Sunday, February 3, 2013

To be a kid again...

Good morning friends!

We are back from 9 days in Tazzie where we missed the torrential rain that hit Queensland and New South Wales (NSW). For those of you who don't know, Aussie has 6 states and 2 territories. We live in NSW while Queensland is just north in line with the Tropic of Capricorn. They can get pounded with storms and cyclones and heaps of sea foam as illustrated here.

Morning View

But alas, we are back from beautiful Tasmania and since those 9 days may go in the record books for the most strange and novel days of my life, we will try and blog about it piecemeal. Today's blog will be about our lodging, the Odalisque.

Looking past the true definition of the word, this 62 foot abalone boat was idyllic to spend 9 days on. Situated in the CBD (Aussies love to use abbrevs and slang whenever possible... CBD = Central Business District, aka downtown), on the most outwardly pier, we had unobstructed views south with the only landmass being Antarctica in front of us. Although there were no Emperor Penguins in Tazzie, we did see fairy penguins (although we did hear that the LGBT group found it offensive to call them fairy penguins, so the PC term now is 'little' penguins). There were also a lot of signs around alerting us to the presence of friendly Sammy the enormous Seal...sadly for Alissa, we never did spot him except in the hundreds of advertisements of his face plastering Hobart.

The Odalisque had 8 single bunks and 2 full sized beds downstairs that somehow doesn't exist in the 450+ photos I took! It was tight quarters with no windows but the sleeping was excellent! I was afraid of Alissa's stomach prior to the trip (packing bags before getting onto a plane or bus gets her close to the 20% mark of vom) but no motion sickness ensued for anyone.

Sunset on the Odalisque

The main cabin was gorgeous. We had a fridge, microwave, 4 top stove, full kitchenware and two massive round tables perfect for dinner and playing cards. Countless nights were spent watching the sunset over a glass of wine, playing Euchre, and shotgunning each other's pelvises (the pubic symphysis shotgun is the first step in unlocking the pelvis for you non-physio types).

Enjoying dinner
Around midnight on our first night while we were practicing physio on the huge lid of the abalone container (btw, for those of you looking for a lucrative career change, the owner of the boat usually goes on Abalone catches for 4 days, collecting 4.5 tons of abalone and selling it for $50/kilo. I'll let ya do the math!), a man came up to the side of the boat and whispered for us to come over. The night was perfectly still, which is highly unusual for Hobart since it resides in the roaring 40's. He pointed to the water and told us to look. He then flicked his water bottle and what ensued was unlike anything I had ever seen or thought was possible naturally...

As the water hit the surface, the sea quickly lit up in an incredibly vibrant phosphorescent green. Each droplet caused a kaleidoscope ripple effect that went out for 4-5 meters. I thought I was dreaming and had to do double, triple, quadruple takes. It was magical, like a green firecracker went off under the surface of the water that gently dissipated out. All four of us were fascinated and went inside to grab heaps of water to trickle throughout the pier. We spent the good part of an hour tossing water and waiting for the bioluminescent algae to 'recharge.' Huub and I ran to an exceptionally still part of the pier and threw a 5 meter rope into the water which made the sea erupt in green. Like 5 year olds, we giggled and shook our heads muttering, 'this is the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life!' while repeatedly fishing the rope out and throwing it back in... over and over and over again! I felt like a kid again, being completely enveloped in the moment without trying to analyze it. Oh, the joy of being so present and fascinated with life without the analytical mind at work. I aspire to regain that childlike awe, curiosity and fascination with our world.

I desperately wanted to capture it on film but even with a tripod and a low light lens, my camera's sensor was not sensitive enough since the night was pitch black. Some things are meant to be experienced rather than documented.

As the night came to an end, the Southern Cross dominated the sky, and you quickly realize why it's on the Australian flag. I learned that seafarers could quickly identify south with on a clear night sky. Draw a line through the long axis of the Southern Cross (center left of the photo with the long axis pointing to the upper right) to the upper right part of the photo. Then take the two indicator stars (the crane's arm point right to them) and draw a perpendicular line through their intersection. Now, where the long axis of the southern cross meets the perpendicular line from the indicator stars is due south. A thing of beauty... In my next life, I want to be an astronomer.

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