NORTHERN SUMMER 2007.
And so it starts again this year but first a bit of a catch up
on what happened in Australia & New Zealand.
I had two full anaesthetics before Christmas. Early December
the gall bladder which played up in Zakinthos last year was removed. Key hole
surgery is great! Operated on at 13:00 one day and out of hospital 07:00 the
Irene made use of the health system with a full check up and
discovered a thyroid problem. This has proved benign so we are right to go
without further medical treatment.
Samantha had an ankle reconstruction mid December which put
her out of action for 6 weeks and during that period Irene played Dr Mum and
chief cook and bottle washer. Sammy is going to come visit with us in the
Caribbean this December.
Paul is great and has been working as a project buyer for a
major health care organisation who runs retirement projects. In the New Year he
started looking for a project/development manager’s role and at this time has a
number of prospects.
We caught up with lots of old friends – the Muller’s &
Robertson’s for some great sailing around Sydney Harbour, the Colagiuri’s for
the annual Christmas Eve party, the O’Sullivans generously invited all the Hunts
for Christmas lunch and of course Christmas Day afternoon at the Gallagher’s for
kedgeree. Good thing I was circumspect with my liquor intake as the cops
breathalysed me 100metres from our door on our way home! Passed OK!
Irene & I have just spent the last month in
Zealand and had a ball. Spent time on the
Marlborough Sounds with some good sailing mates, Bob Culbert & Lorraine Swan
and then with John Gilder and Sue Donovan off ‘Storyteller’ we toured the
South Island. Picked up a car in Blenheim and
went to Kaikoura, Akaroa (Banks Peninsular) then across the Canterbury Plains to
Arthur’s Pass and on to Franz Joseph Glacier. Took a helicopter ride over both
the Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers which was awesome.
John Gilder, Sue
Donovan & the princess on Franz Joseph
On the way down the West coast we stopped for lunch at
Hokatika and chanced on a ‘beach sculptor competition from driftwood’ very
clever stuff and the best was a wind vane which was majestic.
From there we travelled to Arrowtown just out of Queenstown
then on to Te Anau with a side trip across the Lake Manapouri, an inspection of the Manapouri
Power Station and a trip along Doubtful Sound. Well worth the effort
The Old Villa
B&B Arrowtown talk about 5 stars!
From there we spent 5 days on Stewart Island with John &
Amanda Cushen whom we met in Marmaris Turkey. We had a great helicopter
ride round the whole island. Visited Ulva Island a bird sanctuary where it took 6
years to rid the island of rats prior to establishing endangered birds on the
John & Amanda introduced us to Sqizzy, a local character
who runs a pleasure fishing boat. We caught so many fish that we all had to stop
after reaching the limit of 10 fish per person on board. The four of us left the
boat with 6½ kilos of beautifully filleted blue cod which lasted us for most of
the main meals while we were on the island.
Self, Sue, Irene
& John with 6 ½ kilos Blue Cod
On the way to Auckland we
stopped in Invercargill and visited the Bert Munro museum and the ‘World’s
Fastest Indian’ and then on to Auckland to visit with our daughter Gabby,
son-in-law Richard and grandson Hudson. Gabs is pregnant again with another boy
due in July. Hudson will be 3 on May 1st and is growing like
a weed. Gabby & Richard have spent a huge amount of time reading to him
& I find it fascinating that when Hudson is
bored, he takes ‘blue bear’ into their cubby house and Hudson reads to him! Had
some special golf with Irene & Gabs and suffice it to say that Irene and I
were soundly thrashed.
Spent a few days in Tauranga visiting with my family and then
off to Taupo as guests of Ian Massam
and Avelyn Davidson whom we also met in Turkey and last November joined for a trip up the
Nile. The Nile
trip was for 12 days and by the end of it we were ‘templed out’! Their home is
on the top of a mountain set in 2 acres of mass planted gardens with views of
the lake and Mount
Ruapehu and beyond. Taupo
is a terrific place and lots of adventures available with tandem sky diving,
white water rafting and jet boating up the Huka River to
Falls. Oh and I managed a
154’ bungy jump over the Waikato River. As I teetered on the edge not sure
whether to jump or not I could hear the princess saying ‘silly old bugger you’re
too old for this kind of stuff’ and with that I lurched into space!
Back again in Sydney, I have just had a knee operation all
successful. I love modern surgery – the needle went in my arm at 15:10 and I
hobbled out of hospital at 17:45.
The other great news is that Terry & Chrissie off ‘Sedna’
whom you’ve heard me speak of before, were married at Whale Beach,
Sydney on March
3rd, 2007. They have been great sailing mates since we launched our yachts in
France in 2004 and we are very happy
for them. Sedna is currently in Marmaris,
Turkey and we probably won’t
catch up with them again until Gibraltar in
September this year in preparation for the Atlantic crossing.
Christine Moran-Soul March 3rd 2007
The princess and I depart Sydney March 27th and spend 8 days in Mauritius and then 8 days with Larry &
Liz Mills in Aiguillon in the
Lot Valley in France. We depart Toulouse Friday 13th, April for Malta and the
Southern Princess gets her bottom wet again at 11:00 on April 16th!
On to the sailing plans for this year; we will visit
Sicily again and then up the east coast of
Italy to probably Brindisi, then across the Adriatic to Montenegro, then northwards along the Croatian
coast then Slovenia. We will visit Venice on the way back down the east coast of
Italy and then around the
boot, through the Straights of Messina and up the west coast of
Italy. We will probably visit
northern Corsica, Elba and further north along
the Italian and then the French Riviera. We will continue along the coast until
Barcelona we will coast hop (we have been there
before) all the way to Gibraltar. We will go
into Denia to visit friends, Almerimar for the same reason and also Benalmadena.
We need to be in Gibraltar by about mid
September for some final works and finally we are off to the Canaries.
November 27th will see us join the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
and together with 224 others yachts we will cross the Atlantic arriving in
Rodney Bay, St Lucia hopefully around the 10th to 12th December.
January 23rd we depart on another rally organised by the same
people who run the ARC. They are running a ‘round the world rally’ and have
agreed to take Southern Princess and Storyteller as participants as far as
I hope getting to this update through the internet link was
not too much trouble. This year, as we are moving away from the Mediterranean we will have to use our satellite phone
which is expensive. In this regard we have found an Internet Service Provider in
the UK who has an email compression
program that will help us save air time. More later!
THE GAME PLAN!
LIFE IS NOT A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING
SAFELY IN A PRETTY AND WELL PRESERVED BODY, BUT RATHER TO SKID IN BROADSIDE,
THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT, AND LOUDLY PROCLAIMING----WOW----WHAT A