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Posts Tagged ‘boats’

_EBT8723As humans we like to think we’re pretty clever, after all we build things, we invent things, we control the environment around us, we are masters of all we survey.  So why is it that we are so awed when a wild thing accepts us into its domain without reservation?  It’s irrelevant what the animal is, a whale, a dolphin, a lion, a sea-lion it makes not a dot of difference, our superior bearing and arrogance evaporates and we are left in child like wonder and infatuation.

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We have just spent the better part of the last week at Hamelin Bay in the Margaret River region of southwest WA.  A stunning area in its own right but even more notable for its resident population of large bull rays and eagle rays that frequent its shoreline.

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Time and time again we saw the awe and delight that these friendly goliaths of the deep instilled in those who came to see them.  As they glided gently past, completely unfazed or perturbed by the attention, faces, both young and old alike,  lit up with each close encounter.

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A final few photos from our cycling adventure through Holland and a mixed bag at that.  A life size version of Noah’s Ark (that actually floats and tours around the country), wild horses, practice bombs from WWII and more ‘out there’ buildings.   I hope we get the opportunity to get back there again someday and explore more of this amazing country.

 

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The wind finally stopped blowing long enough for a paddle over to Penguin Island.  Seems that everyone else had the same idea.

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My wife doesn’t do hills, not even the little ones

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Just because it looks like a driveway and leads into someone’s farm doesn’t mean it’s not the road you’re after. Took us 10kms and the better part of an hour to work that out.

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Wet weather gear is a your friend.

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Bike path signs aren’t always at eye height or near the bike path, sometime they hide them just to mess with your head

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Sometimes the road just aren’t big enough for the two of us

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Boats have Right of Way

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Waffles, cheers and cream is a perfectly acceptable breakfast

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There’s something for everyone on a bike trip. My wife got to watch skilled craftsmen make exquisite Delft pottery while I got to sit in an al fresco cafés and watch the world go by.

 

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I took these shots early one morning by setting up the camera on a tripod with a shutter speed f around 3 seconds. The camera doesn’t move in relation to the boat so the boat stays sharp while the rest of the image has a motion blur.

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Just wanted to say thank you to all of you who have followed my ramblings over the last 12 months.  May the Christmas period be a happy and joyous one for you and yours and may the New Year bring forth wonder and new adventures.

Personally I’m going to take a page out of this guys book… find a quiet bit of beach and let the world just roll on by.  See you all in 2015.

 

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Our decision to do a cycling tour through the Netherlands came about after must discussion and toing and froing, the details of which I won’t bore you with. In essence, I had always wanted to do a long distance extended cycling tour and my wife, well she wasn’t that keen (and by that I mean she would rather have pulled out her nasal hairs one by one with tweezers).

_EBT5156Anyway as a compromise (for our first cycling adventure at any rate) we settled on a bike and barge tour. Now I’m sure there are seasoned cyclists out there who are rolling their eyes at this point thinking “Oh you’ve got to be kidding….. an organized tour? …. how very droll!” But an organized tour offered a lot of benefits for us first timers, especially as we only had a couple of weeks.

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For a start we didn’t have to worry about any of the logistics. Our bikes were taken care of so we didn’t have to agonise over whether to take our own, hire or buy some over there.

Our accommodation and meals were taken care of which meant we didn’t waste time finding somewhere to stay at the end of each day and we didn’t have to carry all our worldly goods with us.

Someone else had already worked out the best and most scenic routes each day which saved us all that planning.

_DSC5728We had backup the whole time, which was reassuring seeing we had never ridden in Europe before support so it was nice to know that if we had a problem help was only a phone call away.

We used Boat Bike Tours http://www.boatbiketours.com/ and could highly recommend them though there are hundreds of similar setups out there which I’m sure are just as good.

So what were the Pros and Cons

Well on the Pro side, there are all of the above. We turned up, settled into our cabin and were set to go.

The food was superb (pretty important point after riding all day), the barge well equipped and the staff extremely helpful. Everything was extremely well organized and punctual (must be a dutch thing) if they said we were casting off at 5:00pm, you can bet we caste off at 5:00pm 🙂 P1020476

Good company. With everyone being pretty much around the same age (let’s say mature to be kind) and sharing an interest in cycling and travelling it was the perfect formula to form friendships and encourage conversation (the wine didn’t hurt either).

You got to skip the boring bits and you had all the benefits of a canal cruise.

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Even though the daily rides were planned you didn’t ride as a group. We rode by ourselves most of the time occasionally meeting up with others in the group for coffee or lunch. This suited us right to the ground as it meant we could ride at our own pace and stop when and where we wanted. One day after spending the morning riding through some stunning coastal areas neither of us were overly enthused about the 20kms ride back to the barge through what promised to be (after the morning’s ride) some pretty ordinary scenery… so we opted for a long lunch, found a railway station and threw the bikes on the train and were happily sitting on the sundeck of the barge, wine in hand, when the others started rolling in.

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For sightseeing cycling allows you to travel at a perfect pace. Fast enough to cover plenty of ground yet slow enough to allow you to savour the sights, sounds and smells. Beats the hell out of tearing up the road in a car or a bus.

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As for the Cons, well there really weren’t any!   Some might complain the cabins were small (well they were at the budget end where we were), but you were only in them to get changed or to sleep so we didn’t find it a big deal (besides I work on a mine site and at least these cabins had a window and a view).

It’s probably more expensive than doing it yourself, I say probably because that’s going to depend on how long you’re going for. If you only have a week or so I’d say that they’re good value. If you have longer than that then I’d definitely look at doing myself.

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From a photography point of view it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to sit up on the sundeck of an evening as the barge cruised to the next location but unfortunately that’s when the meals were served and the briefing for the next day’s ride took place……. just not enough hours in the day 😦

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So how was our first cycle adventure? In a word – AWESOME. Next time hopefully we’ll have more time and will head out on our own. My advice, if you’ve thought you might like to do a bike trip, then bike and barge is a great way to give it a try.

 

 

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