Tuesday, March 12, 2013

David and Jane's visit to Rebak

6th January 2013

After a wonderful three weeks in Melbourne we returned to Rebak Marina and Moonfleet on 6th January 2013, with just a week before my brother, David, and his wife, Jane were due to arrive to spend 3 weeks onboard Moonfleet with us.
We spent this week finishing outstanding jobs on Moonfleet and sorting out new ones as they arose.  Alan had lots of jobs to do up the mast and I must have hauled him up and down at least 6 times!  Thank goodness for an electric winch.
Alan fitting the spreader caps

14th January 2013

Thankfully David and Jane’s flight into Langkawi arrived on time at 9.30pm as the last ferry to Rebak is at 10.30pm, but it is only a 5 mins taxi drive from the airport 

Fast ferry to Rebak from Langkasuka

For the first few days they enjoyed unwinding around the resort – on the beach,

Dave and Jane 
 by the pool

Alan and Di

Dave and Jane 

One morning we enjoyed a very leisurely breakfast at the resort.

Breakfast at the Taj Hotel Resort on Rebak Island
17th January 2013

With a planned itinerary to show Dave and Jane some of the 99 islands of Langkawi with left Rebak Marina.  However when we got out we realised that the best made plans and all that ………………… The  wind was over 20kts and blowing straight through the anchorage off Puala Beras Basah, which is a favourite of mine, so not suitable for a lunchtime stop and a swim.
Puala Beras Basah taken on a previous visit in perfect
So it was on to the next planned stop to see the white bellied sea eagles and red kites swoop down to be fed by the tourist boats, but again the conditions to anchor were not good.
Red Kites and White Bellied Eagles seen on a previous
Eventually we anchored at Puala Dayang Bunting and, although the sea was calm, the wind came down off the high cliffs in bullets, swinging us violently through 180 deg.   However we knew the holding here was good but it was a disappointing day for Dave and Jane.  After the tour boats had made their last trips to take people to the legendary Tasik Dayang Bunting – the Pregnant Maidens Lake, which got its name after Kedah princess, forbidden to marry her lover, fell pregnant after swimming in the lake.  The angry king banished her to this island where she drowned herself and became a rock.  The lake is fresh water and said to aid conception – too late for me!
The jetty to the fresh water lake at Dayang Bunting

Dave and Jane at the Pregnant Maiden's Lake

On our way to the lake we saw a number of Macaque monkeys.

Please don't take my photo - I'm very shy
The next day the wind had abated a little, but as the forecast was still for high winds, we decided to go into Telaga marina to hire a car for land trip around the island instead.

19th January 2013

It was a difficult start to the day as the car we ordered from Mr Din didn’t materialise and an hour later when one did arrive it was a clapped out piece of junk with non-opening windows and no air-con.  He agreed to drive us to the airport where we managed to get a suitable modern car.

We had a very enjoyable day driving all round Langkawi, our first stop was to visit Atma Alam Batik Art Village at Matsirat, where you can watch the artists painting the batik designs on silk or cotton fabric. (Unfortunately no photos allowed)   We bought a few gifts here but could have spent much more!  Our next stop was at Tanjung Rhu, on the north of the island, where we had lunch close to the beautiful beach.
Tanjung Rhu

Jane and Di and Tanjung Rhu - upmarket resort behind
the fence!

Dave enjoying a green coconut drink
Our last stop of the day was at Kuah ferry port to check out of Malaysia in preparation for leaving for Thailand the following day.



29th December 2012

Suzy and Paul Natasha’s parents invited us to spend the night with them at their new home in Bendigo a good 2 hour drive away from Melbourne.  Bendigo is a very interesting town with many grand old buildings.  It was established in the 19th century as a result of rich find of gold here during the Australian Gold Rush.   There are many open-caste mines as well as a network of deep shaft mines some of which are still operational.  I had been down one of the underground mines to 90 metres on a previous occasion, which gave me a real insight to the horrors of working in such conditions with only a candle to see by!

Suzy and Paul's house

Garden view to the lake

Alan and Paul at the lake now very low in water

Suzy and Paul’s house, a 1970 architectural designed house, is a little way out of Bendigo in the bush, and is situated on a large plot with many gum trees and a lake, although they are trying to establish a more Mediterranean garden against all the odds of the extreme temperatures of 40+C in the summer and lack of rain.  But if they are successful it should be a beautiful place.

BBQ breakfast at Paul and Suzy's house
We enjoyed a meal at an Italian restaurant in the evening and Paul cooked us a great, true to form, Aussie breakfast on the BBQ the next morning.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria, Australia

27th December 2012
Healesville Sanctuary was established in 1934 and covers 74 acres. It is a zoo specialising in native Australian animals and has a history of breeding rare and endangered species.  It was about an hours drive from Steve and Natasha’s home, so we all decided to spend today here.  This was our last full day with Jules and Nicky, before they left for  a few days in Japan.
It was a very interesting day seeing some animals that are not easy to find outside captivity, especially the Tasmanian Devil and Echidna.
Tasmanian Devil now threatened by a mouth cancer

Tasmanian Devil

Ferocious Tasmanian Tiger - this ones stuffed but Ben and Emily
 looked now extinct scared by it! 

An Echidna - a fairly common Australian native animal
but rarely seen in the wild

No Zoo is complete without the kangaroo!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cycle Ride with Emily

Boxing Day - 26th December 2012
Jules and Nicky decided to take a drive down the Great Ocean Road today, Ben had a play date and Alan was helping Steve with some outside work sanding down window frames ready for painting.

Busy painting

Emily and I cycled along Gardiner Creek and the River Yarra cycle tracks into the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, a distance of about 13kms each way.  The weather was perfect with clear blue skies. We had a very enjoyable amble around the lake and through the gardens, stopping for lunch before we cycled back home again.

Emily in the Botanical Gardens, Melbourne

This photo is for all the tea drinkers!

This photo is for our dear friends Christine and John
who love Camelias

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Christmas Day 2012

Ben with Airfix plane from Jules and

Christmas Day 2012

Ben and Emily slept surprisingly late this morning but they didn't waste any time before they were into opening their stocking presents, 

Ben favourite Lego - Star Wars from
Granny and Grandpa
Happy Emily

Emily opening Rummy-O from Mummy and

after which we enjoyed our traditional scrabbled eggs, smoked salmon and champagne breakfast.

Christmas breakfast
Emily couldn’t wait to try out her new bike so after breakfast we went over to their school, which is just opposite their house, where she could ride around the playground.
Emily on her new bike

She's just tried out her new bike lock
Late morning Suzy and Paul arrived with Natasha’s grandmother, Joan as did Natasha’s sisters, Tamara and Juanita and their husbands and children.  Their was a total of 13 adults and 4 children for Christmas dinner!  Juanita’s children spent Christmas day with their father.

Suzy arrived with table decorations that looked beautiful when she had finished.

Suzy adding her very artistic touch to the table

Chocolate bon-bons - the final touch on the olive trees
Whilst the adults enjoyed pre- dinner drinks, the children opened yet more presents.  Ben was delighted to have a second Darth Vader light saber to be able to fight against his friends, after he’d practiced with Jules and Suzy

Darth Vader battles with Suzy and

Steve and Natasha’s recently completed extension and renovation was such a wonderful space for us all to spend Christmas.

Tamara, Paul, Ruby and Lily
Suzy and Emily - Emily wearing the dress I made her for

Steve very successfully cooked the turkey on the Webber BBQ

Steve preparing the turkey for the BBQ - whilst Alan makes

What a spread!
Waiting patiently to start a wonderful meal

and we had huge prawns, honey glazed ham, studded with cloves, and some delicious salads prepared by Natasha’s sisters.  Paul, Natasha’s father, traditionally makes the Christmas pudding and brandy custard that as usual was very scrummy

Jules and Steve

What a wonderful Christmas Day – Thank-you Steve and Natasha.