Monday, 18 March 2013

New to Queenstown

For our first week in Queenstown, the weather was beautiful. Clear blue skies meant the mountains were in full view, which dominate the landscape.  We walked around the town and ate our first Furburger, which turns out to be the best burgers. in the world. ever.  The establishment always has long queues but trust me, its worth the wait.
In addition, one of my best friends from home and also one third of my road trip gang when going down the East Coast of Australia, was in town.  Therefore our first night was spent having drinks at the world bar with a familiar face.

This is definitely a tourist town living up to its title as 'extreme sports capital of the world.' So many people walking along the water front and yet there is no shoving or fasts walking, everyone is on holiday!  However, before me and Zim can even think of signing up for a bungy or para-glide, or do any other fun stuff, we both had to look for work.  This is an expensive place and if we wanted to make it in Queenstown for longer than a few months, we had to start straight away.

Luckily by the fifth day we both had jobs; Zim in Construction and me making Sandwiches.  Last week was pretty intense, I worked 50 hours in four days, but it all helps in getting towards our goal - our very own apartment.  At the moment we are staying in a hostel, which is very lovely (free internet, large kitchen, great views) but I grave for privacyand somewhere to call 'home.'

Since being in Queenstown, I've taken very few pictures, but what I have taken is mostly of mountains and water and very little else. Its just hypnotizing and looks different everyday.  I really need to make an effort in taking pictures of myself and Zim, otherwise no one will believe we were here!

As far as first weeks go, this ones been pretty productive.  We're still adjusting to New Zealand (and the Kiwi accent!) but hopefully this town will treat us well.  

Saturday, 9 March 2013

NZ, we have arrived

Our flight from Sydney went without a hitch and on Friday afternoon we landed in Queenstown. Flying over the south island was just spectacular. As we made our descent, I realised that this really was middle earth. With the mountain tops popping through the clouds and then coming clear, I couldn't help but expect Orks chasing after some hobbits.

So far, I'm falling for this town. The mountains, the lake and the blue skies have done us a world of good.  Over the next few days we'll be looking for work and a roof over our head, sorting out our new home for the time being.

There is a lot of work a head, but there is no where I'd rather be right now.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Out of the water

Every two years, The Soren Larsen is taken out of the water and given some tender love and care.  At the time me and Zim leave the Soren, she is sitting in Sydney City Marine. Her crew will work 12hr+ days to get the work done. Strange having to use a very long ladder to get on board.

 Really glad I got to see this before we caught our flight. Amazing how they get such a big ship out of the water. I know there is a part of Zim wishing he could stay around for this refit. His relationship with Sydney's tall ships goes deeper than my own.   He arrived in Sydney on a tall ship, then found work on another, sailed away and then back again... and now he is flying away.  For two years he has worked for this company, but he's excited about the change.

So there you have it. My trip down memory lane is over. The next time you'll be hearing from me I should be somewhere else, making a new life.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sydney Days

I wish I could tell you that my lack of blogging in Sydney was due to a hectic schedule wining and dining my way through the city.  But my lack of health, funds and a partner in crime have meant I spent a lot of time sleeping, drinking too much coffee and organising our departure.  When I  finally felt better, the weather just got worse. Yet being back with my other half has been amazing, and definitely worth rain and sniffles.
 In between the coffees and sneezing I did manage to have a little fun out and about. This included;

  • Watching Django Unchained at Broadway cinema. Haven't been to the cinema in ages and so worth it.
  • Getting sunburn at Coogee beach. A few months under an English sun (or lack of) and I burn like a baby. Before you ask, yes I was wearing sunscreen.

  • Sighting HMS Endeavour at the Australian maritime museum. Looks like so much fun to sail.
  • Visiting the Australian gallery of contemporary art. Opening after renovations, this to my mind was better than my recent visit to the Tate modern.

  • Enjoying a few glasses of Cider in the rocks.
  • Chewing the fat with old friends.
  • Browsing bookshops in Balmain.

There are a lot of touristy things I could have done in Sydney, but as a second time around, my priorities were a little different.  I wanted to spend the evenings with a tired sailor and my days thinking of Queenstown.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Stepping back onto the Soren Larsen

For my first few nights in Sydney, I was greeted with a stay at the Oaks Hyde Park Plaza.  With the exception of noise disruption due to renovation work, our studio apartment was the perfect place to fight through Jet lag and a common cold.   However, for the other twelve days in Sydney, I stayed aboard my South Pacific home, the Soren Larsen. As my other half had stayed with the ship since we reached Sydney, the owners were good enough to let me stay in his cabin.  Except for my first days in the city, Zim would be working aboard until we leave for Queenstown.

For the first week back, The Soren Larsen kept up with her charters on the harbour and I would build my days around what she was doing. I also got to see the Southern Swan, the first tall-ship I worked on, out on the harbour. I spent a lot of time reminiscing over my life in Sydney. I got to relive waking up to the Sydney Opera house, see old friends and remember how sailing made me feel.
As an ex-crew member, returning to the ship was a very odd experience. Coming on as a guest, you are no longer part of the ship and its day to day life.  You are there as an observer, looking in. Some things are the same, others are different.  I spent a lot of time stopping myself speaking if the sentence began with "In the South pacific we did it like this..." But coming back to the Soren Larsen has clarified a few things for me. Whilst back I have learnt;

  1. The old girl is doing well in the harbour. Life has ticked on for her.
  2. As much fun as I loved it before, I'm so ready to live in a building, at least for a few months. I almost forgot the pleasures of marine plumbing, having zero personal space and living with leaky cabins!
  3. That although one day I may return to her, at the moment she is no longer part of my story, but another crews. Our time, for now, has come to an end and its the opportune time for another adventure.

But if before I thought she'd shown me everything, the Soren Larsen had another cool thing to show me. Because a few days before we were due to leave, this lady was taken out of the water. More on that to come...

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