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A solitary trek up snow covered Mount Panorama

We’ve lived in Bathurst for 20 years and we’ve never seen a snow fall like this.

Not in the Bathurst valley.

They’re saying it’s the heaviest dump in 30 years.

mount panorama under snow

It started in the wee hours of the morning. Literally. And since Steve was up, I got up and since we were up we thought Darce might as well be up too. 17 year olds love being woken up at 4am to see snow.

4am home

At first light I decided to try my luck and take a walk to see if I could get to the top of Mount Panorama, now also known by its original name Wahluu – Wiradjuri for ‘sacred place’.

As it turned out I had the mountain to myself for an hour. Couldn’t believe it.

Just me, the birds, the quiet silence of snow and the odd council truck.

footsteps and car track in snow


View from the track

the view from mount panorama under snow

brock's skyline

I’d love to see the V8 boys take this on …

looking up the essex

esses mount panorama under snow

mount panorama esses under snow

Frozen, wet feet. Frozen, numb fingers. But who knows when we’ll see something like this again.

A pretty special here and now for our part of the world at least.


A stroll on Olib and a first glimpse of the grandeur that is Rab …

A couple of hours away from Ist is another quiet little gem called Olib.

Again, no cars. Just a few people walking about, most of the ones we chatted to, Croat-American expats, back for extended summer holidays.

lavender and butterfly olib

I don’t know whether I’ve lived in the country for too long but thesedays I feel most at home in places like this. Certainly more relaxed. You can let your guard down. Actually you can forget about your guard altogether.

olin early morning

coffee on olib at the port

We’d seen a big circular version of this on the hillside of Ist. They’re reservoirs.

water reservoir olin

Easy to imagine summer evenings with the old fellas out playing bocce.


Bright, clear light, so much like home but not as fierce.

could be a painting clothes line and buildings olin

hollyhocks olib

green on green

green shutter

Like the Italians, everywhere, every corner, filled with veggies.

tower and vegie garden

And simple, shady, unpretentious spots to put your legs under the table.


If you tucked Ist away last post, I’d add little Olib as well.

olib port

We were heading north, to Rab. In one of our books someone described it as the most beautiful medieval town in the world. A big call but it piqued our interest. That’s the tip of Pag on the right, the island of Rab behind and the Croatian mainland in the background. Sailing along, listening to Eva Cassidy, watching those low isles gradually find form.

the tip of pag

marg paintingsailing into ran

Rab, like so much of this area, has found itself under others’ rule. Greeks, Romans, Hungarian-Croats all had an influence here but its the Venetians, who ruled from 1409 to 1797, that really left their mark. You can see it immediately.

When friends head to Istanbul the one ‘must do’ I always suggest is to get a ferry across to the Asian side or out to the Princes Islands and then, when it’s dark, catch the ferry back. I did this way back in 1985 and have done it every visit since. The panoramic view of all those minarets lit up along the Istanbul skyline, the ferry being dwarfed by the shadow of a tanker on its way to Russia along the Bosphorus, if you’re lucky – a call to prayer – it’s a moment that’s stayed with me forever.

I’m adding Rab to the list.

sailing into Rab

Slowly gliding past, seeing the layers of history in those buildings.

sailing into Rab


Talk about a room with a view. Can’t wait to take you inside.


rab watercolour


Reflections on sailing northern Croatia

Apparently in winter the islands of Croatia are a depressing place to be. The wind blows hard from the north. The shutters are pulled tight and all the ex-locals who return to the islands to summer with friends and family, retreat to their permanent bases in Florida, San Francisco and Perth.

But in June that’s hard to imagine.

first mooring Solta

This trip came about so quickly we had little time to build any expectations. One minute we were pouring over maps. The next we were sitting in a little cove on Solta, two hours out from Split … dipping into watercolours … swimming in turquoise …

Solta water colour

Enigma. Home for the next two weeks.


Captain Harrie aka Good Spot Harry setting the tone for the trip.


Vicky, first mate and cook extraordinaire.


Mutual friend Sue adding a note of glamour.


Hogie ticking off a bucket lister.

steve up high


And me, assuming the position up front.


Vicky calls the boat their Waterbago and I understand now why that is. Sailing is a lot like camping. Or caravanning. You’re in a relatively small space but you have the freedom to move wherever and whenever you want. I love the simplicity of it all.

reflection 1

You can spend your time in marinas which are the watery equivalent of caravan parks or you can drop an anchor wherever you wish (within local limits) – a bit like camping in national parks.


We were in a marina for the first and last day of the trip only.

reflection 3

The rest of the time we let the wind be our guide. Spoilt with two weeks of perfect weather we’ve come away with a totally unrealistic benchmark of what this sailing business is about.

reflections 4

The water is so salty on the Dalmatian coast you barely have to swim to stay afloat.


Nearby Europeans would pull up and peel off. Wandering their boats doing the Full Monty or the Full Fritz as we termed it. By day two we reckoned if it was good enough for them …


A trip like this could go horribly wrong and so easily turn into an episode of Survivor. A confined space. Different personalities. But our five happily clicked. Good campers all. 14 days and not one voted off at Tribal Council 😉

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