Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Finest Achievement

It's been a bit busy since my last post. We finished our stay at Pentland Alpaca farm after about four weeks there, and returned to the VAC in Albany for my Mom's second workshop there. My Dad and his girlfriend arrived a couple days later in time to celebrate Patrick's late birthday party. From there Patrick and I set out on the road with them to play 'tourist' for two weeks. We've been to the Toffee Factory, Chocolate Factory, and Honey Meadery. We've visited wineries for wine tasting, walked through the canopy of the eucalyptus trees at the TreeTop Walk, and held snakes and parrots at Dinosaur World. We've swam the beaches, collected sea shells, seen the views from the lookouts, and explored the caves all the way up the South Western coast from Albany to Perth.

Young Olive Python, 1.8 meters long

Patrick and a few of his birthday gifts


Jewel Cave, Augusta: 1.9 km long, sinking 42 meters below surface level, home to the third largest "straw" stalactite in the world

Every single night the four of us play a few games of Euchre. My Dad and grandparents taught my three brothers and I how to play when we were only six or seven years old, and it's become a bit of a tradition to play every time we have at least four of us in one place. So of course, when Dad and Jessica arrived, we decided that every night we should play a bunch of Euchre and drink a bunch of wine. My grandparents are the best Euchre players I know, followed very closely by my Dad, so any victory against him is a great one for me. You can imagine my excitement when Jessi and I beat Patrick and Dad three games to one in one night. I think I would consider that my finest achievement in life.

Finding crabs and things at one of the beaches

Bearded Lizard at DinoWorld. I found a bigger one of these in the wild at the chook farm in Merriwa, though I didn't pick it up because I had no idea if it was harmful or not (close-up pics in one of my first posts)

Scottish Highland cows at Pentland Alpaca Farm

Monty, the Major Mitchell Cockatiel 

Roxy, one of two very friendly dogs at Pentland

I somehow managed to get very close to this butterfly before scaring it off

All snuggled up after wine and Euchre in Augusta

Bit of a sunset at Marmaduke Beach, just West of Magaret River

We had a bit of car trouble with the rental, which brought us to the city of Mandurah to switch out for a new car. This was a bit of a blessing in disguise because not only did we get a vehicle upgrade, but Mandurah turned out to be an awesome town. And we got to see dolphins!

We took a ferry tour out through the canals and channels, the banks of which were covered in multi-million dollar vacation homes, and tons of wetland wildlife.

This one was kind of big. Guest and staff quarters all on the property. All of the houses had their own boat jetty.


Some bit from some crustacean I found on a beach

My first attempt at henna tattoo art

Gettin' my 'hurr did' (notice the Euchre deck on the table)

Watching the sunset near Margaret River

On the TreeTop Walk near Walpole

At the lookout over Conspicuous Cliffs

Today we spent most of the day at an awesome beach near Mandurah where I'm pretty sure I got stung by a jellyfish, visited a museum, and finished the day by grilling prawn and crocodile kebabs. And, of course, plenty of Euchre.

We'll continue up the coast to Perth until Saturday, when Dad and Jessica fly back to the states. From there, Mom and John meet up with us again and we fly to Bali for two weeks. Originally, when I was planning my Aus trip, I wanted to hit Bali/Indonesia as well, just because it was so geographically close and I won't have a better chance in life to do it, but a tight budget had since convinced me to stick to the mainland. However, now that a trip to Bali would include time there with family, and I got a nice cash bonus for my 21st birthday, I've decided to buy a plane ticket. We'll be there for two weeks 

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