Sunday, June 29, 2014

Come Aboard, Matey, and check out the Fleet

Here are some of the Harbour Beaches Zone.  They are great missionaries!  It was Temple Tuesday complete with oranges, apples, popcorn, and hot chocolate.  They call it a "feed".  But not a Big Feed.  

It's a winter wonderland at Darling Harbour.  After all, it is winter.  Notice the heavy coats with hats and gloves :)   What are those green palm trees doing there??

Plus there's ice skating with a beautiful background of trees. The temperature is a cool 65 degrees.  Perfect ice skating weather. 

The children enjoy playing in this large, inflated "igloo".  We are close to Antartica.

The National Maritime Museum includes several ships from different eras.  The HMAS Onslow is an Oberon class submarine.  It was in service from 1969 to 1999.  The Onslow's crest proclaims "festina lente" - hasten slowly.

The beds are too short for me,  but may have worked for most most of the crew members who were much "older". Sweet dreams!  Below is a picture of  the supply of entertainment items the crew enjoyed.

The kitchen is functional but small.  Notice there's always a supply of Milo - a bran drink which is nice to have when it's cold. Very Australian.
Full speed ahead it is Cap'n.  Full speed ahead.

The equipment and instruments are amazing.  The details are reminders of the time and expense of creating an under water ship.  What's going on topside?  We saw "The Hunt for Red October" so we know just what to do.  
 There's not much room in the shower.  Our tall children would not fit in here very well!

Above at left is the engine room of the HMAS Onslow. There's not a lot of room to move around. 
 Above is a replica of the Endeavor. Notice all the rope - that's 18 miles worth! This world class sailing ship was built in about the year 1768.  James Cook was given command of this vessel and an early 3 year voyage took him all over the world to determine the existence of the Great South Land.  We, of course, have determined that it does exist and we are enjoying the results of his efforts.

 This is the "luxury" hammock the officers slept in.  If it is 6 feet long we will be surprised.  At right is the dining area where they received their rations of 1 lb of bread and 1 gallon of beer per day.  Is that why sailors stagger when they walk?  Just sayin...
The red bag held the cat-o'-nine tails, or naval whip. It was used on crew members who violated the rules or if the captain was just a harsh guy.  Hence the fear of "letting the cat out of the bag".
We understand why most crew members were short.  One little boy on the tour copied the adults and ducked down, even though he was only 3 feet tall.  Oh, the power of example!

The captain's dining area was very nice and there was enough head room. 

 This wood stove was only used when the Endeavor was in port.  You don't want a wood stove going on a wooden ship when out to sea.  There is a wooden nail hammered into the Endeavor which was carried into space in 1992 on the space shuttle Endeavor linking the 18th century sailing ship to the 20th century space ship.
Here's a mix of the old and the new (not including the missionaries although we're a mixture of both)

 The windlass with its two carved sailor heads raises and lowers the anchors.  We thought he looked like one of our guides (front, right).
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum we're off to another ship, the James Craig. This is the museum that goes to sea.  This ship was built in Sunderland, County Durham, England in1874. It was originally named after the Macleod Clan which is the name on the bell.  Below is where the crew slept - they keep a wig hiding there to tease the customers!

We thought this was pretty interesting considering Elder Feil's grand uncle was born in Sunderland in 1876 when his father was working at the shipyards.  Who knows, maybe he worked on this ship???

We have enjoyed learning little  facts as we wander around taking crazy pictures.  Birds are such a huge part of life in Australia that to see them on ships makes perfect sense!
 The James Craig had a large Holy Bible.  
This ship is maintained by volunteers and donations.  The guides as well as the maintenance workers are also volunteers.  
What do you do with a drunken sailor???  A storm blew through as we wandered on to the next ship.  We were actually fighting the wind in this shot.  The clouds in the picture below attest to the storm.  But it does make for a great shot. :)

Now we are on the HMAS Vampire.  A more modern relic and about the same age as this Senior Missionary.  You do the math!

There was certainly more room to move and still plenty of instruments.  We were there at the end of the day so not many volunteers left to show us around.

 This is Darling Harbour looking towards Cockle Bay.  The bridge separates the two.
Here is Elder Feil trying his hand at shooting the big guns!  As office work is mostly the order of the day, this gave him a chance to enjoy the world from a different view.  One of our guides asked if we were Jehovah's Witness missionaries and we told him no.  Then he asked if we were totally against war and armaments.  We assured him that we were strong supporters of freedom and believed that we should protect our lives, our families, and our country and freedom.  

We finally headed back across the Pyrmont Bridge with the wind blowing and the weather actually feeling like winter.  But we have learned that cold weather in Sydney only takes a few minutes to change and become beautiful and clear again.  We headed to another baptism in Greenwich with the Harbour City Zone.  We stopped at Mann Point Park for this spectacular view of Sydney at night.  We have been able to help the missionaries with teaching lessons this week as well as a miracle of our own.

We had given a Book of Mormon to our hairdresser way back in November.  Elder Wilkinson, on the left, while doing some street contacting this week, found and taught the hairdresser.  He mentioned that we had given him a Book of Mormon and pamphlets and would like to learn more.  You can imagine our surprise when Elder Wilkinson called us with that news.  For those of you who have read "The Everyday Missionary" by Clayton Christensen, we had set a goal to find someone for the missionaries to teach by July 1st.  We were able to make that goal thanks to the dilligence of the missionaries and a miracle from Heavenly Father.

We enjoy watching the missionaries taking pictures.  We have great memories this week that we have tried to share with you in pictures as well as words. We are trying to follow the counsel in D&C 88:79 - "... a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms-That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you."  We love Australia and the people who live here.  We watch the miracle of the atonement working in our lives as well as other's lives. We hope and pray that you will recognize the miracles in your own lives.
  Until next week - Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Ginger Beer!
Elder and Sister Feil - Ship Mates in Australia

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"There Be Whales Here"

We usually show you pictures of at least one sunset.  But with the Winter Solstice upon us, we had time to rise before the sun, get ready for church, and head to the Gan Gan Hill Lookout to watch the beautiful sunrise and then head off to Church in Toukley.  Sunrises remind us that we have a new beginning, a chance to do better, be better, and improve on our actions of the previous day. 

We also had a chance to remember those who are leaving us and we want to acknowledge the great life of Uncle Joy Bybee.  He lived long and happy and was always a loving, positive influence.  He is a great tribute to Fathers and we will miss him.  

Another great Father who we would like to honor is Dr. Donald Dearborn who is 75 years old today.  Happy Birthday Dr. D.  We love you too and wish you many more!

Father's Day in Australia is celebrated in September, but we enjoyed talking to family and appreciated all of the wonderful comments and pictures on facebook.  

 On the way to Toukley we saw this old church in Tomago and stopped to have look.
This is the after church picture of the wonderful missionaries assigned to the Toukley Ward. They are loved and appreciated.  Beautiful! They represent Japan, Samoa, Tonga and the US.
We crossed paths with the awesome missionaries assigned to the Tuggarah Ward which meets in the same building. A goodlooking group! This group is from the United States.
We stopped at Norah's Head Lighthouse to eat our lunch and watch the whales work their way north.  But they were reluctant to give us a showing.  We still enjoyed the great views here.

This is the view looking south toward Newcastle.  A local told us he walks 42 kilometers from Newcastle to Nelson Bay every year along the beaches.  He only takes water with him because the fishermen feed him.  And, he does it in 2 days!!!

Still looking for the whales.  The ocean looks calm but is always in motion. The tide was beginning to rise.

 We had leavers and arrivers this week.  It's quite a challenge to pack the luggage to the maximum weight and size. Yes, it's a headache for those who fly to Asia and the Islands when they can only take one piece of luggage.  We laugh, but know our time is coming.

 Transfer week is very busy.  Monday is transfer day for the whole mission. The leavers head out on Tuesday. New missionaries come on Wednesday.  Thursday is training for District and Sister Leader Trainers.  It's a busy week but we enjoy seeing the missionaries come and go.

As always, mail and supplies are so important to keep them going and whoever comes to the office becomes the postmen for the Zone.  We have a tradition of providing microwave popcorn and hot chocolate for them to eat.  Some weeks we also buy fresh fruit.  They love anything and are so grateful.    

We also had an opportunity to take missionaries to the train station, pay bills, and manage the on line referrals.  We fit our weekly trip to the temple and enjoyed some fun moments.
The Sisters learned that Sister Feil likes the mini dark Tim Tams.  So they became the bearers of good gifts and won their way to the top of the A list!  The only problem, the Elders found them first, opened them and helped themselves to a few.....they made the B list!

Sisters love mail too, especially when your Mom always puts it in polks dots!

From May to November, the whales migrate north to warm waters from the artic to have their babies, and then head back to their feeding grounds.  One of the best places to see them is where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean right off Port Stephens Peninsula.  We signed on a whale watching cruise on the Imagination.  

There were beautiful views as we headed out of Nelson Bay.  This bird is the Australasian Darter.  We have seen him other places drying off in the sun.
Looking back at Nelson Bay, our "ship" carried about 30 people with a crew of 3. Another whale cruiser was chasing us and it was a race to see who would see the whales first.

We headed out past the headlands to where the currents of the two oceans meet.  Remember that is the current Nemo rode in to Sydney.

We were ok in the bay but once we hit the swells, we needed to do something about the motion sickness.  We obviously do not have sea legs yet!

We are fishers of men not fishers of fish.

The armaments on the cliff wall above the boat are left over from World War II.  These rock coves are perfect for hiding boats!  

 This little guy was waving like crazy.  He reminded us of kids in the US always wanting the big truckers to blow their horns when they pass!
This was the original old light house that is not in use anymore.

THERE SHE BLOWS!  It is so exciting to see that  plume of water and air because you know that the whales are right there.  The trick was taking pictures as fast as you could while the boat was rocking.  That is definitely when the motion sickness kicks in!  But it is all worth it to see these magnificent creatures in the ocean.  They move slowly, coming up for air about every 10-20 minutes.  Once you sight some, the boat shuts off the motor and you rock quietly by the animal's side.  Then down they go for another 20 minutes and you don't know what direction they are heading.

It was riveting to see them so close.  The day before, an albino whale named Migaloo had traveled from Sydney, past here.  He comes every year and the locals love getting his picture.  We were, of course, a day late and a dollar short!

But these guys put on quite a show and this picture shows them slapping each other's tail.  Do you call this a "high two" ??

Here is is head starting to come out.  These were hump back whales.  We were on a cruise with several people who had the giant, long lenses for their cameras.  But for our small equipment, we think we did ok!

We did not see them breaching - maybe another day, another cruise.  But tail slapping is quite exciting.

After trailing the whales for two hours, we took a quick tour around Cabbage Tree Island.  It is the home to these rare birds that have red eyes, red beaks, and red legs.  We can't remember their names, but we want you to know that the red eyes are not the fault of the camera!  

There is a small colony of seals on Cabbage Tree and this little lazy guy is taking a nap while we shoot pictures of him!

Cabbage Tree Island also has caves with bats.  We couldn't wait around until dusk to see them.  We wondered if they were as big as the flying foxes we have seen.  A fisherman got his small boat stuck in this cave - the tide came in, a wave lifted his boat up, and he was stuck for a day until being rescued.  Crazy, huh!

Sunset on the ocean, and of course we took pictures.  Before ending our cruise, we saw a number of dolphins cruising around eating the tuna.  It was a magnificent experience to see more of Heavenly Father's creations and the sunset was a fitting end to a glorious day.  Happy Winter Solstice.
So ended our busy week.  We have been reading the Book of Mormon each day as well as George Q Cannon's biography of Joseph Smith.  We have also been trying to keep up on the news in the US/world about all the crazy wars and rumors of wars.  We know that only true peace comes through Jesus Christ and living his gospel.  We know that "...persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent 'til it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; 'til the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say: the work is done."  Joseph Smith.  We will continue to move forward doing our part and hope each of you will do the same.  We love you all!!  Have a whale of a week...  :)
Elder  Captain Ahab and Sister Ishmael ( we may have to read that book too)