1. Gerards Achievements, hobbies, interests Sailing I have done a fair bit of sailing and coastal navigation, chartered some large yachts on a few occasions in Sydney, Whitsundays (Australia) and Vavau (Tonga). Also grew up sailing dinghies and doing some racing. I love the sea - missing it here in Beijing. Fishing We owned a boat in Tonga when we lived there and did a lot of island hopping, camping and game fishing. We caught fresh fish most weekends (yellowfin, dogtooth, skipjack tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, barracuda). These fish were always big, regularly up to 25kg (not pounds). The biggest fish I caught was was a Black Marlin weighing in at 230kg - it was huge. It would have been a record, except a big tiger shark took a couple of bites out of it just when we were pulling it in to the boat.
2. Gerards Achievements, hobbies, interests Building I have always enjoyed building and carpentry. With Penny, my wife, we fully renovated two houses - Queenslanders in Brisbane before leaving for overseas. In Tonga, I built a childrens playground and rebuilt a village medical clinic - these projects were funded by the Rotary Club of Nuku'alofa (I was International Director). I also built a terrific tree house and a barbecue (to cook up all that fresh fish). Chess I enjoy playing chess when I get the chance. I would say that I am an intermediate player and certainly no Grand Master, but I can give the average social player a run for their money. Its a great game for the brain and really excellent for young people. When I taught in Vietnam, I spent most lunch times playing in the chess club, being beaten by the champion boy from grade 6 on a regular basis! Music Of course, as well as being my job, I consider music one of my interests. I play all sorts of flutes, alto, bass, recorders, piccolo, folk etc. I also play cello quite well, but consider that my second instrument. Of course, with music we never stop learning and improving our skills. When I was a student at the Conservatorium in Brisbane, I won a number of big prizes for my playing. Twice, I won the James Carson Memorial Trophy (the Queensland Champion Flutist). I also toured around Australia given concerts for the Queensland Arts Council. I also travelled to the USA with my group, the Movellan Wind Quintet and we won first prize in the Coleman International Chamber Music Competition in Los Angeles (1987). This was a big deal because we were the first non-American group to do so and we beat groups from all the top U.S. music schools including Juliard School of Music.