DorkySon Turns 11

a young boy seen from behind walking through some trees near Nutgrove Beach in Hobart

Last year when I started scribbling down notes for DorkySon’s birthday blog post, I thought it would be the trickiest one I would ever have to write. We had just spent a week in Auckland for his 10th birthday, and I was struggling to work out how I could fit in all the chat about our trip with my usual reflections on the year that had just ended. There was just too much to say.

Ha.

How I wish that the hardest thing about this year’s blog post was how to fit birthday cake, a business class upgrade, and a busy weekend in another city into 1200 words.

Instead, I’m wondering how to write about turning 11 in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

* Continue reading

Binky the Angel Dear Lovey

Angel-Dear-lovey-blue-hippo

When people ask us what traits DorkySon has inherited from us – which they often do, it seems to be one of those questions to which parents are expected to have a well-thought out response – it is always a fairly easy answer.

“He gets his energy from me,” says DorkyDad with a hint of pride in his voice. “Lots of energy. And he gets his stubbornness from his mother.”

“Determination,” I always say with a smile. “It’s determination, not stubbornness. It’s a good thing.”

*

Continue reading

Eight Days in Hawaii

Hawaii - The Aloha State - licence plate

Hawaii is one of those places that even as a child I harboured dreams of visiting one day. I didn’t know much more about it than I’d read in my school encyclopedia – I’m not even sure that I realised it’s a US state, or that it consists of many islands, not just one – but I imagined it as a place where the sun was always shining, the beaches were lined with palm trees, and every drink came with a cocktail umbrella.

When a wedding invite landed in our mailbox last year – destination Kaua’i – we could not have been more thrilled. Kaua’i is Hawaii’s fourth largest island. It’s also the oldest and the most northern, and is often called the Garden Island because it’s so green. The striking landscapes have led to dozens of movies being filmed on the island, including Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, King Kong and South Pacific.

Because we spend so many of our holidays visiting family and friends, it’s rare for us to travel somewhere new. But even DorkyDad had never been to the Aloha State: it was one of just two US states (the other being Alaska) that he’d never had reason to visit. We’ve spent the last six months feeling very excited about this trip. Continue reading

2020: Beginnings and Endings

debby-hudson-FnlZzLe6vSE-unsplash

It took its time coming this year, but summer is finally, officially here.

There have been beach walks and paddles in the river, there have been windows flung open to let in the breeze, and there have been gin and tonics in the garden. What a relief. When we reached mid-December and still had our cosy jackets hanging in the hallway we began to think it might never happen.

There was the usual rush to the end of the school term – excursions, teacher gifts, final assemblies and the like. But it only took a week or two of summer holidays before things started to feel like they were calming down: DorkySon’s voice has returned to a reasonable volume, rather than the shouty level he always comes home from school with; his backpack has been emptied of detritus, ready to be repurposed as a travel bag when we head to a family wedding later this month; and all the old uniforms have been swapped for new, pushed to the back of the wardrobe and replaced for now by board shorts and rashies. Continue reading

A day trip from Hobart onboard wooden ship SV Rhona H

The view from SV Rhona H, old wooden tall ship in Hobart Tasmania

One of the wonderful boat trips you can take from Hobart is onboard the SV Rhona H. Owned and operated by the not-for-profit organisation Heritage Sailing Tasmania, SV Rhona H is the oldest and smallest of the tall ships that call Hobart home.

Built in 1942 as a fishing boat, first for recreational fishing and then for commercial cray and abalone fishing, the beautiful Huon Pine and Celery Top vessel was converted for sail training and chartering in 1988.

Julie Porter and Charles Burns, the current owners, purchased SV Rhona H in 2014, and established the not-for-profit entity that focuses on using the ship for traditional sailing, ocean conservation, and mental health and wellbeing.

It is through ocean conservation that we first encountered Julie and Charles. Like DorkySon, they are big supporters of Sea Shepherd, and we have often noticed SV Rhona H sailing down the Derwent with the Sea Shepherd flag flying proudly from her mast.

Short cruises onboard the ship are a popular choice with visitors to Hobart. There are two- and three-hour trips available, as well as a 90 minute twilight cruise in summer.

However, when we boarded the ship last Sunday morning, it was for a spectacular full day cruise from Hobart all the way down to Bruny Island Quarantine Station. Continue reading