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Canberra - Sydney 17 January

The flight from Canberra to Bankstown (Sydney) was the shortest of our trip so far - a mere 50 minutes.  There was a mega welcome committee waiting for us.  Ray has 2 sons and a daughter living in Sydney and they all managed to arrange their work schedule so that they could come and greet us.  It was the first time we saw Ray in the role of grandfather with his daughter Christine's young boys, Nathan and Jack.  I know he'll hate me saying this, but he did look rather sweet as they walked together, hand in hand!   An old friend of Flemming's from Geneva, Tim Gee, was also there with his wife Barbara.  They  immediately invited us to a party at their house that evening.

We were also greeted by Rob Loane, General Manager of AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) Australia and his colleague Gregg Lucas.   Don Rowling had told them about our world trip and they wanted to include an article on us in the next issue of their magazine which was about to go to press.  In the haste before our departure from Geneva, we hadn't had time to write anything about ourselves in the 'The Crew' page.  We promised to rectify that in the afternoon.

After leaving our bags at Ray's son Marcus and wife Barbara's house, we were whisked off to the Sydney Fish Market.  Flemming and I accompanied Nick (Ray's younger son) as he visited the various stalls to purchase our lunch, consisting of prawns, tuna and salmon sashimi, oysters and 'Morton Bay bugs', resembling crayfish.  We sat round a table on the jetty to consume it all, surrounded by hopeful sea gulls.   In the excitement we went through rather too many bottles of good Australian wine.  As a result we conked out for the rest of the afternoon. 'The Crew' page didn't get written and we were late for Tim and Barbara's party!

The next day was to be our sightseeing day in Sydney but, before that, we had to write  'The Crew' page.  In the end we weren't ready to go out until 3 p.m.  so we only had time for a quick tour of The Rocks (historical part of Sydney), the harbour bridge area, the Opera House and the Botanical Gardens.   It's a hard life being celebrities!

While we were wandering around the Botanical Gardens, Dick Smith phoned us on Flemming's mobile.  It was Doug Sprigg of Arkaroola who had told him about us, although we first heard of him through our Earthrounder friends Margi and Gerard Moss who have flown with him in South America and Antarctica.  For all our non-Aussie friends, Dick is a well-known personality in this country.  He used to own a large electronics company which he sold.  Now he is a big name in the food business and has started up an Australian equivalent of National Geographic.  In fact, Dick has done a lot to put Australia firmly on the map.  And, as we implied in the logbook on Arkaroola, he is ad-Dick-ted to aviation!  He has already circumnavigated the globe twice - once by helicopter and once in a Twin Otter via the poles, landing on both North and South Poles.

Dick invited us for a scenic flight over  Sydney Harbour in his Long Ranger helicopter the next morning. The helicopter was parked on his lawn.   We stepped in, donned our Bose headsets to block out the noise, and up over the trees and away we went.  To the romantic soundtrack of  'Out of Africa', Dick flew us along the coast where we could see an amazing number of bays and fjords till we reached Sydney Harbour and flew right over the Opera House.  Then it was back along the coast and up north as far as the exclusive areas of Palm Beach and Paradise Beach, home to our friends from Geneva, Pauline and John Pace.  Coming in to land in Dick's garden, just a few feet from the house, was even more impressive than the take-off.   A super treat and a wonderful experience!  Many thanks, Dick.

Back at Dick's house, we had the pleasure of meeting his wife, Pip. They are soon to embark on another flying adventure to include East Africa.   Flemming and I were able to give them some info on landing strips and places to visit.

After a pleasant lunch with Ray and Marcus at Mosman Harbour, Tim Gee took us sailing to Sydney Harbour with his friends Janet and Dave. I think, now, that we can say we have well and truly visited it, by land, air and sea!

Tim then drove us to Pauline and John Pace's house on 1 Paradise Avenue, Paradise Beach where we were to spend the next couple of nights.  What an address and what a fabulous setting!  Just the right number of trees not to obscure the view to the sea and to provide perching spots for the colourful parrots that swoop about the place.  Unfortunately John was absent in Malta, giving talks on Human Rights  - in case you're wondering why he isn't in any of the photos.

The next morning, Pauline had fixed Flemming up with a surfing lesson from Palm Beach.  While Flemming had his lesson, I sat with Pauline and her friend Caroline and watched all the activity on the beach.  Apart from surfing, there were rowing races with several to each boat, battling hard against the waves to row the boat out to sea.  Flemming found the lesson fun but exhausting and he had to take several pauses.  He said it was a bit like learning to snowboard: the first day is hell.  He thought it would get a lot easier once he had grasped the technique.  Maybe he'll get another chance for lessons later on our trip.

Our last day with Pauline, a doctor friend of hers, Ron, took us for a very laid-back sail in his yacht to a lovely secluded beach across the bay. Activities consisted chiefly of swimming to shore, swimming back to the boat and eating lunch.  A nice relaxing finish to our visit.  Later, Ron drove us into the City and we took the Inner West train back to Lewisham station.  After dinner at a local Portuguese restaurant with Marcus and Barbara, we retired  to bed   It would be an early start the next morning for our flight to Bundaberg at the southernmost end of the Great Barrier Reef.


Marcus and Barbara Sherwood, Nick Sherwood, Dick and Pip Smith,
Tim and Barbara Gee, Pauline Pace, Pauline's friend Ron

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The welcome committee in Bankstown.

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Flemming with Sydney harbour bridge.

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Flemming with the replica of the 'Bounty'.

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Angela with the Sydney Opera House designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon.

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Ray, Dick Smith, Flemming and Angela before take-off from Dick's garden

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View of Sydney harbour from Dick Smith's Long Ranger helicopter

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View of Palm Beach from Dick's helicopter

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Janet, Tim Gee, Flemming and Dave on Tim's yacht.

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Flemming, Pauline and Angela enjoying  sundowners on Pauline's terrace.

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The view from Pauline and John's house at Paradise beach.

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Flemming having a rest from surfing. Pauline on left

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Ray and some of his family in Sydney: from left Nick, Ray, Barbara and Marcus.

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