We’re Back In The Water Again

After a long and much needed break the Dazzler crew is back on the water. If you’ve been following along you know that we took a two month sabbatical back in the good ol’ USA. We had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families for the first time in over five years. And, it was the first time we’d seen them in close to three years due to the entirely unnecessary, worldwide insanity referred to as Covid Lockdowns!

Our trip home was one we will never forget. It all started with a three day roadtrip from Bundaberg, Australia to Sydney. Wow! What a beautiful country! I guess I never really put much thought into it but I have learned that Australia is not just miles and miles of hot, barren desert. No, it actually has a quite diverse landscape including beaches, mountains and even rainforests.

We chose to take the lesser traveled backroads rather than the much more chaotic main highway that skirts the east coast. After all, we see the water all the time. Being a bit more inland would give us a chance to experience some of the smaller towns this giant of a country has to offer. 

On our trip south we saw wild emus and koalas and dozens of wild kangaroos lounging in the fields and forests. Of course with close to forty-three million of these guys hopping around the country we also saw more than our share of dead roos along the highway. It wasn’t the most pleasant part of the trip but every adventure has its ups and downs.

One of the more interesting parts of the trip was the lodging we found along the way. You see here it seems that large hotel chains are reserved for the big cities and even there you won’t find the laundry list of Holiday, Hampton and Quality Inns that you find in every city across America. Nope, here the bulk of the hotels are of the mom and pop variety. They not only look as though they’ve been there for decades. They have been.

The nostalgia that comes with these often one story, very dated looking hotels only gets better when you find that they are updated on the inside. They aren’t modern by any stretch but they have fresh pain, smart TVs, refrigerators, clean linens and a quaint feel that makes you feel like kicking back and hanging out for a while. I especially loved the little tables and chairs sitting outside the doors overlooking the parking lot. Yep, something right out of a fifty’s movie. I loved it.

Arriving in Sydney after three days of backwoods travel was a bit shocking to the senses. I think my favorite part was seeing yellow crested cockatoos flying about everywhere. Apparently there are so many that they are a nuisance to the locals. They are super smart and can actually watch and learn how to open garbage cans that are very securely sealed to prevent their intrusion. As for me, the lover of all animals except snakes, I was in heaven seeing these beautiful white and yellow birds flying about.

We had a free day in Sydney before our flight out to Los Angeles so we went into the city centre to do some exploring. After all, you can’t come to Sydney and not see the internationally famous Sydney Opera House. And what trip would be complete without stopping in one of the local pubs for a for a few frosty beers? We were fortunate to have a gorgeous, sunny day to explore the city and the waterfront.

Jilly and Dan At Sydney Opera House

Back In The USA

The following afternoon we hopped on a Delta flight to make the 14 hour, 7600 mile flight back to the US for the first time in almost three years! 

Back in Los Angeles we had our first hiccup of the trip when Dan’s suitcase never made it onto the plane. First order of business after making the claim was to do a little shopping to pick up some of the things he’d need to get by for a few days while we waited for the bag to catch up to us. 

We spent two weeks in California getting reacquainted with our California family and friends. We stayed with Dan’s sister and family, visited his middle daughter, Lindsay, and family. And we even got to meet our newest grandson, Tanner, for the first time. We spent a wild and crazy evening with our friends, Jack & Mary and we drove out to Santee for a few days to see more family. We had a glorious time.

The first week of December we boarded a flight to Sarasota, Florida to see my side of the clan. Our dear friends, Connie & Jay picked us up at the airport and the best part was walking into Mama’s house and finally getting real hugs from the best mama ever! 

Our month in Florida flew by. We had get togethers, drove to Jacksonville to see some cruisers we’d met in American Samoa in 2018 and stopped to hang out with my sister and her family for a couple of days. Back in Bradenton we hit up every restaurant we’d been dreaming of eating at for the past few years and celebrated Christmas and New Year’s Florida style. We even reconnected with my cousin, Shelley, whom I hadn’t see in over thirty years!

With all the holiday festivities behind us it was time to fly back to California and start a 3000 mile roadtrip that included seeing Dan’s oldest daughter and family where we got to meet another new grand, who is walking and talking. Boy we have missed so much by being gone for so many years. Dan took me to the CHP Academy to see where he trained for his career and then we traveled north across snowy mountains to see our dear friends Terry and Diane in Oregon. 

From there the plan was to head to Idaho to see Dan’s youngest and meet yet another new granddaughter but weather and Covid put the brakes on that trip. Her hubby was down with the vid meaning we could have been susceptible to it. Knowing we had to get on a plan in less than ten days we just couldn’t risk it. And, there were snowstorms, flooding and a hoard of bad weather events happening all around us. Every move we made, just as when we are on Dazzler, was dictated by what the weather was doing. Sadly and with very heavy hearts we missed meeting our newest grand. 

From Oregon we headed south through more snow to Carson City, Nevada to meet up with one of Dan’s old buddies from his career days. We spent three wonderful days there with Glen and his wife, Shelley, and their beautiful chocolate lab, Jackie. I got to take in some wonderful snowy views, let snowflakes dance on my tongue and even see wild horses as they walked the streets of Carson City. 

By this point it was time to start making our way back to Los Angeles to prepare for our journey back to Oz. Nine weeks literally flew by and while completely exhausted with pockets that  were much, much lighter, we were thrilled that we made the trip. 

On our flight back we sat next to a wonderful young lady who works for Delta. She learned that we were actually flying on our first wedding anniversary. The following morning before we disembarked from the plane, she and one of the stewards gave us a bottle of champagne to celebrate the occasion. It was quite a surprise and rather heartwarming.

With a few hiccups getting our flight from Sydney to Brisbane we finally made it. Completely exhausted we crashed hard at the hotel. The following day we set out to do a little exploring in the Brisbane area. We found the marine chandlery where Dan picked up supplies to do the bottom paint on Dazzler and we even made our way to an animal rescue place where we got to be in the cage with Koalas! Oh yeah….this was the highlight of the day for me. The only thing better would have been if I’d have been able to hold one and I can assure you that will happen at some point in our travels here. 

We’re Back In Australia

This encounter was the last of our vacation fun as the following day we made the four and a half hour drive north to Bundaberg. Some 35,000+ miles from where we started, we arrived back at the marina where Dazzler was awaiting our arrival as she stood tall and proud on the hard.

Due to the national holiday, Australia Day, we had to wait a couple of days before we could actually get on board but by this time we were consumed by thoughts of bottom paint, living on the hard and all that goes along with it. 

Unfortunately for us the two weeks we spent on the hard included some of the most hot and humid weather this area has seen all summer. As if it’s not bad enough to be living on the hard where dust bunnies multiply at the speed African driver ants that lay 3-4 million eggs every twenty-five days, adding temps in the upper nineties with feels like temps well over 100 makes it almost unbearable.

God bless Dan because he never let the heat stop him. He was out there every single day sanding and painting and doing whatever needed to be done so we could get our lady back in the water as quickly as possible. As for me, I spent my time organizing the clutter down below and trying to keep ahead of the never-ending dust. 

When the daily work was done we’d shower and then head to what has become our favorite pub in the area, the Lighthouse Pub at Burnett Heads. There the AC is super cold and the beers are even colder. And the food is really excellent. I don’t know where they get their chickens but the filets they use in the chicken parmesan there are absolutely HUGE! They always make for two meals for me. I guess it’s a big country so they have big chickens.

The bigger bonus of going to the Lighthouse Pub was getting to see my kangaroo buddies that hang out in the field nearby. I never missed a chance to stop by and see them. I love the boomers and the does and their joeys too!

Exactly 90 days from the date we hauled Dazzler from the water we splashed again and boy did that feel amazing! Just feeling the water under the keel and the way she gently drifts up and down in the slip is priceless. The people here at Bundaberg Port Marina are super and they made our time on the hard just a little easier. 

We’ve so enjoyed spending time here and getting to see a bit of the area but the time has come for us to put some more miles under Dazzler’s keel so this morning we are leaving Bundy and headed south to Brisbane. The trip will take a couple of days and I’m a bit on edge as Australia is fraught with dangers including difficult entrances into harbors that require the crossing of bars and I’m not talking of the fun, party variety. But, I have my incredible and completely competent hubby and captain and I’ve no doubt we will get there safely.

Stay tuned for more stories of the sea….

Until next time, 


Author: Dan & Jilly

2 thoughts on “We’re Back In The Water Again

    1. Thank you! It’s good to be back. A little more down time in our future. Let’s try to get together. We’ll be going into Scarborough marina Friday for a bit. What are your future plans? Our local number +61475754116. Look forward to making something workout. Cheers!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.