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South Africa

We had an excellent few days with the Whiskers up in Durban.  Nothing strenuous.  Just hanging out together, watching cricket, watching the local monkeys, recovering from hangovers, the usual sort of thing.

All too soon it was time to leave as Helen and I had to get down to Grahamstown to meet my side of the family there. We had opted to go via bus – a scheduled 12 hour journey.

Diane and Gerald took us to the bus station and saw us off. It was nice to have them there as the bus departed half an hour late resulting in our having a little extra time together.

The bus arrived in Grahamstown two and a half hours late. You can imagine how much of a chore it was. My sister, Sue, picked us up and we made a brief stop off at my parents to say hello. They were facing their final evening in temporary accommodation before moving into their new home the following day. It was a nice surprise for them as they hadn’t expected us to show for another couple of days.

We ended up back with Sue and quite uncharacteristically drank too much wine before going to bed.

On Tuesday it was nice to be able to help my parents with their move and settling in. Sue has done most of the work organising their move but every little helps.

Since then it’s been a matter of spending time with my parents in their new home. They’re both more active than we’d expected which was great to learn. For now we’ll spend the next few days helping to sort things out resulting from the move and gradually ramp up dealing with our future (and past – taxes !!!!) which all needs to be done. Joy.

Hong Kong / Kowloon Day 6

Very almost a full day as our flight out is at 23:45. So we’ve had a day to fill. This time we really did take it easy in the morning. Well I did. I caught up on the blog while Helen packed. It does work best that way.

Around midday we left our bags with hotel and headed out. We had lunch at the Lie Heung Tea House in Central Hong Kong. The food didn’t impress us but it was a real experience eating with the press of Chinese that frequented this popular spot.

After lunch we decided to watch a movie, Django Unchained, at the movie theatre in the very posh IFC Mall in the area. We really enjoyed it and at 2½ hours long it certainly killed some time. It had to be one of the most comfortable theatres we’ve ever sat in, complete with polished leather chairs to sit in.

After the movie we headed to the roof of the mall which we’d read had great views. It did, as long as we ignored the building work going on in front of us. We did have a small surprise when we recognised, nearby, the building from the TV adaptation of Nobel House by James Clavell. We had thought it might have been torn down since the TV 3 parter. It did look a little dwarfed by the very tall buildings nearby which had gone up since the series but it was there.

Feeling as if we hadn’t quite had enough of the crushing press of Chinese locals in the street market we headed off to Chunking Manions and Mong Kok to pic up some last minute pressies.

We decided to go to the airport early which was good as the taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong terminal. We then waited at the wrong gate and nearly missed the plane but were found by the airport staff in time. D’Oh.

After many interminable hours of flying we had a fast change over at Joberg before flying on to Durban where we were met by Dianne and Gerald from Whiskers.

The conversation, beer and wine carried on from where it left off back in French Polynesia in 2010. We’ll be here in Durban for a few days before heading down to Grahamstown to visit my family there.

Family Time

Yesterday we picked up Sam from Melbourne Airport. He’s now staying with us for the next week. The family here now number eight. In the evening we all shared takeaway pizza, a light game of charades and an in house movie, Loopers. Sam played a little guitar for us all.

I have to make a comment about Tiger Direct. They have a bad rep here in Australia. Everyone ‘knows’ they’re often late. We’ve flown with them lots. The only delays we’ve had were due to runway closures at Brisbane which affected all planes. Yesterday, either Sam caught the wrong plane or his arrived 25 minutes early. Both hypotheses seem implausible but we can think of no others. All good.

On Wednesday Helen and I went out for a walk to Jell’s Park again. We hunted down two geocaches. The first required us to traverse long grass so we passed on it. The second we found. I took a ‘photo sphere’ of the location. Take a look. Use your mouse to drag the image around. It goes all the way around. You can even go full screen. Cool don’t you think?  (Turns out the following links hammer Chrome so for now I have put in a break and you can choose when to head on and look)

Continue reading Family Time

Au Revoir Whiskers

Shortly before we left for Tahiti, Gerald and Dianne popped round for our last Au Revoir for some time. They’re aiming to reach Australia by end of November. We’re waiting here for the next three weeks for John to leave and Ben to arrive. This will put us too far behind them to have any hope of catching up or arriving somewhere where they’ve been waiting. By the time we next see them they’ll be CLODs (Cruisers Living On the Dirt). So it was Au Revoir knowing the next time will be some time away.

Soon after they left we up anchored and headed out. With a weather front due in the area quite a few boats were on their way from Moorea to Tahiti. The winds were brisker than the forecast and for a while it all looked good. Shortly after leaving Moorea behind we ran into a wind shadow from Tahiti which slowed us down as well as turning 20 degrees the wrong way. I decided to tack and find the wind again which we did. We sailed all the way back to the reef around Moorea (albeit further south than before) and tacked again sailing away until we found the wind shadow again, this time further out. We kept this up for a few hours ending up at the southern entrance to the protected area behind the reef on the NW side of Tahiti.

Navigating the narrow passage between the shore and the reef we found ourselves facing a canoe race in progress with nowhere to go. We ended up motoring between two of the canoes racing towards us. Soon we found a space in the anchorage near to a number of our friends.

We went ashore once we felt we were positioned ok in the anchorage and cased out the local supermarket – a large Carrefour. Helen and I had the evening in to oursevles while John visited some friends on other boats.

This morning Helen and I have again been to the Carrefour to collect deposits on some of the beer bottles we’ve emptied. Unfortunately they don’t sell beer on a Sunday. We’ve invited a whole bunch of people over for my Birthday tomorrow so hopefully we’ll be able to score some cold ones tomorrow.

The weather today is horribly humid so I don’t think we’ll do a lot more than just sit here and sweat it out.

Just relaxing

Another day with not a great deal going on.

Early on we were visited by customs who boarded us to check our bonded wine was still in place. Of the two guys who boarded us in Fatu Hiva it was the nicer one who again came aboard. Turned out he lives here in Cook Bay.

Later on in the morning John spent a few hours snorkeling with Gerald from Whiskers while Helen and I dinghied over to the other side of the bay to visit the fruit juice factory. The weather was perfect and the views spectacular although we are getting used to it. Sometimes I have to imagine being back at work, work, work and then suddenly being transported for a day to where we are and remember how it would feel. That’s always a good level set and elevates the experience.

The only thing we could visit at the fruit juice factory turned out to be their store with the upside of having a few tasters of the local liqueurs which left us feeling pleasantly mellow for the rest of the morning.

In the afternoon I fixed a hole in our hammock relishing the returned use of my right hand.

In the evening we ate out with Gerald and Dianne at the local pizza restaurant. Nice pizzas but poured with rain on the way over.

Today we’re thinking of sailing back to Tahiti. John has just a few more days aboard and a few of the folks his age are over in the Pape’ete area. It would be a chance for him to say his last good byes. The forecast winds are at a better angle for the sail today compared to tomorrow although a little lighter. We’ll head for the free anchorage close to Marina Taina this time. If we have to go to the main town we’ll take the bus.