Final expenses for Fairlight/Manly Australia...40 days gone...On to cruising...Favorite photos...

 
Beautiful sky at sunset, taken from our veranda.

Tom's shot of a stunning sunset.
Its about 10 am Saturday, April 22nd on this side of the International Dateline.  During our upcoming cruise, we'll cross back to the opposite side of the International Dateline gaining a day.  We'll post this peculiar phenomenon when it occurs on May 1st during the upcoming cruise.
The Sydney Opera House at night, taken from the Manly Ferry.

Luna Park in Sydney Harbour at night, taken from the Manly Ferry.
Saying we're excited is to minimize the extent of our raging enthusiasm.  It's not that we're anxious to leave the South Pacific after almost two years.  It's simply that we're excited for what is yet to come.

A Cockatoo visitor in the yard.

Our friend, Mr. Magpie, who visited us inside the house.
In reviewing how much time we spent since arriving on land in Australia on June 11, 2015, is shown below using the online "date to date" app at this link:
"From and including Thursday, June 11, 2015
To, but not including Saturday, April 22, 2017

Result: 681 days

It is 681 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date or, 1 year, 10 months, 11 days excluding the end date."

Hand feeding Kookaburra in the yard.

The interior of the Sydney Opera House as we waited for the performance to begin.  In a short time, almost every seat was occupied.  We had excellent center seats four rows from the stage.
Wow!  We've been in this part of the world for a very long time although the diversity of our experiences have been vast.  We won't take the time to list them all here today but feel free to review our archives during these above dates. 
The cafe where we had a beverage the morning of our final appointment at the immigration department.
Now, packed and ready to leave for the port at noon today, our hearts are filled with joy and satisfaction for the time we spent in this part of the world.  Even with the fact that I'd been "under the weather" since a spine injury on June 1, 2016, which followed with the exacerbation of the Helicobacter Pylori infection I acquired in Fiji in 2015, we still had a great time.
The scene in Manly near the ferry.
These two difficult scenarios confirmed how resilient and dedicated we are in continuing our journey, even with stumbles along the way.  Never once during this extended period of less-than-stellar health, did either of us lose hope and faith that we'd be able to continue on.

Offseason bloom on the grounds of Fairlight Gardens.
Nor did we ever get on one another's nerves, not for a day, not for an hour.  Mr. Overly Grumpy never reared his ugly head.  Then again, Ms. Overly Bubbly made fewer appearances than usual.  Now, we're both in the Overly Bubbly mode with plans to stay that way going forward.
Ken and Tom drinking beer.

Me and Linda toasting at lunch.

We met friends Linda and Ken from South Africa in Sydney for lunch.  It was a perfect day among friends!
Our experiences in Fairlight, although limited as I was slowly improving, were delightful with opportunities to meet with old friends as shown in today "favorite photos."

St. Patrick's Estate in Manly, a popular event venue.
Of course, no experience compares to the daily sense of comfort and companionship we spent with our kindly landlord, Bob Reed. This morning,  Bob sent us the following email as posted below.  It warmed our hearts to be able to develop such a fine relationship with this kindly man, now a lifelong friend.  There's no doubt we'll stay in touch.
The grounds at St. Patrick's Estate were prepared for a wedding.
Bob wrote the following:

"Good morning Tom and Jessica, welcome to your new adventure upon the high seas and continuing adventure that most of us only dream about. 

How lucky I have been to have met you both and have had the pleasure of your company for the past 40 days.
Those happy memories will stay with me forever.
Even though I cannot be with you as you travel the world, your wonderful website will be my companion to where you are and what exciting places you are visiting.
May good health be your constant companion during your world travels.
Jessica, I will also miss the wonderful dinners you cooked for Tom and me and our daily conversations solving all the problems of the world.  Well trying anyway.
Hopefully one day our paths will cross again and we can spend time together reminiscing about the happy times we spent together.
You both left a little bit of your hearts here at Fairlight Gardens.
Lots of love as you travel the world.
Bob Reed"
Tom in a pub with me for dinner in Circular Quay.
Reading Bob's thoughtful message brought tears to our eyes.  How did we get so lucky to become friends with yet another very special person?  We truly are blessed.
Giant surf at Manly Beach on a gorgeous day.
Rather than write back to Bob in an email, we decided to write back here:
Dear Bob,
No words can express how much we've appreciated your kindness and love and for of your constant and thoughtful attention to our needs.  Above all, your efforts at building a lasting friendship among the three of us will always be treasured as one of our favorite memories of the time we spent in Australia, here in beautiful Fairlight, a gem amongst towns throughout this fine nation.
Thank you for your lovely property, your attention to detail in every aspect, driving us about town and spending time with us.  You truly optimize the essence of friendship and generosity.
We hope that someday our paths will cross again but if they do not, no worries, we'll always carry you in our hearts wherever we may be.
Much love and good health always,
Jess & Tom
Bob and Tom at Dobroyd Head.
Should any of our readers decide to visit Sydney, we assure you an excellent experience if you book Bob's lovely property, either Fairlight Gardens private apartment, as we did with this link here. For Bob's Fairlight Gardens Bed and Breakfast, please click here.
Bob and I a Dobroyd Head.
There's no doubt in our minds that Bob will ensure an equally exceptional stay for our readers as well.  If you have any questions, you can be assured he'll reply promptly.
Bob, Bev, and Colin (a popular name in AU and UK) when they all joined us fo dinner at our apartment.
As for our final expenses, current to the last expenditures of two days ago, they are listed below.  We've found Australia to be more expensive than many parts of the world but have found staying in holiday homes is much less costly than staying in a hotel. 
Christine, Tom and I at dinner two nights ago.
With the excellent public tranportation services in Sydney and surrounding areas including buses, trains and ferries, its not necessary to rent a car.  We managed very well taking advantage of the affordable public transportation and of course, Bob frequent insistence on driving us on many occasions.

Expense US Dollar Australian Dollar
Vacation Rental $ 4,564.08  $ 6,053.92
Airfare  $    217.00  $    287.83
Taxi  $    105.01  $    139.29
Ferry (OPAL Card) $   140.00  $    185.70
Shipping $   460.00  $    610.16
Groceries $ 1,014.25  $ 1,345.33
Dining Out $    361.43 $    480.24
Entertainment $    102.06  $    135.38
Medical & Pharmacy $ 1,230.26 $ 1,534.68
Total $ 8,197.09 $10,891.59
Average Monthly Cost $ 6,233.20 $ 8,282.22
Avg Daily Cost - 40 days $    204.93 $    272.30
In less than two hours, we'll be out the door and on our way by taxi to the Sydney Cruise Terminal arriving in about 45 minuter.  Our next post will be uploaded aboard the ship tomorrow with photos for the next 24 nights. 
Out to dinner with friends Christine and Colin, who we met on our last cruise which ended 40 nights ago.
We hope our readers will continue to travel along with us during these upcoming 33 nights at sea, plus an additional two night gap while we stay in a hotel in Vancouver.  We plan to share many new stories and exciting photos along the way.
Cruise ship in the Sydney Harbour.

This morning while still dark at 5:45 am, we could see our ship, Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas, entering Sydney Harbour.  What a sight!  We can hardly wait to board!

A bunny we posted on Easter Sunday, spotted on a walk with Bob.
Happy day to all!
_________________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 22, 2016:
Due to poor signal aboard the ship one year ago today, we didn't include a photo. Instead we posted a list of some on the freebie on the ship, Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas.  Here they are:
Some of the "freebies" included on this particular cruise are:
  • Fitness center to include a few free classes and activities
  • Trivia games
  • Daily Mass
  • Men's Shed
  • Water aerobics
  • Mensa challenge
  • Movies shown daily inside the large theatre and outdoors on giant screen by the pool
  • Dance lessons
  • Mini golf tournament
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Singles gatherings
  • Bridge lessons and tournaments
  • Shuffleboard, ping pong, video games
  • Napkin art workshop
  • GLBT meetings
  • Ice Skating and skating shows
  • Rock climbing
  • Paper aeroplane making
  • Drama class
  • DreamWorks characters on display in Promenade Deck
  • Voyager Scavenger Hunt
  • Karaoke auditions and eventual show in theatre
  • Shows in the main theatre in the evenings at 6:45 pm and 8:45 pm, different each evening
  • Live music at various bars both during the day and in the evenings

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