For our third and last post on life at the antipodes, we bring you an update that could be entitled “slow and steady”. Both of us are finding that our time apart feels a little long but it has been precious family time for me and my Dad.
Wade has been feeling a bit lonely and bored, with little to do while he waits for Anui’s A frame to be made. The rigger indicates it will be ready to install in the middle of this week. In the meantime there is not much point going anywhere when you can’t sail. Wade has however discovered St Helena Island in Moreton Bay, near which he anchored for 10 days after leaving the Manly marina. The island features an old colonial prison once known as “the hell hole of the South Pacific”. It is now a national park with organised tours from the mainland for visitors. For something to do, he gave the ranger a hand with some site maintenance ashore. But overall, what could have been a nice social period for him while I was away has ended up being a painfully slow time.
Here are a few images. Only Bengie seems to get some excitement. She played with a couple of little fishes which had landed on the sugar scoops and gets high on the catnip daily!
For a change of scenery and to shelter from a change of wind direction, Wade motored to Peel Island for the past weekend. This is another small heritage listed island and National Park in Moreton Bay. There he was able to meet up with a couple of his cousins sailing their own catamarans, so at least he had some company.
After spending ten days in Normandie, I managed to convince my Dad we should drive to Toulouse, spend a week with my sister and catch up with nieces and nephews. It was a very good change of pace for us both and really nice family time, which is precious since it happens so rarely. No family photos at my sister’s request, but here are a few images of places we visited along the way. Click on the first image to display in full screen slide show.
By the way, some of you may be interested in an application I discovered before I left called AirMore. This fantastic tool allows you to import and export images and other documents between the iphone and a Windows laptop. If like me you straddle two different types of technology, this app makes life a lot easier, especially with photo editing and posting on our website which I always do on the laptop.
The atmosphere in France is still tense with the many “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) protests in major towns such as Toulouse on weekends. The movement started in October 2018, motivated by significant increases in fuel prices, and has expanded to a multitude of social and fiscal demands. Blockades of roads and roundabouts, gatherings in many cities with violence causing extensive material damage and lots of arrests have been happening now for over four months. Some places like Toulouse are particularly affected. Walking around the centre of town, the damage was evident: broken windows, boarded up shopfronts, destroyed urban equipment… It is hard to see where this is going to lead and more importantly how it can be resolved! One thing is certain, after four months, people are getting sick of this urban guerrilla and want a stop to the violence every Saturday.
My Dad and I have now returned to Normandie. An enjoyable aspect of the long drive is the stopover to break the trip, somewhere different every time. In this instance we stopped overnight at Beaugency, another lovely medieval town nestled along the Loire river.
This post is the last in our Life at the Antipodes series. Later this week, Wade returns to the Manly marina for the A-frame repairs and I fly back to Brisbane with mixed feelings: sadness at leaving my Dad and anxiety of what the future holds for him, but also the joy of getting back to Wade and to our sea wanderers’ life.