Given that, plus the fact that Cindi's wrist x-rays still showed some "non union" of the bone graft (though it is MUCH better), we successfully appealed to NZ customs for a 6 month extension. We now have until mid May to get Bravo out of NZ. So the plan is to return to NZ in March to prepare to sail to Oz.
From NZ we flew to Seattle for a whirlwind quick Thanksgiving visit with friends, and the usual litany of doc and dentist checkups. Ughhhhh..... It was a quick trip indeed, and we missed catching up with several mates and family members.....for that we apologize.....will do better next trip. But Thanksgiving up at the Hawkens annual 4 day bash was great as ever
|Kevin had us covered for (in??) beer, laying in a good supply of stout, cider, pilsener and ale|
|Cindi and Hazel enjoy some quiet time|
|Fred mashes a mean spud!!!|
|Grey and Carolyn.....nice.....|
|Good times indeed!|
Great wineries in the area (Swan Valley and Margaret River) gave us plenty of chances to refill Tojo's empty shiraz tank!
|Tojo looks right at home in the vineyard, don't you think??? Notice how folks tend to give us a pretty wide berth!!!|
The Australians are world leaders in reconstructing old wrecks, including saving both metal and wood from from further decay. Amazing processes taking many years to stabilize each part.
|Preserved, reconstructed stern of the Batavia wreck|
The spring wildflowers in Western Australia were fantastic, with many species found nowhere else. Folks come from all over the world for wildflower tours in the area.
After all of this tourist sightseeing, we were itching to head back bush again. The WA coast has so many little National Parks and spots with beach access for 4 wheel drive rigs. You can hardly see them all in one trip, but we did find our share! Here are some random shots as we made our way south down the coast. (we haven't been bogged (stuck) yet, but came close a few times!!! all part of the fun!!!)
|There's got to be a story involving a kayak here!!!|
|Adjusting tire pressure for rocks and sand is an ongoing task|
|Cape Leeuwin, the most southwesterly point of Australian mainland, where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean|
|Even on nice days, the power in these southern ocean swells is fantastic!|
|These little blue-tongued skinks are common, sunning themselves in the road|
|It's mostly a bluff for the little guy, but it does get our attention!!!|
|This swimming hole, near Drafty's Camp on the Warren River, did not suck, at all|
Some of WA's national parks have some amazing limestone caves open for exploration. This one is Jewel Cave, a beaut!
Flies in Australia are, well, FLIES!!! And there can be lots of them!!!
|New addition for Tojo: we found this mesh "fly box" that fit our awning.....SWEET AS!!!|
|What could possibly go wrong???|
We really liked the historic town of Albany. Nice downtown area, surrounded by great beaches. Albany has a very well protected harbor, and was the place where the New Zealand and Aussie troops assembled to load aboard troop transport ships, headed for battle in WW 1. The most well known battle, of course, was fought at Gallipoli, commemorated by Anzac Day.
|View of the King George harbor in Albany. Must have been quite a sight as the 38 ship convoy departed in 1914.|
There are plenty of great hikes here in SW Australia. On New Years Eve we were in the Porongurup National Park. Did a fun hike up Nancy's Peak, Hayward Peak, and a scramble up Devils Slide. The day was misty and cold, but it was a good to get out before New Years Eve festivities at the caravan park.
|Cindi nears the top of Devils Slide|
The next day we moved to the Stirling Range. This park includes the highest points in Western Australia. The tallest peak, Bluff Knoll, had a good trail up one side, and more than 200 rock climbing routes on the other. We had no gear, so opted for the trail. The views from the top didn't disappoint!!!
|Bluff Knoll from a distance|
|Tojo parked in the car park below|
|Gotta love a trail crew with a sense of humor!!! (stakes found w/ other trail maintenance paraphernalia)|
The beaches of south Western Australia are world famous, and we see the reason why. For those with a 4 wheel drive rig, willing to let the tires down a bit, the beaches are truly pristine, and go on for miles and miles. Fantastic!
Well, we're now in Esperance, and have finally caught up on the blog!!! We're getting prepared for the trip across the Nullarbor Plain, a vast, flat, desert like area running along the Great Australian Bight coast. New tires for Tojo, refill the shiraz tank, add about 10 days of food, and we should be good to go. The next big adventure begins tomorrow!!!