Monday, 15 December 2008


Sorry about the lack of any details during the last 3 or so months. The availbility of cheap internet access was not great in the states, as you would expect when mainly living in the dust with no running water.

I decided not to now update so we have some new pictures and news when we see you all in person.



Joshua Tree

Around Moab

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Life at Camp 4

Like on other place Camp 4 is THE climbers campsite. Living in the dirt, with no showers and only one tap for all water needs 216 paid up climbers are happy. Many more sneak out of the woods each morning to unofficially live here too.
The place is magic. People planning the next climb, sorting gear, coming back tired but with stories to tell, chilling out, living with the not so wildlife.

Cracking up in Yosemite

Yosemite, the cliffs of dreams and heartbreak.
A few photos will do for now. More words may be added later.

San Francisco - welcome to the U. S. of A.

America: the land of fast food, big cars and shops.
We ran around for a few days seeing the sights, eating junk and shopping for essentials, like a tent and climbing gear.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Hanging around in Brisbane

During the past few weeks we have been in and around Brisbane.
We have been surfing a few times down at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, climbing the 'best yet' multi-pitch sports route in the Glass House Mountains (Aphilion 17, 21, 22, 22), watching fireworks at the Brisbane River Festival, crack climbing at Frog (got the on-sights of Deliverance 23 and Child in Time 22), watching a Rugby match and a fair amount of sofa surfing at a friends house in Brisbane.

After much planning we are off to the States, to Yosemite via a few days in San Francisco. But first here are a few photos from the last few weeks in Oz.

"Crazy" John downing ketchup as part of a card game. Frog Campsite.
"Tazzie'' Jed attempting Impulse 24, Frog.

Brisbane Broncos Vs Sydney Kights at the Suncorp Stadium

2m long Monitor Lizard at Frog

So why did the car fail its safety test? Franky the Ford Falcon is now sold (unregistered without the test cert.)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

More photos added to old posts

I have finally got around to adding photos to some of the old posts that were lacking, basically most since we got back to Australia from NZ. So if you are interested and have time, go scroll through posts since June.

We have now been away for over a year! Phone calls are expensive, I know that, but we would really appreciate knowing what everyone has been up to and even who is reading this and seeing what we have been doing. There are many ways to do this - email, facebook or use the comment facility on this blogspot (you don't need any kind of account).


Only a few months until were back home - 14th December.

Back at Frog and practicing cheating

We have been revisiting Frog Buttress (an hour out of Brisbane), enjoying the fantastic crack climbs and practicing for the crack climbing in the States. The climbers here are such a friendly bunch, one example - waking up one wednesday morning we discovered some loacals were having an aid climbing day. When I showed interest (we are off the the aid climbing capital of the world in a few weeks - Yosemite) we were swiftly invited along. At the crag after a chat and how to aid discussion another local saw we had no aid gear and handed over a brand new spare set of aiders, daisys etc. We both had fun aidding up the cracks with the biggest rack we've ever used.
We also bumped into 'Crazy' John (met in China, seen in Tazmania and Arapilies) and Glenn (met in China, seen at Frog and visited on the Gold Coast) and met a guy called Gareth who knows and climbed with all the Melbourne climbing crowd. Small world!

Ahh, Noosa...

On our way back to Brisbane we planned to stop of a night or two at Noosa. We ended up staying five days - enjoying some sunny weather, relaxing in the riverside campsite and reverting back to my childhood and going fishing.

We booked ourselves on a fishing charter out in the open sea, seeing at Dad was not in town Jo came along, but like a couple of others on the boat did not catch fish worth a photo. I did...
Big fish one - colourful but apparently not bid enough to kill to eat
Fish two - the biggest of the day and below - fish 3 hiding in 2s mouth
(I was not using 3 as bait but must have been a started for the dinner on my hook)

Turning around and heading South

On the way south we made some stops that the rainy weather prohibited us from doing on our way to Port Douglas. First we followed the long road into the hinterland past lots of waterfalls. Too cold to stop and swim though.

That led us to Mission Beach which is really beautiful because it is under developed. A proper tropical paradise. Would have stayed longer but the camping was $35 per night (our most expensive). Another chance to spot wild Cassawary but I think they were all hiding away for the winter.

Further south and time for a days climbing at Mount Stewart near Townsville. It was great to be back on the rock after such a long break even though we both felt a little weak. The day was only hindered by not being able to find the routes from the topo description and Frankie deciding he hadn't seen an RAC man for a while. We couldn't start the car so had to pay $130 for the RAC man to put the car in neutral, not park as is normal, and start it immediately.

Diving the Yongala a day later was a highlight of the trip. After a quick test at 28m depth we explored the wreck of SS Yongala, seeing the toilets, the masts, the engine room and the `A' of Yongala. But what was most impressive was the fish life. We saw a deadly 3m Bull Shark, a Nurse Shark, got scared by inquisitive sea snakes (6th most poisonous snake in Aus), 2 Eagle rays, flirted with turtles and saw masses of huge fish and corals. Really amazing and the best way to finishing our scuba diving in Australia.

A Kookaburra at Ayre Beach

In the ongoing quest to save money we followed Australia's Grey Nomads and stopped overnight in free rest stops along the Bruce Highway. Some stops were amazing with free hot showers and barbeque's. The Grey Nomads were really friendly too, even offering to make us tea in their caravans in the cool evenings. However being British we said we were fine outside the car in the cold - Yeah right!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Dive, Dive, Dive.

A fantastic day of diving on the Great Barrier Reef from the Quicksilver boat Silversonic. We did three dives around the Agincourt reef, seeing bright coral, a 2m White Tipped Shark, a couple of large Stingrays and many other usual suspects.

Once again i'm out of internet time before adding photos on the last few updates.
Just booked two more dives for tomorrow, the SS Yongala.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Frankie the Ford Falcon goes for an early bath in the Daintree

From Port Douglas we took the ferry across the River Daintree to the Tropical Rainforest of the Daintree and Cape Tribulation.

It had been raining hard and some of the creeks had flooded the fords that cross the road. We backed away from one because it was 400mm high, only to come back later when it was a little lower but still off putting. 4x4's crossed with ease, then little hire cars splashed their way through. So we changed our minds and gave it a go. Our car is twice the size of those little hire cars anyway.

We got half way. Then we stalled. Jo jumped out of the upstream side of the car and the water jumped in over the door sill. Oh no! We pushed the car out and after a few tries and a little tinkering under the bonnet with loo roll and the spark plugs the car roared into life.

We 'splashed out' on an on-suite and nice meal in the evening. It was our second wedding anniversary after all!
The next day was a fantastic blue sky day, crocs and wildlife to be spotted.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Whitsundays

We are just back from a three day, two night sail around the Whitsundays and out to the Great Barrier Reef. Although most of the time we were under power due to a lack of wind we had a good time and were pleased we choose a slightly more expensive boat with 14 on board and not the 28+ person option.

We stopped off a Whitehaven Beach one of the top ten beaches of the world. We played games on the squeaky sand and wore our stinger suits to go swimming.

We stopped for the night at a small bay on Hook Island. Here the next morning we dived, seeing a Blue Spotted Stingray as well as other fish life and coral.

On the way out to the Great Barrier Reef we saw many Humped Back Wales splashing around, trying to impress each other (sex on their minds).

We Dived again in the afternoon, a fast drift dive past an impressive reef wall and Jo saw a turtle.
After many snorkels and lots of relaxing we headed back to the mainland, under sail, and passed the Greenpeace ship protesting in the harbour.

I am still bobbing up and down now.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Fraiser Island

Having met up with Jim we escaped Childers and made our way to Hervey Bay. After a spot more fishing we hired a four wheel drive Ute and spent two days on the Island.

We all had excellent fun driving in the sand either along the beach or the very bumpy inland tracks. The views from the beach and of the lakes were fantastic.

Mandarins and Fish

So, after an afternoon of planting mature grape vines we landed a 2-3 week job picking mandarins. Good pay at $50 per huge 1.5x1.5x1m bin and we managed 8 to 10 bins a day going flat out. However we worked too well and after three days we were given two days off for the packers to catch up, then a few more days off, then rain and so on. We were eventually able to leave after a week of sitting around.

So, good pay when we worked but over all not great.
On our days off we bought a cheap fishing rod and when to the local Woodgate Beach. From here we caught Flathead, Sole, Bream and numerous other fish that needed to grow up before ending up on the dinner plate.

Glasshouse Mountains and Australia Zoo

Quick update:

Went climbing at Tibro, did a few short sports climbs. Kind of similar to Peak district limestone (the Embankment). Will hopefully go back for a longer climb or two.

Did a day at Australia Zoo. Photos may be added later.

UPDATED 20/8/08:

Photos as promised: