Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The First Glimpse

I was sorting through some old photos awhile back and came across this video and thought I would share it. 

The backstory:

In June, 2012, we had left Australia boatless with the intention of finding and buying our boat in either the US or Europe. Bryce came back to Australia to meet a new nephew in December and happened to find Batty for sale just one hours drive from Brisbane. She ticked a lot of our boxes so he went to check her out. His interest piqued, a survey was commissioned and the ball was rolling in the direction of Aquabat becoming ours. If we bought this boat. I would not get to physically see her before the purchase. I was full of questions and requests. Some >>very<< detailed videos of the boat were high on my list. 

This video, narrated by Bryce, was one that I received and gave me a glimpse of what was to be  our new home. For the record, this is the cleanest and emptiest I have ever seen Batty. Something to strive for again! :)

You can watch the video here


Friday, March 31, 2017


When we left the boat in November, we had left her ready to weather whatever was thrown at her. For the record, we were gone for 4 months… no cyclone! Yet we hadn’t even been back at the boat a week when we got word that a cyclone was brewing. It had only taken us a few days to dismantle all of that weatherproofing to make the boat livable again and get started on some jobs. As it so happens, one of those jobs was rebedding our hatches. In a nutshell, this job involved taking off all our windows, cleaning off the surrounding gunk and putting them back on again all nice, snug and weatherproof. With a couple of leaky hatches, this was an essential job but having giant holes in your boat is not something that you generally want with a cyclone on the way. So it was with a greater urgency that these jobs were finished and the boat put back into her cyclone ready state. Fortunately, Debbie was a real slow moving beast so there was lots of warning and lots of time to prepare. Ferries to and from the island stopped running two days before landfall. The airport in Townsville closed the day before. 

We were inundated with phone calls from caring friends and family to make sure we were ready.  My mum, uncle and grandma had been caught in Cyclone Yasi 6 years earlier and were sharing their experiences so we knew what we could expect and what essentials we should pack in our cyclone kit. We spent days prepping for Debbie’s arrival. We (re)readied Batty to ride out the storm as well as two other boats in the marina. We were staying with friends to ride out the cyclone and had helped with all the necessary prep at their house. We had stores of water, batteries and had been cooking up a storm. We were ready.

And then… nothing. 

Debbie slowly tracked her way south, completely missing us. We had approximately 3 light showers, some lovely, warm breezes and incredible sunsets. That was it. 

We were lucky.
Debbie could have just as easily come for us and we are incredibly grateful that we didn’t have to go through what sounded like a pretty horrifying experience and our hearts go out to those affected. We watched the landfall while communicating with friends who were experiencing a direct hit and we watched the footage of the aftermath trying to look for boats that we knew so we could let their owners know they were safe. 

As we return everything back to it’s normal home (re-de-weatherproof), we constantly remind ourselves just how lucky we are that this is the only cleanup we have to do. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Texan Roadtrip

Well we made it back to Australia and are currently deep in the throes of jet leg. I’m finally taking the sage-old advice of sleep when baby sleeps. We try to push out bedtime by 30 minutes to an hour each day but for the most part, I’m still getting to go to sleep when I’m tired. Bedtime is currently 2:30pm!   At least that’s an improvement on 1pm bedtime the day we got here!

Because our long-haul flight left from Dallas, we decided to break up our trip a bit and have ourselves a little Texan holiday. I relinquished total control of the planning to Bryce, which is a BIG deal for me but I had a lot on my plate trying to get us out the door in Madison. It was refreshing to just go with the flow and Bryce did a great job planning. 

We booked a hire car and were able to use hotel points to book our accommodation. This was our first holiday with a baby and so knew that we would be doing things differently. The biggest concession was to slow down our pace and work on her time, namely around naps. We broke down our drives so that we were mostly only driving during nap times. More often then not, this worked well but more on that in another post. 

Texas is big and we had narrowed our Itinerary down to three places: Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. Despite flying into and out of DFW an infinite number of times, all I knew about Dallas was that JFK died there. I knew absolutely nothing about San Antonio, though every one we spoke to mentioned how great the riverwalk was. Austin, I had lived in for 3 months many years ago, so basically had food on the mind! 
The Alamo, San Antonio
In Dallas, we drove past Dealey Plaza and the JFK memorial, had some amazing Lebanese and Mexican food and had a wonderfully unexpected catch up with an old friend. In Austin, we ticked off all the food boxes, caught the views from Mount Bonnell, explored the Capitol building and meandered around Lady Bird Lake. San Antonio was the biggest surprise. With it’s riverwalk and bridged walkways, Downtown San Antonio a bit like a modern, metropolitan Venice - both California and Italy. We also spent some time at the Alamo and some missions (old spanish ruins, some still active) just outside of town. 
Mount Bonnell, Austin

We were so lucky with the weather which was stunningly beautiful the whole week we were there… except for the last two days in Dallas were rainy and cold! A fitting adieu to the Northern Hemisphere winter! Now we are sweltering back in the Queensland heat, but surviving thanks to air conditioning! We just missed a wicked heatwave (record-breaking through much of Australia), but even the post heat-wave normal summer weather is a shock to the system after a Wisconsin winter.