sea fever.

in order to lessen the sting of my parents leaving, we had something planned for the following weekend that jim and i have both been looking forward to doing for a long, long time - DEEP SEA FISHING!

i got jim this deep sea fishing excursion for his birthday, in july, so i am happy we were finally able to enjoy it.  

you may remember a post a couple of months ago about a deep sea fishing trip we took with adam & tara.  the difference between that trip and this trip was that our first trip took us fishing around the islands and the trip we took a couple of weekends ago took us to the outer reef - 2 hours away from the main land.  it was AMAZING!  

we went with 4 other people who signed up for the tour and the captain and captain's assistant.  so, there were 8 of us total.  we started off the day fishing off the bottom with squid and almost as soon as our bait hit the bottom there was a bite!  within the first 10 minutes i think the whole group had caught a fish.  and these fish were FIGHTERS so it was so much fun to bring them in.  

i will let the photos tell the rest of the story...

jim's first fish out of the gate...
spangled emperor

my first fish out of the gate (mine was bigger... just sayin'.)...
spangled emperor
as most of you know, jim is not a small guy... this picture explains what i meant earlier when i said these fish were fighters...

this is a chinaman that one of the other people in the group caught, but i had to take a photo because of it's coloring.  isn't it beautiful?  they are not keepers because they feed on something that makes eating them poisonous.
long nose emperor

tusk fish

red throat

this was our lunch... unfortunately, i was not able to try it because i felt sea sick about 20 minutes after catching this fish.  no worries, though... about an hour of laying down and i was back up!
red emperor
another chinaman!
shortly after lunch (and my 1 hour nap) we started trolling for mackerel.  it was so great... all of us caught one!

spanish mackerel

shark mackerel
ahem, mine may have been bigger.  ;)

this guy worked his tail off and had all of our fish filleted almost immediately after catching.  he was very knowledgeable of all the fish and a true asset to the sea fever team.

this is the view from the upper deck down to where all the fishing action was...

i actually didn't even know i caught this fish until i brought up my line to check the bait... SURPRISE!

ok, raise your hand if you are tired of me talking about whales.  if so, DO NOT PROCEED WITH THE REST OF THIS POST.  

if you did not raise your hand then definitely read on because WE SAW MORE WHALES!!!  and they keep getting better and better.  we were told early in the whale watching season that the whales go through stages as they get more comfortable with their surroundings.  at first, we just saw the whales rolling through the water.  they weren't breaching or anything yet because they were still kind of shy and timid.  then, we would occasionally see one pop their head or tail out of the water.  on this very day, we saw them completely JUMP out of the water!  it was SENSATIONAL!

**i tried to make the pictures larger so you can see them better.  i hope it helps!**

here the whale is popping his head out of the water on the far left.

here the whale is popping out of the water backwards.

here the whale was literally waving at us... those two fins you see in the picture below kept going up and down.  you know, waving.

this was spectacular!  in the picture below the whale's body is entirely out of the water.  the most amazing site ever.

the whales will be something jim and i will never forget about our australian experience.  we feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to see so many of these amazing creatures.

here is the boat we spent the day on... it was VERY nice.  if you are ever in the whitsunday area, i would highly recommend the sea fever charter.  the crew is both professional and extremely hardworking.  they book up quickly, though, so make your reservations a couple of months in advance.



after having my parents all to myself for 2 weeks, it came to our final day.  we decided to rent bikes to ride around mackay.  my dad took some great photos at the botanical gardens:

we stopped half way to have lunch at the mackay botanical garden cafe.  it was very yummy and the perfect amount of food to keep on biking.

shortly after we dropped our bikes off, jim was back in town so he picked us up and we headed home for a relaxing evening at the homestead.  we cooked and had dinner out on the balcony with an amazing sunset.  you really can't beat good food, drinks and even better conversation with people you love.  it was a great way to end their time here.

and in the morning, we got up and took my parents to the airport for our final goodbyes.  i was so sad to see them go, but i am so grateful that i had so much time with them.   i had a WONDERFUL time and will never forget this trip.  i miss you, pam and dad.  love you and thank you so much for everything you did for us while you were here!


the opera house.

on day 3 in sydney we got an up close and personal sydney opera house experience.  we examined the outside of the opera house on our own and took a guided tour of the inside.  it was so incredible and the story behind it all is amazing.  i know i won't get all the details right so i won't tell you everything, but if you ever get the time look it up.  or... TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA!

here are a couple of interesting tidbits i can remember:

  • there was a contest for the design of the opera house with thousands of entries and one of the last entries was the winner.
  • the engineering was a huge challenge, both financially and physically; it was something that had never been attempted because of the arched exterior.  just when they were about to give up, the architect figured out that the roof could be built from a sphere of concrete being cut into individual slabs and placed accordingly.
  • the stages in the auditoriums are deep, but not wide.  so extreme set changes require 20 minutes to change and usually involve an elevator.  reason being is because the design required for the auditoriums to be built right next to each other and did not leave much wing space on the sides of the stage.
  • after the architect "resigned" from the project, he never returned to see his masterpiece finished.  however (and i am not sure how i feel about this); after he died, his family had his memorial at the opera house.  don't you think if he never went back there in his lifetime he may not have wanted a memorial there?  seemed strange to me.
  • you might ask why he resigned.  well, the project was taking too long and costing way too much money (originally was supposed to cost $7 million and ended up costing $102 million), so utzon {the architect} was asked to collaborate with a team for the remainder of the project.  he didn't like the idea so he resigned.  
  • the roof is comprised of "heaps" of ceramic tiles that are both white and off white.  
here are some photos of the inside and the outside:

the tour was well worth it and i highly recommend it.

this restaurant is right in front of the opera house and is where people go before performances to have a pre-show drink or meal.

after the sydney opera house tour, we took a ferry ride to the manly wharf.  manly consists of many shops and a beach with good surfing waves.  it was a little chilly, but we had fun looking around and watching the surfers.  it's a really cute area.

and i will conclude our sydney trip with a few touristy photos:  

the crosswalks actually had this written on the streets to tell tourists to look right for oncoming traffic instead of left!  love. 

the harbour bridge.

this was written in the sidewalk right outside our hotel!  and that is the year jim was born... small world!

and these photos wrap up the sydney portion of the trip perfectly.  we had such a great time!