Our Diary Australia - December 2019

We have now been in our new house for nearly 9 months and have settled into life on the Sunshine Coast nicely. New friendships have been formed and old ones reignited. It has been great fun setting up house and we looked forward to our trips to the furniture stores. There was also a steep learning curve in pool maintenance, as yet we have not tackled the garden which is currently low maintenance but tidy, if unexciting - next year's project. Christine has also rediscovered needlework and has been producing some lovely items from fabric purchased way back in Trinidad and carried on board for all those years. The greatest pleasure has been meeting up with new and old friends - they have been so supportive and welcoming. We also had some surprising encounters, the most unlikely being running into Peter and Margaret ex Swara at the Nambour Gardening Show. They had also swallowed the anchor and were setting up home on the Fraser Coast (a bit further north than we are). Other cruisers keep popping in - recently we had Mark from Heartbeat to stay who was visiting family in Brisbane from New Zealand. We had last seen Mark and Leanne in NZ in 2008.

Gail (we had sailed with Gail on Kullaroo through Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) and Garry, a new addition in her life, have also become firm buddies. They have introduced Keith to golf and can be seen twice a week hitting an innocent golf ball around - in Keith's case, not very well judging by the number of booby prizes he is amassing!

We've also enjoyed some lovely visits with our new friends Alex and Lisa who we first met while camping in Dublin in 2018 - and it turns out they also live at Caloundra. Their lovely house and garden is inspiring us to do something a bit more adventurous with ours next year.

Mid-year we attended to the wedding of Ruth and Kelvin ex Island Sonata who have settled in Eumundi a short drive north of us. They, like us, had decided to marry after a number of years together and it was a lovely low key affair, as was the house warming of Juanita, another ex Sail Indonesia Rally participant, who also settled in the same area.

Back at Currimundi Keith has joined the local bush care group and can regularly be seen weeding the bush bordering Currimundi Lake. Through this we have met a number of neighbourly and like-minded people. And we've enjoyed some lovely days out exploring the Sunshine Coast environs.

Gail and Garry also persuaded us to go the annual get together of the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (affectionately called "Shaggers"), near Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday Islands. This raucous weekend required two fancy dress costumes each so Christine's sewing machine worked overtime producing said items for the four of us. Needless to say we all had good fun - and this get-together of like-minded people could become an annual event for us. On the way back from Airlie Beach we visited Carnarvon Gorge, an oasis in the centre of the scorched land of Queensland. Lovely hikes and excellent camping saw us spend a lovely four days there.

Pippa and Xavier, Christine's niece and great nephew, and her sister Carol and brother-in-law Trevor came to stay in October and it was great to see them all. It was also a good test of the guest facilities in our new home. We even managed a BBQ with all of us and Murray and Toby, Pippa's friends who live on the Sunshine Coast as well.

Recently we caught up with Roz and Kev (ex Santana) and Gail and Garry in Bali. We have spent a great 10 days with these fun loving guys. Snorkelling, cycling, cooking class and just partying - good fun.

The family are all growing up and in fine fettle. Emily is expanding her repertoire by doing a post graduate course in Animal Physiotherapy. This course includes practical classes in Queensland including the Sunshine Coast. We have managed to catch up with her which has been really great. Over Christmas, we will be catching up with Robert and Jas and the grandchildren in Kuala Lumpur at Jas' parents' home, followed by a few days back in Bali. So we have decided to stay in Bali again at Pemuteran for a few days before we fly north to KL. Charlotte and Rachel are enjoying parenthood and Alba is growing - as they do - we've really enjoyed receiving regular photos of the grandies and catching up with everyone on WhatsApp.

Finally, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2020.


Keith & Christine