March 29th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 225

Our last full day in Port Douglas was a pretty dull one to be honest.  We did our typical things (workout, some work and some eating) but mostly we were all focused on getting our things back together so we would be ready for our travel day tomorrow.  

We did manage to walk to town to go to the Sunday market and have a look around for a sticker.  These walks are nice because they take about 45 minutes each way and give us a chance to talk to the kids or as a family without any distractions.  Peter and I talked the whole time about what things will be like when we get home and the choices he is going to have to make over the next couple of months.  Lea and Stacie spent the entire time planning a party for once we get home.  We can't wait to see all of our friends and thought throwing a big bash once we are back would be a good way to say hello. 

Our time here in Port Douglas has been wonderful.  The family feels connected and on the same page.  We are all pretty refreshed and ready to tackle our most challenging leg of the trip - Asia.  

Our final night dinner was at the Port Douglas yacht club, which sounds fancy, but is decidedly the opposite.  Our guide on the great barrier reef recommended it as a great little locals place so we thought it would be a perfect way to celebrate our last night, and it was.  The atmosphere was super relaxed and we had a great meal while watching the sun set over the harbor with the locals.  

March 28th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 224

We have been running earlier in the morning to avoid the oppressive heat in the afternoon

After our wonderful day out at the reef we all needed another day in the house.  Today was very mellow and just what the doctor ordered.  Stacie and I had a nice run early in the morning on the beach and Peter went for one a little later in the day.  

We had a tiny bit of adventure today as Stacie had to go to the medical clinic because she could not hear out of her right ear after the day out on the reef.  We went in after breakfast and she was able to get into see the doc after about an hour wait.  He cleared out her blockage easily and told her it is the most common thing he sees from tourists.  He believes it has something to do with the humidity and the warm water.  She felt better immediately and it was nice to have that resolved before we went to get on a plane in a couple of days.  

We finally nailed down the remainder of our trip and I booked the last of our flights today.  It is so nice to have our dates locked in place.  We still have a little bit of planning to do with regards to what we are doing in each location, but just having the dates and flights nailed down is incredibly helpful.  Here is the schedule for the remainder of the trip:

                                             Arrival    Departure
Port Douglas, Australia    3/11/2015    3/30/2015
Tokyo, Japan                    3/30/2015    4/4/2015
Kyoto, Japan                    4/4/2015    4/16/2015
Hanoi, Vietnam                 4/16/2015    4/17/2015
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam     4/17/2015    4/19/2015
Hoi An, Vietnam               4/19/2015    4/24/2015
Ko Lanta, Thailand           4/24/2015    5/8/2015
Phnom Pen, Cambodia    5/8/2015    5/13/2015
Siem Reap, Cambodia     5/13/2015    5/15/2015
Bangkok, Thailand           5/15/2015    5/16/2015
Pokhara, Nepal                5/16/2015    5/18/2015
Nepal Trek                       5/18/2015    5/25/2015
Pokhara, Nepal                5/25/2015    5/26/2015
Kathmandu, Nepal          5/26/2015    5/27/2015
Overnight - Boise            5/27/2015    5/28/2015

It still amazes me how much time we have had to put into trip planning while we have been on the trip.  There is a big difference between throwing on a backpack as a 22 year old right out of college and traveling as a family.  Both are incredible experiences, but not knowing where you are going to sleep tomorrow is fun when you are 22, it's not so fun when you are in your 40s with teenagers.  Regardless we are nearly done with the planning and the rest is just enjoying.  

March 27th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 223

Peter's POV 

Today was another big day. Our days in Port Douglas are nearing the end so we are trying to fit all of the things that we wanted to see in before we leave. Today we went to the Great Barrier Reef. Our day started at 6:30 we made breakfast and packed our bags for a big day on the reef. When we got to the marina we were informed that we were 15 minutes early. When we walked around the docks the first thing that meets your eye is two giant Quicksilver boats. Lea immediately said, please tell me that is our boat, because I wouldn't get sick on that. We said that it wasn't and moved on. When we thought we found our boat we were all very happy with it, it looked like a giant sailboat. We soon realised that we were looking another Quicksilver boat that was called Wave Runner which we got confused because the company that we were going with was called Wave Length. When we boarded the boat we got our jellyfish suits and were informed to put our bags in cubbies in the front of the boat because the back would get wet.

When we finally got out away from the marina we were immediately hit by some waves. One of Lea's biggest problems about taking a boat out to the Great Barrier Reef was that it required a hour and thirty minute boat ride. Luckily we got some sea sickness pills that seemed to help for a little while. When we got to the first dive site we were greeted by amazing coral and some very cool fish. The coral was all different shapes, colors and sizes. About 10 minutes into our first site I looked around to find where my dad was and saw that he had a little fish swimming on his stomach like the fish do with sharks. We had about an hour of snorkelling before we moved on to the next site. 

We decided to go up to the top of the boat to see what it looked like. When we got to the top deck we were amazed. The view was incredible you could see the blues and greens of the coral and the sand. At the next site we joined a tour where the guides would go around show everyone certain things around the reef. 

When we were finished with the snorkeling at the second site we had lunch and the marine biologist on board talked about all of the fish and coral that we could see on the reef. When we made it to the final snorkel site we all hopped into the water. The site was called turtle bay because turtles are a common siting here. After being in the water for about five minutes I felt something  hit my leg immediately I knew it was my St. Christopher necklace, I thought that it was inside my jellyfish suit but when I got onto the boat to find that it wasn't inside my suit I knew that I felt it on the outside of the suit and it was down about 20 feet below us on the ocean floor. I hopped back in and looked to see if I could find it I figured out that only the actual charm fell not the whole necklace and knew that there was no way that we would be able to find it. One of the guides on the boat had a scuba tank and went down to look for it but still couldn't find it. 

We went and saw the turtle and swam around at the second site for a while, the fish were awesome but the coral was less colorful than the first and second sites. 

After we were done snorkeling for the day we made our way back to Port Douglas. In the end I would have rather left my necklace at the Great Barrier Reef than in an airport or at a crappy hotel. When we got back to our house we got dressed and were about to head out to dinner when Lea told everyone that she couldn't eat because she wasn't feeling good so we went and grabbed some food and brought it back. Ending an awesome day at the reef. 

March 26th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 222

Our morning alarm 

Today was a major down day.  After the Daintree yesterday and with the Great Barrier Reef coming tomorrow we knew we needed some time to catch up on things and get a little rest.  Lea worked on school all day and really got a lot done.  I am so proud of how she is tackling the work she had left.  Stacie worked on her website, Peter worked on some video editing and his app and I worked on my app and a lot of trip planning.  Getting the last few weeks of the trip planned has proven to be much more difficult than expected.  We played in the pool had a nice dinner and got to bed really early in anticipation of another early wakeup call for our snorkeling trip to the reef.  

One thing I did want to mention here is the incredible sounds of the jungle that we have the privilege (and sometimes frustration) of hearing every day here in PD.  We are literally in the rain forrest and  as such there are amazing birds all around us nearly all the time.  Our favorite is the Kookaburra, who sounds like an aggravated monkey when he wakes up in the morning.  I really wanted to capture the sound on video, however, they only make this sound once or twice a day so I was not sure I would be able to get it.  On this morning I was really lucky and got a good recording.  You can hear other birds in the background, but once the Kookaburra gets going you will know what I mean.  

Stacie's favorite is a bird that sounds just like a kitten.  She asked our guide on the Daintree tour what the bird was and he replied "oh, that is a cat bird - we are really simple here in Australia".  I will try to get one of them on video as well, but they make their sound at different times throughout the day so it will be more difficult.

Our time here in Port Douglas is winding down and we are all getting excited but a little scared to move on.  Our next leg of the trip is our most "foreign" and the leg where we move the most.  We are going to visit 5 countries and 11 cities in the space of 56 days, which may not sound too bad, however, since the beginning of the trip we have visited 11 countries and 32 cities and averaged almost 20 days in each country.  This leg will be about 10 days in each country and 5 in each city.  So a lot more movement, combined with the major cultural differences in Asia, AND the fact that we have been on the road for so long, has us all excited but a little worried about how we are going to cope.  We are nearly booked though, so there is no turning back now! 

March 24th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 220

Big Pete's POV

Today was a little slice of home while on the road.  When we are home we try every year to split up with one parent and one kid going on a two or three day trip together.  We call it 1P1K and we have been doing it for years.  Today we decided to do a mini version for a few hours.  On this trip we have done nearly everything together, so when we decide to split up it has to be for a good reason - like a parents only dinner out or when Stacie goes to see a garden.  On this day I decided to rent a scooter and drive up north with Lea.  Stacie and Peter were kind of stranded without a car, so they decided to have lunch in town, buy some things and have a pool party at the house.  They apparently had a great time, but since I was not there I will let them fill you in on the details.   

We woke up on time and got a work out in before getting ready to hit the road.  Lea and I drove Stacie and Peter into town and then headed over to the scooter rental place to pick up our ride.  We first rented a little 30CC scooter, but when we got over to it I was not impressed and in fact was a little worried.  While I was not interested in going fast, I was interested in staying alive and this little scooter was not our ticket to a day of fun, safe riding.  I glanced over and saw the much bigger, much more road worthy 50CC bikes and asked - "how much more for those?"  The owner quickly replied "not much more mate - $10 or $15".  SOLD!

A little about the culture here in Australia - and in a lot of the world for that matter.  I rented this scooter in about 45 seconds with a glance at my drivers license and a brief check to make sure I was actually breathing.  In the US it would have taken a half hour mostly filled with signing liability waivers, testing my balance and ensuring I had 15 types of insurance.  The rest of the world is so laid back when it comes to liability and it is really refreshing!  No offense to my lawyer friends, but our massively litigious society makes things a lot less fun!  I digress....

We hopped on our fancy new ride and were off.  We ripped up the coast line laughing and screaming at the top of our lungs.  It was so much fun to be cruising up the road with the wind in our face and not a care in the world.  We made it to Mossman in about 20 minutes and were supposed to have lunch there, but we were having too much fun (and the town was not that inviting) so we decided to keep going.  

We made it to Wonga Beach about 10 minutes later and stopped to check it out.  It looked a lot like four mile beach right in front of our house, and we were having more fun on the bike, so we jumped back on and kept cruising.  

Lea at Wonga beach - and don't worry she did not actually drive

We decided to head up to Daintree Village to see what that looked like and to try to find a place to eat.  It was another 18 kilometers up the road and we were there in about 10-15 minutes.  We spotted a cafe called the Daintree Tea House off the main road and decided to give it a try.

We walked in and were greeted by a nice man who showed us to our table in the garden.  

That is our table in the back right

The whole restaurant is nestled into the rainforest and is very relaxing.  There were only two other groups there, but given the location I was surprised to see anyone.  We were really in the middle of nowhere.  

We both ordered the special - Barramundi, a salad and chips for $17 ($13 USD), and were thrilled with the meal.  

We spent the entire meal having a wonderful conversation about things ranging from what being home is going to be like to friends and how we are going to spend the next nine weeks.  These conversations are the best things about this trip and these little 1P1K adventures.  

We were having such a good time we decided to have desert as well.  I was shocked to learn Lea had NEVER had a banana split -so we decided to order one up, and it was fantastic.  

After our lunch our 4 hour rental time was starting to get pretty close and I still wanted to make it back to the house so Peter could at least get a little ride.  So we jumped back on the bike and high tailed it back to Port Douglas.  The ride home was just as much fun as the ride out -we had a blast.  

When we made it home we honked the horn and a couple of minutes later the pool party came out from around the back of the house.  Stacie hopped on for a quick ride around the neighborhood while Peter went to go get some clothes and shoes on.  

We were gone for like 3 minutes and then Peter jumped on for a ride.  

Peter and I went on a quick ride to get the scooter gassed up and then drop if off at the rental place.  By the time we got back it was time to make dinner, play a game of Eucher (which Lea and I won for the first time) and then we watched a documentary on the early days of Australia.  

It was a fantastic day that I will not soon forget.  

March 23rd, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 219

Peter's POV

This guy was our greeter today at the Wildlife Habitat

Today I woke up and found everyone working like usual. We decided to go back to the wildlife habitat to watch them feed the crocodiles. It was very cool.   I originally thought that they were going to feed the giant saltwater croc but they only fed the smaller freshwater crocs.

When the trainer started talking all of the crocs moved over to where he was standing. He told us which croc was the leader and tried to get the crocs to jaw slap by throwing fish on the top of there mouths.  A jaw slap sounds like a big pop - almost like when you put your finger in your mouth and make it pop.  

After the feeding we walked through the rainforest section of the Habitat because we had skipped it the day before.  We saw a Cassowary - which is pretty closely related to a velociraptor.  Our guide yesterday showed us how he will follow you if you start running so Lea and I tried, but he would not follow us.  They are apparently pretty dangerous in the wild.  

It was nice inside the rainforest section with birds flying all over the place.

We also made it back over to see the koalas one more time just because they are so darn cute.

When it was over we left the park and made lunch. After lunch we decided to relax for a while and get into the pool.

Instead of getting into the pool Lea decided to go for a run so it was just me and my parents. We swam for a while and hopped out. We then decided t do some trip planning before dinner. We still don't have the final part of the trip planned out completely. We made tacos for dinner, they were delicious. Maybe it is because we haven't had tacos hard shelled tacos for 8 months but these tacos were amazing. We finished dinner and finished the day with We Bought a Zoo. 

March 22nd, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 218

Peter's POV

Today we did something different. We went to do the number one thing to do in Port Douglas (as ranked on TripAdvisor), The Wildlife Habitat.  The habitat is pretty much a zoo but instead of walking around the cages you walk through the cages.

When we got into the park we got our pictures taken holding a koala who is very soft.  

After we got our pictures taken we caught a tour and saw kangaroos and a giant crocodile that weighed as much as a small car.

After we were done with the tour we got to feed the kangaroos.   At that point we were all hot and hungry. We left the park and went to go eat lunch and hop in the pool. When we finished lunch we decided to relax for a little bit. When we woke up we hopped in the pool for again for  little while. When we got out we made dinner and played another game of Euchre. Another great day in Port Douglas.    

Big Pete's POV

The trip to the Wildlife Habitat was a very cool experience.  As Peter mentioned above there are no enclosures for the animals, other than a net so the birds don't fly away and an outside fence so the kangaroos and such don't wander off.  To be completely honest there is one enclosure, and that is for the crocodiles - we were all thankful for that.  Other than that there are four big areas that you wander through and you get to interact with the animals.  It is a really cool approach to wildlife management and does not make you feel bad like a zoo sometimes can.  

Being able to hold a Koala was pretty incredible.  After the koala pictures we hung around for a couple of presentations with one of the staff.  She introduced us to an Amethystine python, the largest python in the Queensland region, as well as a baby saltwater crocodile.  

She did a great job of filling us in on all of the details of each reptile and then we got to feel both critters.  The skin of the python is an iridescent green and blue - it looked like a rainbow - quite beautiful really.  

After the presentations we took a stroll around to see what else was going on.  We wandered into the "restaurant" and discovered just how much the animals really do rule this place (as you can see from the picture below).  

There we some really cute Owls in the restaurant area.  These guys are Lesser Sooty Owls and apparently the make a noise like a bomb dropping when they are hunting at night.  I just love their expression - so grumpy! (but cute grumpy)

Just as we were saying hello to the owls one of the workers at the habitat came though and announced that the savannah tour was starting.  So we decided to jump on the tour to learn some more.  The guide was great and gave us lots of facts about the animals.  Once we made it on to the savannah there were Kangaroos and Wallabies everywhere.  We learned that there are 60 MILLION kangaroos in Australia.  They are a prolific species and have to be culled to keep their numbers down.  However, here at the Habitat they are friendly and happy to come up and grab a snack from you.  The kids really enjoyed being able to feed and pet both the roos and the wallabies.  

Peter feeding a roo

Lea feeding a bee

A comparison of a roo and a bee

We were also introduced to their Saltwater Croc's who are impressive to say the least.  The guide informed us that we should assume croc's are in every body of water around here and to be very aware.   I would certainly not want to meet this guy out in the wild.  

We all agreed it was a great way to get to see some animals up close and personal. 

As Peter mentions above, the rest of the day was pretty standard, but it was nice to get out and see some of the local critters today.  

March 21st, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 217

Peter's POV

Today was another sunny day in Port Douglas. We pretty much did what we we have done every day here. Wake up, work for the morning, then relax and go to the beach in the afternoon. After we finished dinner we did add a twist the day. We played a game of Euchre and fell into our beds beat. 

Big Pete's POV

The days here in PD are all running together a bit.  On our way here we decided to make Port Douglas a spot where we would relax, chill out and really try to embrace the beach vibe.  Today was one of those days.  Stacie's hip was hurting a little from all of the running we have been doing, so we decided to go for a long walk instead of a run.  We walked into town and wandered around a bit before heading back home.  The heat even at 9:00 in the morning was oppressive and by the time we got home we were drenched.  The day prior we had finally broken down and decided to close up the windows of our breezy house and use the air conditioning.  It was a tough decision because we all love the open air living.  However, when we walked into the house after that long walk in heat an humidity we knew we had made the right decision.  

The end of open air living

In the afternoon we went to the beach and did some skim boarding and tried to play a little frisbee.  I have improved my skim boarding, but there is something about the physics of this sport that is not conducive to a 190 lb 43 year old (meaning I am not fast anymore).  Neither attribute (age/weight) in and of itself is prohibitive, but combined it makes the sport a little tough.  You see skim boarding relies on speed and the ability to keep the board on top of the water.  So if you are light, and slow you wont really sink.  If you are fast and heavy, you wont sink either because you are going fast.  However, if you are slow AND heavy (like me) you neither have the velocity or the light weight to keep you up.  So while the light and fast Peter has rides that seem to go on forever, I go like 5 to 7 feet and celebrate like a kid who has just won the big stuffed animal at the fair.  It's cool to see your kids start to surpass you at just about every activity they undertake, but it's quite humbling as well.  

The frisbee attempt did not go well because of the wind at the beach so we all headed home to start cooking.  Peter and I jumped into the pool to cool down and rinse off a bit.  The girls headed upstairs.  We had a nice dinner and then decided to try to teach the kids the card game Euchre.  It's a trump game popular in the midwest, but not in a lot of other places.  I grew up playing it in high school and it is my favorite card game by far, but it is really complicated.  Lots of rules and strategies to understand before you are even a decent player.  The kids picked it up pretty quickly and I am hoping that over the next couple months we play a lot and they like it as much as I do.  

March 20th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 215

Peter's POV 

The calm after the storm

Last night Nathan hit us. I woke up at about 7:30 to the sound of...birds. Wait were did the hurricane go? I walked upstairs and found out that Nathan never really hit us, it just kept moving north and just missed Port Douglas. 

My parents had walked down to the beach in the morning to see what the beach looked like after what was supposed to be a storm surge, but apparently it looked pretty normal.  

Coffee on the beach after Nathan

Other than it being the day after a hurricane the day went pretty normally. We worked for about and hour, then my mom and I went for a run into town. When we got back my dad left for his run, running down the beach has been our main workout here because there are no mountains to climb. When my dad got back we all had lunch, after lunch we decided to relax.

At about 3 I decided to go skim boarding but when I got to the beach I found the tide at the lowest point I had ever seen it. I kept looking out to the ocean to make sure that there wasn't a tsunami coming. The skim boarding wasn't very good so I only spent about 20 minutes trying. When I got back to the house I decided that I would clean out the pool because I wanted to get in and the storm had dumped a lot of leaves into the pool. After about a half an hour of cleaning I decided that it was good enough and hopped in. At about 6:30 we left to go and eat dinner at a place called the Beach Shack. The food was good, however, I have found that here in Australia they like to put barbecue sauce on meat lovers pizza. It is actually not that bad but I wound't like it on any other type of pizza. After dinner we made our way back to the house and capped the night off with a movie. 

March 19th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 215

Peter's POV 

Tonight is the night that Nathan hits.

I woke up and found everything working, like normal, no signs of trouble yet.   We worked for most of the morning until about 12:00 when we went down to the beach for a walk. When we got back to the house we made lunch and hopped in the pool. We spent about 45 minutes in the pool, after we got out we relaxed for a little bit - a pretty standard day for us here in Port Douglas.

After having such a "busy" morning we decided to lay down and read.  When we got up we started watching the hurricane updates online. It looked like we would get a little bit of the hurricane at about 5 in the morning, but that it had mostly moved to the north of us.

At about 6:00 PM rain started pouring down. We closed all of the windows and hatches of our little glass house and got comfortable. About 15 minutes later the rain stopped and we opened the windows again. We could tell that we were getting the beginnings of the storm because there would be 30 minute breaks to the rain. We eventually decided to close all of the windows for good.

While we were closing all of the windows I discovered about 500-1000 ants in one of the bedrooms that we were not using. They got in because we left the windows open and there is a branch of a tree that sticks into the window. My dad and I tried to attack the ants with towels but there were so many of them that we couldn't do much - and we did find out the hard way that they BITE!  We stuck a towel under the door to the room to lock them in and later my dad sprayed them with insect killer that he found in the kitchen.  It was a mass extinction.   

After dealing with the ant infestation we watched a movie that Lea has been very excited to see, Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1. After the movie we all got in our beds and prepared for Nathan.  None of us expected to sleep much, because we thought the wind and rain would be heavy.  As it turns out, we all slept like babies because there was no wind and no rain.  Nathan missed us completely as you can see from the picture below.

March 18th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 214

We woke up this morning and headed right to the computer to see where Nathan was tracking.  We were relieved to see he was moving north of us just a bit, but dismayed because he had intensified even more than expected.  The storm was now supposed to hit Category 4 (out of 5) further out in the ocean and hit the coast with more intensity.  However, as long as it keeps tracking north we should be ok.  

The day was clear and sunny and HOT.  90 degrees and 80% humidity with no AC is about as hot as I can remember being.  Stacie and I were really sore from a long run and workout yesterday, so we decided to go for a long walk instead of an intense workout.  We walked up to town, had a stroll around and then headed back.  

We hung around the house most of the day tracking the storm and trip planning.  We have finally locked a few things down including our destination in Thailand (Koh Lanta) an island off the coast of Karabi.  Peter is working on creating his first app which he is calling The Stash (I will let him tell you what it is).  Lea is absolutely CRANKING on school and Stacie is working hard on trip planning and building her website for Solscape.  

In the afternoon Stacie and Lea went to town to spend a little alone time and Peter and I jumped into the pool to cool off and have another battle with foam noodles.   

Dinner was broiled salmon, rice and asparagus - Peter was THRILLED (kidding).   As we were cooking dinner I caught Peter in a thoughtful moment out on the deck. 

 We then tried streaming a movie, but the internet here is not great, so we ended up heading off to bed for some reading.  

Just as we were going to bed I spotted a little friend we have in the house we call Geico.  He is a baby gecko and he is so cute.  We have a family of geckos in the house that help to keep the bugs down.  We love watching them work and Geico is our favorite.  

March 17th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 213

Being in Northern Australia during the Cyclone (hurricane) season has turned out to be a real adventure.  We were all up having breakfast this morning when the house manager, Mia, stopped by to make sure we had heard the news about the cyclone.  "Ha, of course we had heard the news, the cyclone was nearby by did not make landfall."  Captain Obvious (me) said with confidence.

"Uh, no, it went out to sea and is now coming back and is forecasted to hit somewhere very close and as a bigger more intense storm.  You guys need to be ready to evacuate if it comes close to Port Douglas".  Mia informed me, with just a little bit of concern over which rock I had been living under.  

"Oh that cyclone - yeah we are watching it"  I said trying to recover.  "We are on it".  

We were not on it, we had no idea it was coming back or intensifying, so it was a good thing Mia stopped by.  Cyclone Nathan has been giving forecasters a hard time by lolly gaging around out in the ocean just doing little twirls because it can't make up its mind what it wants to be.  It's like a little kid in a candy store, finger twirling a strand of hair while they are trying to decide on which candy to binge on.  We are the pissed off parents who just want them to make up their freaking mind so we can get on with it.  I digress...

So now we are full fledged cyclone watchers.  Normally I would not want to spoil the suspense of what is happening by posting an update from the future, but because my mother is one of four people who actually read these posts (hello to Jeanne, Abby and Andrew as well) I figured I would let you know how things are tracking in real time.   It is now Thursday morning as I write this and Nathan has decided he wants to be a big boy and take out half the coast.  However, he has decided to move north of Port Douglas. So as of right now it looks like we are going to have one hell of a storm, but be spared from the real destruction.  Nathan is expected to be a Category 4 storm though when it hits, so we are thankful it is moving away from us.   Here is the latest updated track map:

So we are not out of the woods yet, but things are looking better for us.  

Back to our regularly scheduled programming:

So the rest of the day after Mia's visit was pretty much par for the course.  We got in a good workout, worked on our respective projects.  Took a nap and then got ready for the evening.  Stacie and I were going to head out for a dinner on our own.  We have been trying to do this every week while traveling and it has been wonderful.  However, this date night had some special significance to it because it was St. Patricks day.  You probably know we are not Irish, but St. Patricks day does hold a special place in our hearts.  On St. Patricks day in 1995 Stacie and I along with a few of our friends took a trip to San Diego.  At this point Stacie and I were just flirtatious friends, not a couple.  It was on this trip on the evening of St. Patricks day that we shared our first kiss and became a couple.  We have been together ever since without interruption and by some magical stroke of luck we love each other more today than we ever have.  

We went out and had a nice dinner at a restaurant called Salsa.  The food was awesome, but the ambiance needs some work, unless you like super bright white lights and wait staff who wants you to vacate the table as quickly as possible.  But we still had a great time.  And just to top off the night we made a special stop at the GROCERY STORE!  We know how to party!  We wanted to stock up on some food in case the hurricane did hit.  

We were all on edge a little bit as we went to bed, because at that point we did not know where the cyclone was tracking and we were in the blast zone.  But all in all it was a special 20th anniversary of becoming Stacie and Pete (and Nathan).  


March 16th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 212

Peter's POV 

Today was another awesome day in Port Douglas. I woke up and started working.  When Lea got up we decided to go skim boarding. When we got to the beach we found that it was very calm and great for skim boarding. We skim boarded for about 20 minutes, then my parents came down to the beach. We played around in the water for about an hour and headed back up to the house for lunch.

Skim frisbee 

Skim frisbee 



When we finished lunch I was appointed to clean the pool, because apparently I have nothing to do. When I finished cleaning the pool we all got in and had a battle with the pool noodles. When the battle was over we were all tired and relaxed for a little bit. When we woke up we made dinner and decided to go walk into town to get ice cream. We left a little late and by the time that we were in town it was pitch black. The sun goes down so fast here the light fades in a 20 minute time span. After we got our ice cream we walked back down to the beach to begin our trek back to the house and found it pitch black. Luckily we had a flashlight that we used for looking out for crabs and jellyfish that had washed up on shore. When we got back to the house we went right to bed, another awesome day in Port Douglas.  

March 15th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 211

Peter's POV 

Today I woke up to the sun! I finally woke up to the sun shinning through my window. When I got upstairs my parents were planning on going down to the beach so I grabbed my skimboard to join them. When we got to the beach the sun was shinning and the waves we good. We spent about 20 minutes out on the beach until my GoPro fell off my skimboard. Luckily I grabbed it before it could get lost out at sea. We ended up going back inside because we didn't think about putting sunscreen on. 

After getting back and working for a little bit we decided to go and work out. We knew that there was a market in town today so we ran down to it. The run was just above 2 miles and we did it in about 20 minutes. When we got to the market we were all super hot and sweaty, we immediately found a shave ice stand. When were done with the market we walked home and hopped into the pool. After we got out of the pool, we had lunch and relaxed for a couple hours. When we got up we made dinner and watched the first 45 minutes of Iron Man before it started skipping. 

March 13th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 209

Hard to see, but that is major rain

Today was a pretty slow day on the trip.  With the cyclone lurking off the coast and depositing almost 20 inches of rain on our little town over the past couple of days, there was not much to do outside.  We all took the opportunity to do our own things.  Stacie researched the next leg of our trip in Southeast Asia (which we currently do not have planned).  Lea caught up on schoolwork, Peter wrote a couple Daily Dumps and is teaching himself Javascript and I worked on the Allowance App that I have been writing for the past several months.  I am enjoying learning to code, I think it jives well with my analytical mind.  

The other day while I was skim boarding I not only busted my lip open, but I also stubbed my big toe badly.  When I wok up this morning it was really swollen and I could not put any weight on it.  So while Peter and Stacie went for a run on the beach I swam laps in our little 10 meter pool.  I hate swimming for a workout and having to turn around every 6 strokes made the workout even more annoying, so it did not last all that long.  I am hoping my toe feels better tomorrow because the run along the beach is really nice.  

We wrapped up the day with a nice steak dinner and another great conversation.  It is really striking to me how much the conversation around the dinner table has changed on this trip.  We used to just rehash the day, but now we discuss interesting things and laugh and have a great time.  It is amazing to me that after this much time together we are all still getting along so well and actually have things to say to one another.  

March 12th, 2015 - Port Douglas - Day 208

Peter's POV

My dad's forecast

Today was our first day in our house in Port Douglas. I woke up a little bit early due to heavy rain keeping me awake. We worked for a while and after breakfast Lea and I decided to go skim boarding. When we got to the beach the wind was blowing and it was high tide. We were at the beach for about 15 minutes before we decided to head in. After getting back to the house we decided that we still wanted to get wet so we hopped in the pool. Because of the rain and wind last night the pool was dirty so we decided to clean it. The only problem was that we couldn't find a tool to clean it with. We grabbed a couple shovels and googles and discovered that if you pushed at the water with the shovel then you could get the leaves to move to one side of the pool. After about an hour of swimming around the pool pushing leaves with shovels we had a pretty clean pool. We decided that we had our fare share of the pool and hopped out. 

My parents went on a run while we worked. After lunch we decided to relax for a little bit.   After waking up I decided to go try to skimboard again. When I was walking to the beach I was happy, it wasn't raining and the wind didn't seem to be bad. When I got out to the beach I found that the wind was very bad, I ended up only being able to run one direction because every time I would drop the board it would fly up and behind me. I skim boarded for about a half an hour then decided that I would head in only to find my dad walking out to the beach to skim board with me. I turned around and we stayed on the beach skim boarding for about another 45 minutes.  At one point I turned around after a run and looked back to see my dad and found him spitting blood out of his mouth.  It turn out he had turned around with his skim board chest high right as the wind gusted and the board smacked him right in the mouth.  He said he was fine and we kept boarding. 

After we got back dried off and discovered that my computer wouldn't turn on. We still don't know what happened but my computer is working fine now but it would not start for about 3 hours. 

We had a good dinner of fresh shrimp and pasta and then watched Night at The Museum 2.  Even though there is a hurricane just off our coast, it was a great day. 

March 11th, 2015 - Port Douglas, Australia - Day 207

Peter's POV 

Today we move to our house. The morning was very similar to the day before, my parents went to get coffee while my sister and I slept.

The walk along the beach to Port Douglas

The storm is coming - Cyclone Nathan!

With the storm comes the Jellyfish

The beach vibe

When they got back it was raining so my dad drove us to a cafe to get, more french toast! This french toast was different because it had Nutella in the middle of the two pieces of french toast. I usually love Nutella in everything but in this case it was just too strong. 

After we got back to the hotel we packed up and worked a little bit. Then left to get groceries and lunch. When we were done with all of the grocery shopping and lunch it was 2:30, time to move into our new house. The house was awesome, very unique and cool. We are very close to the beach and it has a pool. We were all very happy with all of our rooms.

Happy in our new house

Right when we got unpacked I went for a skimboard. After I got back we made dinner and Lea wanted to go out for a skimboard before the sun went down, so we all went. It ended up being a skimboard in pitch black, except for my mom using a flashlight for us to see. When we got back we watched Night at the Museum to wrap up an awesome day.  

March 10th - Port Douglas - Day 206

Peter's POV 

The pool at the Sheraton

Today was our first full day in paradise. I woke up to the noise of my parents trying to stick a note under a door, fortunately I was able to go back to sleep.  About 7 I actually woke up, my parents were walking back from coffee and Lea and I were going to go and meet them. When we were out of the room, Lea turned to me and said "you have the key, right?" I didn't have the key. We walked up to the front desk and asked the person working at the front desk if we could have another key. She directed us to another man and he said that because we didn't have an ID in our room he would have to call security. When we got to the room our parents were back and Lea went to go and see if the patio door was unlocked, it was. We grabbed our key and after about 10 minutes of waiting for the security guard, who never showed, went to get breakfast. 

We walked along the beach down into town. The beach is massive, it was about a 20 minute walk into town and the hotel was a little less than half way in between the town and the other end of the beach. When we got to the breakfast place I ordered a plate of french toast, which must be popular in Australia because it is on every breakfast menu and I can not stop myself from getting it. The french toast was great, instead of making the french toast out of a loaf of stale hard bread this place made it out of a thinner softer bread. 

Ever since I saw the beach I have been looking for skim boards, which are boards that you can ride on about a quarter of an inch of water. They look perfect for this beach. We walked around the town for a little bit and we found 2 skim boards in the first shop that we went into. We ended up getting them, and instead of walking on the beach back to the hotel Lea and I were skim boarding. 

When we got back to the hotel, Lea and I went for a swim, then a skimboard. While my parents worked, when Lea and I finally stopped for long enough to realize that we were hungry it was 1:00. We ate then relaxed for a bit. When we woke up my parents decided that we would order pizza from Dominos for dinner because no one felt like going out. We watched the Imitation Game while we were eating and loved it. Great first day in Port Douglas. 


March 9th, 2015 - Real Travel Day - Day 205

Peter's POV

Our house in Sydney

Today is the real travel day. If you have not read the blog post from the 8th then you should read it because the rest of this post will not make sense if you don't. 

I woke up and walked over to Cafe on Johnston for my usual french toast and bacon. When we got back home we found Lea making breakfast as usual. We packed up and hurried out the door around 10, grabbed a cab and headed to the airport.

When we got to the airport we made our way to the Virgin desk, again. When we got all checked in and past security we had about about 2 hours to burn in the airport. We spent the beginning of the two hours shopping at the Sunglass Hut looking for a pair for my dad. He found a pair of very cool Ray Bans. After the shopping was over we walked around and found a seat. We spent the next hour on our computers waiting then went and got some lunch. I got a turkish wrap and my sister, dad, and mom got Subway. After lunch we got something that we haven't had since Boise, KRISPY KREME! When we got to our gate we waited for a while then boarded the plane. 

The flight was very cool, for some of it we were flying along the coast and for a little bit of the flight you could see the great barrier reef. When we landed we grabbed a car and drove for an hour from Cairns along the coast to Port Douglas. We are staying at a hotel for the first two days of the visit because our house was booked. When we got to the hotel Lea and I were excited because they had a big pool and a it was on the beach. My parents were not so thrilled, the hotel was very old and out dated, but it would work for two days. 

Lea and I went for a swim while my parents got an appetiser at the bar, then we all went to go get dinner. When we got back to the hotel we were all wiped and fell into bed.