Rock Pooling

Muddy, brown swirling flood waters. Semi submerged flotsam and jetsam from way upstream. Deceptive currents invisible on the surface but strong enough to sweep away the humble tinny. Best head to the coast then, beyond where the rivers expel their coffee coloured dregs and where the magnitude of the Pacific surf has the power to wash away and dilute the murky masses of water that empty into it. Floods punctuated the close of a Sydney summer that never really was. Thank goodness for Rock pools, their crystal clear waters renewed daily by a fresh tide that inundates it. Perfect for exploring whatever the weather.


Emerald city….

Pretty shells all in a row…

King Neptune’s necklace…

A rose petal bubble shell (very exciting find!)..


Sea urchin…



Mr Pincy…

at the kiosk..

Someone else’s sandcastle

What did you do last summer? :)










Time and Tide Wait for no Blogger

There just hasn’t been time for blogging these past few months. If I took a photo everyday you’d be looking at a whole pile of cardboard boxes and a lot of sweat and swearing. Here’s what the good bits looked like instead (whilst I relocate my writing mojo…)

A trip to Bundeena to escape the packing…

wave watching

 Chart reading

Heading Home

 Lots of takeaway…

A wedding by  the sea…

Norah Head


cake love

More cake love


Flannel flowers and kangaroo paw

Farewell to Brighton Le Sands…but we’ll be back..

Kiting 2

She sells sea shells…a 4th birthday..

Getting stuck into the George’s River..

Rhubarb after her first foray into the mangroves…

Something we’re pondering (because we don’t already have enough renovations in the pipeline)

The last few months have passed at break neck speed and we are now finally looking forward to a long lazy summer holiday (if the summer weather ever decides to make an appearance!). I will be mostly eating cheese and cherries, heading out in the tinny, catching up on some good books and dipping my toe into some ocean swimming like I promised. Oh and finding my blogging mojo from under the packing boxes :). How will you spend yours?



This Moment

{this moment}: A Friday photo tradition with Soulemama. One moment from this week, one that you want to hang onto and not forget. No words. And if you’re a blogger playing along, please leave your link!

Godrevy Light, Cornwall

I was sent this lovely photo postcard this week from a dear friend in sunny Cornwall. Her photo, her moment, but shared with me it brought back memories of many happy moments of my own. Have a great weekend one and all.

“Music of The Rippling Waters “..Uteikah II turns 100

Its not everyday you get invited to a 100th Birthday, but two in a fortnight is unheard of. I had the privilege this weekend of attending a celebration of 100 years of the beautifully restored classic yacht Uteikah II. It was on this yacht that I came across the nautical chart that inspired my post “The Magic of Maps”. She has been owned by a friend of the family for the last thirty years or so and has just undergone a complete restoration project which has taken more years than was anticipated, but the final restoration speaks for itself. She is a thing of great beauty and I had a job to put my camera down.  

The celebration included a blessing of the boat. I couldn’t hear much of the pastor’s words from my spot on the wharf but, depsite still being unsure of my own religious persuasion the occasion rather stirred the emotions. I think anyone who “goes down to the sea in ships” might relate to this. It seems fitting and right to launch a vessel with a prayer that might help her and her crew weather any storms that come their way. Sailors are a superstitious bunch. The occasion reminded me of going with my Dad to the blessing of the fishing fleet and the harvest of the sea service in Porthleven. My Dad would say he is not a deeply religious man at all but he often went along to these occasions.

Uteikah has a long and rich history which I won’t attempt to record here in any detail at all as I’d probably get it wrong. The celebration was made particularly special though, by the attendance of the son and grandson of Uteikah’s original owner. The former of which pipped Uteikah to the post and got his telegram from the Queen last year. How special for a man and a boat who have shared the same century to be reunited in this way. Sent a shiver down my spine.

To some people boats are just a means of transport; a collection of wood, metal and cloth that are fashioned together to float and move from place to place. But to a sailor, like the once in a lifetime family dog, some boats are a bit more special than others. They bind together the people who have sailed on them through their shared memories and voyages and they take on a personality of their own by absorbing the spirit that is borne out of life at sea.

I’d love to hear about a vessel that was special to you and any thoughts or recollections on faith and seafaring?

I took too many photos to label and comment on so here are the best in a gallery. See if you can spot Grandad Water’s chunk of cedar that was once a table, then a wireless casing and is now set for a new life at sea.

A New Set of Sails

Now and then every ship needs a bit of maintenance. Sand back the weathered edges, a bit of varnish, some new sails. Secret Water recently got a bit of a renovation with the addition of a beautiful custom banner by the talented children’s illustrator Cassandra Allen.

I first came across her work via Inner Pickle who had one on her lovely blog. I hopped over to Cassandra’s site and fell in love with the illustrations in “There Was An Old Sailor”.Mothers day approached so instead of chocolates, flowers and a spa treatment I asked for a new blog banner. This is perhaps further evidence to Reg’s argument that I have become a computer club nerd? Not really, I’m saving my pennies to buy the original painting to put in my new kitchen..if it ever gets built.  I had to wait a few weeks and exchanged a few emails with Cassandra about colours, fonts and the angle and shape of Rhubarb’s ears blowing in the wind.

In case you hadnt twigged, the illustration includes some of my favourite people in the world. I think Cassandra has captured the essence of my blog perferctly.

What do you think?

Surf’s Up

Oh, where to start? As sad as I am to admit, when I check the BOM website these days I’m mainly interested in whether its going to rain or not (washing). Friday arvo web surfing at work used to be all about the Saturday Nor’ Easter (skiffs) or the Sunday Southerly Buster (CYC Winter series). This is why, having not checked the marine forecast, it was a pleasant surprise to find the surf conditions absolutely pumping off South Cronulla last Friday.

Surf's up!

Blown spume

Flung Spray

One more wave

I took the kids down to the beach to make sandcastles and rid myself of the cabin fever that was still lurking from Thursday and the working week.

King of the castle

Fort Banksia

The surf conditions had created that lovely aura of diffused winter light; rays of sunshine bursting through millions of almost invisible droplets thrown up by the spume.

If you’ve been reading along for a while you’ll know that Banksias are my favourite Australian native tree. I think of them as the oaks of the Southern hemisphere. I especially like them when they are perched in the vicinity of salt water….


Wild thing


Banksia and Boat

Banksia's seen better days

When I’d had my fill of Banksias we made a beeline for the sand at South Cronulla, where there was a body boarding competition underway. Shire mums, if you thought your boys were in school, you might want to take a look…

Scores on the door

The beach and the promenade had that distinct off season feel about it when the locals are out and about soaking up the relative peace and quiet. We joined in for an hour or two…

Bubbles I

Bubbles II

Bubbles III

The salty air effect

Post snooze

End of the day

Did anyone else get to suck up last week’s surf? Here’s the rest of the pics :)



Lets go Fly a Kite

With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Mary Poppins might be in Sydney town right now but she, nor anyone else, was down at Dolls Point yesterday. It was blowing a chilly Southerly so we decided to see if any of the regular kite surfing crowd had skipped work to take advantage of it. Sadly they were all at their desks so instead we shook the dust off ours and sent it up where the air was clear.

We're experiencing some technical issues


Ready for take off!

We have lift off!

Fist holding tight


Bye bye Bob!


Shadows on the sand

Up to the heighest height


Feet on the ground you're a bird in flight


Mums turn


Busy with other stuff


Foraging for food


Jonathon Livingstone turned up


Up in the Atmosphere


Just because


Feet firmly back on the ground

Wanna go? Put this in your diary

Festival of the Winds

Antidote to the Hallmark Mothers Day

Parked at Redjacks

Yesterday I described to Reg, the fantasy Mothers day that all mums imagine but which I now realise will never materialise. Funnily enough this fantasy was much like the one described by Kerri Sackville in the sunday paper today, which gave me a chuckle. In this fantasy I awake to a sparkling house, filled with fresh flowers, folded clothes, freshly brewed coffee and a gaggle of shiny clean smelling children waiting patiently to present some expensive jewellery and a voucher for the day spa. Previous posts may have unintentionally created the false impression that I lead a charmed nautical sort of life in which my house is kept in ship shape bristol fashion just like a boat, and that we just scoop up the kids and head out to sea to take pretty pictures as soon as the sun comes out and the tides are favourable.  In the interests of keeping it real I was going to post a photo of the carnage that is our lounge room, just to disprove this notion, but luckily for you Reg put his foot down. Instead of the Hallmark fantasy Mothers day we shut the door on the mess and made our way to Redjacks Point to a super special picnic spot we came across this time last year. Jones number two loved her second trip out in the tinny with the arm flapping and squeaking proportional to the increase in speed as we left the 8 knot zone.  The picnic fairy was on hand to look after the food….

Precious picnic cargo

We picniced (is that how you spell it?) on some salmon sangers and leftover roasted veggies with feta, washed down with thermos tea. I was kicking myself for not chilling some champers as the view certainly deserved it…

View to Lilli Pilli

Look up

A spot of fairy hunting to work up an appetite for pudding…..

MUST find fairies

We didnt see any actual fairies but we know they are there because we found these…..

Magic Toadstools

Followed up with a few sandcastles…..

Fort Locks


Aerial view


…spotted some strange looking jellyfish…

Jelly bean


A visit from our friend Percival….

Sir Percival

And time to head home….

Heading for Home

And that…is the last time I ever wish for the Hallmark fantasy Mothers day. How did you spend yours? :)

The Water is Waiting For You

The Water is Waiting

An unexpected work opportunity, lack of sleep and various other domestic projects of late,  have all conspired to keep me from getting out on the water. We havent had time to get out in the tinny for weeks and  blood salt levels are at an all time low. This was compounded last weekend by the cancellation of a long anticipated day’s racing on Sydney Harbour with some girlfriends.  So by late Thursday afternoon, with eyes on stalks from burning the midnight oil and a pair of restless kids on my hands I remembered that we’re still only a stones throw from the beach at Brighton Le Sands. I didnt have my camera with me so I decided to get in the retro photo craze and test out my recently acquired iphone App “Hipstamatic”, and the results were quite pleasing.

An hour down on the sand late in the afternoon reminded me what this blog is all about: being inspired to snatch some time (even just an hour) away from the rug rat race and make the most of what’s on the doorstep. Once you step down off the boardwalk you can’t even hear the traffic.

Beach Ballet

OK, so you can see the industrial silos at Botany Bay and the planes landing and taking off at Kingsford Smith, but they’re in the back ground. Their visible presence only served to remind me that I had stepped back from the rush for a second and was in respite mode. 

Watching the World Go By
An hour down on the beach was all I needed to recharge the batteries, clear the fuzz and be thankful that, despite its urbanity, I live within close reach of so many soothing places. Where’s your favourite “round the corner” place to unwind?

Snapshots of an Ocean Queen

Stepping up to see the grand lady

A holiday on a cruise ship really isn’t my cup of tea. Perhaps when I’m ninety five and other options are becoming less accessible. However, I have nothing against those whose cup of tea it is, and I have to confess when one of the really grand Cunard vessels visits Sydney I can’t resist tripping down there to soak up the nautical magnificence that only a grand ocean liner can conjure, not to mention the people watching that goes with it. To my delight there were nautical stripes, deck shoes and gold braid aplenty as well as a few dinstiguished gents in blazers and panamas. Spiffing.  Rather than view the grand lady leaving through a pair of binos from a lofty harbourside lookout I chose to get up close and personal, if only so I could get that tingly feeling when she blows her horn right in your ear. Harriet’s eyes nearly popped out of her head. Here’s some snaps that resulted from a couple of pleasant hours loitering Quayside.

It was an overcast grey morning, but the colours worked well and the weather brought a certain Britishness to the occasion, as if any more was required!

Tidy Lines

This was one of several smartly dressed gentleman who looked like they’d just stepped out of an episode of “Goodnight Sweetheart”; trilby’s, panamas and blazers, and completely oblivious to the mad woman stalking them with pram and camera.

Taking a look

In the fifteen minutes leading up to her departure, rather disoncertingly there was a man playing the theme song to “Titanic” on the panpipes, which he followed up with “Time to Say Goodbye” . And say goodbye she did; with several honks on her horn she glided gracefully away from the Quay and out into the harbour.

The lady leaves

 Here’s the rest in a gallery. Bon Voyage!

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