It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted.  Lynette and I finally got away the last week of August to begin a much anticipated and I think much deserved 6 week vacation.  The morning we left we woke to 4 inches of new snow. Good time to leave but it made the first three or four hours of driving a little slow, as we were heading north through the mountains from our place.  Normally it takes about 3 and a half hours to Canberra, but we added an additional hour with the snow.  Once through Canberra it was smooth sailing another four hours around Sydney, and our first night’s destination was with a very special friend of ours who lives aboard a 40 foot sailboat an hour north of Sydney, in the marina at Newcastle. The night aboard was full of good food, good friendship, and plenty of laughs.  Our friend has been in the process of restoring the boat this past winter, and she has done an incredible job.

The next morning we had a five and a half hour drive to Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast, where we had a beach house rented for the week.  Lynette’s daughter and her husband joined us with their two incredible kids, and we had the best week.  Besides playing with the kids on the beach in the afternoons, Lynette and I trained hard each morning, ate perfect, walked the beach in the evening, and two nights tried the food at the local Lifesavers Clubs, overlooking the water.  Couldn’t have been better.  The temperature averaged mid twenties during the day.

It was also great to watch the surfing.  At the Gold Coast, you are still south of the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef, so the waves roll across the Pacific in a BIG way.  Watching men and women from 12 year old kids to those in their 70’s spend an hour in the morning in the water on their board’s looked like an incredible lifestyle.  We hope to spend the winter somewhere up here next year, and if we end up on the surf beaches I’ll give it a go and see if this old dog can still learn any new tricks.

From Kirra Beach we made our way another four or five hours north to Yeppoon, an amazing little town with great ocean views whichever way you turn. The Whitsunday Islands begin here, so there’s no more surfing, but the beaches are just as nice and you can literally walk for days on them.  We also trained in the morning and ate healthy meals.

After a few days in Yeppoon, we made our way another three or four hours to one of the nicest beaches I’ve yet to see.  Sarina Beach is not the place to go if you need the night life, shopping, or fine dining.  But if you’re like us and like long quiet beaches and incredible ocean swimming, this is the place.  By this stop we were in a good daily routine of training, work for two hours, beach and local sites, of which there are many.  Further north now, the temperatures were close to 30 Celsius (85 F)

After a few days we said farewell to Sarina Beach with a promise that we’ll be back.  We drove another four hours to where we are currently hanging our hat, Townsville.  Nice city, about 200,000 souls here.  Again, nice beaches, although we’re getting far enough north that swimming isn’t as good because of the stinging jellyfish (pretty bad) and a lot more saltwater crocs (really bad).  I like to swim in water that I’ve got a pretty decent chance of being at the top of the food chain.  This ain’t it.  The temperatures are still 30 or a little higher, so nice in the winter though the locals tell us in the summer the heat and humidity is pretty oppressive.

This is as good a place as any to talk about sharks.  They are of course everywhere along the coast, but in the populated areas like the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast, they have shark nets strung for miles out in the water about half a kilometer.  This keeps most of the sharks outside the swimming and surfing areas.  Also, there are Lifesavers Clubs along these beaches with lookouts during the daytime, as well as helicopters checking for any sharks that have managed to get through the nets.  You feel pretty safe inside the nets.  The more remote you go, the more chance you have of shark attacks..  It’s as simple as that, but there are a few tips to keep the odds heavily in your favour.  The main one: swim during the middle of the day.  All fish, sharks included, like to feed at dawn and dusk and through the night.  So don’t go for midnight dips and the odds are really good that you’ll keep your limbs.

We’ll stay here another day or two, then work our way back over the next three weeks.  We will probably spend another week or so along the coast near Sarina Beach.  There are a bunch of little towns dotted along this stretch of beach, and we’ll pick one as we get closer.

I’ll keep you posted in the next several days, once we get settled into our next spot.  I will also attempt to post a training video over the next week, so you can see how easy it is to train while you travel with very little equipment.  I’ve hesitated to do this so far because it does take away from the spontaneity of the training when I’m talking and training at the same time. We’ll see how it goes.

That’s it for now.  Eyes open.  No fear.