Komodo Island

Brian took the excursion on Komodo Island to see these guys running around in the wild.  Komodo dragons are venomous and can grow up to 10 feet long.  They are pretty magnificent, he got some great shots!  Pretty much everyone who goes ashore to see them agrees once is enough.  The excursion is pricey and they kind of hang around a watering hole at the end of a long hot trek through the jungle.

 

 

 

 

Chick Days

We picked up 15 cornish rock chicks at Tractor supply this morning.  They had baby ducks, too (I wish!)  The chicks are in our little barn under a warming light for now.  When they get all of their feathers, we’ll take them out of their warming box and let them loose in the barn.

Australia

Now here’s a place we definitely had enough time in.  We spent 33 days total circumnavigating it, from Cairns to Darwin.   Here are some highlights.

We loved Tasmania. Who knew we’d find french pastries in a gorgeous seaside town?

We sailed into Sydney right past the opera house and underneath the Sydney Harbor Bridge and were greeted by Luna Park. Made me wish we’d sailed in at night time.

We visited Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville. The kangaroos were free to roam inside the park.

We even got to feed them kangaroo chow, the best $2 I’ve ever spent.

We got to pet this wombat, a chunky little fella.

Got to pet a koala, too! They are super soft.

Snorkeling again, this time with sea lions. The water was 62 degrees (!) Despite the wet suits, we were frozen.

We also visited one of the world’s largest seal colonies. They were everywhere and quite stinky.

We had a short visit to the Port Arthur penal colony in Tasmania. This is where, in 1996, a gun massacre in the gift shop resulted in transformed gun control legislation.

Even the dolphins are friendly in Australia! These guys enjoyed bow riding on one of our excursions.

The Great Barrier Reef

This was a pretty spectacular excursion from our very first stop in Australia – Cairns.  We took a high speed boat trip about 90 minutes to a large diving platform at the reef.  They put us in wetsuits and off we went.  The water was deeper than we are used to so we saw bigger fish than we are used to seeing.  Brian even got bit on the arm by one, a titan triggerfish.  It was about 2 feet long and got him bad enough to draw blood.  At least he has a story to tell…  We met a very famous maori wrass named Wally.  He is routinely fed by local marine biologists and is therefore very friendly.  He spent most of our visit hanging around with us.

Brian

Wally

Wally checking out one of the local divers

 

 

 

 

A Walking Food Tour In Auckland

Because that’s how you spend a day in a new city!  We had a fabulous time with friends taking a tour with a guide from The Big Foodie.  We started our day in a coffee roaster and ended it sampling hokey pokey ice cream (highly highly recommend that).  We sampled artisan chocolates, smoked duck, local cheeses, vegan pastries and lots of special delicacies along the way.  We enjoyed New Zealand and thought our two stops there wasn’t enough.  We wouldn’t mind another visit some day.

Conflict Island

This was one of our favorite places we visited.  It’s an atoll in Papua New Guinea and had the best snorkeling of our trip.  The fish were colorful and plentiful and the coral was gorgeous.  We snorkeled along a deep drop-off, which allowed us to see both small and large fish.  It’s the only place we came across a sea turtle.

Ureparapara

This was another first time stop for our cruise line.  Ureparapara is an island in Vanuatu which is basically a volcanic caldera that has collapsed on one side.  Imagine cruising into the cone of a volcano surrounded on three sides by 300 meter cliffs.  There are just a few hundred residents who rarely get visitors, mainly yacht cruisers and a few small cruise ships.  They were very welcoming!  There was no dock for our tenders so we went in by Zodiac.

 

 

 

Tavanipupu

This tiny spot in the Solomon Islands was a maiden visit for our cruise line.  It’s where William and Kate stopped to spend the night during their recent Asia-Pacific tour.  We had the entire island to ourselves and the locals threw a big BBQ for us.  Afterwards our ship hosted a special event where they serve caviar and champagne from a surf board in the ocean, a first for us.

Raiatea

This island is truly a jewel in French Polynesia.  We took a fabulous excursion that was both a visit to a vanilla plantation as well as a picnic on a small private motu.

After seeing this place on TV a few times, I was super excited to visit and bring home some (too many) vanilla beans.

This is how vanilla grows, on vines that crawl up trees. It’s an orchid species that has to be hand pollinated.

The smell was absolutely intoxicating.

Our picnic spot had some interesting issues.

Can you believe this water?

Well hello there.

South Pacific

It’s officially become my favorite place ever.  We have visited twice now and I’d go back tomorrow.   We snorkeled our way through the islands, giving our underwater camera a workout.

The children of Fanning Island greeted us with music and dance. It’s one of the most remote places on earth with no electricity or running water.

Well hello there.

 We snorkeled with sharks and rays in Bora Bora. Quite the experience! I could do this every day.

 So pretty.

Sargent majors in Fiji, one of our favorite places for snorkeling.

 Photo bomb!

 Underwater selfie.

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