Easter has arrived, which means we are a quarter of the way through our year in Australia. For Rachel's first two-week holiday from teaching at Albury North Public School, we have travelled all the way across this vast country to spend a fortnight in Western Australia. While the temperatures are starting to dip elsewhere, we're enjoying awesome sunshine and glorious views out onto the Indian Ocean. What a sunset this was.
Before we left Albury, I did two days' work at the Danone yoghurt factory in the brilliantly named town of Tangambalanga. This was set up through the recruitment agency I joined most recently. Although the job, stacking and packing, was pretty straightforward and repetitive, I was really pleased to be working, doing something useful - and earning a few dollars for the holiday. Hoping for more of the same when we return.
After a Good Friday lunchtime picnic in the Albury Botanic Gardens with friends from church, we drove down to Melbourne and met up with the Jacksons, who were on their way to Tasmania for Easter. We spent another night at the Bells' house and caught our flight to Perth, which took between four and five hours. After that amount of time on a plane, it's hard to comprehend still being in the same country when you disembark, but that's Australia for you.
During our time in WA, we are staying with John and Priscilla Luxton in Rockingham, south of Perth. John is Rachel's dad's cousin. I know I will not remember the names of everyone we meet, and apologies for that, but I did want to include this pic of Rachel taken at a family gathering on Easter Sunday afternoon.
The sun beat down and the adults sheltered under sun shades while the youngsters splashed in the pool. My lifeguarding duties turned soggy when the kids discovered the hose and water pistols, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable visit.
John and Cilla live close to the beach. Around here, everybody does. A Sunday night stroll (which also yielded the sunset shot) gave us a glimpse of this pelican hunting for its evening meal. The fisherman on the shore had less joy.
The four of us rose early on Monday to draw up our schedule for the fortnight. My blogging will only scratch the surface but the camera will go everywhere with us and I will take notes as we go along. Superlatives cannot do justice to the colour, magnitude and vibrancy of the ocean, which surrounds us on three sides.
Archie (the dog) joined us on this walk around the Point Peron area of the coastline.
We were taken out on a boat to see Seal Island. Its inhabitants lazed on the sand and frollicked in the shallows around us. Special.
The boat sped off at pace and we were instructed to hold onto our Team GB caps. The two guys driving the boat stopped on the way back to inspect their crab pots, marked by white buoys on the surface. There was a crab in one of the cages, which we threw back - although we did have crab meat for lunch.
Loads to look forward to over the next few days. Watch this space for more WA blog action.