Friday, January 27, 2012

Portsea - Kayaking with the "Dolphins"

So we went down to Portsea to go kayaking with the we thought. We get in the water and head out. We stop every once in while to listen to our guide talk about the expensive houses on the cliffs and some other facts. Then we get to this beach area, get out and walk up to this look out spot. They gave us a granola bar, and a juice box, which was a nice little snack. We hung out for about 10-15 minutes and then got back in our kayaks and headed back in the direction we came. This whole time I'm thinking when are we going to see the dolphins. As we continued back we passed by the area where we started from, and kayaked for about another 5 minutes or so, then we stopped. Our guide proceeded to tell us that about 10 meters (10.9 yards for the non metric countries) in front of us was the "dolphin sanctuary" where the dolphins come to have there babies. They have them here because it's shallow and a pretty safe place they can leave them while the mom goes out to get them food to bring back and feed them. So needless to say, there were no dolphins, false advertising! After we sat around for a few more minutes we headed back. We were all pretty bummed that we didn't see any dolphins. Still hopeful though that I will get to swim with dolphins at some point on our trip.

Scott was so focused on the back of the car not hanging in the driveway he forgot to check the front of the car. Its hard to tell but he is not touching the car in front of him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Queen Victoria Gardens

Open Air / Local Products / Farmers Markets all rolled into one are common in Australia, well at least in Melbourne. This is the largest in the southern hemisphere. Caught some traditional Australian Didgeridoo music here.

Melbourne CBD (Central Business District aka Downtown)

We took a self guided tour to the Queen Victoria Gardens which included the Shrine of Remembrance.

The Shrine of Rememberance is located in Melbourne and is dedicated to those who lost there lives in World War I (1914-18), as well as the men, women, and children who were at home during this time. We highly recommend visiting if you have the chance to come to Australia.

David (guy on the right) we met in Fiji. He guided us with his self guided tour pamphlet. He is from Canada and he too has come to Australia on the 1 year work/holiday visa.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Australian Open

The six of us took the train over to the Australian Open. It was a very HOT day! We stayed around for a couple of hours watched a handful of matches. We would have probably stayed longer, but there was not much shade and the heat was quickly draining us of our energy.

Didn't know who she was at the time, but this China hopeful Na Li, ranked 6.

Found shade!

Former number ones from back in the day, Martina Navratalova and Martina Hingis.

Get your tickets to the gun show.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ozzie Land Day 1

We landed in Australia and Scott and Courtney picked us up and let us stay with them for a bit. The first night we did the most Australian things we could think of, set a Jenga record (stacked 36 levels high) and ate Kangaroo for dinner. It was delicious and tastes like steak. Alicia was not an instant fan.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Waya, in Yasawa, in Fiji

We stayed at the Octopus Resort for 10 days. Our room didn't have any airconditioning so it was pretty warm during the days and nights. We couldn't get rid of the heat, but we hid under the palapas (straw unbrellas) and read or played games or took a quick dip in the ocean or pool to cool down. Some of the more expensive rooms had airconditioning but we "roughed" it.

Shout out to Iowa and the other transplanted card players. A little up and down action.

Waya is a small island with 4 villages and one resort. Most of the Octopus employees come from Nalauwaki village which is about a 15 minute walk from the resort. Octopus resort also holds fundraising activities for Nalauwaki and their scholarship fund as the village has few other means for income. A kindergarden school was donated to the village by a generous couple. On our visit to the school we were met by some eager children that we were told would high-five us to death. High-five they did!!! They performed a few songs in english and fijian to show us what they've learned. Everyone seemed very happy, welcoming, and friendly.

Many of the Fijians walked around barefoot and even hiked barefoot. I figure if they can do it so can we. So I set out to build up my "Fiji feet", but Alicia said I was on my own. One morning we went on a strenuous 2 hour hike to a mountain peak. Our guide started off barefoot, but he stopped by Nalawaki village to get some shoes so I was sure glad I decided not to go barefoot. The climb was steep and there were some very difficult rocks to ascend, but the feeling of success and the view were worth it. On our way down there was a tropical downpour on a on a path that was basically in a rainforest. It was extremely slippery on our way down, and of course we took a few spills. I think Alicia was in competition for the most falls...I think she won.  =) We were far from resort life; it was amazing. Since we were already soaking wet we jumped in the stream we crossed on the way up. Unfortunately we didn't catch any leeches, maybe next time.

Nalawauki Villiage where we started the hike.

Big spiders in tropical weather.

The steps to the top were ridiculous. I'm not sure I consider these steps when we had to be pulled up them.



The snorkeling right in front of the resort was amazing. Alicia, Tony, and Emma actually took a boat to some other islands (Henry stayed home sick and slept all day) and found that the snorkeling was better in front of the resort. Check out these colors.

The dining hall had a sand floor which is the best idea ever. No spills to clean up and glasses didn't break when dropped. I'm not so sure the 5 second food rule applies to sand. We were notified of the start of activities by the beating of a lali drum and meals from the sound of a conch shell.

Delicious daily menu.

We met a handful of other Americans, Canadians, and Europeans that had Australian work/holiday visas and were on their way to australia for 6-12 months and then planned to travel through southeast asia. Sounds like a good idea. The rest of our pictures:

Yup, you guessed it, that's Tony in the background.

Coconuts and heads don't mix.

The one who got away.

To protect the reef the boat can't come to shore so these guys are swimming several barrels of oil to the island. Then they had to roll them up the beach to store them. This is their version of the gym.

Every night a bonfire was planned it rained.

Our crab got 2nd place and we were rewarded with 2 drinks. Not bad eh? Even though the crab did all the work they didn't give it anything.

We upgraded to these fancy bungalows for a couple of nights.

Henry won a limbo contest and got a bottle of champagne. Who knew he had those skills. He definitely needs to add that to his resume.

Tony and Emma won the balloon dance contest and got 2 free drinks at the bar.

Our last sunset in Fiji.

It was hard to capture the colors, but these rain clouds were amazing.

The weekly activities.

This guy is large and in charge.

What better instrument to bring to an island than a ukulele.

Goodbye Fiji...until next time!

Video Section for Your Viewing Pleasure:
Fun with Coconuts Monty Python Style

Traditional Fijian Song and Dance (and Pranks)