Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Random Photo's From Aust

My Dad GEO would love this place on the broad water - helipad right there! This house is across the waterway from my school

Daisey Hill is a MTB area with some single track riding. We loaded up and travelled to check it out. Not quite as sweet as Hardwood or the Copeland but good for some training for the National Series event in 6 weeks.

Noah has been reading tons of books inbetween travels. The book called 'Conspiracy 365' is one of Noah's favorites and check out the cover!!

Surfing continues almost every day - the boys out for a session together.

First Visitors

Most people know that, back in Canada, I teach a course called GEOSTUDIES, which is an outdoor adventure junkie course with an environmental twist to it. It is a well disguised curriculum based course at the grade 11 level that allows me the opportunity to travel around North America and get adventure based education outside of those four walls in a typical school system. Trips have included The Grand Canyon, West Coast Trail in BC and even down to Costa Rica.

To say that I get to know my students well is an understatement. I transition out of "teacher mode" and into "friendship mode". I always tell every year of GEOSTUDIES to make sure and travel as much as you can in your lifetime... and out of the blue, send me a postcard from where you are travelling to! Whenever I get a postcard on some random Tuesday in the middle of February from a former GEO kid... it makes my day!

Well, not only did Robyn McCrea (GEO 2008) keep in touch...yesterday she showed up on our Australian beach having travelled from Canada to do a tour of Australia and maybe work a bit. So awesome to see her actually "doing the travel scene" and getting out of little 'ol Barrie for a world tour! Abandoned her "comfort zone" for sure!

Robyn and Courtney Higginson (north kid too!) are both staying with us for a few days while they work their way up the coast of Australia! First visitors!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Down a Couple Chickens

So... we live in a house that has some chickens on the property.

We get regular fresh eggs every morning which is a unique experience for sure! Upon arrival we named the chickens - Pecker, The Elusive One, Bob and Runaway (he got out of the pen one day). These chickens became a source of entertainment for the first few weeks since we had no other friends in the Gold Coast at this time. Our exchange partners even challenged us to be able to race around and "pick up" the chickens in our hands (a skill we were significantly lacking when we first arrived).

Well, I am here to say that we grew quite fond of the chickens over the last two months, however some bad news this week.... we are down 2 chickens! The storey goes that "Runaway" (aptly named) influenced "Bob" to bust outta the joint just like the TV series Prison Break and in the process met their fate. Runaway is still AWOL and poor Bob met a Mercedes face to face. We are in the process of acquiring two more chickens to bring our compliment back up to four! Anybody arriving for a visit can count on fresh eggs for breakfast!

A Paddle We Will Go, A Paddle We will Go

I Love Holidays! Something new everyday!

Couple days ago, we grabbed some canoes from the school and headed up the broadwater (intercoastal waterway just inside from the ocean). My school, TSS, is situated right on the waterway near Surfers Paradise so we ended up taking out a couple boats and seeing how far up we could paddle in the afternoon.

The paddle started near some beautiful homes - one in particular with a helicopter out front (my Dad GEO would have picked this pad for a home base for sure!). Then we passed some HUGE yahts along the way, follwed by a couple secluded beaches. We hung out as the tide dropped and left us with these wicked sand bars to play on.

D'Bah & Point Danger

My quest to surf 200+ days this year is well under way. I am currently sitting at 27 days, 14 of which have been consecutive!

In the process I am building confidence to branch out into various "locals only" spots. "D'Bah" beach is just south of Coolangatta and its where all the 'cool kids' hang out when the surf is big. You would find a few Pro's there on a good day if they were in town.

A few days ago I got enough courage (read... waves were small enough) to paddle out at D'bah with the big boys. I had my new Diverse shortboard with me as oppose to my old man longboard, so I didn't stick out too bad out of the gate. The waves were definitely cleaner on this particular day and without too many wipeouts, I didn't do too bad. The highlight of my day was chirpin' (a high pitched "hey") a guy who was on my wave! Imagine, ME telling somebody they had dropped in on me. It was at that point I figured it was time to get outtta there.. when the going was good and my image around D'Bah was well established.

After the post D'bah surf we checked out Point Danger vantage point which is absolutely gorgeous. We saw a few whales blow, off in the distance. All in all a good day on my quest for 200+.


Jeff Spencer - Motivational Speaker

Wednesday last week we went to see motivational speaker Jeff Spencer. Jeff has worked with Lance Armstrong on his 7 Tour victories. He did a presentation at a fancy hotel down at Surfers Paradise. Wendy and I enjoyed hearing those stories about Lance, the Tour and cycling strategies for success. Anybody in the cycling world back in Canada would enjoy listening to his presentation. Highlight was talking to him after the presentation, turns out he knew a friend of mine who was the mechanic for Team Discovery all those years - Jeff Brown. Small World!! If you get a chance, check out his website, its got some cool stuff. Glenn M., Fab, Jack, Don, Bill etc... you guys would have all liked some of the stories he told.

More News From Down Under

Hey Everybody,
We are on holidays these last two weeks. The school year is cool in that they have four (4) "terms", each 8-10 weeks long and then you get a 2 week holiday with a 2 month summer holiday after term #4. Well, we just finished term #3 and have been hangin' out in the GOLD COAST doing something new everyday. Here is some news from our family...

Hannah News - wins PE Honours award and going to represent her school at a "Women in Sport Conference" in Brisbane the first week back, swimming squad at Nerang Pool every Tues & Thurs, BMX continues and Rugby starts Friday night with first game.

Noah News - wins first BMX race at Ashmore, Mr. Mac is back in class, caught some nice waves in Byron Bay (check Youtube link), and Rugby starts on Friday night with first game (Mudgeera Redbacks).

Wendy News - did first day of supply work last week with success, decided to compete in Noosa Triathalon with a group of local girls and she will do the swim portion, got the pool going at the house and looking forward to term #4 to make some $$$$ for further travel plans.

Kevin News - planning trips during holidays (like surf in a.m., laser tag and dreamworld in aft and movie at cinema in p.m., lovin' the holidays, 14 straight days surfing, former GEO student Robin McCrae is visiting, no trips at all these last 4 weeks so work is pretty chill, lovin' life!

That's it for now!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kangaroo Video On My Ride

We found out that there will be an Asutralian National MTB race within 30 minutes on our house at a place called ILLINBAH. Race Date... November 5/6, 2010. That gives us 7 weeks to get in some miles! With that in mind, I headed out looking for trails around the neighborhood. After riding up hill for 300 metres, I came across this sweet power line ride (Glenn Meeuwisse will know what I am talking about from Adventure Race Days). While up on in the 'hinterland' (they call it), I had an interesting ride with the wildlife and the views.

Check out this view. That's the city of Surfer's Paradise in the distance. We never really go to Surfer's since its a huge tourist destination and super busy. It kinda looks and feels like a cross between New York & Las Vegas (actually saw a ferris wheel being constructed on one of the roof tops last week). At night, the place is totally lit up!

Had a coupel kanagroo's checkin' me out when I was doing some hill repeats. They let me stop and get a video clip - check it out below. When he stood upright he was as tall as mee and looked like he could kick my butt in a one-on-one battle. I tried to race the kangaroo up the hill on one of my repeats but was definitely "schooled" by this particular Roo!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

BEACH HOUSE - Thanks Mike!

HUGE thanks to Mike Sleeman at TSS who let us stay at his families amazing beach house in ILUKA! This place is a "beach" version of our "ski chalet" home back in Canada. It looks like the family bought the block of land years ago, built on the property and over time created this amazing "hide away" close to the surf. Looking at the pictures in the house, you can tell the family has many memories in this place (and caught LOTS of HUGE fish!). I love the lane way! I want to re-do the laneway back in Horseshoe Valley to match the surf lane way Mike has done at the ILUKA home - maybe in the shape of a snowboard half pipe!

Mike is an amazing artist and the beach house has incredible art that he has done.

No, Wendy is not at an aquarium watching sea turtles, she is standing in front of one of Mike's masterpieces! The surfboard hanging on the wall is a whole other blog!

We had the best night out at the local pub in ILUKA. It was "Italian Night" for the locals and we managed to join in on the excitement of the buffet dinner. We definitely stood out among the locals but we ended up chatting with a few people and got a real sense of this community. This felt like the heart of coastal Australia!

All in all an amazing place! I would visit ILUKA in a second!


Another great weekend of travelling! About 2.5 hours south of Surfer's is a new spot we ventured to last weekend - YAMBA & ILUKA. These beach towns are situated on either side of the Clarence River in New South Wales. ILUKA, the smaller town boasts a fishing surfing theme of predominantly locals. I went for an amazing run along the rain forest trail and we all explored the rocky bluffs and reefs surrounding the shore line. YAMBA is a little more popular with tourists and requires a 20 minute ferry ride from ILUKA to get there. YAMBA has some equally beautiful geography and surf spots. We ended up having lunch at the Pacific HOTEL which has the most amazing view out the big windows. Anybody travelling to this area will want to stay in these area for a while.