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Posts Tagged ‘Sunsets’

To kick off our Anniversary extravaganza we spent two days and one night on a sailboat (yes, sailboat, you heard right) at the Great Barrier Reef.  We booked with Vagabond Dive ‘n Sail per a recommendation from a fellow ex-pat blogger who had done the same during her family’s visit to Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of over 900 places in the world to be deemed a World Heritage Site, in other words, “part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value.”  We were beyond excited for this stop on the trip.

We ran into a few hiccups and without dwelling here let me just say that a torn sail, rough waters, a bit of seasickness, and sunburned feet did not get in the way of this amazing adventure.  That attitude is the only way to approach trips of this nature.  They are once in a lifetime for a reason and we chose to focus on everything incredible and inspiring from the journey.  After all, we were two of only a million people who get to snorkel the reef each year…that’s out of the over 7 billion people in the world.  WOW.

We left Cairns on the Vagabond early in the morning and departed for Fitzroy Island (due to the poor weather).  We snorkeled for a bit, took a nap on a nearby beach, had a lovely conversation with other guests and the crew — Skipper Paul, Bel, and dive instructor Jannick — ate dinner, watched the sunset, and then headed to bed.

On another major positive note, my dear husband has changed his mind about the necessity of buying a sailboat upon our return to the US.  Let’s just say that sleeping on a boat is not our thing and the smile is still on my face for dodging that bullet.

Snorkeling was, of course, awesome.  I laughed at myself several times thinking that we were swimming with the fishies, in a non-mafia-movie-sort-of-way. *Sorry about the poor photo quality.  Our underwater cover for our little digi-camera worked okay but those darn fish move around making it really hard to capture the awesomeness.

The tropical fish were expected but I was not at all prepared for the other incredible marine life, aka the reef.  Some of the reef looked like things you’d see under a microscope in a biology class but with more vibrant colors.

Each time I popped my head out of the water I couldn’t fathom that all of that life was just under my toes.  It’s a little unsettling but in a good way.  The next morning we woke up for brekkie, did another round of snorkeling, and then headed back to Cairns.  Because the Reef is a World Heritage Area no one is allowed to take pieces of the reef home for souvenirs even though there are tons of pieces and shells on the shore.  We as law abiding citizens left the reef intact for the many future generations and who knows, maybe we’ll be back for our 25th anniversary.

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Best.Valentine’s.Day.Ever.  I won’t go bragging on and on about the amazingly romantic Valentine’s day we had.  I could.  But I won’t.  Instead I’ll share one of the highlights of the day as it relates to Melbourne.

Picnics and beaches are quintessential Melbourne experiences.  Packing up a blanket and filling an “esky” — short for Eskimo, a popular brand of coolers – is  a common activity for Melbournians.  And with the wonderful weather and great bay beaches, a beach-day is a regular Melbourne past-time.   Admittedly, we’ve neglected our “pseudo –Melbournian” duties by not enjoying either of these activities enough.

On Valentine’s Day Ryan surprised me with a dinner picnic to the beach to watch the sunset. We drove to Brighton Beach arriving around 7PM with the sun brilliant over the bay.  We set up our beach chairs and enjoyed a fabulous dinner, packed courtesy of my hubs and complete with sparkling wine.

We dipped our toes in the warm water as we strolled along the shore.  Here’s a shot of my gorgeous husband, ooh la la.

And, of course we watched the sunset together.

While we won’t be able to recreate the romance of this Vday regularly (nor would we want to) we agreed that we MUST make beach visits more frequently in the future.  Now onto getting a beach bod…

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Ryan and I spent the days leading up to the new year at the Grampians.  Stay tuned for a a couple of upcoming posts about our lovely time there.  New Years Eve we stayed at Corella Rise, a peaceful B&B slightly off the beaten track between Halls Gap and Stawell.  Kevin and Sandy were the perfect hosts and everything about our stay, including the fabulous cooked brekkie, was more than we could’ve asked for; peace, relaxation, and tranquility.  We spent a whole afternoon laying on the bed, reading a book, listening to the quiet sounds of the wind through our bedroom screened door…paradise.

The scenery was, in a word, beautiful.  It was the perfect way to bring in the new year and so it felt truly serendipitous when I saw Max Ehrmann’s famous “Desiderata” or “Desired Things” hanging on the wall of a hallway at Corella Rise.  What am amazing outlook to bring into 2012.  I’ve included the text below along with pictures from our surroundings to give you a sense of our New Years at the Grampians.

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Happy 2012 from our household to yours!

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