the last supper with friends before we disembark

Chef Sebastiano created an off the menu dinner for us tonight – what a great way to end the cruise! We were in the Italian restaurant and we mentioned we hadn’t seen him and he came out and then cooked us all the food you see – we were a table of 6 – we need a nap now. He is the Chef you see us with in the cooking classes and is a great guy and a fabulous chef. I (Dave) might have even learned a thing or two – I know hard to believe

Great Ocean Road

Take the time to see this – amazing!!

Koalas – in the wild

The Reef – Great Barrier Reef that is

Family, Sea Bobs, helicopters with Mac & Ace – just a fabulous day

The Boomerang Hat

You thought by the title that this was going to be a post about an Aussie Hat now didn’t you. Well, it is about a hat for sure and Australia is where it happened but it is about a Panama hat I picked up in Ecuador at the market in Otavalo. As you most likely know, Panama Hats are really made in Ecuador. I won’t go into why Panama Hats are all made in Ecuador, although I could, you can look it up yourself.

Since we were going to be traveling in very hot places I thought it would be best to have a light weight hat for that reason and so I bought one at the market for that purpose. They are great hats made of straw that you can fold up and put them into your pocket if need be. What they aren’t good for is high winds. You see, because they are light it doesn’t take much before they take off in the wind in ways that would make you think they must have been a kite or a balloon in another life. Meanwhile, back at the story…
The hat had been worthwhile in the Desserts of Peru, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Australia so far and when we got to Kangaroo Island and didn’t really have much planned I thought I would wear my Panama Hat as it looked like it would be a hot sunny day. So that is what I did.

As luck would have it, (because everyone said it couldn’t be done), we found a tour guide and put together a private tour for the day. But that is another story; this one is about my hat.
One of the stops was Seal Bay, and what a place that is. You walk literally out on the beach where there are seals EVERYWHERE. Well it was very windy day, especially on the beach, so I rolled up my hat and put it in my pocket so I wouldn’t lose it, and started taking pictures and that was all I did. I haven’t counted them yet but I am sure I took about 3 jillion, (yes that is a word), on the beach. As a side note; did you know all seals are cute and the smaller they are the cuter they are. And the other guy that was on the tour didn’t say a thing, nor did I, but all we heard from the women was; that one is cute; look at that cute one over there; he is so cute; and so on. After a while we started heading back to the van, of course taking pictures as we walked and I realized my hat was gone!

My faithful Panama had from Ecuador had vanished somewhere on the beach. Guess what… It is the same color as the sand too. I shrugged it off and thought, oh well, I am just going to have to get along without it.

When we got back to the entrance of the park our guide Robin, had me write my name and cabin number down and leave it with the people there. I thought oh sure like this is going to work, but I did it and we continued on with our day. What a day it was too. This is an amazing island and we think one that ranks right up there with Easter Island. But we will save that for a story about the Island.

At the end of the day we got on the tender and headed back to the ship and went to our room. We set up the laptop and poured a glass of wine (Australian of course) and sat down to watch the slide show of our pictures from the day. We stopped the slide show when we heard a knock at the door.
When I opened the door there was a lady standing there with a bag and she said she had something for me. She pulled my hat out of the bag and asked it was mine. I looked at it and smiled and said yes it is. As it turned out, her and her husband were asked at Seal Bay when they left if they were from the Ship and when they said yes they were asked if they would take my hat back to the ship and they agreed. As it turns out, they were in the cabin right next to ours. We had not met them yet as they just got aboard in Sydney a few days prior to our arrival on Kangaroo Island.

We continued talking and found out they did not get to the Remarkable Rocks and we said we were just looking at our pictures if they would care to come in and see what they looked like. They did and we talked some more. Turns out they live in Australia and are taking the segment from Sydney to Hong Kong. They seem like some great people.
Here is a picture of what it looks like after its windy day on Seal Beach.


There are several important lessons to be learned here and I will summarize them in case they didn’t jump out at you. After all I do realize that everyone isn’t as highly trained as I am in various forms of analytics.

  • Panama hats introduce you to new people.
  • Panama hats are capable of handling very strong winds and keep their form. In this case the winds on the beach were easily 50 mph, or for those in Canada that is 80 kilometers.
  • Panama hats bond with their owner, similar to the way some breeds of dogs do, and once bonded with the owner they find ways of sticking with their owner. Just a thought,  but perhaps if everyone had a Panama hat there wouldn’t be any missing kids or people as all you would have to do is follow the hat to find them.
  • Panama hats are capable of learning, as demonstrated in this story by this hat learning the capabilities of a Boomerang to get back to the owner.

So now you know the story of the Boomerang Hat and perhaps a better understanding of just a few of the virtues of Panama hats…

I am Dave or you can call me by the name the Australians gave me… Wallaby Jim and I approve this story mate.

Adelaide, Australia

Hired PartyBus Steve (but our driver was actually Fleur, she was super) to drive us out the Borassa Valley – what a great day! A visit to 5 wineries, lovely new friends Jane & Keith who live in Adelaide joined us for the day. First stop Langemeil Winery. Vines over 150 years old and the wine …. wow in a word over the top fabulous. We bought lots of wine (being we are rather deprived in Ecuador) as they tasted so great!! We bought two bottles of Freedom Shiraz, 167 year old vines aged in Oak 24 months, (15% Alcohol). Fifth Wave Grenache 60 & 90 year old vines, 12 months in Oak 15.5% Alcohol, Jackman’s Cabernet 35 year old vines, aged 24 months in oak 14.5% a bottle of Sparkling Shiraz, and port one of Dave’s favorites (YUM). Our second stop, a small winery Kabminye run by a husband and wife team. So charming and the lunch they served us – over the top. Our favorite wine there was Irma Adeline (named after her mom), second runner up Ken & Neville.  We stopped into St Hallett’s bought a ‘rolly’ crystal decanter and a couple bottles of their Faith Shiraz, lovely finish on this one. Next stop was Jacobs Creek – a wonderful tasting no purchase here though. And our final stop Maggie Beers – first sight was this lovely Mercedes and inside was all kinds of goodness. Pate, cheese, wine, jam, jelly, and crackers – we bought just a little to have an Australian treat on board on a sea day with friends. Just a fabulous day we came back with enough wine to make us happy for a little while!! Cheers!!!