Our time in Bundaberg was largely functional. We were ten days in the marina, working through our list of end of season boat projects: repairing the brightwork and adding fresh coats of varnish, polishing the stainless, cleaning rust stains from the hull, oiling the teak down below.

Bundy is deep in Queensland’s sugar can country, and the marina was surrounded by a vast expanse of grassy flatlands, punctuated by the occasional marshy river basin or eucalyptus grove. We’re just south of the tropics, so the days were hot with the occasional afternoon squall. The marina was an isolated place. We could go for a 20 minute walk to the nearby village, which was a bend in the road along the shore with a few homes, a grocery store, a bakery, a porcelain doll gallery, and a drive through liquor store. We took the marina-sponsored shuttle into Bundaberg proper on Sunday morning, a 30 minute drive, and feasted our senses on fresh peaches, heirloom tomatoes, and lots of the little candy colored parakeets for sale.

Despite appearing monotonous, the grasslands surrounding the marina were an avian treasure trove. We saw rainbow lorikeets, pictured above, flocking in all the flowering trees. We spotted our first pelicans since leaving North America and large pink parrots foraging for seeds in the grass. We saw a pair of black headed ibis—a bird that has the legs of a stork, the body of large white egret, and the bald black head of a vulture with a slender beak that curved for nearly a foot in front of its face. Our favorite was the rainbow beecatcher, a small, cardinal shaped bird that darted around like an orange, green, and blue firecracker. And we saw kangaroos galore, hopping through the fields and relaxing in the shade.

We let Thanksgiving go by without much fanfare—no other Americans around, no way a turkey would fit in our oven, a little bummed to be so far away from home for yet another round of festivities. But, there is nothing quite so uplifting as practicing gratitude: I was so happy to celebrate from afar my family reuniting in California for Thanksgiving and my aunt’s birthday. On Saturday, our new nephew, Enzo, arrived with an uncomplicated delivery and grows more precious with every photo I see. I’m so grateful to my Mom, Dad, and Amit, the new father, for sending so many photos! Most of all I’m thankful for my partner in adventure, Dominic, and to have the privilege of exploring so much beauty on land and at sea.