Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Away From Home

    It has now been almost 10 days since I have had to depart my home for the past 9 months.  It was a very bitter-sweet departure and I still don't really know what to think about it.  My visa in New Zealand came to an end on the 24th of February, but in the interest of saving money, I departed on the 18th.  I have found myself in Sydney, Australia.
    Sydney was chosen for several reasons.  Lizzy and I have friends here, it was the least expensive to fly to, I can get back to NZ at a moments' notice, and we are still trying hard to get work visas in this part of the world.  Easier to do when you are actually there.
    When I say departure was bitter-sweet, I sincerely mean it.  Firstly, I have had to leave Lizzy back on Uma Rapiti.  Who knows what kind of trouble she's going to get into without me!  I kid!  I kid!  I have left a beautiful place I have called home for nine months, my favorite fishing spots, a great social circle with very supportive individuals, and the volunteer coastguard.  Other than certain isolated times in life, this one of the most "complete" times I have had.  Food  available any time, an amazing orchard...  This is going to be hard to top.
    The sweet portion comes into play when I have had an opportunity to set foot in a country I have wanted to visit my whole life.  Not only that, my introduction was Sydney.  Sydney harbor, Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach, snorkeling....  And now, I'm heading north to Queensland to go work on another little island working on a sail boat.  Magnetic Island to be exact, and a tall ship by the name of S.V. Providence V.  providencesailing <----  here's a link to where I am.  I just received a call from the owner of the boat and found out that I will be the only one living aboard.  And I guess the only mate.  I wonder if I know what I'm doing?

    Over the past few days I feel like I have been completely inundated in surreal setting.  As I stated above, I am visiting/staying with some friends here.  I managed to land a spare room in our friend Patrick's parents' house.  They live about a 5 minute walk from the beach.  I was amazed at the size of the swells and the amount of sandy beaches after being on Waiheke.  Our little island is surrounded by shallow water, so we do not get big waves.

On day 3 of enjoying sun and sand, a massive storm  rolled in out of the north.  I could hear the waves pounding on the rocks all night long it was seriously intense.  Still, the temprature never dropped below about 80 degrees, even at night.  Terry, Patrick's dad and I even took the family dog for a walk in shorts, sandals, and rain jackets during this storm.

People here are totally unfazed by this weather.  There are these incredible swimming pools made right on the edge of the beach or on the rock walls.  During 8 ft. waves crashing right over the edge, people just kept on swimming laps.  Thought for sure someone was going to get washed out.

This is a typical spot along the coast of Sydney where people go snorkeling.  I ended up getting a chance to go myself.  There are all kinds of amazing fish cruising around down there.  From little multi-colored angelfish to 2 ft. long grouper with beautifully colored eyes.  Even after the storm, visibility was still 10-15 ft.

In the middle of this whirlwind trip, Patrick managed to drag me away for a quick climbing trip.  Lizzy and I have only had an opportunity to go bouldering on Waiheke.  Our plans to go climbing on the South Island of New Zealand were thwarted by a terrible mountain biking incident.  We were both reminded on that trip why we hate mountain bikes so much.  Here are a few shots of the climb.

We park the car and I follow Pat into the bush...
After a 10 min. hike we break through an all I see is bush for MILES!
Our other 2 climbing partners.  Chris is experienced, his friend is on her first climb.
   So now here I am facing another plane flight to another strange place and I'm excited to see what the next stop brings...  But, I feel like this all a bit hollow without my traveling partner here to see what I'm seeing.

More to come at the next stop.

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