Friday, August 20, 2010

Home sweet home

We're back. With our Australian adventure over it's quite a shock being back at home. Being in Chapel Hill at my house is pretty surreal.

I last left you in Brisbane with a flat tire so here are the highlights. We fixed the flat with the spare which was also nearly bald but it made it to Sydney. We got the hell out of Dodge (Brisbane) that afternoon with plans to either just drive through the night to Sydney or find somewhere to camp. Around 1am we pulled off at a rest stop that our ozcamp source claimed offered free "camping." We didn't see any signs opposed so we thew down the tent and got some rest. It was our last night in the tent. In the morning we packed up and finally got around to something we had been planning for a while. The burying of our "time machine" which is really just a time capsule that we made with junk from the boat and our respective piles of shit from moving off the boat. Pamphlets, score cards, maps, change, bottle caps, and tons of other odds and ends are now 6 feet under in the middle of nowhere in a plastic container for us to go dig up in 30 years. Will took down the GPS coordinates with his i-phone. Good luck little time machine.

We made it to Sydney around 11am WOOHOO we made it. We thanked the car and told it that it was free to break down, fall apart, or seize up now that it has performed it's duty. We found our hostel and got checked in and even managed to find parking for an hour or so. The hostel was nice but the first order of business was to get rid of our car. Don't get me wrong, I can't say enough about how great she was but with 1 day left in Australia I was more than ready to wash my hands of the old clunker.

The saga of THE CAR with all the licensing, rego, and ownership baloney is quite a story in itself so i'll keep it to the short version.... That evening we sold the car to a guy named Steve from Sydney for his little brother Adam to learn stick on.We did our absolute best not to seem desperate to sell, but he pretty much stole it from us. We got $325.00 AUD for the car all told. Considering that we put in 700 for the car, 20 for oil, and about 275 in gas all said and done we made out pretty damn well i'd say especially since we freed ourselves of the car the day we arrived leaving us all of tomorrow to explore the city. Thanks car.

Tuesday. Our last day in Australia. So what do two sailors do when they only have 1 day in Sydney, Australia you might ask? Go to the Maritime Museum of course!

The Australian National Maritime Museum is so far the best I have ever been to. My favorite exhibit would have to be the HMB Endeavor. This flawless replica of Captain Jame Cook's famous ship was parked center stage on the warf. I tried to soak it in as much as possible. We also got to talk to one of the full time crew members who is getting ready for the upcoming circumnavigation of Australia on the famous ship.

We were also just in time to see Plastiki tied up at the museum. This catamaran made entirely of plastic bottles and recycled plastic (except for the masts) was on display after having just ended its 130 day crossing of the pacific via Hawaii around the same time as us.

With our day coming to a close, we hopped on the harbor ferry and got a ride out to see the opera house. I was quite impressed by the speed and efficiency of the Sydney harbor ferries which are all catamarans. Our last stop was in honor of the sailors who came before us. A trip out to "the Rocks" to the first pub to be given a license to sell alcohol in Sydney in 1828 and the ONLY pub of the original few to attain this license that is still in business, Fortune of War. Quite a bit of sailing history in there.

That night we made the most of our last hours in Australia by heading out with some others from the hostel to "Pirate Night" at a local pub with free drinks for those who dressed like pirates and free champagne for girls or guys who dressed like girls. We chose pirates, ARGHHH.

The following morning we successfully made it (with our bags, passports and wallets) onto the airport shuttle to the Sydney airport. Shortly thereafter, I began a 36 hour blurr of airport terminals, cramped seats, airplane blankets, and bags of pretzels which included missing my connection flight in LA and having to wait around in a jet lagged haze for 8 hours to catch the next one. At that point, any flight was a red-eye. But I made it mostly unscathed and with all my belongings to RDU airport Thursday morning to be greeted by my parents.

What a ride.

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