Dan and Justy Down Under


March 23, 2005


Spent the day in Wellington. Wandered about and found ourselves in the suburb of Seatun. There is a thin, long beach where children were braving the cold water in loose-fitting shorty wetsuits. Most were pulling boogie boards behind them, even though the water was glass flat. We noticed this, but put it down to youthful positive thinking.

We took in the sights of the large bay, with huge ferrys darting about in the distance. Even miles away they were big. We'd take one of these on Saturday when we started south. After a while of this gazing, we heard loud crashes from the beach. The wakes of these ferrys were arriving at the beach. The kids were merrily riding proporionately huge waves that collapsed just short of the sea wall. The waves continued for about 20 minutes.

In our wandering we found a concrete pier with 3 derelict ships moored. Two were not-too-old fishing vessels. The kind with a sloped ramp at the stern to more easily pull aboard a huge net. They were rusting and missing portholes. They would make great artificial reefs, working off some of their karma.

But alone on the other side of the pier was an absolutely beautiful old steamship named the SS Venture. About 190 feet long with graceful curves of both hull and old-style brass railing, she is a vision. The wheel house exterior is wooden, as are the walls along the promenades. Regular windows, not portholes, adorn these cabin. While apparently not seaworthy, she looks good for her obvious age.

She is the kind of ship that would sit at the pier in a heavy fog. A stranger in a trenchcoat would approach and stand under a streetlamp, surveying her. He would take the cigarette out of his outh and call out for someone. A shadowed figure would step out of the wheelhouse. The stranger would say "I want to hire you to take me to South America." The captain would protest, "She hasn't left this pier in 30 years!" "You've got 24 hours to make ready," the stranger says as he puts out the cigarette and turns away into the fog.

Judith, Llewelyn, Margaret and Rhys

Itinerary Highlights
January 20: Winery Tour
21-23: Moreton Bay Diving
25: Australia Zoo
26-30: Lady Elliot Island
February 13: Diving the Yongala
15-17: Cape Tribulation + Daintree Rain Forest
17-20: Atherton Tablelands
22-28: Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard
March 11-13: OzTek Dive Conference: Sydney
14: Fly to New Zealand
20: Poor Knights Islands Diving
31: Mt. Cook
April 2-4: Queenstown
TBD: To Be Dreamed

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