Although the June long weekend began on Saturday 4th and ended on Monday 6th of June, Y Striders seem to be making long weekends longer and longer. Some started almost a week early, spending time with like -minded people, enjoying their company, exploring the region, sampling the local produce and making the most of happy hour with friends and good food.
An organised tour of Hidden Street Art by national and international artists was a treat for many who had arrived early. All the participants commented on how rewarding this tour was, as they discovered unseen and unknown artworks around the town.
Friday morning was busy with the Segway group challenging their balance and skill, a few ventured out on the ocean whale watching, some saw the chainsaw sculptures and another group headed off to Castle Rock to explore the Porongurups.
By Friday afternoon everyone had arrived and all were ready to make the most of the weekend. Although Albany has a reputation for a lot of rain, we were lucky. There were a few showers, but not enough to stop Y Striders from venturing out and enjoying the planned activities.
Friday evening started with a drink and meal at Due South, a delightful hotel restaurant overlooking Princess Royal Harbour. The breeze was fresh, but the company was warm and convivial as excited Y Striders made the most of the chance to catch up.
The main event for Saturday morning was the Kalgan River Cruise. There was a large crew of people who fronted up at the wharf. Before we even boarded the boat, we had made friends with some pelicans. One of these had been hand reared by Captain Jack and he was extremely friendly, doing his best to join the Y Strider fun. This was a four-hour cruise across the calm waters of Oyster Harbour and then up the pretty Kalgan River. We saw pelicans, osprey, sea eagles, and seagulls. We enjoyed watching Captain Jack, as he threw fish for the ospreys and sea eagles and saw them claim the food right in front of the pelicans.
It was quite cool on the boat and the crew were pleased when they were offered tea and damper. Then it was back to shore and time for a short break to warm up and get ready for the rest of the day.
A meal at Albany’s very popular Indian Tandoori Restaurant was absolutely delicious! Y Striders and friends filled 3 large tables and we had a banquet. The food was sumptuous with most of us eating far more than we intended. And, although we finished early, most were prepared to head home for an early night, to be ready for set walks the next day.
The Sunday weather included showers and drizzle but walkers found the weather quite manageable. The most unpleasant part of the walks was coping with the muddy track and keeping a look out for honky nuts and tree roots. Big thanks to Pam, Kevin and Bill for doing reconnaissance on each of the walking tracks, plus supplying comprehensive walk notes. All participants were pleased with their walk choice and made it back, with big grins and a great sense of achievement.
While most Y Striders were enjoying a sedate bush walk, Ann P had entered a half marathon running race held close to Albany. Although Ann was sporting wounds from a fall earlier in the week, like a true trooper, she ran the half-marathon AND shaved 9 minutes off her previous time!! Congratulations Ann, on your amazing effort. You are awesome.
That evening members met in the camp kitchen for drinks and nibbles, followed by hearty pizzas. Biggest thanks to Tracey and Ross for organising the evening meals – they also had to manage the logistics of more than 35 people eating out at a variety of venues, plus organising a delivery of pizzas. Thank you again for your willingness to take on this task, keeping all of us Y Striders happy and well fed.
Ken A polished off the night by giving out a few awards. There was an Honourable Mention to our bushwalk “scouts”, Kevin, Pam and Bill and many thanks for all that they do to keep the walks interesting, challenging, appropriate to our needs plus prepare comprehensive notes and advice. Then it was time for the main awards: each award was a fluffy hot water bottle, designed to keep the Albany cold away.
The first award was, of course to Ann P for her amazing effort in the half marathon. Next award was to Elizabeth T for all the work she put into organising the accommodation, activities, collecting money for events and generally the “herding of cats’ that is needed to get such a big group of people to have a relaxing and trouble-free time over the weekend. This was followed by an award of thanks to Tracey and Ross W for organising the food and restaurants. This is also a commitment that required plenty of time and effort, and as usual Tracey and Ross proved how competent they are, by making our evening meals delicious, enjoyable and highly successful. The last award was to Ros C. This was the Micturition Award and as we all know, “what happens on the Y Strider weekend stays on the Y Strider weekend”, but as per usual Ros was a great sport and endured the teasing with great humour.
Some Y Striders returned to Perth on the Monday, but others could not stop enjoying themselves. Another group enjoyed a Segway experience at the Old Marron Farm, and some others drove to the Porongurups and explored Castle Rock.
Overall, Y Striders enjoyed a busy and fulfilling weekend with plenty of interesting activities, meals, walks, get-togethers and fun times. Thanks again to everyone who was involved in making this such a successful weekend.