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South Pacific Adventure with Hump Backed Whales

South Pacific Adventure – With Humped Back Whales in Tonga

Each year from July to October the waters around the Va’vau group of 61 islands in Tonga are a nursery for humped back whales and their calves.

Traveling from the Antarctic, the whales come here to give birth,  feed their young ones 500 litres of milk a day and frolic in the crystal clear inky blue waters that surround these pacific islands.

We were so privileged to spend a week on Eueiki Island at the Treasure Island Eco Resort, watching and swimming with whales, snorkelling, reading books, enjoying massages and being off the grid.

If you like the sound of spending a week on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific, here’s some considerations.

  1. Remote islands in developing countries equate to low fuel and bags have a habit of getting offloaded. Pack swimmers, glasses, any medications, books, essential toiletries, a long dress and a wrap in your hand luggage.  Basically everything you really need in 7 kgs. Anything over will go under the plane and if your bag is on the off loaded trolley, you cannot request to take it on board as hand luggage, it must be 7 kg or under.
  2. Pack for Wind.  A good quality waterproof wind jacket with a hood and peak to pop over wetsuits and swimmers when you are on a boat. We had a few days of 35-40 knot winds and waves. While we managed to find protected bays for whale swimming, there was a lot of wave action on the boat. At night, the breeze kept the mozzies away, but it was cool and you needed a lightweight wrap.
  3. Long and Loose clothing wins – I took a long silk dress, and loose pants for evening.  For tops, loose and long shirts were a great cover up. Evenings were cooler especially with a breeze and after a day in the sun, you feel like something soft and light over your skin. The days were spent in wet suit and swimmers, so take a few pairs.
  4. Power Up.  Bring power accessories, AAA batteries that fit head torches, power packs for Go Pros so you can see your footage, Mophie chargers for iphones, even though you may be off the grid for part of the day, you are used to having power. In remote areas, if the sun isn’t shining then power is used to keep fridges on and drinks cold. If you are independent then you can still check your pics of the day and read that final chapter, even if the lights go out.
  5. Be culturally sensitive. In Tonga, it’s illegal to do anything on a Sunday except go to church. Our hosts provided Jonathan with a traditional male Ta’ovala and me a female Kiekie. Shoulders and knees had to be covered, so my long dress came in handy.
  6. Choose to take organic and chemical free sunscreen. There is no need to add a film to the water or damage coral. There are a lot of new products coming onto the market. Our favourites are xx and
  7. Paper books and not tablets with e-books. No power, no reading.
  8. Whale swim licences are issued to select tour operators under a very strict and controlled system in Tonga. At no time did we feel unsafe or that the whales were under threat from tourists. The interaction was respectful and carefully orchestrated by our guide who was in the water with us at all times.  There is a time restriction of 1.5 hours with each mother and calf, after which they are left by themselves.  While we are strong swimmers, one of our group was assisted by a floatation device and kept up easily in the water.
  9. Book a year in advance if you want to swim with the whales, the season is short and it books out quickly from the beginning of July till 15 October

10. We stayed at the Treasure Island Eco Resort in the Vavau Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga https://www.treasureislandtonga.com/

We flew to Fiji on Fiji Air, stayed overnight near the airport, (dined a the Yacht Club at port Denarau), and then onwards early the next morning for a 2 hour flight to Va’vau, followed by a 30 minute boat ride.  All whale swims, diving, snorkelling was done from the Island. Other friends have stayed at the Sea Change Eco Retreat in the Ha’apai  Island Group https://www.seachangetonga.com/ . If you are a keen photographer, Darren Jew, is a well known Australian nature photographer who does a fabulous job of combining whale swim trips  with photography, check out his underwater options here https://darrenjew.com/

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Oct 16 ,2018 Pubslished In Latest News

Apera

We are true believers that great products are produced from great ingredients. Apera share this belief in the kitchen with good, honest food in a relaxed environment. With an open kitchen, Apera show their authenticity with transparent preparation whilst using native, home grown produce.

 

Like us at Everyday Cashmere, the team at Apera love getting to know their customers on a personal level. They have a hands on approach and push customer feedback directly to the chefs.

 

Apera have a wholesome approach to cooking, bringing this out through the décor of native flowers, recycled and repurposed furniture and wooden interiors to mimic the Castlecrag surroundings. They aim to provide what the people of Castlecrag want; a sophisticated yet casual and comfy restaurant bar that is open for a drink, nibble or feast. Perfect for a local Friday night cocktail or beer.

 

There is a lot of love in Cashmere, like there is a lot of love in the kitchen. The feeling of being wrapped in cashmere is similar to the feeling of having a belly full of delicious food. To share this feeling even more, Apera has now opened for lunch on Friday and Saturday from 11-3pm, serving gorgeous seasonal dishes.

 

A few of these include:

Semolina fried cuttlefish, black garlic aioli, lemon

Lamb baguette, white pea purée, snow pea tendrils, chimmichurri

Chicken baguette, apera slaw & pickles, pimenton aioli

 

As well as apera favourites:

1/2 rotisserie chicken

1/2 lamb shoulder

Heirloom tomato, burrata, oregano

 

We produce garments that we want to wear, and Apera produce food that they love to eat. Its authentic, its real. The team at Apera believe strongly in knowing the origins of the food used in cooking and the welfare of the animals we eat. The North Shore of Sydney was in desperate need of good places to go for a drink. The team have created a ‘beer garden’ outside using picnic tables, a pergola and planting. A beautiful area and easy location to get to for a great feed and a friendly atmosphere.

KING BROWN MUSHROOMS WITH BURRATA AND GARLICKY FRIED BREADCRUMBS

(SERVES 2 AS AN ENTREE OR MORE AS PART OF A SHARED TABLE)

FOR BREADCRUMB

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (made from stale bread)

4 cloves finely chopped garlic 

1/2 cup Australian EVOO

Gently heat olive oil then add breadcrumbs and garlic. With the heat down fairly low stir crumbs until crisp and golden then turnout onto a paper lined bowl. When cool remove paper and season.

FOR MUSHROOMS

300g King Brown Mushrooms (not to be confused with the Chinese King Oyster mushrooms!),sliced into 5mm slices lengthways

3tbs Australian EVOO

2tbs u/s butter

2 tbs chopped sage

1/2 cup white wine 

2tbs good quality sherry vinegar

Gently heat oil. Fry mushroom slices in oil in a single layer in batches until golden brown. Once all coloured nicely add all back to pan with butter, sage and garlic and stir constantly until butter is melted. Add wine and cook until wine is more or less evaporated. Put into a large bowl, toss through the vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside somewhere warm.

1 ball fresh Burrata

A few sprigs of marjoram, leaves picked

Crunchy baguette warmed in the oven to serve

TO ASSEMBLE

Lay mushrooms down on a serving platter

Place burrata on top of mushrooms

Sprinkle desired amount of crumb over burrata ( save any leftovers for another dinner ie. add crunch to a simple pasta dish)

Drizzle over a bit of extra EVOO and a splash of sherry vinegar

Scatter over marjoram

Serve with lovely warm bread and enjoy!

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Sep 27 ,2018 Pubslished In Latest News

Diary of the Travelling Scarf

Sri Lanka: a country of humid urban cities, sunny coasts and chilly mountains. When packing for Sri Lanka, my Supersoft scarf was a must. At first, I thought this scarf would be perfect for Buddhist temples and sacred Hindu communities, but I used it in many more ways.

We started in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. Although the city is safe, I felt more comfortable covered in my scarf as my skin wasn’t exposed as much and I was protected from the sun. It came in handy when entering gorgeous religious temples as our shoulders had to be covered.

Top 3 Colombo:

  1. Tuk Tuk Safari Tour
  2. Gem and Jewelery Shopping
  3. Ministry of Crab

 We then travelled down the coast to Unawatuna, a quaint coastal town with lots of sun and happy locals. We stayed at Pavilion Waves resort where we spent most of our time in or around the pool; it was fantastic. My scarf came in handy at dinnertime when it got a little colder. I never felt hot, always just warm and cosy. A must in Unawatuna is the sunset swing at Wijaya Beach; an absolutely amazing vista (and photo opportunity).

Unawatuna Top 3:

  1. Hidden Jungle Beach
  2. Turtle Hatcheries
  3. The Owl and the Pussycat Hotel for Lunch

Next we travelled to the luxurious Anantara Peace Haven resort in Tangelle. This coastal area is perfect for lounging by the pool and sipping cocktails. The sun was very strong and hot in Tangelle, so when I was feeling burnt, I wrapped my body in the Supersoft Scarf to hide away from the sun. Once again, it came in handy at twilight when the cool coastal breeze picked up.

Tangelle Top 3:

  1. Ceylon Sliders in Weligama
  2. Surfing in Weligama
  3. Lounging by the pool                

The next location was Yala National Park where we stayed at a gorgeous all-inclusive resort called Chena Huts. My scarf kept me warm on our two jungle safari’s per day and kept me covered from mosquitos at night when drinking cocktails at the bar. It was perfect for when I wanted to be warm but didn’t want to put on a long sleeve shirt or jumper.

Yala National Park Top 3:

  1. All inclusive stays
  2. Leopard sightings
  3. Herds of elephants roaming the park

We then travelled to Ella, a tea-growing town 1000m above sea level in the hills of Sri Lanka. I covered myself in my scarf whilst drinking tea, reading my book and soaking up the beautiful view. We then caught a 7 hour train ride to Kandy where my scarf was very useful when we visited the Temple of Tooth, a sacred Buddhist temple.

Ella and Kandy Top 5:

  1. Café Chill Ella 
  2. Little Adam’s Peak Ella
  3. Seven Arches Bridge Ella
  4. Temple of Tooth Kandy

We then finished off at Aliya Resort very close to Lion Rock. We hiked up Lion Rock and took in amazing views from 800m up. I felt much more comfortable with my cashmere wrap covering me in the town of Aliya, especially at nighttime.

Sri Lanka was an incredibly relaxing, delicious and culturally interesting holiday that completely lives up to the hype. I felt cosy and luxurious in my Supersoft Cashmere Scarf thanks to Everyday Cashmere; it allowed me to be appropriately dressed for religious temples and the chilly coastal breeze wherever we went.

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Mar 08 ,2018 Pubslished In Latest News

TESTIMONIAL - Travel diary on cashmere socks

Oh for the joy of an Everyday Cashmere sock............

There is no question that cashmere is the king of yarns, and there have been a few times that I’ve enjoyed the softness of a cashmere jumper, but I’ve never really been enticed by cashmere socks.  In my mind I thought they would end up bunched under your foot, be lumpy, shrink in the wash, and be delicious to wear - but as something to pull on after a cold day when walking wasn’t really on the agenda.  Well knock me over with a feather – was I wrong – or what!   My new fashion love is Everyday Cashmere socks.

 

I was fortunate enough to really give them a good workout pounding the hard streets of Europe in winter and I was very very pleased.  There was no bunching under the foot, no sweating, even after a 27 hour flight and the best part was I found I could walk all day on hard cobble streets and my feet didn’t hurt and my legs didn’t swell or ache.  It was only after having a ‘non cashmere’ day that I really noticed how sore my feet were – not what you want when lots of walking was the plan.

 

So was the investment worth it? – 100% without a shadow of a doubt.  In fact – put me down for a pair in grey – they will be perfect for mornings watching winter sport, under gumboots in winter or my new ‘go too’ gift for ‘baby boomers spending the kids inheritance travelling the world’.

 

So when you need a gift for a hard to buy for person – ie man – the go the cashmere sock.  Clichéd I know – but they are the king of yarns.  Or if you just want to smile on the inside knowing that your tootsies are snug and warm.  It will be our little secret.

 

Xxx

C

 

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Jul 17 ,2018 Pubslished In Latest News

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