Family reunion in New South Wales (part 3)

Thursday morning (15th April) we were up early and walked down the road to the bus stop (after Jamie had dropped Budd off first at doggy day care).

We had a quick bus ride to Gosport and then joined the double-decker express train to Sydney. It actually travelled quite slowly but we were in no hurry and enjoyed the sights along the way.

On arrival into Sydney’s Central station we changed trains to Circular Quay. We then had a wander along the waterfront and towards the Sydney Opera House admiring the views of the famous Sydney bridge and the unusual sight of its flags at half-mast as a sign of respect to Prince Philip.

By now it was time to take our place at Quay 6 to board our Captain Cook’s lunch cruise.

It was very well organised and we were shown to our table promptly and gave our orders from the fixed three course menu. We had to order our drinks via an app (which is so much slower than actually talking to a server in my humble old-fashioned opinion) but eventually our drinks turned up and Hayley and I shared a really nice bottle of pink bubbles. Whilst dining we enjoyed the sights of the City as we motored along and it was a really lovely few hours. But all too quickly we were back at Quay 6 and the family had to get off so that they could return home to pick up Budd in time.

We decided, however, to stay on the boat as it was such a lovely day so we said our farewells to them. We eventually got off at Darling Harbour an hour or so later having spent the rest of the time on the top deck taking in the breeze. We enjoyed walking along the harbour front promenade here taking in the sights and sounds and tried out a couple of hostelries. We then went up to the 26th floor of the new Crown building and enjoyed lovely views across the City although not so keen on the cost of the wine!

Moving on we headed back to the boardwalk and walked through to the historic area of The Rocks before ending up back in Circular Quay and then hopped on another train to take us home. Had been a fantastic day and we were very grateful to Jamie for coming to meet us at the train station to take us the final leg home.

Friday we had already designated a rest day after a hectic week and this turned out to be great timing as it had turned a bit chilly and drizzly. In the morning Hayley and I headed out to the local supermarket for some supplies and we had decided to have a family roast that day. Later on we all headed to Erina Fair for some retail therapy for a while. On our return Hayley and I prepared and cooked all the food for a real family feast which went down a treat!

Saturday morning we awoke to another rainy day. So we changed our plans and went to the Bateau Bay 10 pin bowling alley. We had two games and I was my usual rubbish self and managed to come last in both games…. but, nevertheless, we had lots of fun.

In the evening it was takeaway and movie night so we had pizza and watched Godzilla… Not sure I would have chosen this film but, hey ho, it’s the boys’ school holidays so we were happy to go with the flow. After the boys had gone to bed we stayed up late to watch Prince Philip’s funeral – all very sad, especially seeing the Queen sitting alone due to Covid restrictions.

Sunday morning and the weather had cheered up so we headed back out to Terrigal to see the new walkway bridge which has just opened and joins The Haven and the town centre around the cliff thus avoiding the very steep hill walks. It had been really nicely done and we enjoyed sitting half way along watching the sea beneath us.

Arriving in the town we had a walk around and then headed to The Grand Pavilion – an Indian restaurant – for lunch. Well, this has to be the best Indian food we have found in Australia so far by a long way. Was very very good!

On the way back to the cars (again via the new bridge) we stopped off for some more of those fantastic donuts which we took home for tea. We left the family at this point and headed back via the car wash and the petrol station for some diesel in preparation for our trip back to Queensland in the morning. That evening we had our donuts and another nice family evening at home along with more giant doggy cuddles.

Monday morning we were up really early and, by 6.50 am, we were saying our sad farewells after getting lots of love and hugs from the family. Had been a fantastic 10 days and we had really enjoyed ourselves, just couldn’t believe it was already time to go. We promised to return for more family time later in the year before we head home to the UK, whenever that may be!

We drove for a few hours until around 9.00 am and stopped for breakfast at a cafe. We then drove until about 2.30 pm when we stopped at the Italian Historical Village (which was a bit strange to say the least) and had an average lunch at the Italian Cafe. The birds were really noisy and we wondered what was going on and then we spotted the python at the top of the post. Guess they were warning each other about the snake then?!?

Throughout the trip the roads were only busy near big towns and, largely, it was pretty quiet so we enjoyed the drive. Love the road signs in Australia too – not sure you’d get away with that one at home LOL.

We arrived back around 5pm and quickly got ourselves back onboard Morphie. We were very pleased to see her safe and sound in her slip. After such a busy time we had a leisurely evening on board before having an early night, pretty weary after the 800 km drive.

Tuesday morning we were up reasonably early and popped into The Galley for breakfast. We went into the office to pick up some post and another parcel before heading down the M1 to the Gold Coast University Hospital where Richard had an appointment in the cardiology measurements clinic for an echocardiogram. We won’t, however, find out the results until his next outpatient appointment on 7th May.

We drove back up to the Westfield Shopping Centre in Coomera and did a bit of food shopping before popping into our doctors. We were then given our first Covid vaccinations and were asked to wait for half an hour before we left to ensure no ill effects. All went well and the next one will happen in around 10-11 weeks time….. The doctor has also asked to see us again next week just to ensure our platelet levels are OK and unaffected by the vaccine. We were very lucky to find this doctor, he is just great!

Back on board we enjoyed sundowners in the cockpit before a Netflix evening and another early night.

Wednesday morning neither of us felt great which wasn’t totally unexpected. So we took it slowly although Richard did manage to install some lovely new Luci stringed solar cockpit lights….very cleverly using bra hooks to hold up the cable…. and stitching them into seams to avoid making new holes in our cockpit canvas. This installation also means we can take them down easily when we need to.

Here they are, job completed. They give off a nice warm white light and really illuminate the cockpit well. We are both very happy with the outcome and look forward to using them at anchor.

Whilst sitting in the cockpit we were chatting to one of the office girls who was searching for another free marina berth as one of the motorboats had taken an allocated one and she had a yacht coming in very soon. She told us that there had been a terrible accident in the yard with one of the guys getting injured by the boat lift which had resulted in catastrophic leg injuries. As a result he had now lost his leg below the knee. Such sobering and shocking news, we really feel for him and his family at this difficult time.

We then headed to the Boatworks laundry but found every single machine busy with lots of time left until they were finished their wash cycles. These machines are pretty slow too so, as we still had the car, we decided to go to the public laundromat in Coomera instead.

Yes we had to pay but we were back in the marina with all the laundry done in much better time than we would have been otherwise. Back on board, with us both feeling still feeling a bit rough, we decided to take the rest of the day off and were in bed by the early evening.

This morning, Thursday, we are feeling a bit better but still not ‘normal’ yet so another day of blogging for me and shopping for Richard as we go through our material supplies in preparation for the next few weeks. Our plan is to work hard on Morphie and prepare her for a cruise north (now that the cyclone season is at an end) with some general maintenance like antifouling, varnishing, waxing and polishing etc. We will stay here in the Boatworks (both in and out of the water during this period) while we wait for the results from Richard’s heart tests and we are really hopeful that this will be the final hospital sign off that we are both looking for, so that we can cast off the lines without the constant need to keep returning here on a monthly basis.

We have had a few people ask us recently when we are coming home. Well how long is a piece of string?!? Even if we could get a flight home, the transit hubs remain either closed to transit passengers or are on the UK’s ‘red’ list which would mean hotel quarantine. With Australia still closed to international passengers we would also be abandoning Morpheus with no way of returning to her…. So we’ll continue to sit tight here until there is more certainty and, hopefully, get some proper sailing in very soon!

Anyway, things appear to be returning to normal at home, and hope that the good progress made to date continues so that restrictions continue to be eased. But guess you might still need some love and hugs so here is another indigenous Australian animal picture to make you smile. This one is a bandicoot which is another small marsupial but with a difference, as it’s pouch is on it’s back so that it doesn’t get filled with dirt when the mother digs.