After finishing my last assessment and my first semester of my Masters on Monday the 12th of November, Ben and I moved into his parent’s house in Mosman to prepare for the anticipated arrival of my family (unfortunately without Bubba)! I couldnâ€™t believe it had been five months since Iâ€™d seen them and the suspense was killing me.
They arrived late Friday night and settled in for a good nights rest after a welcome drink out on the veranda (in true Balinese style). With the five Fishers and the four Buchanans, Karang Sari was packed â€“ a completeness Iâ€™ve missed since the mass exodus (the Fishers to California, Ian and SienaDune to Gwingana, and TK to camp). Saturday morning bright and early we headed to the city via the ferry for the spectacular view of the CBD from the water. We walked around the Rocks Markets, up George Street to QVB, down through Pitt Street Mall, over to Hyde Park, and down to have lunch along Circular Quay. We then jumped on a ferry to Manly, walked the corso and the beach, and headed back to Mosman before dinner at Batherâ€™s Saturday night with both families. Vikkee, Ben and I headed out with Jacek and Rory for a few drinksâ€¦getting us home at 2:30 in the morning before our 5 AM wake up call for our flight to Hamilton Island. Letâ€™s just say we all had some interesting items in our luggageâ€¦Vikkee even had time to send a few â€˜urgentâ€™ emails in the morning, but not to pack the tops to her bikinis â˜º !
We arrived in Hamilton, picked up our struggling buggy and headed into town to check out the activities for the rest of the week. Dad, the rebel he is, got pulled over for having too many of us in the buggy by the pseudo cop with a radar gun. We stayed in a gorgeous two-bedroom apartment up on the hill with spectacular views of the islands surrounding Hamilton. We relaxed on the beach, ordered cocktails from the pool bar, and generally enjoyed spending time together. That afternoon Ben and I hiked up to Passage Peak. It was a challenging hike straight up to the highest point on the island, but with our love for activity we werenâ€™t discouraged and when we finally reached the top the views could not have been more rewarding.
Tuesday we celebrated Mom and Dadâ€™s 26th wedding anniversary and Vikkeeâ€™s 20th birthday aboard the Reef Ryder holding on for our lives as Luke the captain braved the huge swells of the Pacific. Our first stop was Chalkies Beach on Haselwood Island where Vikkee so selflessly pushed Mom into the school of feeding fish 😉 (made for some killer photos when the fish surrounded us). We then headed to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island where the sand is something like 98 per cent silica fringed by the most brilliant blue water. It was incredible. We threw a rugby ball around, played in the water, and walked the beach while we were there. It was my favorite part of the trip not only for the sights but for the fun we had together playing in the surf. We stopped on Hook Island for lunch and briefly explored the underwater observatory before heading to Nara Inlet for a hike to some Aboriginal cave drawings. We snorkeled once more between Hook Island and Whitsunday Island before heading back to Hamilton for a celebratory dinner. Vikkee, Ben and I headed to the Marina Tavern afterward for more birthday drinks. The natural beauty was phenomenal and our snorkeling adventure on the Reef Ryder was a total blast.
Wednesday morning we went to the Koala Gallery for breakfast where Vikkee and Allee had the pleasure of holding a Koala, although something tells me they wouldnâ€™t line up for that again 😉 !
We then went down to the Marina for an exciting tubing adventure, and the spent the rest of the day at the beach. Ben had to fly back to Sydney since this mini holiday was in the middle of his exam period.
Thursday was our last day so we headed to the outer reef for another day of snorkeling. It was about an hour and half to get to Hardyâ€™s Reef but it was definitely worth it. The variety and color of sea life impressed us all, but unfortunately for the reef the coral bleaching was depressingly obvious.
When we arrived in Sydney the next afternoon Mom and I headed straight to the kitchen to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for the 13 guests weâ€™d invited. Rory, Julia, Nix and Jules joined us for a perfectly imperfect Thanksgiving. Ben and Sienaâ€™s turkey was a total success and Mom and Sienaâ€™s help was invaluable!
The next morning Ben rushed off to his last exam and my family and I did the Bondi to Bronte walk. Ben met us for lunch at Icebergs and then we all explored my Universityâ€™s campus. Mom, Dad, Vikkee, Ben and I went to Blu Horizonâ€™s at the Shangri-la Hotel for a few pre dinner drinks overlooking the Harbour and enjoyed the spectacular view from the top floor. Allee managed to ride a ferry all on her own to meet us for dinner by the water at Circular Quay. Mom, Dad and Al headed home while Vikkee, Ben, Mel, and I went straight to Opera Bar to meet up with some friends. Saturday marked their last day and after our swanky Sydney night, we walked around Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay, and Glebe Markets so the fam could do some much needed shopping. Saturday night we all headed down to the Rowerâ€™s Club for an amusing dinner in Mosman Bay. We headed back to the house for more embarrassing storytelling and explosive laughter.
Sunday morning we spent their final hours in Sydney walking along Balmoral beach before tentatively driving to the airport. We said a tearful goodbye but decided it was a see you later since Ben and I will be coming through LA on our round the world trip. It was a wonderful trip and thank you so much to my family for coming to visit!!! Love you long time!
Ben and I now have a little over one week before we head off around the world â€“ first stop Thailand on December 9th. Weâ€™ll try to keep the blog updated as we go 😉