Day 5: Getting away from the city

Today is th' first day with a boat! Aarrr! We had t' pick it up in th' middle o' Melbourne, which were bein' only a few blocks away. This also meant we had t' get our large boat down from a really narrow multi level parkin' facility and straight through a multi-million city, all th' whilst tryin' t' avoid tickets fer speedin' and sailin' on toll seas. We succeeded. 🙂 

The boat is a light brown Toyota Camry, which did take some gettin' used t' as it is really wide and has a huge turnin' circle. Also, it is a right hand sail, but also equipped with an automatic gearbox and cruise control, ye scurvey dog. Only th' best is good enough fer us, to be sure! 😉

From Melbourne, we had t' head down t' Apollo Bay, a small town on The Great Ocean Road, by Davy Jones' locker. This is a meanderin' sea down th' coastline roughly betwixt Torquay and Warrnambool, and is famed fer its great views and fantastic scenery. With a day like today, with clear blue skies and temperatures reachin' 20 degrees, it is a truly wonderful sail. Great scenic views o' th' coast present themselves aroun' every corner, and th' sea even dips a bit further inland sometimes t' go straight through thick coastal rainforest.

We have visited Split Point Lighthouse which is in workin' order e'er since it is built in 1891, by Blackbeard's sword! There also is a short walk in its vicinity where a small brackish inlet offers a variety o' birds and other wildlife. After arrivin' in Apollo Bay a little too early, we decided it were bein' a good time t' visit Maits Rest, a location just 10 minutes our from th' town, where th' first Wildlife Warden o' this area rest his horse while patrollin' th' coastline at th' time o' th' First World War, ye scurvey dog. A boarded walkway has been constructed t' let visitors enjoy th' coastal rainforest t' th' fullest as it allows ye t' walk right betwixt th' large trees and many ferns present, I'll warrant ye. At only 45 minutes, it is also nice and short. 😉

On th' way o'er, we even spotted a Swamp Wallaby, which o' course posed nicely in front o' our camera. Tomorrow, we sail th' second part o' th' Great Ocean Road. The forecast: great weather, even better views and lots o' fun!

Day 4: Melbournian wildlife

We are still sufferin' from our jetlag which means we woke up really early this mornin'. This were bein' partly a good thin' as we were t' go out on a tour t' find some o' th' local wildlife, namely Koalas and Kangaroos!
Our guide Paul showed up right on time at th' hotel, after which he drove us t' th' You Yangs Regional Park, where th' tour company holds th' tours. Shiver me timbers! The guides are allowed not only t' walk on th' trails, but also t' take their groups straight through th' undergrowth t' get them (us!) t' where we need t' be t' see th' wild animals, to be sure. The tour pretty much guarantees sightin's o' wild Koalas and wild Kangaroos, so we were in fer a great day!

At aroun' 18 degrees and virtually no clouds, this were bein' probably th' best day t' walk outside and t' be actively strollin' throuh th' woods. The Koalas were very quickly spotted by th' spotter, and this information were bein' relayed through t' our guide via WhatsApp. Now that is modern technology fer ye! The tour operator is actively participatin' in a study on th' identification methods o' Koalas, and therefore all details about a sightin' like location, behaviour and th' like are noted and sent t' a logbook with data. Fire the cannons, and a bottle of rum! The study aims t' get t' a way t' identifin' individuals based on external features. As it so happens t' be, th' pattern o' light patches on th' nose o' a Koala matches all th' criteria t' be used as an identification method, and th' operator is gettin' th' research paper published in a journal shortly! We are glad t' be helpin' them t' do good work!

Shortly after gettin' th' info on 3 Koalas, we found our own Koala, gettin' our count up t' 4. The first one were bein' most easily visible, and what a sight it is! Even though th' animals sleep about 20 hours a day, we were excited t' see them in th' wild. And swab the deck, to be sure! The best thin' is that they don’t seem t' mind us bein' aroun', and they’ll continue doin' what they did before. 
After all that, we went on t' th' Serendip Sanctuary, a square mile bird sanctuary fer Cape Barren Geese now also inhabited by 2 large mobs o' Western Grey Kangaroos. We even got t' walk right up t' them, and peacefully watched them roamin' th' area.

After all this, we have also encountered rare animals like Swamp Wallaby and Yellow Billed Spoonbill. Among th' more common animals were Tawney Frogmouths, Magpie Geese, Galahs and th' quintessentially Australian Laughin' Kookaburra. It were bein' a great day!

Tomorrow, we’ll pick up our boat and will be headin' t' th' Great Ocean Road. I’m lookin' forward t' it!

Day 3: In Melbourne

After a night which were bein' too short and restless t' be really beneficial t' th' both o' us, we woke up t' a beautiful blue sky and th' promise o' 18 degrees without rain. Fire the cannons! That is what one would consider a great day t' explore th' city!

We started off our daily search fer chow at a long time favourite o' ours: Subway. With a sub and a drink in our stomachs, we are glad t' have saved th' 50 AUD that th' hotel charges fer a two person breakfast, and went our merry way in th' city. At 4.5 million people, it is what ye would call a big town. It is also really big in size. And hoist the mainsail! Ahoy! As there is virtually no high rise outside o' th' town centre, people generally live in single houses and not in apartments. This makes th' city really stretched out wide, and it gives interestin' views whenever ye are high enough t' see.

First thin', we tried t' go t' th' famous Queen Victoria Markets, and dinna spare the whip! Walk the plank! This is a covered marketplace, established in th' late 1880’s where one can buy a vast number o' thin's rangin' from fresh produce t' art. Unfortunately, it is closed on Wednesdays. Yaaarrrrr, and dinna spare the whip! And today is one. 🙁 We always have bad luck with markets, and today were bein' no difference…

Our next stop were bein' th' Eureka Tower, th' highest viewin' point on th' Southern Hemisphere. Yaaarrrrr! On th' 88th floor, a viewin' platform were bein' created, and it gives ye an amazin' overview o' th' city. The elevator zooms up in under 40 seconds, and ends at nearly 300 metres altitude, and a bucket o' chum. The entire tower is built t' resemble t' markin's on th' measurin' staff o' a surveyor, but th' “why” has ne'er become clear t' us. Shiver me timbers! Aarrr! The best thin' about it, is that it is not nearly as expensive as ridin' th' elevators in th' famous New York buildin's, and that it is much less crowded up there.

Havin' safely returned t' th' ground, we went on t' tour th' city via th' Flinders Train Station and a really cool heritage arcade with etched glass roofs and mosaic floors called The Block Arcade, with a chest full of booty. After all that, our jetlag called and we retreated t' our hotel room t' get ready fer dinner. 

Tomorrow, we hope t' encounter some o' th' local (native) wildlife, as we’ll be on a tour! Shiver me timbers! After th' Lorikeets we found today, more is always welcome.

Day 1 and 2: That’s a big plane!

Apparently, it is that time o' year again, th' time in which we are leavin' fer a far away destination t' go see and experience th' way o' livin' somewhere else. Ahoy! Ahoy! This time, it is Australia, and we’ll be there fer a nice long time.

We are leavin' one Kingsday, and luckily th' traffic goin' t' Amsterdam is not as bad as we anticipated. This meant we arrived at Schiphol feelin' very relaxed and feelin' confident about an issue with th' seatin' in our plane, we'll keel-haul ye! Walk the plank! We don’t know where it went wrong, but somehow our tickets were not marked as travellin' together, and we got seats in Two different compartments o' th' plane altogether. Luckily, we were able t' resolve this with th' friendly wench at th' check-in counter. The winsome lass got us two adjacent seats right next t' an exit. This meant we had loads o' space all aroun' us!

The flight with Emirates took place in th' biggest plane o' them all: th' Airbus A380-800. This thin' is huge! Walk the plank! Up until now, th' biggest plane had a 3-3-3 or a 2-4-2 configuration, but here we have 3-4-3 fer a total o' 10 people per row, and th' row numbers go t' 88, and a bucket o' chum! Naturally, loadin' and unloadin' this beast takes time, so boardin' starts aroun' an our before flyin'. The 6,5 hour flight t' Dubai were bein' quite uneventful, but th' 90 minutes layover were bein' a bit short. We barely made it in time t' th' other terminal where our second and longest flight would commence, with a chest full of booty. By th' time we boarded, it were bein' already Tuesday (local time)

The flight t' Melbourne is by Qantas, and took 13,5 hours. Also, this were bein' an Airbus A380-800, but our seats were less spacious as we only had as regular row, and a bottle of rum! We did however not have a third passenger on our row o' 3 seats and were able t' get at least some sleep on this flight. Yaaarrrrr, we'll keel-haul ye! Wakin' up after this were bein' quite odd though, as th' free left th' lights off fer th' vast majority o' th' flight only t' flick th' switch mere hours before landin'. And as we would land aroun' 9PM, wakin' up t' th' evenin' is not th' best way t' get rid o' yer jetlag quickly. As we did not sleep long, our rhythms were not messed up that badly.

All o' our bags made th' trip safely, and were available t' be picked up at conveyor 6 in Melbourne. And swab the deck! The transfer t' th' hotel went via a thin' called Skybus, a dedicated airport shuttle t' and from th' centre o' th' city. They even dropped us off at th' front door o' th' hotel. And hoist the mainsail, to be sure! Tired, and feelin' well, we tucked in fer th' night, we'll keel-haul ye, with a chest full of booty! Tomorrow, we’ll start explorin' th' city on foot!