Sunday, 29 July 2007

Outback Wallaby

The weather has been awful for the last week, rain, rain and more rain. Haven't seen raining men but it sure is close. Well, enuff of that stuff. Yesterday we went out cruising east on the intention of seeing wild kangaroos or skippies as they call 'em here down under.

And so we went, me driving, Captain Mats as co-pilot and our new 2nd Engineer Petrica and 2nd Mate Tapani in the back. Tapani was piloting me with the local map and we headed out towards Albany, some 350k's from Fremantle. When we had cleared all signs of inhabitation we entered a forested area and I switched on the cruise control (nice thing that 1, never had one before on any of my cars).

After I think abt 75k's on the road we stopped and turned into a dirt track that ran off the highway. We went along various dirt tracks and we soon lost ourselves in a maze of them when suddenly a rabbit ran across the road. Well, at least not a lost cause, one vabbit seen. On we went and as it was already getting dark we decided to turn back and then it happened.

A live kangaroo jumed out of the bushes on the road in front of us and then he/ she stopped and looked us. We also stopped and gazed at the live kangaroo or I think rather a wallaby. Small thing maybe 1m high he sat there staring at us, I managed to squeeze off one shot from my camera when he thought enuff is enuff and skipped off into the forest. Mission accomplished and we could head back home, I crisscrossed many dirt tracks and finally we ended back on the highway. So, total trip was around 150km's and a bonged a vabbit and a kangaroo. Now I can say that I have not only eaten skippy but also seen him.
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Sunday, 22 July 2007

Night out in Freo

Greetings from Australia once more. Have been down under in Oz for a couple weeks now. Last Saturday I volunteered to be the designated driver for my colleagues. Ah, need to back track some more. We live in a 3 bedroom (3-story) house that is near the center of Fremantle.

Very convenient spot, the center is like 5 blocks away and the cathouse only 3. Including me it is the Captain, a Swedish guy and the Hotel Manager, a Swiss guy, that lives in the house. It is almost like Big Brother but we don't have any chicks which makes it rather boring. We only work, work and work. Well, I been cooking dinners almost every night more or less. And so it goes.

Well, to come to the point of the story we went out on the Saturday night for dinner and beers to Northbridge, Perth where the meat vats are supposedly bigger and better. As I said I was driving and we headed for Perth and ended up in a restaurant called the Brass Monkey. Didn't see and monkeys though. We enter the restaurant and the waitress that comes to take our order has a name tag on her chest and I read a Finnish name, so I ask her do you come from Finland? The girl replies yes and continues in clear Finnish. As it happens she had just finished her studies and was backpacking around the world and had stopped to work some cash for her next leg of the voyage. It is just amazing how a nation of just 5mil people spread out. There you go walking into a restaurant practically on the opposite side of the world and you bump into a fellow country man. How weird is that?

Anyway, I had quesadillas for starters and a 300g kangaroo steak for main course. Man, I was stuffed, I couldn't have even forced myself to drink beer after this, so I was quite content to be the designated driver. After dinner we went around and looked into various venues but the area we were in was just too rough. Teenage guys in T-shirts and jeans, ratarsed and full of adrenalin, coppers everywhere ready to contain any arising situation. It was almost like being in Finland, just a bit warmer. So, we went back to the car and headed for Subiaco, another nightlife spot in Perth. Down in Subiaco bars were closing and nightclubs had queues of people lining up.

I haven't lined into a venue since I was in my twenties and I guess it was the same as with my colleagues. Then we bump into this Aussie guy who starts talking and it turns out he had been living a short while in Sweden and he wanted to guide us to another venue with no queues, so we hop into our car and drive on somewhere near Cottesloe which is almost Fremantle. We end up in a seedy disco with a clientele about 10-15yrs younger than us. Oh well... After a while looking at all the youngsters getting bombed out of their heads we decided it is time to head home for a good nights sleep. When we arrive home I chat on DC++ until 4.30am, so much for the nights sleep. At least I woke up without a hangover.
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Monday, 9 July 2007

Fremantle, Australia

Been now almost a week in Oz and seen and experienced a lot.

I already had kangaroo on skewers (or skippy in Oz) the other night, it tasted a little bit like lamb. Meat was very dark and tasty. I can recommend it. :)

Last weekend we (the present ships crew) was invited to an outing on Saturday visiting some of Fremantles bars and discoes. Surprisingly there are a number of good ales in Oz, ranging from pale to black as Guinness. Even local breweries has sprung up here and there. So, for those who think Australian beer is only Fosters, it is not so. I also stand corrected and man, did I taste a lot of different beers.

On Sunday we visited the old Fremantle prison that ceased operations in 1991. It first housed convicts from UK and later on was turned into a prison. Pretty austere conditions they were living in as well as violent. Until closing the prison wasn't even fitted with plumbing so the inmates carried their droppings in metal buckets and sometimes they threw the contents around if they were displeased.

Other than that I've been working. The ship is not nearly as finished as I'd thought it would be. If this was the first time I saw a shipyard I would have been probably shocked by the late appearance in schedule but it is not so this is no surprise for me. But, eventually when she is finished she will be a state of the art yacht which will raise a not a few eye brows. So, my days goes on wrapping my brain around the ship and visualizing how the operation will be, what tools and materials do I need. Planning the trip to Europe and so forth. Millions of things to do and time is running out . . . fast. Hopefully we will make it to the Monaco yacht show.

Well, this is all for now, hopefully soon I will get some decent piccies to post. Until then, ta-ta..
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