Monday, July 03, 2006

A chapter closes

Thank you for your kind interest in our Australian adventures up to this point.

This weblog will no longer be maintained.

Candace has a personal weblog at:

Hunter has a personal weblog at:

Best wishes to all.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bendalong Weekend

beach beauty

A couple of weeks ago we went down to Bendalong Beach with a few friends for the weekend. Even though the picture above is pretty dead flat - don't worry, we got some decent waves at a less protected point break on Green Island.

It was an excellent weekend of surfing and barbeque at the beach; here are a couple of particularly noteworthy items:

Nature’s sea rhoombas:
Beside the campground at Bendalong is a place where fishermen regularly clean their day’s catch. The sea life has taken notice, and creatures gather hoping to score some tidbits.
Among the sea life present are multiple massive stingrays, the like of which I have not seen previously.

These rays are as big as 5 feet across the wings, and of course the tails are much longer. They are accustomed to the regular food distribution by humans, and will come into shallow water to take food right from people’s hands, and allow people to reach down and pet them like a dog.

However, after watching a big daddy crunch through a fish head, I became a bit nervous about my toes being mistaken for a morsel.

Truly incredible experience to be standing in the water surrounded by these large creatures.

We had our cookout beside the beach, and all night long the rays could be seen beneath the water methodically sweeping across the sand, like giant vacuum cleaners of the beach.

Ray Charles
Sugar Ray Leonard

Surfing with a World Champ:

We stopped at a small country house with a hand-lettered sign advertising surfboards, and discovered that it was the residence of none other than legendary shaper Mark Rabbidge and his wife World Champion surfer Pam Burridge.

We had a nice chat with Mark and a look around the shaping room. Unbeknownst to us, our friend who was there with us, Gabrielle Howard-James used to compete in the women’s surfing circuit and had been on many a trip and in competition with Pam Burridge. In fact, as a junior on the tour, Pam used to wax Gabrielle’s surfboard for her. Not a bad story to tell about the 1990 World Champ and 6 times runner up.

We met Pam for a surf at Mañana Beach the next day, and she gave a one-on-one lesson to our friend and beginning surfer Dee Smyth.

I don't have a pic of Pam, so here's one of the next most impressive thing: Oskar!


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Way Behind on the Blogging

(by hunter)


Boy do the posts dry up when the laptop goes away. No desire to stay at work any later than necessary... writing will be abbreviated.

A whole bunch has happened since the last post:

Major highlights:


- Lisa McClellan came to visit!-
Lisa spent 3 weeks in Australia - jetting up to the Great Barrier Reef, over to Ayers Rock (Uluru), and kicking it with us in Sydney. It was an absolute pleasure having her here.

I went with her to Uluru, where we spent 3 days hiking in the midday Outback heat at Uluru, the Olgas, and King's Canyon. Really stunning places, even after discounting the heat-induced hallucinations.

We also made a weekend trip to the Blue Mountains for some excellent hiking and socializing with other friends.

We miss you Lisa! Come back.

(Lisa is a long time Portland friend of Hunter's, and more recently Candace.)

Blue Mtn Hiking

- James Gantz came to visit! -
As a part of a larger Australian tour, James came through Sydney and spent 4 days at our place. Unfortunately for us, we were out of town the whole time, and missed him completely. The only sign of his presence was a nice note & gift, and a cleaner apartment than we had before.

(Hunter and James (Jim) used to work together in Portland.)

Lisa at Uluru

- Callie Aadland came to visit! -
Perpetual traveller Callie breezed through town again for another fun visit. This is her third time stopping by our place in the last year. As always, she was full of good cheer and great stories.

(Candace first met Callie when travelling in New Zealand a few years ago, and have been friends ever since.)

Lisa at Kings Canyon

- Steve sent us a digital camera! -
We were camera-less after our recent robbery, and feeling pretty lousy about it. Steve Jacobi and Kate Turning totally blew us away with their kindness and generosity by sending us one of their digital cameras. Thanks so much you two - you totally rock!

like getting barrelled at backdoor pipeline

- We Bought a Longboard -
A 9'-2" tri-fin, mango coloured, noserider. Fun cruising for the smaller surf days.

Blue mtn view

- Camping at Seal Rocks -
We put the 4 day Easter weekend to good use by camping on the New South Wales coast a few hours north of Sydney. Oskar the Dog got to come this time, and had great romps on the beach.
Really great waves at Boomerang Beach (overhead right pointbreak), as well as fun longboarding at Number One Beach. Good fresh seafood. A hair-raising paddle around the point. The view from under the crystalline-lensed Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse on a clear night with a full moon was a mystical experience. Though we brought Steve's digital camera...sadly no pictures were taken all weekend.


Going surf-camping this weekend on the South Coast again. Pray for waves.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Today someone climbed into our place through a high unlocked window and took a number of things, including our laptop, both digital cameras, ipod, cell phone, Candace's dad's wallet and watch.

It was a cruddy way to end the visit for Candace's parents; they boarded their flight today after an otherwise wonderful 3 week visit.

We got off lucky in that they only grabbed a few things that were in plain sight - passports, cash, wallets, and other items escaped notice.

Oskar was home during the intrusion, but hid under the bed like the fierce guard dog that he is.

Sorry, there will be no new photos for awhile...


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Best Use for Aussie BBQ Sauce

Last night I finally put the ubiquitous Aussie BBQ sauce to good use.

We have a large bottle of the nasty stuff taking up space in the fridge, since it would be unthinkable to have guests over to a cookout without this ever-present condiment. Given the rate that we entertain actual Australians, it seemed as though our visas would run out before this bottle would.

Well. Things have changed.
We are now 3/4 of the way through it from one eventful night.

Last evening, while still daylight, a car alarm started going off in the street directly in front of our place. It went non-stop all evening long. Remember it is summer here, and we have no air conditioning, so the windows have to stay open.

I was on the brink of insanity. Oskar and I took loooong walks, always hoping to come back to peace and quiet. Dinner was eaten to the music of wooop-wooop-wooop.
Neighbors converged on the street to gaze at the car and shake their heads (somehow WITH their fingers in their ears). The police were notified, but never deined to show up.

Midnight rolled around and I was tossing and turning in bed, grinding my teeth to the piercing sound, when I snapped.

Something needed to be done, and it took all of my willpower to keep it non-violent. Looking about for alternatives, I seized the large brown bottle of sauce, took it outside, and wrote a long detailed message to the owner of the car on the car's windows.

Most satisfaction BBQ sauce has ever given me.

BBQ Sauce - nasty brown sludge

...the owner finally arrived and drove away at 2:38am


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Burgess & Monique Christensen are here

(by hunter)

Candace's parents are here in Australia visiting!
They arrived last Friday and have settled right into the Manly Beach lifestyle of sun, sand, and swimming.
It is a real pleasure having them stay with us and it is fun to show them our city.

I have not yet managed to get them to stay still long enough to take a photograph - I will certainly do so when they return.
They are currently in Tasmania for a week with Candace sightseeing, and will be back on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Oskar and I are leading the bachelor life for a week.
It didn't take long for the dishes to start piling up, and the quality of the meals to decline.

computer room

A few more days of boxershort living, then I better get cleaning.

( geeez no... did you really think that is a picture of our home?)

Friday, February 03, 2006


(by hunter)

An important milestone has been reached in our Australianization:


We have finished our first bottle of Vegemite!
Never mind that it is a very small bottle, and that it took us a good 10 months to work through it - we did it, and feel all the more nauseas Aussie for having done it.

Actually, by the end of the bottle, we have become fans of the stuff. Perfect on a ham and cheese sandwich. A new bigger bottle has already been purchased.

Last Thursday was Australia Day. Compare it to the 4th of July in the U.S., but without the whole "independence from Britain" thing having ever happened. It is mainly just a good excuse to take a day off work, drink beer, and have yet another barbie. And then, since the next day is Friday, go ahead and take a "sickie" to make a 4 day weekend out of it.

The week leading up to Australia Day, the press is full of stories titled "Just what IS our national Identity?" or similar. Pundits opine that Australians are just not nearly as patriotic as, say, Americans. Then the day arrives, and the Australians gather en masse to stage a display of national pride that blows away anything I've ever witnessed in the States.

Aus Day

Candace celebrated by sailing in the Manly Yacht Club Australia Day Regatta. This regatta bills itself as the "Oldest Continuous Sailing Regatta" - since 1837. She entered the single-person keel-less category, and proceeded to skipper her Laser sailboat to a second place win.
Sadly, I have no pictures of this achievement.

Meanwhile, I was floating on the other side of the harbour, beside the Opera House, on my surfboard. No really. I joined the "Surfboard Challenge"- a paddle race from the O House, under the bridge, and to Lavender Bay. There were over 500 people participating, all of us wearing the provided lime green jerseys and australian flag hats. 99% of the people wisely had 10 foot longboards; I only had a not-so-floaty 6'-5". Suffice it to say, I did not win. In fact, thankfully, my results are not posted since I entered the day of the event. I did, however achieve my small personal goal of beating the policeman (participant) who was cheating at the starting line.

Surf Opera

Sun, live music, formation-flying jets, squirting fireboats, tall-masted ships, Aboriginal James Brown, roo-wraps, beer, and a laser/video/fireworks extravaganza finished off our first Australia Day.