Monday, December 25, 2017

Australia: A Family Christmas

We finally got our Christmas wish:  our grandchildren would be visiting us during the Christmas Holiday.  They were scheduled to fly from Guatemala and arrive in Sydney Dec. 18th.
With guests coming, we were a little rushed to get the varnishing done on the cap rail and stripping all the old caulk from our teak decks, along with the micro cleaning of the boat that only Meryl can do when she knows we're having company.

On Dec. 18th our daughter Christa, her husband Andrew, and two very active children, Quinn age 7 and Conner age 5, arrived at the marina, tired from nearly 25 hours of traveling but anxious to see Mimi and Boppa's (that's us) boat.

Taking everyone out in the dingy, along with luggage, required a bit of magic but we finally got everyone settled and headed one hour north to Coasters Retreat, a wonderful anchorage nestled in the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Quinn, Meryl and Nash enjoy their first time on Flying Cloud.
Quinn and Meryl checking out the view from the foredeck as we approach Coasters Retreat in Pittwater.
Quinn and Nash check out a Swamp Wallaby at Coasters Retreat.
Two very special women in my life.
Quinn and Conner very excited about their first night on a boat.
We took a nice hike up to the top of the road in Coasters Retreat. No snakes but it was dreadfully hot.
Christa always chooses great AirBnb's. This one was at the top of the ridge in Avalon. Surrounded by gum trees, we had a nightly chorus from the resident cockatoos, which have one of the most irritating squawks of any bird around. 
Christa is a stickler about healthy foods for the family.
After a morning at the beach we had a delicious lunch at the Whale Beach Deli near Palm Beach.
One of our Christmas gifts to the kids (and Christa and Nash for a day off) was taking the kids to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
Since Australia has more creepy crawly things that can kill you than any other place in the world, I thought I'd just put in one picture so we don't deter you from a future visit to Down Under.
The view from the Taronga Zoo is breathtaking with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Bridge in the background.
After our experience at Sea World we were smart enough not to sit in the first row during the seal show.
When Quinn and Conner see this picture they'll be surprised to see what's right behind them.
All grandfather's brag about their grandchildren, but I have to say Quinn got some of the best rides of any of the kids in her surf class that day. Being strong, well balanced, and light weight also helps.
We took a nice hike up to the top of Barrenjoey Lighthouse. You can see Palm Beach (where the kids took surfing lessons) on the left and Pittwater (where we keep the boat) on the right.
The intrepid hikers at the top of Barrenjoey with the Tasman Sea in the background.

Quinn and Conner both got to make their very own Gingerbread Houses. The challenge was to keep grandpa from eating all the ingredients.
Wrapping presents late on Christmas Eve.
Quinn and Meryl making delicious Christmas sugar cookies.
Nash cooked a delicious Christmas Eve dinner with steak and lobster hot off the barbie.
Nash reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
So nice to share Christmas morning with young children again.
Mimi thanks the grandkids for a beautiful jacket from Guatemala. 
Constructing a Lego Catamaran with a 7-year-old is a humbling experience.
We took a Christmas Day walk along windy Newport Beach with large waves washing over into the swimming pool.
No Christmas is complete without some rock climbing on the sandstone cliffs above the beach.

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