Saturday, March 25, 2000

Greetings from The Bay Of Islands NZ!

Hi Everyone!

When I last left you, it was almost exactly one month ago and we were just leaving the Royal Flying Doctors somewhere out the Back of Bourke in Australia.
From Broken Hill we made a mad dash all the way across northern NSW to Sydney to surprise SGK's Parents. You see, they flew out from CA and had planned on meeting us in Cairns after spending a week of jetlag cure in Manly. Helen must be psychic as she booked accommodations that had two bedrooms! So, after arriving on the Steyne at 2:30am and spending what would prove to be our last night in Daisy, we met them for Breakfast!
Helen and Andy had planned to see all of the sights in Sydney that week, but first SGK and I had some work to do - yes I know it's sad, but we had to put Daisy up for sale. Sniff. The very next day, after washing and unpacking Daisy we headed down to the Kings Cross car market for what we assumed would be a long week selling Daisy, but as it would turn out, within 2hours of arriving there we sold her!! Yea!!! a nice English couple (he used to fly Harrier Jets for a living - way too cool a job) bought her and promised to take good care of our baby.
I won't bore you with the details of the sightseeing around Sydney with the in-laws, but jump straight to the fun stuff - we were off to Far North Queensland where I haven’t been since Eric and I went about 10 years ago. We had planned to do some diving, then head down the coast for Brisbane to fly out to New Zealand.
In our excitement about heading off to Cairns, we forgot to look at the weather until the last minute - good thing we did though, as a Cyclone was passing through Cairns the day we were supposed to leave!!!! This caused us to change our plans and head to Brisbane instead, and then drive north to Cairns. Then we found out that our tickets to Auckland couldn't be changed to depart from Cairns, so we changed plans 180 degrees again to go to Cairns first and proceed with the original plan, but only delayed a week to let the cyclone pass. This gave us the opportunity to see Sydney's famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Sydney's Mardi Gras reminded us of Halloween in San Francisco - only with a parade. All the "Tribe" was out. We kept an eye out for one of our friends who was in the parade, but never saw him (we had arranged to meet him at a certain spot, but the crowd was too much to allow us to get there).
The day after the Parade we got on the plane for Cairns - an eventful flight thanks to some Pommie bastard who was sitting behind me. He demanded that I keep my seat upright as he claimed that he had no room. Like I did either???? When I refused, he waited until I dosed off then kicked my seat so hard that my head struck the seat back in front of me. This caused me to jump out of my seat to confront the asshole. He freaked, and called the stewardess claiming that I struck him (a blatant lie). The passenger sitting next to him supported my story, but they still moved the moron to first class!!!! Then when we changed planes in Brisbane, he called the cops! After having SGK and her parents support me to the cops, we managed to get on the flight to Cairns. I hope he catches gangrene in his willie and it falls off.
Cairns was exactly as I remembered it. The Kebab shop where I had my very first Kebab is still there (Remember those Eric???) and so is the End Of The World; An enormous bar that won't let you in unless you claim to "Intend to Dine" even though they don't serve food. We booked a dive trip to Cod Hole on Mike Ball's Supersport at 1/2 price as we were filling seats that would otherwise go vacant then headed up to Kuranda.
Kuranda is a "Market" town that has a scenic train ride to get to it, then you leave it by Gondolla back to the seashore. Market is in quotes for a very good reason as the town is nothing but a collection of over priced ticky tacky shops, but the Gondola ride down is fantastic! I would recommend to someone coming here to take the train up and the gondola down but not spend any time at all in the town itself because it sucks.
The Day after Kuranda, SGK, Dr. Keenan, and I left Helen to her own devices, and boarded Supersport for the Cod Hole. What a trip! The diving got progressively better as we headed north, and the Night dives were especially good. The Cod Hole itself was a bit of a let down as they do a fish feed there - a real circus. All the divers get to the bottom and sit in a circle as the giant Cod get fed by the divemaster. The water soon turned murky and it was worse than being at the circus. The trip was memorable though, especially because one of the Japanese divers, a man named Kats was having so much fun that it just rubbed off on everyone - even if you were miserable (we weren't) his good humour would have infected you.
After the diving we rented a car for the drive down to Brisbane. We shouldn't have done this as our time in Oz (ie: time left on my visa) was running out. We drove pretty much straight to Brisbane - through Townsville, Gladstone and Maroochydore before coming to a stop for 2 days in Surfers. The poor doctors boney butt was sore from 3 days of solid passengering in the car, and the car smelled like something that had died. To top it off SaraGrace got a speeding ticket!!!!!
Finally we bid Oz goodbye and were off to Kiwiland. SGK and I arrived a couple of days before her parents and met up with our Kiwi friends from the Inca Trail - Greg and Nicole. We also ran into Hazel and Andrew from Coral bay at the Airport (Hi Guys! Give us a ring! We sent you our cell phone number!!!!!)
We spent the next few days at Greg and Nicole’s place. Since climbing up to Machu Pichu in June they've gotten married and PREGNANT! Yes indeed, petite little Nicole looks like she has a basketball under her dress and is about to pop any minute! We bought the baby an All-Blacks jersey for it's birthday knowing full well that it'll get some good use.
After spending those few days in Auckland with our friends, we gathered Helen and Andy up in a new rental car and headed up north, which is where we are now.
Where do we go from here???
Well, tomorrow we are taking a cruise of the Islands, then are off to 90 mile beach, the Kauri Forest, and something called "Sheep World" before heading down south via Rotorua and Waitomo and the Ferry to Picton. Beware Peter, Ava and Jo - We are headed your way!!!!!!

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