Let’s see, we last left you in Eden where we spent one day wandering around town and the other on a super awesome guided tour on the town with Kailey’s friend and thesis contact Barry Smith and his dog Bonnie. Kailey had studied the special relationship of the whalers and killer whales in this town as part of her masters work. Since Kailey did not have any funding, this was finally her opportunity to see Eden and all it’s whale-ness in person. Kailey and Barry had not met in person until this day as they did most of their correspondence over the internet during her studies, so it was an exciting day for everyone and one that we will always remember.
Our tour of Eden began at the residence of the Davidson Whalers (the true story is very complex and we recommend that you google Killers of Eden and check out all of the information for yourself!) where we actually got to see it all in person, the try-works, their house, Kiah Inlet, etc. It was amazing. From the residence we then went to Boyd Tower and Leather Jacket Bay which are more historic places of importance from the whaling era. After wandering around outside all morning we then went to the Eden Killer Whale Museum, which is a museum devoted to the whole story as well as a few other local exhibits of the area. It was so cool to see he whaling artifacts and OLD TOM up close and in person. For Kailey it was like reliving parts of the story in person. Barry was an awesome guide and sooooooo knowledgable, there was not a question that Kailey could think of that he could not answer. We both enjoyed his company (and Bonnie’s) very much that we hope to remain life long friends. After living Kaley’s dream we all went to an awesome fish and chip lunch in town at the wharf which to this day was the best fish and chips that we have had to this point (New Zealand included). It was an awesome day and Kailey felt like someone should pinch her to make it even more real, meanwhile Kailey is even more inspired to keep up with her knowledge and studies.
Lastly while in Eden, Kailey rescued a baby bird at nightfall that thought her leg was an awesome tree to climb up. Poor little guy had fallen out of his nest in the high winds and ended up on the ground. After several failed attempts to get him to stay in the tree for the night we called the local wildlife hotline AT 10pm it was decided that “peter” would sleep in a pot in Angus with us for the night and be picked up by the wildlife caregivers in the morning. So in he went with a towel to keep him/her warm and a towel to cover the top. When morning came bright and early Peter woke up chirping away… so Kailey did what all good mothers would do, put him back in the tree that he came from. Luckily, Peter decided to stay this time and was soon rejoined by adult birds of his kind who gave him breakfest. After a while Peter hopped back up the branches (no feathers for flying yet on him) and hopefully made it back into his nest. The wildlife people called to check and were thrilled at the happy ending, Kailey was too!
We were then on the road for a 7hr drive to Sydney where we spent 3 days getting organized and ready to return Angus to Wicked, find Kailey’s parents who had just arrived from the states and head out to “the Farm” outside of Tarago, NSW for Kailey’s brother’s wedding. The days were busy but we did get some time to enjoy Sydney and farm life a bit.
In Sydney (Monday, Dec. 10th) the first night we met up with Sam’s Nautilus colleague Daniel and his wife and had a great dinner while playing trivia at a tap house called The Local. This is a place in Sydney where there are 20 beers on tap. Sam enjoyed a sampler flight of 5 different micro-beers and during trivia Kailey won us another two free pints (Yea for the one who does not like beer to win us more! :-)). It was an awesome evening of catching up, having fun and experiencing a local side of Sydney. The second night after a day of errand running and laundry we had dinner with Kailey’s parents and also checked out their hotel room which was pretty awesome in our opinion after camping for a month. They had a nice shower that Kailey took advantage of and carpet that we stretched out on. We sat on their couch and watched a little TV. It was nice and good, yet surreal to see her parents on the other side of the world after 4 months of traveling. That next day we all met up with Kailey’s grandma’s cousin Howard and his sailing crew (Lee and Janice) and we went sailing on the Sydney Harbor. Both of us have been to Sydney before so this was an awesome day to do something that the locals would do. Our Sailing day started out a bit grey and raining, but soon broke into blue skies and sun which quickly gave us a “red sparkle” enhanced by the water and we hoped that is would go away by Saturday for the wedding. On thursday we returned Angus, it was a bitter sweet departure and picked up Merrida, our Toyota Carolla 4 door hatchback with a pop up tent on top (not sure we got a picture of our new ride), but we rode in Luxury to the farm with power windows, AC that didn’t warm the engine, cup holders and more. Kailey’s parents followed us out to the farm and we had a good drive seeing the sights on the way. This was Kailey’s dad’s first time driving on the left side, so it was “interesting” to watch them in the rearview mirror.
The farm, known as Pine bank is a 2500 acres ranch basically with cows, sheep, peacocks, farm stuff and is out probably 18km from the small town of Tarago. This is where the wedding was to take place in the garden and festivities to follow. Kailey’s parents, us and our friends/photographers for the wedding Rae (Same person who traveled Italy with us) and her husband Andy were staying at the neighbor’s house, Nick and Joy who live in a house completely off the grid with it’s own solar power and filtered water. Considering where we were, it was no surprise that they were living like this, but cool to see how it all worked. Nick and Joy are awesome people and super hospitable and helpful.
Thursday and Friday were spent working hard preparing everything for the wedding. The dining hall was the work garage all emptied out, cleaned up and made to look all fancy for guests while the ceremony and cocktail hour were out in the back of the farm house in the gardens. One issue that had to be sorted out was that the bridesmaid dresses did not fit and were all too small upon arrival 3 days before the wedding. One of the 4 bridesmaids decided to squeeze into hers, one made her own and the two others (Kailey, who had no chance of fitting into her super child size (think size 8-10 child American) and the Jr. bridesmaid Juliet) had to go find new dresses the day before the wedding in the closest town of Canberra. Luckily, they found something and they were even almost the right color to match. They also didn’t cost an arm and a leg like they were expecting they were going to. The dresses ended up being an awesome deal at only $35 AUD! SUPER LUCKY!
Saturday, December 15th, GENTHER/CLARKE WEDDING DAY had finally arrived. It was a bit of a surreal moment for us as this was one of the main reasons that we planned our trip around in the first place. The wedding was an amazing ceremony and it was amazing to see how everything came together. The amount of work that everyone from Pen’s parents, brother and sister-in-law, Nick and Joy, and everyone else put in paid off and the wedding was beautiful (Go check out Fancy Fin Photography in a few weeks to see what we are talking about). The ceremony was excellent and really showed a lot of who Pen and Chris are, I mean, Pen-Alope and Chris-towfer. After the ceremony we had some family photos and then it was on to the cocktail hour where we all mingled and chatted the early evening away. This was shortly followed by the dinner which was an amazing feast of lamb, kangaroo, roasted veggies and salad. The delicious meal was followed up by speeches, music and dancing. We each gave a speech and we are pretty sure most of the crowd was moved to tears, though mostly from laughing at Sam who spectacularly spilled his wine glass right at the end of the toast. Lots of us stayed late into the night to celebrate what was an amazing day for two amazing people. We will not mention the fact that Sam may or may not have checked out a bit early to take a “nap” in the grass (dehydration mixed with wine is a dangerous combination 🙂 ).
Post wedding we spent a few days at the farm still hanging out and cleaning up. We also toured the whole property and spent a day in Canberra touring the national parliament and having lunch at the yacht club. While in Canberra Andy, Rae, Kailey and I also went on free camel rides in the town square. For Kailey it was not her wild camels, but she still got a bit of her camel fix.
We ALL (Kailey’s parents, Pen’s parents, Pen, Kailey’s Bro, Pen’s brother and his family, Rae, Andy and us) left the farm on Tuesday for a few days at Bateman’s Bay. We only had one day there, but we had a good time with family and friends. As of Wednesday (Dec. 19th) we (just the two of us) are off again to return Merrida and fly to New Zealand where we will be meeting up with Sam’s parents for a two week trip around the South Island all together
~K. and Sam