About Us

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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Friday 30 December 2016

Another one to tick of our list...Sydneys Alexandra canal

This heat is starting to get to us. Goodness knows how we will cope when we get to Alice Springs the Red Center of the Northern Territory late February. Reaching 37°C (only 1° of the old Farenhite reading of 100°F) it was bl**dy hot! But we wanted to find the Alexander Canal, a section of which run parallel to Sydney airport. Another really good article about this canal can be viewed here and is worth a read, but in summary, it was named after Princess Alexandra and built in the 19th century during the 1890's depression to provide water and transport links to industries. During the excavation bones of dugongs, aboriginal axes and remains of an ancient forest were found. Unfortunately, this waterway was difficult to maintain needing constant dredging and repair and was abandoned by the 1950s. In 2001 the NSW Deputy Premier wanted to build a cycleway and develop the area but after examining soil samples from the canal bottom it was declared to polluted and plans had to be scrapped due to the toxicity of the water.

Shea's creek, now a storm drain, flows from Alexandria into Alexander canal.

 Alexandra canal which flows into the Cook river.

By the time we had stopped at three different points of the canal, walked to take photos, and then returned to the car it was gone midday. The beach was calling to us and with bathers and towels in the car, we headed off for Gongwong beach (don't you just love the name) near Botany Bay. Calm waters and shark nets make this beach very safe, although we did choose the one spot devoid of nets! Jet skiers zoomed up and down and we reckoned any sharks would be long gone but both of us stayed within depth. Cloud cover helped to keep the temperature down but it was still at 36°. When the sun did appear an hour later it was time to seek shade. mu

Much too hot. Trying to walk in the sand burned your feet. Didn't want to end up like a Lobster so it was time to go.
The countdown has begun for New Year's Eve. Tomorrow we head for Sydney and the restaurant overlooking Harbour bridge. An estimated 1.5million people are set to use the trains to view the fireworks. We are hoping that leaving before 5 pm the crush won't be quite so bad. Getting back might be a problem. All those folk trying to leave Sydney at the same time. It will certainly be interesting!

And the wildlife,

On the banks of Cooks river tiny grabs

This was the bully!

Crested Pigeon

Bush Turkey chick

Pied Cormorant

Wednesday 28 December 2016

Fun in the sun

Finally....after 10 weeks of being in Oz, we had our first beach day. Not Palm beach as I mentioned yesterday but Mona Vale a 25km drive from Sydney and an hour run from my brother's house. Another hot and muggy day ( it was 29° when we left Thornleigh) but that coastal breeze, as we approached Mona Vale, dropped the temperature noticeably and was a welcome relief. The place was sparsely populated and we had no problem finding a place to 'place' our towels.

Ali, Sally's sister (L) joined us for an hour.

Ian and Sally not quite ready to take the plunge.

Hmmm, think Andy was telling Ian to hurry up.

There I was minding my own business when.........

my brother decided it would be fun to become annoying.
I could have turned back the clock to the late 1950s when he always did this every time we went for a swim!

Mona Vale beach

Glad these signs were not out!
Tomorrow is set to get even hotter. Might even reach 40°. Think we may go in search of the Sydney canal located near to Kingsford Smith airport and may even take in another swim at one of the beaches nearby.

And today's wildlife,

Pied Comorant
The great cormorant

Tuesday 27 December 2016

And yet another river trip.

Well, that's it. Another Christmas gone and only 362 more days until the next one! But what a Christmas we have had. Spending time with the family was the best and although we missed our UK family this is one holiday we won't forget.

Sitting next to my brother Andy is Sally's sister Ali

So with the festivities over on Monday, we headed off to Circular quays in Sydney for a boat trip to Parramatta. Taking the fast ' River Cat' it still took 90minutes to get there. Took us past the Olympic park although not much could be seen from the boat. Then the last 20 minutes to the terminus it was slow going. The river narrows considerably and being tidal the channel also gets very shallow.

Must be icy up there.

Huge winding hole

Meeting another 'Cat' just as we leave the narrow section

Sydney skyline

One of the cruise ships leaving.
We may well have a 'beach' morning tomorrow at a place called Palm Beach. So we have been told the snorkelling is pretty good and maybe a good time to try out the GoPro.

Saw some weird spiders and bugs, as well as the usual wildlife,

A tiny cricket

A very large weevil

Type of moth I think

Red Browed Finch

Water dragon in the bird bath

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