Wednesday, December 11 we said goodbye to Sara and Pilot (her dog) at Gold Coast and left for the west coast. After two flights and a stop-over in Melbourne, we arrived in Perth early in the evening. My friend, Gail, whom I hadn’t seen in almost 25 years, was there to pick us up and take us home. It was lovely to see her again and as is often the case with old friends, it felt like no time had passed at all. We enjoyed a relaxing evening at her house with wine, cheese and fun conversation.
Thursday Gail was brave enough to trust us with her car so we could explore Perth. We dropped her at her office and headed for Kings Park–only slightly bigger than Stanley Park in Vancouver (trust me, we checked). At the restaurant in the park, overlooking Perth and enjoying the warm weather, we had a leisurely breakfast in the shade and enjoyed being on holidays.
Nice as it was, we decided we really should do some exploring of the park and walked into the information centre. As it turned out, a guided tour was about to start. Perfect timing. An hour and a half later we returned from a nice walk, knowing more about the Western Australian vegetation, but feeling hot and tired. The walk hadn’t been strenuous, but with temperatures in the mid/high 30s, we felt its effect. After a cold drink, we opted for a rest and snooze in the shade of a gum tree, and chuckled at the sound of the crows. Their sound is quite different from the crows at home and has a comical tone to it. Once we were rested and had recovered from the walk, we mustered the courage, with the aid of a map and our iPhone GPS, to find the way home. Driving a friend’s (nice) car in unfamiliar left-hand traffic is definitely more serious business than driving a rental!
Friday morning we took it easy while Gail went to work. The plan was to go sailing in the afternoon with Gail, on Spritzig, a friend’s boat that she crews on. It was the weekly Friday twilight sailing race. What a fantastic and fun way to spend hot afternoon. I think we came in fourth–not sure–but had a lovely time, which is the main thing. The first few times the boat (40ft) heeled over I felt a bit nervous, but after a few go’s I got the feel of it I started to enjoy the rhythm and movement of the boat. Roy and I served as ballast and both learned that it is key to swing to the other side on time when tacking, or else it feels like you’re climbing Everest. Neither of us are sailors, but I was glad I could be of some use and ‘skirting’ the jib, without falling in or doing any damage. Afterwards we stopped for a drink at the club and dropped off two of the crew members, then gently motored back to the home base. A beautiful 20 minute jaunt on the Swan River at sunset.