Friday was a big day for us, given that Elaine had her first consultation with the specialist and, under the circumstances, we had the most positive outcome we could have had, albeit a mixed bag. The good news is that Elaine is comfortable with the doctor, his thinking is in line with hers and we can continue with our cruising plans for the foreseeable future. He did say, though, that Elaine was the most unusual patient that he's had, given that our "home" is on a yacht, but, most importantly, he is willing to work with the logistics involved for her follow-up care. Life goes on!Saturday morning began with a bus ride into Chatswood to get some printing done at the library, following which we met Terence for a coffee and some baked delights at Pattinsons Patisserie. That evening we had a lovely surprise visit when our "ex-floating" neighbours on the large wooden boat popped over to Bantry Bay to see us. A fun night ensued which went on far longer than everyone had planned, but it was, nonetheless, very thoughtful of them to make the effort to come over and say goodbye before we leave Sydney. On Sunday morning we were up early to move Paw Paw while we still had the high tide to access the anchorage in Roseville Chase. The strong southerly winds arrived soon thereafter, so we were pleased to be tucked away nicely. It also allowed Elaine to head ashore, leaving Roy on anchor watch, while she enjoyed a ladies luncheon at the Polish Club with Angie, her mom and a friend of Angie's. The journey to the southwestern side of Sydney was definitely worth the effort as we all shared a number of unusual, but very tasty traditional Polish dishes. Today, after Roy took an early morning exercise walk to get one of our propane tanks filled, Elaine enjoyed a sleep in, following which we decided to take a bus ride in a direction we had not gone before. This time through Forestville and Allambie Heights to the Westfield Warringah Mall. It was a fun day out as well as a rather productive one in that we, not only enjoyed a delicious lobster lunch, but Roy found a suitable collection of new shoes / sandals and we were able to replace all our "glassware" and "crockery" on Paw Paw. In between all of this gallivanting we also found the time to catch up with family and friends around the world, which is always a little challenging, given all the timezones we have to consider. We're now into the final countdown to our departure northward along the New South Wales coast, a tad delayed by a follow-up specialist appointment later this week and tropical cyclone, Gita.
On Thursday we had planned on a lazy morning on board then going into Chatswood, but, unfortunately, our issue in having to fend off the heavy wooden boat on the mooring next to us returned the minute we removed our stern line to the police mooring, having realised that our mooring had dragged in the strong winds overnight. After a call to Cammeray Marina and no suitable alternative available to us currently, we had no option but to come off the swing mooring and head to Bantry Bay, where we picked up a public mooring and will stay until we're kicked off it by the Road and Marine Police. We'll then just find a spot to anchor for the remainder of our time in Sydney.Once we were settled and, although it was another cold, rainy and windy day, Roy undertook a reconnaissance ashore to see what facilities were available and if there was any access to a suitable bus route, while Elaine remained on board and continued sorting out our photographs. Unfortunately, he found nothing of use to a full-time cruiser, but he did see a rather large wild Kangaroo hopping around the nature reserve, while going "walkabout". Yesterday, with the weather remaining miserable, we decided to go ashore regardless and met Terence for a coffee in Chatswood. That also allowed Elaine to get her hair cut and buy some new light weight walking shoes, as well as get some printing done for our revised visas and visit a very popular and well stocked naturapathic / homeopathic store, after advice we had received and research Roy had undertaken on various natural supplements to help boost Elaine's body in conjunction with the medical treatment she is receiving. Add to that some ancient Chinese medicine and you would be correct in saying that we're "in for a penny, in for a pound", with nothing to loose. Being the first Friday of the month there was also a market, where we were able to buy biltong and droerwors, as well as enjoy an interesting Turkish Gozleme for lunch. Today we had to head back to Chatswood to make use of the free Justice of the Peace services at the Chatswood Library to get all our documentation notarised. On our way home Angie collected us from the bus stop and we enjoyed a light lunch at the Echo by the Marina restaurant. Getting Angie's mom, accompanied by Angie and Elaine, however, to the restaurant from the road in an oversized "chair lift" was an interesting experience to say the least. Fortunately Elaine didn't have to go back up to the road, since our dinghy was on the beach just in front of the restaurant. Chats to Keenan and enjoying Roy's famous homemade soup for dinner, on yet another rainy, windy day, helped warm the cockles of our heart.
Although Monday was laundry day and Roy found the time to replace the yoker value on his heads (aka toilet), we had a wonderful morning over a coffee at the Plonk Beach Café, catching up with Anne and Stuart off Time Bandit, who recently returned from their trip home to Scotland. The time seemed to fly by in a flash, but it was, nonetheless, lovely to see them again.Yesterday, we went "back to work". Well, at least for the early morning commute in rush hour traffic into downtown Sydney. From there another bus ride took us to Drummoyne for Elaine to have the first of her "monitoring" blood tests done, followed by a morning coffee at one of our favourite cafés, Jean Louis Joseph, before heading back to downtown to visit the Chinese Garden of Friendship. We did get a lovely surprise though, when the laboratories informed us that they had decided to only charge us $30.80AUD instead of regular charge of $180AUD for the blood tests, since we were repeat customers and this will be an ongoing occurrence. We can't imagine a medical company of any description in the USA or, for that matter, New Zealand doing something like this! Amazing and very much appreciated! Thank you Laverty Pathology. A delicious lunch at the Naked Duck in the Darling Quarter preceeded our visit to the Chinese Garden of Friendship, which was a very educational, as well as relaxing, affair as we explored the mystery and magic of the garden. Our explorations took in the sights of the Black Bamboo Forest, a symbol of age and humility, the Himalayan cedar trees, cascading waterfalls, traditional carvings, hidden sculptures and the graceful weeping willows that surrounded the Lake of Brightness with its sacred lotus flowers. The Rock Forest tells the story of "Ashima, the Dancing Maiden and the Landlord", a tragic, yet beautiful tale of how the landlord tries to thwart her romance with "Ali". The jewel of the garden, The Gurr, also known as The Clear View Pavilion, sits at the highest point, beautifully decorated with a lavish gold roof, intricate woodcarvings and an ornate latern symbolising prosperity. The garden was opened in 1988 and is a unique symbol of the friendship between the people of the southern Chinese city of Guangdong and Sydney, two sister cities of sister states. The Dragon Wall features two imperial dragons playing with the Pearl of Friendship beneath mirrors reflecting their movements flying in the clouds above, where the flying dragons symbolise majesty and perfection in the Chinese culture. It is also a place where "Yin meets Yang", the Taoist principle incorporating the five apposing elements of earth, fire, water, metal and wood. When perfectly balanced they are thought to form a fluid, nurturing environment. Examples of this are found in the garden where rocks appear to defy gravity and in the contrast of the rushing waters of the waterfalls against the still water of the Lake of Brightness. The garden also incorporates the Chinese philosophical system of "Feng Shui", where "Qi", meaning "Life Force " or "Energy Path" is encouraged to flow. Everything from the plants and trees to the sculptures, rocks and pavilions were meticulously chosen to capture the "Qi" of the five elements and the universal forces that bind them together. While we meandered through the garden and then took the time to contemplate life sitting in the shade of one of the pavilions, before enjoying Chinese tea at the traditional teahouse, the peacefulness and tranquillity we experienced was definitely evident. We also stumpled across a beautiful sculpture depicting the creatures that represents each year within the Chinese calendar. Further research revealed that, while Roy thought his luck in 2018 for work, love, wealth and health weren't that great, Elaine's were even worse at one star out of five each. I guess the year started out the way it intends to proceed! On our return to Paw Paw we ended up spending quite a considerable amount of time chatting to folks on Echo Point Park beach, who always seem fascinated by our lifestyle and the adventures we've enjoyed thus far. When we eventually did get back to Paw Paw, it was dinner time and then early to bed. Today, with the arrival of the rainy, windy weather, we're spending our time on board fending off the boat on the mooring next to us again. This time, instead of a stern anchor, we've tied a line to the emergency police swing mooring to our aft in order to hold us off. So far, so good! We also took delivery of our re-certified liferaft with far less hassle than our first encounter with this company. They have redeemed themselves! A video call to Brooke and the grandchildren wrapped up the day.