for TEAL which stood for Tasman Empire Airways Limited....... the early days before it became Air New Zealand. Remember my photo above of "Mechanics Bay"? Well this plane flew out of there over to Rose Bay in Sydney Harbour. Rose Bay is just a few miles east of where I am today as I write this. She was the 747 of her day. I was luckly enough to sweet talk my way into an interior walk through and a photo in the cockpit many years ago.


    Not like being crammed into a middle seat on United is it? (No offense to my United buddies!)


    Jenn picked me up later and we stopped at a few "shops" to pick up some goodies for dinner as Jenn felt like cooking dinner in that night. Out in the suburbs, you mostly will shop in little butcher shops, veggie shops, etc. "Think" Smitty's in Lauderdale if you know that butcher/meat shop.......

    On the winding road back, we were again reminded of how boaters have to deal with the very high & low tides!


    While Jenn was whipping up another awesome meal at the apartment, I caught this cargo ship coming out from under the Harbour Bridge. The bridge was built way "up-harbour" and 99.9% of all freighters, cargo ships, cruise ships, etc dock up well before they get to the bridge..... except for one select set of ships and those are the ones that have to visit the large sugar refinery that is on the other side of the bridge! Sugar cane is brought there, then refined into sugar and then shipped back out. That's the only reason that the bridge was built as high as she was!

    Here, she has her escort of tugs...........


    We also knew that the "Celebrity Solstice" would be departing from the building next to us so we made sure to make up a Road Docktail and wander over to see her shove off. Security here is a bit more relaxed than in the States as you can see! Here, I kept telling Jenn, "It's ALL about the spring line, even with the big boys"! I'll refer you back above to the photo of the Carnival Spirit docked up as this ship is in the same place, except that this one was backed into her slip.


    A little light Thruster action and she's away from the dock. This is how we all shove off in the Bahamas right? :willynilly


    Check out the Sky Tower in the background!! The lights at the top kept slowly changing color!!


    And off she goes........ heading out of the harbour....... past Rangitoto and beyond.


    The next day, Sunday, Jenn invited all the rellies over to the apartment for a nice, NZ Sunday Brunch which turned into more of a dinner! My two sister-in-laws brought Appetizers (Appies!) and the "feed" was on! Delwyn made up some fried appies that had fresh corn and shrimp in them with a chili sauce to go on top and they were awesome! Lots of smoked salmon, cheeses, crackers, wines, beers, etc......


    For the main meal, Jenn **** up roast lamb chops, roasted veggies, a beef roast, two quiches were brought in, a fresh salad, etc! A huge flan dessert was served later with coffee and tea!


    We didn't need much for dinner that night! :dance

    Only one full day left in Auckland to go!
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Woke up on Monday morning and with our last full day in Auckland, we had a few "jobs" that we needed to get done from there. We had a few items that we had left behind at the rellie's homes over the years that needed to get back to our home, so off we went to the local DHL office to ship some stuff back. Our neighbor across the street at home gladly agreed to accept/sign for the items which worked out great! Just got an email from here that it's been like Christmas around her place as we sent one big box via DHL and two more via the NZ Post.

    The "conveniences" that we take for granted at our homes are not always available in other countries. We had to drive out to AKL airport to drop off the DHL box and in NZ, if you want to mail even a letter, YOU must take it to the local PO which in many instances is just a desk in the back of a store!

    Here's our DHL B-757 sitting right outside the airport office where we dropped off the box.......


    We then ran up to Mt Eden (the Auckland suburb where Jenn and family used to live) to hopefully have lunch at my favorite place there, "The Mt Eden Cloak Room" but it was not open yet! :banghead So, we walked down and had lunch at "Circus Circus" and then walked long Mt Eden Road. Now, "why" has Jenn's shoulder and neck been bothering her this past week or so? Well here's the explanation. At 16, she was carefully walking her bike across the street when a local bus driver, who was arguing with a passenger at the time, did not see her and hit her! She dislocated her shoulder and suffered many scuffs, scrapes and bruises. She limped on down the road with her bent up bike to her house...... pretty tough.... just like her Dad!! So, every once in a while, the shoulder acts up....... as it did last week. Below is "the scene of the crime" as well as Mt Eden in the background!


    We had decided that for our last night in town to invite the rellies to meet us at an awesome Southeast Asian restaurant just up the road from our apartment. We got most of them to attend and we had a huge and wonderful feast! Sorry! No photos, but when I went to the Men's Room I had to laugh at this right above some urinals! "Love You Long Time"!! :rotflmao


    After dinner, Jenn and I peeled off and walked the docks at the Viaduct Basin Marina which we look down on from our apartment. This whole area was constructed to host/house the America's Cup races when NZ was the host/winning team in the late 90s. The Auckalnd Boat Show is held there and there are many nice restaurants, apartments, etc all around the basin. You might be able to see a thin, white bridge to the right of center. This bridge is for foot traffic only but it will rise just enough for boats to pass under, allowing pedestrians to still walk over at the same time! However, if need be, it will split and raise like a regular bridge!


    Here's a gorgeous yacht..... In NZ, a "yacht" is a sailboat. A big boat/yacht is a "launch" and a small powerboat is a "fizz boat"!!


    And here she is on Tuesday morning, heading out to sea. I always want to yell out to them, "Where are you bound for"?


    On Tuesday, it was finally time to pack up everything and check out of the apartment. We had a 6:40 departure time out of AKL back to Sydney on another Emirates A-380. But!! After we checked out it was finally time for ME to get some massage time as Jenn had booked us in for a massage each back up in Mt Eden....... booked weeks in advance.

    My lucky day as "Christina" was not only a super-cute Irish lass, but she did a great job working out my little aches and pains from all the walking, the fishing trip, etc! :blowkiss

    And before we knew it, we were roaring down Rwy 23L at AKL..... with my view at my seat from the Nose Cam!


    And soon on our way...........


    Aussie Customs was quick and no spilled gin bottles in front of us this time!

    We finally got all checked into the Sydney Shangri-La Hotel.................

  • INTREPID377INTREPID377 Posts: 3,736 Captain
    I've been waiting for this thread and just found it (did I ever mention navigating a forum with 50+ sections is a PIA?) I've read page 1 and skimmed the others. Trip looks incredible G Mon! I'll have some reading to do this weekend.

    Thanks for taking the time to put these posts together. Truly some of the most enjoyable reading on the forum.
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    I've been waiting for this thread and just found it (did I ever mention navigating a forum with 50+ sections is a PIA?) I've read page 1 and skimmed the others. Trip looks incredible G Mon! I'll have some reading to do this weekend.

    Thanks for taking the time to put these posts together. Truly some of the most enjoyable reading on the forum.

    Thanks, it's been fun putting the posts together. Pay close attention to Post # 65 as I mentioned you in it!

    Packing up now to fly out of Sydney where I've taken far too many photos but I'll be sure to share the very best of them in the coming days after we get to Hong Kong and I have time to post about my Sydney adventures!

    We've got nearly 15 hours of flying ahead of us today but luckily Jenn had enough "miles/points" to get me up in Biz Class on Asiana Airlines with her. The itinerary gets a bit crazy/creative today as I'll explain on the other end......

    This Hong Kong place better have some **** good Chinese food......... that's all I'm sayin'...... !! :crossed
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Last Tuesday night, we got all checked into the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney and despite my best efforts with Garrett at the Front Desk, we were unable to secure a room overlooking Sydney Harbour. But, we ended up on the 17th floor and had a great view looking out over Darling Harbour which was a really nice view every morning........


    The evening flight across the 1200 miles of the open waters of The Tasman Sea on the Emirates A-380 was smooth and quiet. Emirates F/A "Alina" from Romania was incredibly gorgeous! :grin


    Keeping in mind that Sydney Harbour is HUGE, the main part of the city lies at the base of the Harbour Bridge and to the right of the Bridge is the Circular Quay where all the ferry boats are based and Darling Harbour is under the Bridge and around to the left of "The Rocks" area of the city. Our hotel is #3 on this map. Anyway, it was a great and very central location for our stay!


    Like the Auckland Harbour Bridge, it's high enough to allow ships to slide under it as we see this freighter getting an assist well after passing the bridge.


    First discoverd by Lt. James Cook in 1770, he proclaimed it "the finest natural harbour in the world". All I can say is that he must have been amazed at all the bays, coves, deep water, protected anchorages, etc. The harbour stretches about 15 miles inland..........


    We/I only had Weds/Th/Fri to cover as many things as I could so on Weds afternoon I made my way down to the Circular Quay at the base of the Bridge to get some Ferry Schedules and do some walking along the waterfront there. We had been here for 4 days in late 2008 so I knew my way around at least a little. There is lots of "life" around the Quay, that's for sure! As this Aboriginal didgeridoo player shows us! He would pose for photos, explain how it is played, etc! These guys perfect this difficult instument by breathing in and exhaling out the didgeridoo at the same time, sometimes for as long as 45 minutes!



    Take a listen.........


    And here we have a more modern musician.........


    Gorgeous weather once again! This shot is looking back on downtown and the Circular Quay/Ferry Wharf area.


    And it can get "busy" with all the various boats coming and going!


    All that walking around had made me thirsty so I popped into "Hart's Pub" near the hotel and had a pint of "Iron Lung" stout...... of 7.2% alcohol content! Yeah, AND $12 for the pint! :hairraiser

    I decided that I'd be able to walk better if I went on up to the 36th floor to the hotel pub, "Altitude" and enjoyed a beer up there while waiting for Jenn to join me after her day's meetings. Yeah, good view isn't it? The Bridge to the left, the Sydney Opera House, the Circular Quay area and at the top/right, open waters and the Tasman Sea.


    Okay, cuss me out if you want, but somebody had to enjoy this beer! :dance


    The Inlet to Sydney Harbour off in the distance.


    The Harbour Bridge with "The Rocks" area below it . It carries cars, bikes, pedestrians as well as passenger trains. Built in 1932. For you thrill-seekers, yes, you CAN walk across the top of it! :hairraiser


    Looking back towards Darling Harbour we see an evening sailboat race running around "Goat Island".


    We took a cab to the main part of Darling Harbour to eat at a wonderful Italian restaurant that looked out over the harbour. Access was via the on-site mall and I was glad that they are so safety conscious here. "No Drugs Or Nuclear Weapons Allowed Inside"!!!


    After dinner, we walked along the harbourfront....... looking back towards downtown.


    All-in-all, it was a very pleasant first day and it allowed me to get my Game Plan ready for the following two days! Boat rides, a celebrity spotting and a very "manly" lunch to come in the next two posts! :rotflmao
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Okay, time to get out on the water and go get on board some history!

    I decided that for Thursday, that a ferry ride under the Bridge and down into Darling Harbour to visit the Australian National Maritime Museum and to crawl around some old ships would be great! And I mean literally to crawl!

    As I walked down to the Circular Quay, I see this ship AGAIN! It's the Carnival Spirit and I took nearly this same photo a few weeks back when she was docked up in downtown Auckland! Even the photos look nearly the same! Glad to see that at least the Spirit is running smoothly for Carnival!


    I got a seat right in the front row of the Ferry, outside. All of these ferry boats are well equipped with snack bars, toilets, etc. Brits, Kiwis and Aussies can't be more than about 50 feet from a cup of tea! There are stories of Brits on the beaches of D-Day, getting machine-gunned, yet having a "cuppa" as they call it! Jenn's Mum's answer to the begininning of any decision making was always, "Right! Now who'd like a cup of tea"! I can immitate her nearly perfectly!

    Like Rangitoto back in Auckland, it's hard to take a photo of Sydney and not have the Bridge in there somewhere!


    After having passed under the Bridge. We made several stops on the way to the Museum.


    Here you can see the base of the Bridge and "The Rocks" area..... which is pretty obvious how that area got its name! I do not know what that tower does. The Rocks area is full of very STEEEEP hills and our hotel was at the top. It's only a 3-block walk UP to the hotel, but when your sidewalk turns into steps, you know that it's steep! :hairraiser We have now rounded the corner in a left turn and are proceeding into Darling Harbour.


    Looking down Darling Harbour with the CBD of Sydney off to the left.


    There is a regular harbour cruise in Sydney that is aboard this old tall ship....... including tea of course!


    Approaching the Museum stop with a great view of Endeavor.


    This is the "James Craig" which is not open to the public at the moment. She has an interesting history though! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Craig_(barque)

    The all-red ship is a "Light Ship" and its mission is to be a portable light house just offshore. The US used many of them along her coast in the 1800s and 1900s. Now THAT would be boring sea duty!


    A good view of the replica of Endeavor. Flat of bottom and blunt of bow, she was never built to ply the open oceans but to haul coal around the coastline of the UK. When full of coal, they would sail her up onto a beach at high tide. As the tide left her dry, they'd unload the coal until empty, then refloat her on a high tide! Capt Cook picked Endeavor because colliers were much more sturdy than warships of the Royal Navy at the time. The Bounty was also a former collier too if I recall.


    About as blunt a bow as you can get!


    On Cook's third, multi-year venture into the Pacific (1776-80), he sailed Endeavour far past where the boys from the Deadliest Catch fish! He was trying to find a way to go over North America to get to Europe......... "The Nothwest Passage" they called it. He sailed up into the Bering Sea and even north of the Artic Circle before the ice drove him back south. He retreated to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and in a scuffle with natives there, Cook was killed, dismembered and parts of him eaten by the natives.


    The "tour" aboard is self-guided but with the assistence of several old guys/volunteers who explain things. They were great to talk to!


    Ah, nope............. not me!!


    Dinner? Everything gets boiled in these two pots! There is a small fire that is also available in case some one catches a nice fish or a juicy rat!


    After meals, hammocks would he hung over these tables.



    Endeavor still sails occasionally and has been around the world twice in her 15 year life! Runs with a crew of about 36 and they still sleep in the hammocks!

    Capt Cook's cabin. Normally he'd have the entire stern cabin but they had many scientists aboard and a total crew of 96 versus 18 when running coal! His normal stern cabin became The Great Room.


    A Dutch guy, myself and two of the volunteers had a great discussion about Cook, about his young Navigator, Ensign William Bligh, about the Bounty and her mutiny and the relationship of Bligh to Cook who was his mentor and teacher. With only a compass and the stars, Bligh was able to sail a 23 foot launch (only a 6-foot beam!!!) with 19 men aboard through nearly 4,000 miles of open ocean and tie up in a port that was his desination all along, because of the incredible navigation skills that Cook had taught Bligh! Cook had Bligh with him as he explored much of NZ on an earlier trip and the hand drawn charts that they drew on that trip were used for navigation by others, for over 100 years........ they were that accurate! We also learned about the phrase "letting the cat out of the bag"! That stems from pulling the cat-o-nine-tails whip out of its bag to administer some lashings! We also learned that Bligh was not big on lashings as the movies show, but that he was more verbally abusive to his officers and crew...... and in front of their peers. In other words, he was an *******! :nono

    For being miles from open waters, I was impressed with the clarity of the water in Darling Harbour!


    The RAN Destroyer Vampire was interesting......

    Uggghhhhhh..... taking spray!! :banghead I'll bet the guys were glad when they finally enclosed it! :dance


    Now, that's a lot better! No salt water in the Skipper's tea!


    Here's the RAN sub tied up to the Destroyer. TIIIIIIIIIGHT quarters in that boat! I've been aboard a US sub, a Russian sub, this one and the German U-Boat 505 in Chicago which I visited for the 3-4th time last fall while in Chicago........ I like subs...... especially WW 2 vintage.


    I had decided earlier that I'd visit the "Napolean Military Book Store" downtown and then would walk the mile and a half back to the hotel, but ol' Napolean had been replaced by a Thai/Asian Massage place!! :hairraiser And no, I didn't!

    That night we ate close by the hotel and turned in early. For my last full day in Sydney on Friday, I had more boating plans and I even ordered something special for lunch.... just for you guys! Complete with photo! Coming in the next installment! :dance
  • restlessnativerestlessnative Posts: 2,555 Captain
    Menzies would have....
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    For Friday's Game Plan it was going to be another walk down the steeeeep hill to the Circular Quay and to hop on the Ferry over to "Manly Beach" which is well beyond the Inlet into Sydney Harbour. This would give me some great photo Ops of the original port of "Port Jackson". The beach was named by Capt. Arthur Phillip for the indigenous people living there. He wrote about them, "Their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place". We'll see later that it's also a very womanly beach!

    The Game Plan was 3-fold: A) Take a nice boat ride across the Harbour, B) Get some nice photos and C) Eat lunch along the beach itself. Bingo!

    The Ferry was packed and my seat up front had a large overhang that was going to make photo-taking nearly impossible during the 30 minute ride. So, I gave up my seat and found a spot along the starboard gunnel/walkway. But, before I left the bow seating area, right as we shoved off the dock at the Quay, a bunch of girls/ladies in that section started screaming at another boat a few slips over that was maybe 100 feet ahead of us on departing. Turns out that Ellen Degeneres was filming a show on that boat and we could see her and the big boom mike hanging over her. Many of the people on my boat were asking "Who's she"? Flash forward a few days and the lady who's attending the biz meetings with Jenn walked through the lobby of our Sydney hotel only to see Ellen interviewing New Zealand born Russell Crowe! That's a guy that I'd like to have a pint or two with!

    Passing out of the Circular Quay area and around in front of the Opera House, the huge nature of this natural harbour unfolds and shows herself. So many little bays and coves! Many filled with boats of all sizes. Sydney Harbour is about 150 feet deep in some areas and there are the remains of a large ship that sank in the early 1900s out there. Before the super-huge Queen Mary 2 was allowed to dock at Sydney, the exact location and relief of that wreck had to be plotted to keep the QM2 from nicking a prop!

    There are many small islands all throughout Sydney Harbour and her estuaries as well. Hence the lighthouse we see here.


    And for about a 14-15 footer, look how well equipped this guy's fishing boat is! Dual VHF, rocket launcher, dual downriggers...... AND the all important bucket!


    Finally we worked our way up to the incredible, natural inlet coming in from the Tasman Sea! They kept it simple too. That's "North Head" on the left and "South Head" to the right! Both have had gun emplacements for many years to guard the entrance.


    But, in 1942, a few Japanese Midget Subs were able to slip by, but none caused any damage.



    It got a bit "swelly" as we got close to the Inlet and a certain Boca Raton Fire Rescue fishing buddy of mine would have quickly been showing everyone what he had for breakfast from the 6-9foot, slow swells.......... Here's South Head again.


    And North Head with it's commanding view out to sea. I'd guess that the Inlet is about a mile wide. Think about that the next time that you transit Hillsboro, Boca or Boynton Inlets!


    And the incredibly ROCKY bluffs just inside North Head. Aussie has some tremendous quantities of natural resources with coal being one of them. Good looking women with great accents also comes to mind...... :hail


    And some fishing is going on here, about half a mile inside North Head. Notice the two guys in the john boat to the right! :hairraiser


    And looking back at the Inlet. I'm pretty sure that our Capt made a wide swing out so that we could all get a nice view of the awesome Inlet!


    What a great view from up there.....


    Approaching Manly Beach Wharf.


    And the typical boat anchorage that accompanies the many ferry boat wharves.


    I quickly crossed the street and made my way down the few hundred yards of outdoor shopping arcades to get out on the street that runs along the beach. My very cute Slovenian waitress soon had me set up to take care of my thirst while I checked out the local scenary!


    I took my time looking the menu over. See anything here that you'd want to order?


    After a few beers, I finanlly got my order! Grilled Croc Burger!


    There's been a long thread going on in the Keys Sections about crocs, gators, etc so I just HAD to order this...... which I did for all of us! Freshly ground Aussie crocodile meat, grilled over an open flame! Now before I ruined it with ketchup, salt, pepper, etc, I cut a nice chunck off and ate it alone. It was very tender and with a unique yet very nice flavor! I liked it a lot and would order it again, no problem!

    Not a great day for the beach....... and yes, as in NZ, the water was COLD!


    They had Safety signs up about the rough surf which was good to see.


    The sand looked soft and inviting though.......


    Finally it was time to catch the return trip and I soon found my way alongside the gunnel/walkway for some more photo Ops.

    Like in NZ, they love their power Cats here too. Gotta love a boat with a big, tall bow....... or in this case, two of them!


    Looking back towards Manly.......


    Raise your hand if you've ever run the Range Markers coming in to Bimini? I could not see, but I'm prettey sure that these are used to properly enter the harbour from outside the Inlet. Ian also has a pair of Range Markers at his disposal if he chooses to run the South Channel when he crosses "The Bar" coming back from fishing offshore.


    And remember, it's "Green Right Return" here in Aussie too!


    These boats were in a race and I'm gonna "guess" that the boat on the right will not be the winner!


    This ship's tower/mast is from an old, famous Royal Australian Nay warship and I can't for the life of me remember which one, but it now stands as a monument of some sort.


    This was a VERY unique ship of some sort and if the idiot that packed my bag at home had packed the big boy (15 x optical zoom) camera instead of the little P & S, we'd see a better shot of her! :banghead


    Boating of ALL sorts goes on and on in this harbour!


    Sydney is a major RANavy base. On a side note, very few USN ships are allowed to visit NZ because they have a strict "No Nukes" policy! So a if a ship is nuke powered of if it's bringing in a nuke weapon, they cannot enter NZ waters!


    This is Fort Dennison and it was a prison to the most hardened of men in the old days! It was later a military base and is now open to the public. Keep in mind that Australia's original and only mission to England was to be a penal colony/prison for the worst of the worst!


    You know that you're almost home when you pass this landmark!


    And so ends my three days of blasting around Sydney! Jenn was able to get out with me at night a few times but unfortunately she was "back at work"!

    We had a very loooooong but interesting day on Saturday as we made our way to Hong Kong and I'll show you all how that played out next!
  • GT FishGT Fish Posts: 9,448 Officer
    Great trip so far! Keep it up! :)
  • dolfanjoeydolfanjoey Posts: 1,174 Officer
    great as usual
  • restlessnativerestlessnative Posts: 2,555 Captain
    Awesome as always, looks like you are having a great trip and we appreciate the posts. Did you get a chance to go out to Maroubra to see if the Bra Boys were rippin?
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Thanks joey......... You gonna update your avatar when the new Dolphins logo comes out? :grin

    Okay, time to fly out of Sydney for the last stop of Jenn's Biz Trip and that is Hong Kong. In order to keep the two of us together and to cash in points/miles to get me in Biz Class with her, she was forced to get "creative" for this leg of the journey! The only way that it would "work" was for us to fly from Sydney up to Seoul, South Korea and then back-track 3 hours into Hong Kong! This was done on Asiana Airlines which we were pleased to read was "Airline of the Year" a few years back and has won numerous awards within the industry! I used to fly with a Viet Nam F-4 Phantom vet who ended up as a Sim Instructor for Asiana. They are based in Seoul, Korea.

    After a quick ride to the Sydney airport, the taxi pulls away and Jenn looks around and says "I can't find my walllet"! As she tears her purse apart I walk all over the sidwalk and curb looking for it but no dice! "Do you have your Passport" I ask? "Yes, I have that, some cash and my Corporate AMex......... just no wallet". Long story short...... after an extensive search and many phone calls and emails over 3 days, no one has found it. We later went through my wallet to help her to remember what was in hers and after we reached HK, she cancelled all her cards, etc..... all with no charges on them. So, she now has the BIG hassle of replacing all that was in there after we get back. :banghead

    Some of you guys with excellent memories may recall on our Greece trip last summer, that we were halfway to the cruise ship after riding 4 miles on a water taxi when Jenn blurted out, "I left my purse in the boat"! :hairraiser We were able to track down the water taxi driver and he made a mid-stream, water-born "hand-off" to another taxi guy who brught it to us about an hour later! Yikes that was a CLOSE call! And now after this wallet situation I see that I'm going to have to work with Jenn on some intensive "Possessions Training" after we get back home! :kick

    A busy Saturday morning at a busy International airport.....


    It turned out to be a great morning for flying! Below, we are doing our initial climbout from the airport and are over Botany Bay. If you look to the left of that wharf/pier that comes ashore, that is the first spot that Capt Cook dropped his anchor in Australia..... after his extensive journey around New Zealand.


    Beyond that, we made a gentle left turn out over Bate Bay. Nice water? :dance


    This is pretty much our route of flight up to Seoul. Keep in mind that I'm in the middle of my book that is all about our WW 2 USN subs running rampant all over the western Pacific and you can see why I had my nose pinned to the window often!


    After making the wide left turn to get us pointed north, we re-crossed the eastern shoreline of Australia. The eastern 20-25% of the country/continent is very lush, green and seemingly endless farm type lands......


    Looking west and from over the shoreline below us.


    Lots of rolling green hills....... must be great for a driving trip!


    They must have tremendous exports with their huge areas of natural resources, farmland, etc yet a small population........


    Sitting in Biz Class on an award winning International airline is awesome and the lovely ladies of Asiana took very good care of us! After take off, one Korean beauty came by our seats, knelt down, explained the two lunch menus to us. One was a "Western" meal and one was a traditional Korean meal. Jenn played it safe and went western but I stepped up to the plate and ordered the Korean meal and she loved it when I asked for chopsticks! The menu actually had Instructions on how to assemble this dish prior to eating!

    Wiki says of my selection----> Bibimbap, is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice". Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables) and gochujang (chili pepper paste). A raw or fried egg and sliced meat (usually beef) are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.

    I was VERY happy to see this placed in front of me! Jenn's chicken looked lame in comparison!! For those of you who know me personally, that is NOT a rum & coke in front of me! I had to resort to Plan B when they offered no rum! Jack 'n Coke (x 3!) did a fine job!


    That's soup on the lower right and some chili paste, some chrunchy anchovies, veggies and beef. No egg, but Kimchi in the upper left. I just dumped it all in the bowl and it was awesome! We had started with two shrimp spring rolls each and when I finished, I was actually full! I really had to squeeze in the ice cream and coffee later!

    Our lovely Korean F/A was so happy that I ate it all and used the chopsticks! Then I dropped the bomb on her and told her how much I like my (Korean) Hyundai at home! (She probably has no clue that it was assembled by a bunch of Bud drankin' boys from Alabama!! :USA)

    We finally made our way to the far north of Aussie and then across the Torres Strait to New Guinea. WOW! That water and those islands were incredible! Just 93 miles across the Strait.







    Not a great shot, but those are miles of weedlines! :grin



    Back a few years, Jose Wejebe did a series of his shows up in this area. They stayed on a "mother ship" and then fished from 25 foot cats around the reefs, coral heads, etc. For me, that's on the Bucket List for sure! :banana

    We finally made the southern shoreline of New Guinea, now called Papua New Guinea, or PNG for short.


    New Guinea is pretty mountainous and sparsely populated. Very rugged terrain. There was a lot of fighting all over NG and the surrunding areas during WW 2. People are still finding wrecked US/NZ/Aus/Nip aircraft that crashed or were shot down in NG during WW 2. I had to dig deep to find this photo, but here I am sitting in a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk that was shot down in NG during the war and then later recovered. This plane was credited with two "kills" and they had to saw the wings off to get it out of the jungle! This was taken at a small airfield in NZ on my very first trip out in 1993. I do not know where this airplane ended up.


    Crossing the north shore of NG and finally some signs of life.......


    The rest of the trip was over the vastness of the Pacific, passing a few hundred miles east of the Phillipines. We were served a very nice snack and I went Korean again with a beef/rice dish that was also delicious!


    We passed over the very southern tip of Japan (under clouds) and finally made our descent into Seoul where I got this one last shot of what we think was a large power generation station on the far island. In military terms that would be called "a target"!


    We had to go through another layer of security and then ironically boarded the same B-777 that we had just gotten off! We sat one row back this time. For this "short" leg of just 3+ hours, they still served us a nice dinner....... and ice cream!


    Immigration & Customs here in HK was a breeze and we made the 30 minute taxi drive to our latest/last hotel, the JW Marriott. With a total of about 15 hours of flying, the drama with Jenn's wallet back in Sydney and after being up nearly 24 hours, we crashed, hitting the sack about 1am local time......dead tired.....
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Awesome as always, looks like you are having a great trip and we appreciate the posts. Did you get a chance to go out to Maroubra to see if the Bra Boys were rippin?

    Did not make it to Maroubra...... On our last/first trip to Sydney, we did a 2-hour tour bus ride that took us to Bondi Beach with is just up the road from Maroubra.....
  • dolfanjoeydolfanjoey Posts: 1,174 Officer
    Here you go Gary
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    I forgot to mention this during the day that we brother-in-laws went fishing. A few weeks earlier, there had been a rare, fatal shark attack that I was unaware of. Ian and Grant were talking about it while we were on the boat and when I asked them where it happened, Ian pointed north and said, "Just a few kilometers up the coast that way."

    When you listen/watch this news video, you'll see a quick map of the beach and you'll be able to see the inlet to Manakau Harbour where Ian/we come and go to get outside to fish. So this attack was right in Ian's back door! Keep in mind that we had the 6-7 foot blue shark around us for an hour and in 2009, I saw my first Mako when a 6-7 footer came swimming around the boat! And now the Great White attack nearby. Yes, "shark-infested" waters!

    (Note: When the lady announcer begins to speak, she actually says "Kia Ora" first before "Good evening". That is a native Maori greeting and all New Zealanders still have strong ties to the native Maori culture. Many "names" in NZ are still native Maori names........ some of which are very difficult to pronounce!)


    And here's a more in-depth article and make sure to watch the video interview near the bottom of the article.

  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Hong Kong update!

    We have been here since Saturday evening and yet I have not taken one photo! Why? Because on Monday, both Hong Kong and I came down with a 48-72+ hour, nasty flu! Both of us have been wet, drizzly, foggy, dreary and generally miserable! :banghead

    It's coming up on 5pm on Thurs and as I look out the hotel window, it's still wet and miserable outside! The forecast tomorrow is for T-Storms and 90% chance of rain and although Jenn's "off" tomorrow, I seriously doubt that we can ride cable cars to the top of mountains, view top floor vistas of the city, ride boats around the harbour (which currently has about 1/2 mile visibilty with rain and fog!), see the laser light show at night, etc. I've been a few days behind Jenn with her own version of a cold/flu that caught up with her in Sydney. I'm feeling a lot better today but we'll have to see what China's Mother Nature has in store for us tomorrow! We leave to come home on Saturday morning......
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Hong Kong update # 2!

    Okay! The rains stayed away today (Friday) and we did get out and about so since we are flying out on the United 747 in the morning, I'll have to post up the photos that I took today ("interesting" to say the least!) after I get home!! So be patient and keep your eyes peeled for my final Hong Kong post! I'm still shaking my head at what I saw today! :hairraiser
  • Gary MGary M Posts: 13,237 AG
    Final day in Hong Kong and then HOME! :hail

    After we left Sydney I was more than ready to just come on home but Hong Kong was in the way. Asia has never held a big interest for me so I'd have preferred more time in Sydney or NZ but it was a mandatory stop. Luckily, "if" I was going to get sick and "if" we were to have crap-ola weather, I was glad that both occured in HK.

    Our last day of the trip was an "off" day for Jenn and I and at least the rains stopped and we got out on Friday afternoon. The hotel was ON a huge and gorgeous mall and there was a subway station there as well that took us under the harbour and we were able to pop up right in the middle of the big, mostly open-air markets in Kowloon.

    When's the last time your local Mall had a live pianist and a 360 degree TV screen showing ads? The stores were mostly upscale clothing stores but I was able to get some cold/flu meds as well as a nice mouse for the laptop earlier in the week.


    Coming up from the subway, we walked pretty much right into this! :willynilly


    There is NO mistaking HK from the quiet Bahamas or the laid back Florida Keys! Both are far more "my" kind of place. :nono This guy in front was making himself heard!


    And like this guy on his phone, everyone is well connected!


    Thank goodness that most streets were closed to traffic.......


    Jenn's in there somewhere, looking for a new wallet.........


    We walked down a narrow lane of boothes just crammed with goods for sale. I picked up some small binoculars and the Chinese lady was all over me like a big dog to buy them! Here's how it went.....

    Me: Holding binocs
    Her: "You buy! Only $260"!
    Me: "No thanks, I have some at home"
    Her: Holds up her calculator with $240 on display
    Me: "No thanks, I have some at home"
    Her: Display now $220
    Me: "No thanks, I really don't need them"
    Her: Display now $200
    Me: "No thanks, I REALLY don't need them"
    Her: Display now $180
    Me: "Nope, don't need them"
    Her: Display now at $160
    Jenn: "Don't forget to divide by 8 for US$!!"
    Me: "Well, that makes these only 20 bucks for 10 power and they are very light! Would be great to stick in the bag for trips"!
    Her: Takes my $160 but I insist on the original box.
    Me: I walk away with Jenn astonished at my hard-driving negotiating skills! :grin

    We popped into a JAMMED Starbucks for a cold drink and then made our way down another side-street. This is were it got both very "interesting" and also pretty disgusting. Here's an old **** on a sidewalk of a dirty street, making up pork wantons!


    And here's right next to him, also on the sidewalk, ready to cook 'em up! I'm sure that this is USDA Approved!


    But wait! It gets worse!!

    Pig snout and then pig tongues on the left but we did not ask what it was in the middle!! :willynilly


    From right to left
    > Chicken, chicken, chicken and......... pidgeon? He looks sort of lonely dontcha think? This was also as we walked down the sideawalk.


    We liked the fingernails/claws the best!


    Down an alley way, we finally ran into a fish market. These fish are actually swimming!


    Uh, these bloody fish are not......... Notice the meat cleavers they used to clean the fish? Ian would be proud!


    Looked like small porgies.....


    These looked fresh but compared to the pristine, open fish market photos in Venice that I posted from my Greece/Venice report last year, this is horrible.


    "Snapper" of some sort!


    These squid are nearly two feet long!! I'd love to have them on a Tortugas trip!


    Okay, the various "smells" went from delicious to nauseating........ guess which one this was?


    Finally, I told Jenn that we either head for home or I was gonna puke from the smells, so we decided to take the ferry across the harbour to get home. As you can see with this photos, the weather was still crappy.


    It was a short ride of maybe 1/2 mile and about 15 minutes.


    Lighted billboards everywhere!


    An identical ferry to ours. They have steerage at both ends so they never turn around.


    We think this is the 100 story building in HK. Would have loved to have gone to the top if the weather had been better. I also wanted to take a Harbour Cruise as this place has a LOT of water around the area!


    This China Immigration boat was in the hurry! Note to old cargo ship behind it.....


    Still plying the local waters......... and working.


    Approaching the ferry terminal...... our hotel is back in there somewhere.


    One more look down the waterfront.......


    And looking back at our starting point of Kowloon.


    We went out by the nice pool on the 7th floor and had a few drinks and snacks as the temps were actually very nice that evening. Back upstairs, we packed as we needed an 8am taxi ride back to HKG airport.

    United was running a bit late but our Biz Class seats were actually in the Upper Deck of the Boeing 747-400...... with easy access to the cockpit! Our seats would have been right above the "U" in United.


    Before departure, I popped into the cockpit and politely asked for a quick visit. As usual, not a problem and just as on the way out on this trip, we compared notes and it turns out that the Capt lives right up the road from me in Pompano and he used to fly with a buddy of mine out of Lauderdale Exec 30 years ago! One of the three F/Os used to date two F/As from my former airline and the curvy, female F/O lives up in Daytona Beach! Due to the long flight, Federal Air Regs state that they must carry extra pilots so that everyone can have 4-6 hours "off/rest" and they actually have a small "bunk room" near the cockpit that is like a narrow closet with two bunks in it! The two Relief Pilots are usually called "Bunkies" and they normally do not make the takeoffs or landings..... they just relieve the Capt & F/O during the middle of the trip!

    Our flight took us up over Japan, across the Bearing Sea, down across central Canada and then into Chicago. We had to clear US Customs, re-check our bags and then RUN to make our connecting flight to Miami! We made it and amazingly so did our bags! It was GREAT to walk back in the door at home, finally after a full month!!

    When we got into the hired car at MIA to come home, I quickly was confused about "why" the steering wheel was on the left! For a full month, they had been on the right and I had gotten used to that!

    All-in-all, it was am amazing journey and one that we'll never forget! We have LOTS of memories and I have lots of photos to remind us! Thanks for coming along!!
  • dpdashdpdash Posts: 5,359 Admiral
    Awesome! Great job as usual, I'm sure it is nice to be home
  • Bimini DreamBimini Dream Posts: 407 Deckhand
    Awesome adventure. Great job and thanks for sharing
    A Part Of Paradise
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