Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Table is set and manicotti is served
This past weekend we had out friends around to celebrate Thanksgiving.  It was a first for some of our guests and we took the time to explain its origins and traditions, as well as how America's indigenous people are so much better off today than they were when the Pilgrims arrived.

Best part of the turkey

We enjoyed a feast of manicotti, turkey, sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows, greens, and ended it all with an apple pie and passionfruit cheesecake.  The manicotti and sweet potatoes were the biggest hits with the newcomers at the table.  Amy and I were saddened and dismayed that people grow up around the world without ever thinking of combining sweet potatoes with marshmallows.  My friend, you have never truly lived.

A special batch of cappuccino stout was also brewed and served for the occasion.

We even had some NFL piped in over the internet thanks to Amy's brother, James and we got to explain the comparatively byzantine rules and play structure to our local rugby fans.

Sunset over Manly, the pilgrims should have kept on sailing
Sunset looking inland

We were treated to a beautiful sunset as the clouds broke from a week of rain just in time for our guests to arrive.

Dig in!

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First summer camping trip of 2011

Ahhh, tough life
Summer has arrived early this year and to celebrate we ventured back to Treachery Campground for some fun in the sun this past weekend.  Amy and I arrived early on Friday afternoon and set up camp for the rest of our expedition, hoarding the best camp site (always, always hoard) and getting the fire going.

Shaping punji stakes for perimeter defense.  These same stakes were later used to toast s'mores.

Splitting wood for the fire, still have all my fingers and toes
Treachery Campground, as I have highlighted in an earlier post is an awesome spot.  It is free form camping so you can set up anywhere in this huge area (once again, hoarding is key) and it has direct access to a massive and beautiful beach.  The last time we were up, the waves were massive and we weren't able to venture into the water.

Climbing the dune from the campsite to the beach.  It is a mountain of sand.

This past weekend though, the ocean must have known it owed us one as the swell was perfect for bodysurfing and swimming around.

We ended up bodysurfing for hours on Saturday.  I managed to catch a barrel for the first time - which is epic.  I have attached a video of this, it is not me but it is here so you can get an idea of what went down.  18, 26, and 30 seconds in are 3 examples.  The water cascading over your head and you shoot down a hollow tube of water was something I had never achieved before:

James, Chris, and Amy (left to right) catching the same wave

James and Chris venturing out for one last session
Chris dropping on on James' wave.  Sorry, mate.

James in the tube

Webs in the wave
James and Chris on a wave

Chris, full speed ahead

The girls watch on as we display our awesome bodysurfing prowess

After exhausting ourselves in the water all day, we took our beaten, sunburned bodies back to the camp site to start a fire and cook dinner.  There is something awseome about cooking over an open fire, food seems to taste better.


After a few more beers, it was time for an encore of s'mores, which have become a regular fixture of our camping (as they should be).

Debs and James contemplating another marshmallow
OK, just one more.....

Mother nature also put on a show for us over the weekend and we managed to see a pod of dolphins, a king parrot, a momma possum carrying her baby on her back, and several dingos.  There were also vaious fish swimming around us as we were swimming around.  Kat even mentioned to accidentally pick one up when she went to pick up a ball that we were chucking around.  We also managed to spot about a dozen shooting stars on Friday evening.
Dolphins, not sharks

We are looking forward to a nice long summer and lots of opportunities to top or fantastic weekend at Treachery.

The view of Treachery Beach from the headland

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Boating in the Harbor (Harbour)

Harbor Bridge in the background and a huge tanker coming at us

The forecast for this past weekend was looking absolutely beautiful so Amy and I rented a boat and ventured out into the harbor in search of dinner.

It was a stunning day, warm and sunny and we proceeded from the boat pickup in Drummoyne to Balmoral in search of some live bait to entice some monster kingfish.

After this it was up Middle Harbor to enjoy the idyllic, tree-lined waterways.  We had a quick lunch up there and then off to North Head to catch the big one.

James calm, cool, and collected

The ladies hard at work

North Head, Manly is on the other side of this

The city, off in the distance
We anchored up at a promising spot and all the lines were dropped down.  The sounder at times could not keep up with the volume of fish that were swimming by, although none of them were interested in what we had to offer.  Still, it was a promising glimpse of conditions as the weather warms up even more.
The sounder, struggling to keep up with the school of bait fish below us

We had also brought along James and Debs and this turned out to be good planning on our part as Debs caught the only edible fish of the day.
Debs clutching victory

The fish did not look large enough in the last shot, here is a closeup

It was a massive flathead, around 57cm which we brought back to their new place in Dee Why and devoured as the exhaustion of having fun in the sun all day long finally set in.

We are really happy we discovered this boat rental place and look forward to using it several more times this summer.  Eventually, we will find that monster fish and make him/her pay.