After returning from Orange, we moved into Jim and Gail Petrie’s flat in Balgowlah, which we rented for a month. The flat is centrally located with beautiful views across Forty Baskets beach and Sydney harbour, from Manly and North head to South head. This has allowed us the opportunity for walks along the waterfront to Manly and Forty Baskets, both about 20 minutes away on foot.
We also watched the Ocean Thunder rowing series at Dee Why beach to cheer on Ash Watson’s crew. They won the first series.
Michelle arrived from London on the 21st of January for a three week visit to get some sunshine and thaw after a cold London winter. We met her at the Manly wharf and she crashed for a day with a book before catching up with her many friends. Her fake tan was soon replaced by the real thing. She drove down to Melbourne with three friends over the Australia day long weekend, to attend the Rainbow Serpent Festival.
Australia day on the 26th January is a wonderful occasion with festivities, music and citizenship ceremonies in every suburb. Annie sailed on an Etchells 22 yacht with Malcolm and Andrew in the 181st Australia day regatta on the Pittwater. I took the opportunity to drive to Palm Beach to climb up to Barrenjoey lighthouse and enjoy the view across the peninsula with the Tasman sea on the one side and the Pittwater on the other.
Getting back to Avalon Yacht Club in the afternoon the Etchells crew was in great spirits having won the regatta – for the 9th consecutive year! We enjoyed the BBQ at ASC. I was the “deso” driving back home, after Annie’s celebrations.
Karen’s two-year internship and residency finished on the 3rd February. She planned to do locums and travel this year, before applying for a registrar’s post in orthopaedic surgery, which is another 8-year term of training on top of the 9 years she has clocked up so far. She was however offered a post as an unaccredited registrar in orthopaedic surgery at Tweed Heads hospital at the end of January. She got two weeks off before starting in Tweed Heads and flew down to Sydney to visit us and catch up with Michelle. The two of them managed to see a lot of friends and attended two music festivals.
Before we knew it, Michelle flew back to work and snow in London on the 12th February. She plans to complete her DAPA course (Domestic Abuse Prevention Advocate) by the middle of the year, a qualification which is sought after in Australia.
Karen and us packed up and flew back to Tweed Heads and Cairns respectively, on the 17th February. It was good to spend some time in our favourite city and even better to spend it with our girls. Our next news will be from Cairns, before we sail to the Louisiades, East of Papua New Guinea.