Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sailing the Whitsundays

It's our anniversary this week.  Shon and I have been married 15 years.  More on that later.

In celebration of our marriage, we decided to take a little holiday together.  We booked a sailing trip through the Whitsundays.  They are a group of islands situated on the Great Barrier Reef.  Though we have never  been scuba diving (plenty of snorkeling though) we decided to give it a go and signed up for the "all you can dive" package.  We ended up doing 5 "discovery" dives - we had to stay with a diving instructor (Tristan) and couldn't go lower than 15 m.

My sleeve says "Sail, Dive, Sleep, Repeat."  Sounds like fun!

Here's our boat, the Wings 2.  It was comfortable, and the food was great!
We left from Airlie Beach, and sailed around for a couple days.  It took a bit to get used to the motion of the ship, but we didn't have any sea sickness problems.  
In Airlie Beach, Queensland.

There was a yacht race.  The water is so blue!

The crew were very friendly.  Here is Captain Pete.

Diving was really fun, especially once we figured out how to control our buoyancy and stop from floating into stuff without using our hands (waving your hands around does no good and just makes the water cloudy.)  The reef is gorgeous.  There were so many colorful fish.  We found Nemo, and a lion fish (very poisonous).  One of my favorite parts of being under water was listening to the whales.   I could have just sat and listened until my air ran out.  They were very vocal.  In addition to humpbacks, there was a pod of pilot whales swimming through.  We saw a couple of large  humpbacks putting on a show.  It was amazing.  (It looked like there was an explosion in the water.  I am amazed at how far out of the water such a large animal can go.)  We saw a few dolphins and sea turtles as well.  No sharks or jelly fish (though just for the record, I'm more afraid of jelly fish than sharks.)
Whitehaven Beach is gorgeous.  We could see dozens of sting rays swimming in the water below the lookout.

We climbed over some rocks and found a secluded beach.  Sitting on the rocks, we saw a large animal surface.  It looked like a fat dolphin.  It was a Dugong!  I've been looking for two years and this is the first I have seen.  They are the Aussie cousin to the manatee. 

Whitehaven beach was so amazing.  I've never seen sand like that.  It was like snow - fluffy and white.

What a sunset! 

We had such a great time that we can't wait to go back and take our family with us.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Book week was in August.  The kids dress up as a book character and have a parade at school.

Here's Caleb from Where's Wally? (or Where's Waldo? if you're American.)

Abby as Angelina Ballerina

Sarah had to go as an Australian colonist (or convict) to go along with their curriculum for this term.  

Emily's class theme was fantasy, which was an easy one - she used her Hogwarts robe from the Harry Potter movie premier night.  (Yes, we went at midnight.  But I'm a meanie and made B and E go to school bright and early.)  I borrowed Emily's "Muggle" tshirt for the occasion.  
Emily has been working on a different costume lately.  Last night's Primary Spectacular "Wearable Art" was, well, spectacular.  We will be scrubbing blue makeup off her face for days to come.  (For a school that won't even let the girls wear fingernail polish, better yet, mascara, this is really getting gussied up.)

Congratulations to Sarah who received an art award at a city-wide competition.
Here's a nervous smile for you.
And Congratulations to Caleb for receiving an award in the school assembly for "Staying Calm." 

 Each class had a calm child receive a certificate.  They were a very peaceful bunch.  I did find it amusing, because the day before, Caleb had gotten mad and kicked the window in the car.  It was slightly open, and just that little movement was enough to knock it to the ground, where it smashed into a thousand tiny glass cubes.  Caleb was upset (being the calm, sensitive child that he is) but he was even more upset when I told him he would have to pay part of the cost from his savings.  He has been saving to buy a remote controlled helicopter.  He will have to wait a couple more weeks.

Last week we went ice skating.  It was fun to see the little kids improve over the course of two hours, from hanging to the wall, to independently waddling across the rink.  On the drive home, Caleb said something funny.  He asked if we could go back.  I said we would probably go again some time.  He said "Good, because I forgot to jump up in the air and twirl around."  I love his confidence.

And speaking of funny things said, my children crack me up.  We were talking about taking temperatures.  One of the girls asked what the temperature of a dead person would be.  I said it would probably be the same temperature as the room it was in.  She said "so, if you put a dead body in a room and took its temperature, you could find out what temperature the room was?"  I was like, "um . . .  yes, or you could just use a thermometer and take the temperature of the room," to which she answered "Oh, yeah, that would be easier. . . and you wouldn't have to kill anyone!" (?!?)