Friday, December 18, 2009

Let it snow...

The transition back to the northern hemisphere was fairly brutal... we came from amazing summer temps in Oz to cold weather in Alberta like I haven't seen in quite some time. This past week however, it has really smartened up. Now if we could just get a couple of more dumps of snow, it would all be good!
We've hauled our snowkite kit a few places around Canmore, to no avail. We got skunked at Spray Lakes on Wednesday... gusty, shifty wind and poor snow cover meant the ice fishermen had the lake all to themselves. Next, we tried Two Jack Lake, but ended up in very similar, early-season conditions. So today we skiied Norquay, which was actually quite awesome. The hill isn't 100% open yet, but the runs that are open are in nice shape, plus there was nobody there! Gotta love having the place to ourselves!
We're off to Red Deer tomorrow - Todd has to work - and then we'll come back to Canmore on Thursday and hang here for Christmas... maybe do some ski touring, and hopefully more kiting!
Happy Holidays to all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Parting comments...

I'm back at work... UGH... a necessary evil... and a few quirky thoughts have popped into my mind with respect to our Oz trip:

*We searched and searched through all our bags when we arrived in Australia, looking for our cherished 'Lonely Planet' Australia guide... it took me weeks to find a place to purchase it from, as I specifically wanted the most up-to-date printing of it... last night when we got home, I burst out laughing when I saw it in the middle of the living room floor!! So basically, I have a travel book in very good shape, for sale CHEAP... heh heh...

*I am suffering serious withdrawal from 'flat whites'... I even accidentally asked for one when I stopped at my favorite coffee shop in Eastview this afternoon...

*I loved being called 'doll' by all the older ladies we met... not sure why, but it just seemed like such a super-endearing term... kind of glamorous...

*I've never seen such large, lush fern plants EVER. The rainforest of southeast Oz is captivating!

*I spent hours on the beaches, looking at shells and sandcrabs. A weird fascination, I know... but I am so intrigued by how the shells are all different and beautiful (and sometimes even have little inhabitants!), and I am so amazed by how the cool purple sandcrabs can disappear from sight in an instant...

*I try to pretend that I like winter... by telling myself that I'd rather put a sweater on (be too chilly) than try to function in +30C temps, and by reminding myself of the fun snow sports I love to do... truth is, my feet spent a month in flip-flops, and today they are sore beyond belief after spending only a few hours in boots... and even though it gets EVERYWHERE, I am already missing the sand!!

*Speaking of feet (and did I mention 'quirky'), my toenail polish looks almost as good today as it did when we left... I made a few minor touch-ups along the way, but mostly it withstood the sun, sand and salt water amazingly well... Sally Hansen is one indestructible bee-otch...

*The two trans-Pacific flights were the longest I've been on yet... but I enjoyed every minute of them! Planes are one of my favorite inventions and I love airports and flying. Bonus - the 747 jumbo jet on the way back had a radical paint job - it was bright red with 'roos and 'ranggers and Aboriginal designs.

The majority of Aussies are a good-humored bunch I must say, and in spite of there being soooo many places in the world I would like to see, Australia is definitely one country I want to go back to. Perth, Alice Springs/Ayers Rock, and Tasmania will be on the agenda for next time.

Cheers mate!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coming to a close....

We left Merimbula on Monday and stopped back in Inverloch. Both Todd and Brad got in some more great kitesurfing - Inverloch is really a gem of a place to ride! And the town is pretty neat, too. Todd and I lost Brad somewhere along the way... so we just continued on into Melbourne, where we spent our last few days doing some touristy stuff. Wednesday morning, we got the campervan all cleaned out and washed up, and then we ditched it and rode the tram to the city centre. We checked out the very cool Melbourne Aquarium - it has 4 levels of exhibits, my favorite parts were the penguins and the sharks - and we hung around downtown for most of the day.
Thursday (today... still! we have lived through it twice now!!) we were supposed to leave Melbourne at noon for Los Angeles... however there were some technical issues and we were delayed almost 5 hours. Which means we missed our connection to Calgary. Which means we are sitting in LAX as I type this. Oh well. We'll get home eventually!
Anyway, in about 24 hours, the vacation will be done... or I should say, THIS vacation will be done... In ten short weeks, we are booked for some sailing lessons in the Virgin Islands - yeah!! Can't wait!!
Here are the last of the pix that I'll be posting from this trip. Of course it was too darn short, but in spite of that, it has been most fabulous!! The beaches of the Surf, Bass and Sapphire Coasts are more stellar than any I have ever seen, and the Australian people are pretty much some of the friendliest I have ever met. And their coffee... well, their coffee is wicked - I am going to have a hard time kicking my 'flat white' habit! I look forward to going back some day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fun in New South Wales

Some photos of the places we've been this past week.... including rock climbing in Nowra, visiting the lighthouse and the seacliffs at Point Perpendicular, checking out the dolphins (can you see the fin!!??) from one of the jetties at Jervis Bay, Short Point beach and the Mambo Wind Fest in Merimbula, and Slingshot's pro kitesurfer Ben Wilson in the waves.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Well, after three days in Nowra - one which was smokin' hot, one which was a climbing day, and one which was rainy - we headed to Merimbula. We tried hard to find out climbing and kiting info for Nowra from the locals but had very little luck... so we did a few touristy things then got the heck outta Dodge.
Wednesday there wasn't much for breeziness at Merimbula, however the Mambo Wind Fest started yesterday and the winds cooperated nicely! Todd rode most of the day in the surf at Short Point, and I had an amazing day with my camera, photographing some young fellas who hucked trick after trick after trick! The highlight of the afternoon was watching Slingshot's pro rider Ben Wilson... he put on a fantastic show in the waves.
Some other great stuff we've seen this week: dolphins playing just off shore in Jervis Bay, the massive seacliffs, the lighthouse and torpedo tubes (military history) at Point Perpenidicular, and some beautiful whales breaching in the bay at Merimbula.
It rained torrentially last night, but it is clearing up quickly this morning and I can hear the wind already. We scored a totally cool villa overlooking a beach - the sound of the waves is soothing and it is super convenient to be so close to the kiting. I am way behind on my pics (I took about 400 yesterday alone!) because there has been so much to do and see... but I'll get to them eventually!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

They're smart here in Oz...

I must say, the Australians do some cool things. They hugely promote ‘not driving when tired’... signs encouraging breaks are everywhere along the highways... and as a result, we haven’t driven more than about 20km at a time without there being a really nice rest stop available... some of them are even a few hundred meters off the road and have toilets... can you say STEALTH CAMPING!!! Oh yeah, baby! As well, most picnic areas have these really awesome electric barbeques that can be used by anyone... it is super handy for cooking, especially when the temps have been in the high 30’s and it is just too hot to cook inside the camper van.
Speaking of too hot... we are now in Nowra (near Sydney)... it was 42 degrees Celsius here today with gale-force winds... apparently there is some amazing sport climbing around here, so we are going to hit up one of the local shops tomorrow for some info. Depending on wind and weather in general, we may hang around this area for awhile. The Mambo Kite Fest is happening next weekend in Merimbula and we are likely going to attend... it is rumoured to attract over 300 kiters and windsurfers, and both Todd and I are looking forward to it!
**SIGH** I’m totally realizing how big and beautiful this country truly is, and I wish I didn’t have to leave it. I could easily entertain myself for months!! I am soooo enjoying the great people and amazing places and fantastic weather... if I didn’t get on that plane in a couple of weeks, I wonder how long it would be before anyone noticed...?? heh heh heh....