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2007/01/29 Diving the great barrier reef on the Spirit of Freedom
π 2007-01-29 15:47 by Merlin in Diving

hing one way or the other, and since Jennifer hadn't been able to go with me last year, it made sense for me to go back to the great barrier reef on a week long live aboard dive boat.
This year, I went with the Spirit of Freedom , mostly because it ended up being the only boat that matched the plane dates I had. Unfortunately, only a quad share room was available for half the trip, and that was kind of tight space-wise, and it wasn't quite the cheapest trip available, but the boat was quite nice and the staff top notch.



giant potato code













a sea snake, which I'm told is friendly, but I didn't get close enough to check :)




the giant cod was about as big as Jennifer
















A shark from the shark feed




The small fish looks out for the blind shrimp which has the job of digging the hole











Of course, the above are just a few samples from the Gallery of Pictures Taken From Great Barrier Reef Flight .
During the trip, I passed the 100 dives mark (to 110), and Jennifer likely quadrupled her number of dives at least, as well as did much better on control and air consumption by the end (from 40-50 bars more than me to about 10 bars less than me), and she also got nitrox rating in the process.
2007/01/22 Great Barrier Reef Flight, take 2
π 2007-01-22 15:46 by Merlin in Flying

Last year, I had planned on flying over the great barrier reef in a small rented plane, but unfortunately, we hit some bad weather as soon as we took off, and had to do an immediate U-Turn and land back at the Cairns airport.
This year, the weather looked quite suspect too, especially with the bad rain the previous day, but we got lucky: there was a ceiling of 1600ft, which was high enough for a flight over the ocean.
I ended up renting a C172S, along with a commercial pilot/CFI to be responsible for air traffic control and radio in general (I'm not licensed to fly an Australian plane), and flew with Jennifer towards Green Island and towards Port Douglas, before heading back to the Cairns airport.
The views of the reef were quite nice, and flying just 100 feet under the clouds in VFR conditions with no traffic separation from other traffic (including IFR) felt quite wrong, but that's apparently the Australian way from what I'm told.


















You can look at more pictures of the flight from Cairns over the Great Barrier Reef
2007/01/20 Re-Visiting Cairns, Australia
π 2007-01-20 00:00 in Australia, Trips
This time, I took Jennifer :) This was after our trip in Sydney, and before we went diving on the spirit of freedom.

I took Jennifer to Kuranda too, but this time we got there a bit earlier, and got to see the animal sanctuaries (including very friendly birds, as well as butterflies):





hello :)
hello :)


this parrot liked me and just flew on me and stayed with me during the visit
this parrot liked me and just flew on me and stayed with me during the visit



the gift shop had another big parrot that liked my hat :)
the gift shop had another big parrot that liked my hat :)

nice nibble
nice nibble



Jennifer went to pet those very small kangaroos :)
Jennifer went to pet those very small kangaroos :)




After we were all done, we took the train back down:




The next day, we did a Draintree, Cape Tribulation tour, sadly it was raining quite a bit:









From Cairns, I was able to rent a plane, and we did a quick flight over the great barrier reef:

happy :)
happy :)





We then went diving on the Spirit of Freedom:




And that was it for Cairns, nice little town:

lots of bats sleeping in the trees
lots of bats sleeping in the trees

See more images for Re-Visiting Cairns, Australia
2007/01/14 Visit in Sydney, talking at linux.conf.au
π 2007-01-14 14:59 by Merlin in Australia, Trips

It had been 6 years since I had been in Sydney. My last time and also first time in Australia, was when I got invited to linux.conf.au in 2001. It was nice to be able to go back, with Jennifer this time.





A couple of pictures from the Amp Tower

We also did the skywalk half scam, where you can't take your own pictures and only buy theirs, and while there is absolutely no chance of falling unless you climb and jump, you're connected to a harnest, like the bridgeclimb:




.




.
These common birds are more fun to have around than common pigeons





Chinese Gardens in Chinatown
















We got to see a brand new show from Stomp in the 2000+ main theatre of the Opera House




Yeah, so they have bats instead of pigeons :)









You can look at more pictures of Sydney here

Besides visting Sydney, the surroundings we saw were the nearby Blue Mountains (which are a 2H train ride away from the city center. Unfortunately, it was a rather short trip, partly due to a train operator denying us entry to a leaving train, and making us wait 1H for the next one. Bastard!
Anyway, Blue Mountain was nice, including the skyrail ride across the ridge, up from the valley, and the quite steep old mining cart ride down to the valley (used for coal back in the days)











For more pictures with green stuff, and mountains and blue and all, follow this link :)

We also used the opportunity to visit the local zoo (unfortunately, not a free roaming, petting zoo), but it was the first time I saw a Wombat that was actually awake and roaming, as well as some Platipus (aka errors in evolution), viciously attacking small crabs that were given to them as food.















See more pictures of Taronga Zoo

Last, but not least, we visited some famous local beaches: Manly, Bondi, and Coogee. We also used the opportunity to take some first timer surfing lessons at Manly beach. I only ever got up on the surf board for maybe 5 to 10 seconds, but considering that I had just recovered from being sick with a cold, I considered that good enough :)









More pictures of Sydney Beaches

Of course, I was primary there for Linux.conf.au 7, and to give my talk about disk encryption on linux.








One of the evening parties with fellow hackers



Jim Gettys, one of the creators of X-Window, and a prototype of the One Laptop Per Child Laptop


The conference went fine. It was quite compressed in time (they dropped the saturday, and only had a half day on thursday), but quite enjoyable as always
A few more pictures of linux.conf.au 2007
2007/01/03 Paris Louvre
π 2007-01-03 00:00 in Museums
While in Paris one more year, amongst the visits, Jen and I spent about 5H in the Louvre, and as I knew, it's a huge museum, it would probably take a week to go through it. Either way, it was impressive to see how many floors and displays above ground and underground, were packed in there...
Somehow we managed to walk through all of it, but obviously 5H wasn't enough to go through it properly:



















See more images for Paris Louvre
2007/01/02 Paris Photos
π 2007-01-02 00:00 in Paris, Trips
We didn't spend as much time visiting this time because we had seen a lot last year already, but amongh other things, we visited the Louvre, well portions of it that is.
Of course, there was still the opportunity to get some good shots of Paris too:













We also spent some time at the Louvre, and took many more pictures there.

See more images for Paris Photos

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