Sunday, June 23, 2013

The problem with pets

For those who follow my blog you will know that D1 gave us a dog to begin our NINKER journey - Little Teddy the chihuahua.  Now we love Ted dearly, and to be honest he provides us with a great deal of motivation to often get out when maybe we wouldn't have and of course he tends to keep us active.  He has provided us thus far with so much entertainment and laughter which is good for the soul.  If you haven't watched - The most fabulous adventures of Lil' Ted  One of Teds adventures on youtube, then you should you will see what I mean.

When D2 lived with us, we always had a baby sitter for Teddy when we went off on our journeys and of course we take him on the boat which he loves but now that she has moved out we have to either take him or put him in a kennel, which I am not sure is fair on him, so we have decided to do a road trip with him.

Travelling however takes on a new perspective if you want to take your pet.  While lots of websites have pet friendly accommodation listed (wotif, stayz etc) when you travel with a pet you have to be well organised and do a lot of communication with people prior to leaving to establish exactly how pet friendly they may be - because like a lot of things pet friendly has a wide range of different meanings.

So taking possession of our new SUV this week, we wanted to head North where the days are that 4-5 degrees warmer, try out the new vehicle and we wanted to take Teddy so we understand the process of travelling with a pet.  Generally when we do a road trip we just go and head in the general direction and stop where ever we feel is good for as long as we want to be there - and when its just two of you this is quite easy at this time of the year.  You don't really have to pre-book and generally you can get cheap rates.

It took nearly two days of web searching to establish pet friendly accommodation in the approximate areas we felt we would go to taking into consideration comfort stops etc and the amount of daily travel, we definitely wanted to be on the beach, so Derek could do his metal detecting and I could do some photography, go on walks with Ted and enjoy the beach.  Sounds too easy doesn't it!

I will say after finding the right places, everyone was quick to reply to my emails regarding their particular pet rules and after a weekend of back and forth we finally planned our trip, which ended up changing given there wasn't as many establishments along the journey that where actually pet friendly so while we were planning on going up to Townsville via the coast and back inland there was not much in the pet friendly area after Airlie Beach and nothing inland at all - so my advice would be if you are travelling with a pet and don't have your own caravan 

  • check it out prior to leaving - don't just get a list of pet friendly places and hope you can get in as often they only have 1 room that they use as pet friendly, and often they are not allowed inside etc
  • communicate with properties and then make your booking
  • be prepared for additional costs over what is advertised on websites for cleaning - which I do think is fair enough I wouldn't like to think these places where not properly cleaned after animals had been in there - but it does add to your overall costs
I suppose in a few weeks I will be able to tell you if travelling with a pet is good or bad and no doubt there will be a blog, photos and videos of our trip.  So here is to a new adventure, one I would never have thought I would be doing 12 months ago - but hey nothing we are doing now was in the plan 12 months ago - live dangerously I say and try new things.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Reflection & Perfection

Ahhh week days on the Broadwater in winter - Perfection!  There is nothing better generally than boating in winter, and I say generally because like all things there are the odd moments when things happen, but more on that later.

One of the things I do love about boating in the winter months especially when the days are warm and waters like sheets of glass is that everything is reflected on the water and it just looks so beautiful, I seem to take a lot of photos on days like these because there just seems to be so many beautiful shots to be had and I always want to remember them and of course share them.  We of course have this at home as well on these lovely days which is great to sit back after a hard days laboring work. Even rainbows look better on the water!Click here for the full reflections album

I feel so lucky on days like we have had over the last few weeks when you can find that lovely little spot, not too many people around you, one of the many great things about week day boating,  take a refreshing and I mean refreshing dip (it certainly lets you know your alive) because the days are warm enough to dry off quickly and to meander along the beach.  

We have spent the better part of the last 3 weeks out on the boat to enjoy these types of days, only coming home on weekends to entertain family and friends and put the finishing touches on our building works (like painting and tiling).

We generally choose to go out during the week as the water ways are quiet and you have space unlike weekends and its peaceful.  Our days are filled with our little hobbies and things we enjoy doing that fill in the day - which generally go too fast at this time of the year with the sun setting so early, and we generally hit the sack about 8 pm exhausted for what can only be some of the most restful night sleeps with a gentle rocking.

So what do we do all day? 

Teddy of course keeps us on our toes taking him out for long beach walks and runs but this is good for us as well and if it wasn't for him, there might be days when I didn't get off the boat - but he needs to get out for you know what and the more exhausted he gets the better he is on the boat.

I take photos and can quite often walk and sit on the beach for hours watching the birds, boats and views while Derek of course loves his metal detecting and fishing - he does quite well on these beaches and most days finds up to $10 or more in coins and the odd piece of jewelry.

Having a swim, reading a good book on the back of the boat in the sunshine with a nice glass of wine seems to fill in the rest of the day and feels so decadent at this time of the year to be sitting with your togs on, enjoying the sunshine and totally chilled out watching the magic of nature - birds, fish, kangaroos, sunrises and sunsets and the other funny things you see out on the water - like a flying boat!

Given the last 9 years I have spent working the June long weekend I was intent on staying out over the weekend which started off perfect, we moved from where we had been for the week which generally gets crowded on weekends and decided to get a good anchorage in a channel further up where we are generally well protected from winds etc and lots of other boaties.  Friday was great with one or two other boats moored there, but by Saturday it seemed like every person on the water had decided to join us in our tranquil spot as the weather started to turn a little nasty - the joys of boating I suppose, its part of it. So much though for red sky at night sailors delight.

Saturday night I just couldn't sleep as the winds got up to 60 knots and torrential rains started - while I let Derek sleep about 10 pm our lovely peaceful little channel turned into chaos as boats started to loose their moorings and binamis started to be ripped off - I woke Derek up as a house boat that had come loose charged down the channel collecting 2 other boats along the way and of which we were lucky to have escaped.  All of a sudden boats where going everywhere and by now we had also dragged and where sitting in the mangroves (not a good place to be).  What to do?  Given it was high tide and while in the mangroves we did had water around us at this time so we decided the night wasn't going to get better and decided to up anchor and come home.  Doesn't sound too bad you are thinking, except we had never driven the boat at night before (but we tried to keep a cool head and think of the things we needed to do before leaving like setting the nav equipment to night view, ensuring the spotty was working and we had a Thermos of boiling water for coffee) and getting out the channel was made all the more difficult given boats where now loose and going all over the shop.  With the rain in our faces as we had to have our heads out of the windows to see, freezing cold and especially dark we slowly made our way home and at 2 am we pulled into our dock and tied off, wet, freezing and adrenaline high.  As we pulled in and I jumped off the back to tie us up my only thought was "legs don't leave me now".  The waterways were very dark and with the rain it was hard to get your bearings - but we know these channel well and between us we where able to slowly navigate our way back home for our first night travel.  Now we can truly say we are sailors as we have now been there and done that!

Cooking up a storm (of a different type) last weekend kept me busy for a few days as we enjoyed the company of good friends with a fabulous Indian Banquet all made by yours truly.  Including:

Malibu mango lassies with spicy nuts and poppadoms with cream and mango chutney
Laksa and prawn shooters
Tandoori chicken and beef samosas
Pepper chicken, beef madras, lamb korma, mango chicken curry plus all the good sides
Date and cream crepes
Impi cream and fig ice-cream

This plus finishing off our patio - painting, tiling and major clean up job of the deck and patio after 3 months of it being ripped apart and tradies everywhere kept us busy with honest hard work, but again we did it ourselves to save money something we would never have done in the past as well as keeping fit and rounding off our last few weeks.