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August, 2006 Trip
Saturday, August 26
Friday, August 25
We had another hearty breakfast this morning at a local restaurant down the street. It was an all you can eat meal and we all loved it. After breakfast, we all came back to the Bohemia Resort and decided what to do. Free time! Some decided to go shopping in downtown Cairns and some relaxed down at the beach. No one got burnt by the sun, but we put sunscreen on just like Coach said to do.
After a relaxing day in Cairns, we all came back to get ready for our last game. It was our last official game that we would play in Australia. How bittersweet it was! Our opponents were the same team that we had played the night before, a local young women's team from Cairns. We came out strong and we mercied them in 6 innings, 11-1 and our defense and pitching were solid too. What a way to end with a win! Then we were able to mingle with our Australian softball friends ate an authentic Australian barbie (barbeque). The food was delicious and included such grill favorites as burgers, steaks and a special treat of barramundi, an Australian fish. There was also cole slaw and several yummy desserts. It was a lot of fun to talk with our Australian friends. They asked us if we wanted to trade jerseys, but the unis are not our own so we couldn't do that. We said our good byes and took a maxi taxi to the Night Markets to finish our last minute shiopping and get one more ice cream cone. They sure were good!
With that I must end our final journal entry from Australia. It is sad to leave this beautiful country, but we must go home annd start a new year of classes and softball. So to all of you who are reading this entry, g'night mates!
Reported by team manager Nicole Izenbaard, a senior from Kalamazoo, Mich. and junior Amanda Guijarro (pictured above), a junior from Los Angeles, Calif.
Our second full day in Cairns began with an all-you-can eat breakfast at King's Restaurant within a short walking distance of the Bohemia Resort. A few people experienced an Australian classic...vegemite! Needless to say it was not a hit to us. To our surprise, our breakfast consisted of baked beans, which in Australia is only served at breakfast, cereals, eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, and the infamous baked half tomato.
After breakfast we embarked upon an epic journey to the top of "the" mountain where the Kuranda village is located. The trip started at the City Centre Railway station on the Kuranda Scenic Railway car #6007. We were soon left the city and started climbing. We ventured through many acres of sugar cane and then on through dense jungle, as well as 15 tunnels, built in the late 1800's. The highlight of the trip was a majestic waterfall. At the conclusion of the train trip we proceeded towards the village to do some shopping and sightseeing.
There were many small shops lining the streets of the town. Some players opted to take the jungle walk and saw the flying fox bat rescue station, wild turkeys and heaps of jungle plants. Many of us searched for the rainforest walk, but did not find it. We did stumble upon the world's smallest outdoor market. There was also a Koala Garden where for $15 you could get your picture taken with a Koala. In the Koala Gardens, we saw many crocodiles, kangaroos, wallabes, turtles, pythons, palmedons, lizards and strange looking birds. We at lunch at the Trading Post Restaurant. They served kangaroo burgers and Coach Wolters was the only person to try one. We discovered that burgers can come with such interesting toppings as beets, pineapple, and fried eggs. It was an intersting combination, but it is definitely an acquired taste. The end of our Kuranda trip was a trip down the mountain by bus around many winding roads. After a short time of R and R we departed for the field where the sun was setting, so no chance of delay today.
Today we played the Sox in what turned out to be a pitcher's duel for the first six innings. Becky Whitman, still throwing on what today was a "magic carpet", was throwing the game of her career taking a perfect game into the sixth inning and a no hitter into the seventh inning before an infield single on a close play at first broke up the no hitter. The Dutch had busted the 1-0 game open in the top of the seventh when the first nine batters reached safely, including a 3-run homer by Laura Tanouye and a 2-run single by Becca Baker. We finished with a 9-0 victory.
A quick trip to McDonald's topped off the day. We look forward to our last full day Down Under tomorrow that includes our last game and a real Austrlian barbie (barbeque).Tuesday, August 22
Reported by 2006 graduates Libby Hammon of Allegan and Becky Whitman of Ludington
After an early morning wake up call, we ate a small breakfast at our hostel. Our breakfast consisted of authentic Australian Weet Bix, a pressed granola fiber bar that one adds milk to before eating. Our next adventure was ahead of us as we boarded the Passions for Paradise Ocean cruiser that took us on a two hour ride out to the Great Barrier Reef. Once out on the reef, some people went SCUBA diving, some went snorkeling, some did both activities and everyone saw really beautiful coral and amazing fish. Lunch was served on board the boat while we cruised to our second location on the Reef. This location was deeper and we were able to snorkel right off the back of the boat. After an hour here, we set sail for shore. On the return trip the Captain of the ship cut the engines and set up the sails to give us a true sailing experience. We docked and headed back to our hostel to wash off the salt water and eat dinner.
For dinner we decided to order take away pizza pies from Dominos. We were very hungry after our water adventure and we downed 10 pizzas with 17 people! We were quite impressed with ourselves. After this filling meal, we attempted to walk it off by going to the IGA to find some ice cream. The rest of the night was spent relaxing at the hostel--watching a movie by the pool, playing cards, etc.
No scores to report until tomorrow because we had a day off. Until tomorrow America, no worries and good bye!Monday, August 21
The Flying Dutch are in the second week of their trip to Australia, reporting now from Cairns. We received two messages from players today.
It took only about five minutes to get to the Bohemian Resort, which we discovered was quite different than the accomodations in Manly. This resort has its own restaurant and pool area and is full of palm trees and vegetation. We rested for an hour and then it was off to the Cairns Softball Association fields.
We found the fields quite interesting as the pitcher throws off of a carpet, the infield is covered with a layer of small stones and the outfield was grass in some places and bare in other places. The team we played was a younger team from the town and the Dutch were ready for a victory. The bats exploded in every inning and our pitchers, Becky Whitman and Megan VanderMaas, held the opponents scoreless until the final inning when they finally scored.
The game was delayed for about 10 minutes due to the sun! Late in the game the sun was at just the right angle so that the batter, catcher and umpire could not see the pitcher and so for safety sake the game was briefly delayed until the sun went behind a mountain. The umpire says that this is a rather common occurance at this field.
After the game, we hurried back to the resort to freshen up and take a maxi taxi to the Fasta Pasta restaurant where we had an all you can eat pasta feast of many kinds of Italian food. As has been our tradition Down Under, we ate the local gelato ice cream for dessert. Our day concluded with a walk around downtown Cairns, which we will again visit on Thursday. Tomorrow we will be at the Great Barrier Reef all day. As we write this by the pool, we wish you all the best and ask for your prayers as our adventure continues tomorrow.
After a quiet time of worship, we put our "swimmers" on and we were ready to "ride the rip" (we went surfing). After carrying 10 foot boards across the beach, we were finally ready to dive into the surf. The vigorous waves thrashed us around, making it difficult to rise above them. Most of our team members were able to rise up to their knees and a few were able to stand on the board. After a tough but fun workout, we were able to venture in and around Manly and five members of our group ventured back into Sydney to look at Old Sydney and also the Botanical Gardens. Besides the georgous flowers,the group was amazed by the Flying Foxes, which are huge bats with a wing span of about three feet and a head shaped and the size of a fox, hence the name Flying Foxes. The group departed just before the early setting sun as the bats began to fly around. Some other team members walked up to the top of a Manley hill to St. Patrick's Cathedral where Nicoler Kidman got married recently. When the team gathered again our tour guide Roger surprised us with an "iena" (dinner) at a Mexican Restaurant on the second floor of a building, overlooking Manly Beach. We topped off the night with Maddie's favorite ice cream at the Copenhagen ice cream shop. Exhaustion had not hit us yet, so we challenged each other to a vicious game of Peanuts. Then we drifted off to sleep, with dreams of Cairns tomorrow.
Written by coach Karla Wolters
While the team is learning how to surf I thought I would send you an update and then go see who learned their dry dock lessons well enough to get up in the water. It has been a spectacular pleasant weekend. We had a lovely worship service high above Sydney bay. The Lord was in that place! Saturday, August 19
Written by junior Erika Guijarro (above left) of Los Angeles, Calif. and senior Lauren Kucera (above right) of Dyer, Ind.
Hello from Down Under! Today Coach Wolters woke up to a chilly sunrise while the rest of the team slept in due to late games the night before. This day was more relaxed than the past three days. The morning was left open to explore the town of Manly. Some team members walked along the shoreline to hike some trails, while others wrote postcards and shopped along the Corso. After a delightfully free morning, the team headed to Waratah Park. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Tilly the wallaroo (half knagaroo and half wallaby) and lingering in the bushes was Ernie the emu. In the park we went on a guided tour and saw more Australian wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies and koalas. No one on the team passed up the chance to take a picture with the koalas up close and personal.
After the wildlife park, we returned to Manly Beach where our guide, Roger taught us to play touch rugby on the beach. After an intense hour-long match, we had worked up quite an appetite. We headed out to a Manly restaurant, the Ivanhoe where we had a typical Australian dinner of salad, chips (fries) and steak. The progessive dinner ended with a short walk to the New Zealand Natural ice cream shop for great cones and smoothies with some very interesting flavors. The final activity of the evening was a return walk to the beach and card games back at the accomodations. It was a wonderfully relaxing day for all of us!
Friday, August 18
After our community service was completed, we headed a few blocks away to the famous Paddy's Flea market where we ate lunch and did some extreme shopping. After a few hours of shopping, we were all carrying bags of souvenirs and gifts.
Then it was time to get out of the city and head for Blacktown by way of the Olympic Park. We had a short stop at the Telstra Stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Olympics were held. We saw the actual Olympic torch!
Then back on the highway creeping towards the Olympic Softball Field in rush hour traffic. Last night's opponent were the Sharks, another New South Wales team that had several members of the Olympic Development team. We will be watching for them on the 2008 Olympics. We faced the current fastest pitcher in the world, who throws well over 70 mph and held our own, staying ahead or tied with the Sharks until the final inning when they pushed three runs across, losing 5-2. The Sharks also won the other game in a tough battle. Megan VanderMaas was pressed into double duty on the mound as Becky Whitman fell ill after just two innings of work in the opener. After returning home at midnight, we are looking forward to two days of rest and leisure on Saturday and Sunday.
Thursday, August 17
Our second day started after a modified night's sleep. We are still trying to adjust to the 14 hour time change. On our first night we all were asleep by 8:30 p.m. and many awake around 4:30 a.m. As a result, many of us got up to see a beautiful sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. Wow!
After a big Australian breakfast, we hopped aboard a jetcat boat that took us swiftly across the bay to Circular Quay (pronounced Kay). After a short walk to the famous Sydney Opera House where we had the first of many team pictures taken, we hopped aboard Captain Cook's Harbour Cruise boat under beautiful and unseasonably warm early spring conditions. We learned a lot about the history of Sydney on the cruise and saw many majestic views of the city. The cruise ended at the Sydney Aquarium where we saw a fantastic variety of fish and beasts. Some of us even petted a shark!
After a lunch at Subway, we headed to the Centerpointe Tower, high above the city for a 360 degree view of the city. The bottom floors of the tower are part of a great shopping mall that reminded us of home.
We then took a bus to Blacktown where we played two games at the 2000 Olympic Softball Stadium. It was amazing to play on a field made famous by the Sydney Olympics! The opponents we faced last night were quite different, but both were excited to play Americans. The first team was the same team as we played yesterday, Westfield, with a similar result, 21-3. Megan VanderMaas pitched the victory. The second team was a New South Wales state team, with great young adult talent. The game was well played moving into the sixth inning in a 1-1 tie. Both teams had many great defensive stops, including the Dutch getting out of a first-ining bases loaded no outs situation. The Aussies pushed ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning with two runs and they ended up winning by a score of 3-1.
The night ended with a quick stop at an Aussie McDonald's and McCafe and a sleepy hour long ride to Manly Beach. More tomorrow...
Wednesday, August 16
The team's trip to Australia got off to an interesting start. The team arrived 27 hours after takeoff from Grand Rapids and four flights later, in Australia this Wednesday morning. That was one flight longer than the team anticipated. After landing in Los Angeles last night the team found out that their flight to Sydney had been cancelled later in the evening due to a tarmac accident between their plane and a baggage vehicle. One engine of the plane was rendered inoperable and the team was transferred to a flight to New Zealand before taking a flight to Sydney this morning.
After arriving in Sydney, nine team members discovered that their bags had not arrived, including all of the team bats and catcher's gear. After reporting the loss to the airline the team met their tour guide and was shuttled to their accomodations at Manly Beach.
After a quick bite to eat, the team hustled to Brookfield, a suburb of Sydney, for a 1 p.m. game with their first opponent, Westfield Sports High. The Dutch, using borrowed equipment, scored in every inning and mercied the Westfield team 26-2. Leading the hit parade was junior Laura Tanouye who had a 3-run and grand slam homerun. Becky Whitman and Megan VanderMaas shared the pitching duties and both pitched very well. The Dutch played errorless defense and turned a double play in the fourth inning.
Arriving back at their accommodations, the Dutch found out that their luggage was now in South Korea and expected in Australia yet tonight -- hopefully!
After a restful afternoon and their first Australian dinner, the Dutch will have a busy day of sightseeing tomorrow in the city of Sydney before taking off for the Olympic Stadium in Blacktown, where they will play two games tomorrow night. We are ready for a good nights sleep on Australian time -- 14 hours ahead of Michigan. Until tomorrow...