Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Visitor #1: James Legrand - Part 1

The first of many visitors?

Amy's brother James recently came to stay with us for about 3 weeks. We were overjoyed that he was able to come out. His plan was to sit on the beach with a beer and relax.

He did this for 1.5 days.

The rest of the time we had him fishing, diving, snorkeling, hiking, surfing, and seeing the sights around Manly and Sydney.

Stunning views met us around every bend in the trail

He has still not recovered from his vacation, returning to the brutal cold of a Massachusetts winter, surely did not help.

James in front of the largest waterfall we encountered

One of the larger adventures we took him on was an excursion to the Blue Mountains for a stunning hike through the aptly named Valley of the Waterfalls.

View Larger Map

James and I took this trip while poor Amy was stuck at work but we were sure to have enough fun for 3 people to make up for the deficit.

I almost perished scrabbling over the slick rocks for this picture

The views of the surrounding valley, as well as the waterfalls themselves were absolutely stunning. This trek, and the greater Blue Mountains National Park are about a 2 hour drive from where we live, but it seemed like another world.

Those convicts sure knew how to pick a country

Stay tuned, we have lots more pictures of other adventures we undertook while James was visiting including another hike, diving, and watersking.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

They didn't stand a chance

Me with my first Kingfish. They fight like monsters.

With summer in full swing, the fish have been biting with frenzied tenacity and we have been catching ourselves dinner nearly every time we have gone out. Here is a gallery of some of the fish we have caught with friends and visitors. If you needed any further encouragement, see this as evidence of why you should come visit.

James L. with a Kingfish. It was large enough to eat 4 different ways, including as sashimi.

James P. with a Shovel-nose Shark. Caught off the ski boat in the Hawksbury River.

Ryan came fishing with us once while visiting and caught us a Jewfish for dinner. It would not marry him to extend his visa so....we ate it with some Moroccan spices.

James P. with one of the first Jewfish we caught

Colin with his first Kingfish. To be eaten tonight!

James P. with a Kingie of his own. We ate it with cajun seasoning.

Lesson to be learned: Come to Australia and we will catch and eat tasty fish!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Wet and English Xmas

We celebrated the recent Xmas holiday in style with our friends from around the world. Xmas day festivities were hosted by and English couple, Kat and Webs so we got to experience their traditions as an exciting novelty.

But first off, we started the day with driving up to the marina and taking our boat out for some Xmas morning skiing. Amy was akin to a kid waiting to open a present she has been asking for her whole life on the drive up, repeating over and over, "I can't believe we are going to ski on Christmas!!!!!!"

We got to the boat and the first thing we noticed was that we were the only people on the water. Apparently, everyone else in Australia decided to waste their time with family on this perfect opportunity to hit the water. We wasted no time.

After the ski, Amy and I sped home and grabbed the surf boards, determined to catch a wave before the Xmas festivities began. The beach was packed and the waves were pumping but we managed to catch a few in before rushing back home to finish cooking and change.

We brought our home made biscotti and store bought beer to Kat and Webs' and immediately began enjoying their delicious food. The Xmas meal started off with an English tradition of "Christmas Crackers" These are small, hand held firecrackers that you pull apart to make a bang and to get at the toys and party hats inside. The party hats were soon donned by all those in attendance and toys played with. Mine was a terrible fake mustache. It hurt to wear it.

Dumping snow on Amy, to make her feel, "at home"

In between courses we all opened our Secret Santa presents. Santa apparently does know how to get to Australia. We followed up dinner with our whole party heading down to the beach for a swim and bodysurf, completing our trifecta of watersports for the day. Amy broke out a can of fake snow that was subsequently made into snowballs and throw at eachother.

It was a great day, filled with lots of fun in the sun and fantastic food. A warm and wet Xmas is the way to go.