Best of 2011 – By the seat of my skirt

Reviews, Scuba Diving, South Pacific, WA Roadtrip — By on January 9, 2012 6:10 PM

Some of my best memories to date were made in 2011 …

BEST SUNSET: Broome, Western Australia

South Pacific – Minerva Reef


BEST DIVE: Navy Pier, Exmouth Exmouth, America Down Under



BEST PLACE TO TAKE PHOTOS: New Zealand, everywhere! Coromandel Penninsula, North Island


BEST NEW SKILLS: Kitesurfing and Sailing


BEST PLACE TO KITEBOARD: Rangiputa, New Zealand, very windy, shallow flat water, unknown and hidden (you need a 4×4 to get to) so you have the water all to yourself!

Lancelin, Western Australia: Blown away by Lancelin Consistent side to side onshore strong winds, very flat water.


BEST BEACH: Uoleva Island, Ha’apai Island Group Tonga Happy in Ha’apai


BEST PLACE TO HANG A HAMMOCK: Uoleva Island, Ha’ apai Island Group, Tonga


BEST BUDDHA: Reclining Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand


MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: I missed my connecting flight after having a 3 – hour layover!


BEST PLACE TO SNORKEL: Turquoise Bay, Cape Range National Park, Western Australia – teaming reef just a few feet from the beach, crystal clear water with a drift current that pushes you along as you snorkel feeling almost like a fun ride!


BEST JUMP: Bungle Bungles



BEST COUCH SURFING: Waihiki Island, New Zealand with Host Todd … Surfing Waihike Island



BEST HOUSE ON WHEELS: Octopus – drove us all around the North Island of New Zealand … Octopus Tales



BEST EXPERIENCES (most unforgettable): Kitesurfing offshore, Minerva Reef – we launched from a catamaran anchored 200 miles from land, literally in the middle of the big blue Pacific ocean!

Swimming in the middle of the South Pacific  – Minerva Reef

Standing on the rim of an erupting volcano, Mt. Yasur, Tanna, Vanuatu. Frighteningly awesome!


BEST ICE CREAM: Kapiti raspberry vanilla ice cream covered in white chocolate (made in New Zealand)


BEST PLACE TO FALL IN LOVE: Lancelin, Western Australia


BEST PLACE TO DIG A HOLE: Hot water beach, Coromandel Peninsula – Thermal Therapy


BEST “EUREKA MOMENT” coined by Toddy: Hua Hin, Thailand – where I finally was able to ride upwind!


MOST MEMORABLE PERSON: Buddy Tyson: A cultured coloured gentleman


BEST PLACE TO CAMP: Tawharanui Reserve, North Island, New Zealand – where you camp within an open sanctuary where native plants and animals including kiwi can live and breed successfully without the threat of predators.



BEST OFF ROAD TRIP: The Kimberly via Gibb River Road in Hercules with Stacy



BEST TRAVEL BUDDY: Thomas (it was a tough decision Stacy, you were a totally awesome travel buddy, but Tom is a better snuggler) 🙂



BEST DESERTED ISLAND: “Little Potatoe: Niuas Islands, Tonga – where we spent the day lounging in a hammock in between swimming and snorkeling!



BEST KAYAK TRIP: Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory, Australia



BEST KEPT SECRET: I can’t tell you or it wouldn’t be a secret! But there are some funky little shacks somewhere in Western Australia that overlook a beautiful windy beach. Local traffic only …



BEST SMILES: The happiest people in the world … live in Vanuatu



BEST PLACE TO PLAY HIDE & SEEK: Pinnacles, Western Australia



BEST MEAL: “Connect Dinner” aboard Infinity with the village men in Tanna, Vanuatu …  One Big Family in Tanna



BEST HIKE: Karijini National Park, Western Australia

Hancock Gorge, Spider Walk, Karijini Nationahl Park, Western Australia



BEST RAINBOW: somewhere in the South Pacific



BEST ADVENTURE: 3 months spent sailing across the South Pacific while crewing aboard yachts.

Sailing Adventures in Wonderland – 40 ft yacht – 16 day ocean passage from New Zealand to Tonga

Forteleza – 48 ft yacht – 7 day ocean passage from Tonga to Fiji

Infinity – 120 ft yacht – 5 weeks spend sailing from Fiji and islands of Vanuatu on environmental research project



MOST FRIGHTENING MOMENT: While on steering shift aboard Infinity, the front sail ripped in half during a 4 am thunderstorm!



BEST CHALLENGE: 7 day silent Meditation retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand

Bootcamp for the mind: Dipabhavan Meditation Retreat



BEST COCONUT: Vava’u Tonga, probably the same as coconuts across the South Pacific, but after being forced to conserve water while at sea for 16 days, nothing tasted better!



BEST WATERFALL/SWIMMING HOLE: Emma Gorge, Kimberley, Western Australia (technically end of 2010)



BEST PARTY: Lancelin Ocean Classic – annual windsurfing competition






FUNNIEST MOMENT: Echinda Chasm, Bungle Bungles, Western Australia  … “It was suppose to be funny!” said Stacy 🙂



WORST EXPERIENCE: taking apart toilet head while at sea …  Toilet Tales in Wonderland




Vanuatu: I only had the chance to visit 3 of the countries 83 very unique islands.

Cape Range National Park, Western Australia: Amazing place to camp for a long time in seclusion and natural beauty

Fiji: I would like to visit other islands, specifically Taveuni to do more scuba diving

Lancelin, Western Australia: so many amazing memories made here that I just have to go back!

2012 you have a lot to live up to!!!

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  1. Jamie Stoppelbein says:

    AWESOME!! The girlies and I looooove looking at all the photos and reading about your adventures!

  2. Lisa says:

    I couldn’t stop smiling while looking at this post. Such a good and creative way to summerize your adventure. One of my favorites! Love you

  3. Andrina says:

    Amazing Pictures, looks like you are really enjoying life to the max, love it!!!

  4. Ali M. says:

    Great post Kelly! looked to be a really fun year.
    The shots of the camels and sheeps are really good btw.

  5. Tanvi says:

    These pictures are so amazing Kelly! You are such a gifted photographer, and I love being able to share your travels with you through this blog. Keep writing!! xoxo

  6. Ich says:

    hello i see you in switzerland

  7. Dasha says:

    These is a wonderful post, Kelly. It really makes a gal jealous! You’ve been to so many beautiful places and have had so many unique experiences. I can only wish for more of the same for you =)

    ps – I seriously need your camera.

  8. April says:

    I want to be like you when I grow up!! You and your stories are AMAZING!!

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