Sunday, December 31, 2017

Up Close and Personal with animals

Once again, we are back from a long vacation. Unlike the previous one which was all about theme parks and everything artificial, spending 3 weeks in Australia and New Zealand meant the direct opposite. It was all about nature, animals and fresh air. All excellent things for the city slicker kids we have.

Since the twins are old enough, they are guesting on the blog and writing about the animals from their perspective.


Our first encounter with nature was in Blue Mountains, an extremely beautiful place with nature everywhere.
We even heard a baby goat bleating in the distance! It was actually the neighbour's pet goat. A pet goat is called a kid. They named it Juicy. That wasn't funny. And things actually got more exciting from there.

On the first night of our stay, a possum broke into the house. We didn't know how she got in, but we have a theory that she might have come through the chimney and into the fire place. Ho Ho Ho! Very Santa Claus of her! The men then tried to lure the possum out of the house with a banana. Unfortunately, my uncle and my dad spooked the possum and it ran into my brothers' room. Eventually, they laid a trail of cereal puffs out the door to lure the possum out and it worked. We were all relieved that the possum finally got out of the house! Our parents nicknamed the possum Gretel!

The next day was my favorite day. We went horse riding! I immediately fell in love with the horses. They are such beautiful, strong creatures. On the first two rounds in the bush, I had this small but strong horse called Effie. She had a white streak down her snout, and I immediately liked her. She was stubborn, like me, and had a short temper, like me. She was always  irritated with other horses. We were a perfect match!

The most exciting part was when my grandpa's horse knocked into Effie, and that immediately set her off. She whinnied and actually galloped off. We weren't supposed to gallop, but she was out of  control. For a moment, I enjoyed it as she galloped, but she suddenly stopped and bucked. Now, that was scary! I could barely hang on. At that moment, my hands instinctively pulled the reins, hard, saving me from falling off. I was so shaken, and had trouble stifling a scream. When we got back to the stables, I was so relieved and my legs were jellified!

One thing I learnt was that horses are unpredictable! My cousin's horse also ran way, but at least the horse didn't buck her off TWICE. The second I almost got bucked me off,was actually on her horse. We switched horses for the last ride and that was such a mistake. Her horse's name called Gunner. I was nervous about Gunner for two reasons:
1. he was much bigger than Effie, so I felt unstable.
2. I was afraid that Gunner would try to buck me off, and being bigger and stronger than stronger than Effie, there would be a 75% chance that I would fall off if he tried to buck me off. Miraculously, I could hold on!

Even with all the scares, it was one of the best days of my life, getting to be with these beautiful creatures.

The rest of this is going to be written by Evan.
During our voyage on the Ovation of the seas we stopped at some islands in New Zealand including Wellington and Picton, and we had various close encounters with sea creatures, including starfish, fish, rays and even a penguin! We couldn't capture the penguin or ray on the camera, though.

 My favourites were the penguin and the ducks who were all over the place. Occasionally, we saw a goose. But the geese we saw looked like they were going to bully the ducks. Not cool.

I have seen sea stars at the aquariums but I have not seen any in the wild. Or maybe I have, in Hawaii but never so big. These were clinging on to the rocks in the pier at Picton. It was also where we saw the rays and the penguin. The water was so clear and the rays looked so lazy gliding in the water.

Ray fishing is banned by law. We were told this by some boys who were fishing on the pier. They also told us that if a fish was smaller than 30 cm, they had to release it again. They caught a small fish and wanted to do that but the hook was inside the fish's belly! Jordan tried to help and then the fish fell between the rocks. I don't know if it managed to swim away. Jordan said her hands smelt funny after that. Obviously! They smelt of fish!

That's that. I'll do another one on the cruise next. We'll see if the twins try to hijack that one too.


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