Minimal text, many photos, some videos. Mishmash of scenic, happysnaps and homeschooling stuff coz that's how we roll. Grab a drink and a snack before commencing.
First couple of weeks...
The airport wait wasn't terribly exciting but at least there were planes to watch being loaded, taking off and landing.
Big asam tree across the road as seen from my bed. It's always good to be home.
Kids helping Nanny and Aunty Sprat put together loot bags for Carols by Candlelight
Playing at Flying Fish Cove. The jetty is apparently being extended to better handle visiting cruise ships, or something to that effect.
Kids got a very quick and very basic first aid lesson after 10yo failed to listen to warnings to watch out for the coral in his excitement at being at the beach
I suck at night photography so the above two shots were the only ones that I felt were good enough to post. 5yo is entirely too gleeful.
At one of the Christmas parties 5yo got a box of dinosaur books with push out cardboard dinosaur models that could be slotted together. He spent an afternoon doing just that.
Mum asked me to come take photos of the carols by candlelight. There was a live band for the first time ever and they were great. The crowd was a tough one, very hard to get them to sing or even wave their candles for photos. Some of them did get up to dance with "Santa" after he was done doling out presents and decided to get this party started.
The newest addition to the kids' Christmas Island garden playground because my parents like to spoil their grandkids rotten.
The parents invited the band fro the carols by candellight over to play at one of our Christmas parties. It was hailed as the best Christmas party ever.
Even though it bucketed down with rain shortly after dinner.
And everyone (including the band) ended up crammed on the patio. My friend who was acting as their roadie got saturated as he had to rush to save the equipment still in the back of the ute. They sang heaps of
mouldy golden oldies that had all the old people adults my parents' generation happily singing along. Even some of us "kids" (people around my age) sang along as we'd spent an inordinate amount of our childhood listening to these tunes. The choruses got the most singalong as that's what most people knew, and it was all good fun.
After the party and just before the band completely packed up, a couple of the guys showed the kids how to play the bongos and this boxy drum thing which I didn't realise was actually a drum.
Being tropical monsoonal Christmas Island in the wet season, we did get rained in a few days, but the kids didn't mind. There were big puddles to jump in.
Then JJ flew in (a day late because his plane got delayed due to the weather, and then had to wait an extra day for the luggage because it got offloaded as excess as Virgin had to pack out its flights and put on a few extra to make up for the two delayed flights) and we took him around Tai Jin House as it was still being done up the last time he was on island.
Also see Sprat's much more entertaining (with some expletives) version of events if you haven't already (those who read The Gold Box may have already read it).
Knowing everyone was going to be at church on Christmas morning, JJ and I had planned to take the kids to the beach and then come home for a leisurely lunch before doing the presents thing so the kids wouldn't be nagging and hovering to get into the presents. The parents inadvertantly ruined that idea as they needed to head to church separately to set up different things, so Mum took her car (which we use when there) and then Dad left in his ute (which is a company car so we can't use it anyway, plus it didn't have the requisite car seat). Strangely, they had managed to forget to wake the naturally late-rising Sprat to take her with them (she's a twice a year church-attendee). So we took the kids to Territory Day Park to play (and found out the hard way that the play equipment had been removed at some stage). The above lookout by the way is where the iconic shots are taken.
I had better luck with the pano option on my Xperia than I did with my iPhone 4S (that camera and being able to use the phone as a portable hdd are the Xperia's saving graces, I hate Android phones. Android tablets for some reason are okay).
5yo wanted me to take a photo of "the crab feast" (his description). The bigs were nagging to go on the loop trail and Sprat took them sans 5yo who had been too busy stuffing around and not listening to realise they were leaving til they were gone, and as it turned out it was a good thing that they didn't go as one of the signs was broken and Sprat took a wrong turn and ended up on the Smith Point trail to The Cove. Fortunately there was a relative who just happened to be there who was able to give them a ride back.
Despite her complaints about the noise noise noise NOISE Sprat loves it when we come up for Christmas because she likes all things Christmassy including "full" Christmas trees that have heaps of presents spilling out from underneath. Fortunately I have kids who are appreciative of the stuff they get given. They cleaned up like they do every Christmas (especially with my parents). Admittedly I didn't do too badly either.
The kids lost no time getting into their presents. The Halo mecha was the only one the 10yo couldn't wait to get into out of his Lego, the rest he left in boxes for the trip back so he wouldn't lose the pieces. 8yo surprisingly finished the colouring in bag within a few hours and did a pretty good job of it, proving that she can stay inside lines when it suits her. 5yo played with everything. I had to spend a lot of time cleaning up the Sands Alive that had been catapaulted around the room.
And the rest
On one of the trips to Ethel Beach we saw one of the navy boats cruising around. There were a few people swimming off it before they got back on and the ship pottered off, pausing close to where the crane in the background of the immediately preceding picture is for a while before disappearing round the point. Most of our beach trips managed to incorporate ecosystem talks as 10yo was full of questions. In the immediately preceding picture we were looking at some small fish that were darting around in the rock pools and seeing how many different types we could spot.
This may be the only place on the planet where you can find a crab bridge.
Proof that my kids do play nicely together sometimes. (They're fine most of the time, the times when they're not have this bad habit of sticking in the head more)
The bigs didn't want to come for one of our drives so JJ and I left them with Sprat and took the eager 5yo. JJ turned down every random jungle track he could see that was open (and we ended up going down one that was actually closed but only on one end and we found out when we had to go around the closed sign to get back to the main road). On one of the tracks I yelled "STOP STOP STOP!" causing JJ to brake as quickly and safely as he could, and he cried "What?!" and I pointed up into a tree and replied "FRUIT BAT!" We proceeded to take many photos of it. It just hung and looked at us like we were idiots :)
JJ got a decent shot of the moon through his sniper scope. This was the third attempt, the other two were a bit bright.
8yo spent a fair bit of time in the kitchen choosing and helping to make delicious desserts.
And learning how to knit.
And teaching her older brother how to knit. She made some scarves for 10yo's Yoshi plushie and some of her My Little Ponies.
10yo helped a bit too. He's pounding chilli padi for sambal belachan. And wearing his sunnies as "safety glasses" in case some flies into his face.
My parents called from the Cove and told us to bring kids and cameras as there were baby crabs EVERYWHERE. It was the best return we'd had for a long time. We trooped down, the kids brough their tablets and took some pictures and videos as well. We didn't know it at the time but this was a taste of things to come.
By the way, we also have other types of crab. I think this one is the spider crab.
This thing gets wider every time I come back to visit. The top part was damaged by the storm and there was a tree across the top of the cliff that we usually take up so Sprat and 17yo Cousin went up there themselves (tall athletic 17yo Cousin with ease and short unfit Sprat with a bit more difficulty). I didn't go up this time round to avoid kids whinging about not being able to go up too. The new metalwalk was awesome and I quite liked how the people that constructed it cut holes in the walk rather than chop down trees and rocks in their path.
The Blowholes provided some awesome eruptions, though of course I managed to miss documenting all of the big ones. Then it started hammering down with rain so we fled home.
Mum scrapbooks and the kids were allowed to use some of the scraps and things to make stuff.
And then...the crablets...
The fine red dust-like stuff are crablets. They were on the walking trail to Greta Beach.
Here's a closeup. Again, we had no idea that this was just the beginning.
We found this on Greta Beach.
Which was clean just for a change.
Crablets keep falling on my head...
We also have other critters. Sprat was very proud of herself for catching the mudskipper (which was shown to the kids and then released).
Then we encountered this when we attempted to leave.
Suddenly, they were up the hill. We accidentally massacred a whole bunch by not seeing them until after we were on the road they were on near the Parks Australia main office in Drumsite.
Then they were quite literally at our front door, and we were pretty well crabbed in for the last few days. Sprat and I witnessed a few incidences of people who apparently thought the detour signs didn't apply to them or apparently had no idea where they were going and kept driving up and down the closed road killing crablets while they tried to work out how to get around the detour sign. Sigh.
The street my parents' house is on.
The lower front step at the front gate. Sprat turned this one into an animated gif for her deviantART and Tumblr posts on the return. It didn't take them long to start getting into the house and we spent the last day or so constantly evicting them so they wouldn't die in the house and wondering how in the hell they were getting in. As per usual leaving was hard. Two more years.
This work by bek (ryivhnn) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.