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Ray's World Adventures 2000

Australian Adventure 2000
Adelaide International Kite Festival 2000

Once again I am back in the world of my childhood dreams Australia, this beautiful country has always held a deep fascination inside of me, I remember at school there was a poster pined on the wall showing a man and a boy on horse back riding through the bush towards there home -- sort of a log cabin type of building that could be seen in the far distance, with eucalyptus trees and native shrubs growing in the orange and red soil, I have always had a vivid imagination and many times, in my day dreams I was that boy, and in bed at night this poster would come to mind and I would live it, no other country held any interest to me what's so ever, and I would constantly day dream about going to Australia one day? which I have done many times, I love to be in the bush and think back to the days when I was a boy gazing longingly at that poster -- when all this before me was just a dream. This is one of the reasons I am so eager to join all the local kite buggiers on the trip to the Out Back Safari, a 4 hour drive from Adelaide on the highway then a 2 1/2 hour drive through the bush in the Gawler Rangers before arriving at Mt. Ives a working 327 sq. miles, 209,000 acre sheep station owned by the wonderful Joan of the Never, Never and her husband Mervyn Andrew.
It is like going back in time when I guess all of Australia was like this untouched and beautiful, I especially loved it at night, the Southern Sky filled to over flowing with stars, the sight is breathtaking no words can describe the awesome feeling of stillness and humming silence that has reigned for eons, and the ride through the bush in early morning after Joan's super bacon and eggs breakfast cooked on the huge barbie, is a 35 minute drive to awesome Lake Gairdner, this is the time when all the animals Kangaroos, Emus, ect are feeding this all adds to the days adventure, the buggiers are all excited the wind is up, and in know time flat they are shooting across the lake like bats out of hell, then they just become dots on the horizon.

They return after many hours later covered from head to foot in salt with a ear to ear smile on there faces,.. I like to go for a Walk About back in to the bush for a few hours soaking up what I could only dream about when I was boy while gazing into that poster, Then I would return and fly for a few hours on beautiful 160 million and 26 year old Lake Gairdner, "according to Joan's husband Mervyn he said with a big grin on his face, it was 160 million years old when I came here and I have been here 26 years," so there you go "Hey what have I done?" sorry I got carried away should have put this part after the festival.

This was the best flight I have ever had so far, from Vancouver to Australia with just one stop, LA then a 15 hour none stop flight to Sydney, where I caught a domestic flight to Adelaide South Australia, upon arrival I was met by my true blue Aussie friend of many years Allison Robin, my kites arrived but not my suite case, the lady at the lost baggage asked me how will we know your suit case give me a description I said it should be no problem to find? it has two weeks of dirty laundry in there,J it arrived 2 days later, it had for some reason gone back to Vancouver then all the way to Western Australia before I got it. News really travels fast in Australia as where every I went in all four states I was ribbed all the time about " how come " the person that delivered your lost suit case was wearing a gas mask!"

Adelaide is a beautiful city and is known as the City of Churches and you can understand why when you see all the lovely old churches with there beautiful spires reaching to the heavens, it is also a city full of Art, Culture and Festivals, many parts of the city is very modern yet a lot still holds that Victorian era of days gone by.

The Adelaide International kite festival is one of the biggest kite event in Australia especially where every thing goes, single liners, sport kiters, kite surfing, buggying you name it, it is done, Anne Marie Parry owner of The Kite Factory in Adelaide, and organizer of the kite festival along with her super team of volunteers do a awesome job of putting on a world class kite festival, it all happens at Semaphore beach at Semaphore a 20 minute drive from down town Adelaide, great beach, with so much room every one is able to do there thing, good wind off the ocean and the real bonus is that there is a very wide jetty that runs for over three blocks out over the beach and water, the spectator which attend in there thousands have a grand stand view of the whole kite festival, it is also a number one center spot for Di Dellli Paoli who keeps the spectators informed through the day in what is going down on both sides of the beach, she is a number one commentator and is well versed in all the aspects of kiting, And this is also a great dividing line - sport kites on one side ?single liners on the other, no problems "well just a few" I know I was really liked by the younger single liners because they only wanted to cut me out of the sky," Bless there little hearts " but I must admit it does help in learning new words"-J So much was happening at this years festival it was hard to keep track of every thing that was going on, The Australian Kite Surf Challenge Finals, Kite buggy Competitions and displays, Sport Kite Demonstrations by Australia's best kite flyers, plus yours truly, Art Kites designed and flown by Scott Skinner of USA, Peter Lynn from NZ flying all his flying creatures, plus his newest creation his huge Honey Bear, plus showing his skills in Kite Surfing, Aussies favorite and a must for any kite festival Michael Alvares, great workshops by Scott Skinner, Michael and Jean Alvares, Maggie Phillips, Joane and Ricky Baker, and Di Delli Paoli, just to name a few, in fact there were over 100 Millennium event participants taking part in this years kite festival.

The weather through out the two day festival was great with light winds in the morning and increasing to a beautiful 10mph by noon but not quite enough for the kite surfer they like heavier winds but they did have there 25 to 40 knot wind during the week, it is amazing what these guys can do on there boards and the speed they travel at, I think the kite surfing world will have to watch out for these mad none-fearing but terrific kite surfers from down under especially Kane Hartell from NZ he is awesome and is rated as one of the top 10 kite surfers in the world, he has been along with his girl friend Stephanie Gamble super video and film maker and a good kite surfer I may add have been sponsored to Europe for 6 months Kane will be competing and giving demonstrations, keep your eye out for his name in the future of Kite Surfing. Australia would be the one of the best place to cut your teeth on kite surfing they have the room, weather, beaches and the surf. plus many talented surf board innovated manufactures, and there workmanship is pure art.

I was once again given my own arena on the beach with my back to the wind and the kites in full view of the spectators for me the wind was perfect every thing came together like clock work I could do no wrong I flew continuously 8 plus hours every day of the festival and loved every minute, and disappointed only when I got the message it was time to pack up, but that soon disappeared after getting together with old friends and making new ones at dinner at many of the great eateries in Semaphore, for the first time I tried some kangaroo steaks, it some what had a mild flavor of liver, I it was quite good really the only thing it took me a days to walk normal again, besides I spilt to much beer hopping around.

The festival was truly a huge success also all the other activities through the week before the festival, in spite of cloudy and cooler conditions, the buggy Challenge was held at Lower Light beach about a 45 minute drive from Semaphore, a huge area where the tide goes out over 2 miles there is enough space to hold all the buggy races in OZ, at the same time, the kite surfers had there good and bad days but finished there finals in good style, Australia is famous for its beautiful sun sets and I think it out did its self the sky over Semaphore beach looked like it was on fire just before the night fly but alas the wind died but no worry Bob Dawson fire works show was awesome and a super added attraction, was enjoyed by the thousands that had gathered on the jetty and beach "Good Stuff Bob" All the work shops went off like clock work, at Semaphore and schools, and as always a joy and a great bonus for me is sharing the area with all the new friends I have made at this festival and renewing friendships with many old friends from all over Australia.

I would like to take this opportunity thank my sponsors to the 4th Adelaide International Kite Festival, 5adfm, National Power, Australian Major Events, City of Port Adelaide Enfield, The Kite Factory, Adelaide Kite Flyers Association Inc., plus all the festival supporters, far to many to even start to mention here, thank you Anne Marie and Phil for your friendship and hospitality, also your Son Daniel for being my chauffeur and a dam good one at that, plus all the countless kite flyers who attended from across Australia whom made me feel so very welcome and last but not lease John who was there all day to help me if I needed it, and after being cut down a few time I sure needed the help you gave so relentlessly thanks a million mate.

Thank you for listening.


PS: Steve McCormack owner of Kite Power Kite Shop in Googee NSW and Geelong Victoria, and a friend of mine these many years, when hearing I was being sponsored once again to Adelaide Kite Festival offered to be my agent to organize and be sponsored to other kite festivals and fly ins in Victoria, Queensland and NSW this would mean spending 6 weeks in traveling across Australia to tell you the truth he never had to twist my arm, I mean "Wow" so my next article will be on the Darebin Kite Festival in Melbourne Victoria.

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