S/V Bluebottle

I bought a boat!

07 April 2016
A few weeks ago I bought a cruising sharpie, 20'6" long, half finished. I had to go to Melbourne to get it, and towed it back via the Bass Strait ferry. Right now though I'm getting ready for my first trip to the UK and Europe, leaving in a couple of weeks, so the boat will have to wait till I get back. Some photos later.

Bluebottle Finds A New Owner

06 March 2016
Our dear Bluebottle, who carried us across the Pacific, and shared many exciting and memorable moments, is no longer owned by us, but has a wonderful new owner, Mark. He has made an open invitation to go sailing with him, and Joe has already been out on the Derwent river with Mark several times.

He came on board to help prepare the boat for sale, and became curiouser and curiouser! Eventually he had her run through many tests and inspections, and bought her.

I'm heading off to the Isle of Wight to sail with my sons in August, in Cowes, famous sailing centre in England. Adrienne and I will tour the UK and Europe, including a stint in Tuscany, for my son's wedding. Then off to the good ol' USA! She has a 50th high school reunion, in Long Beach California, and we'll go North to Seattle and see old sailing friends in British Columbia. Three months away!

Bluebottle is For Sale, for sail ...

17 March 2015 | Hobart
Joe Blake
Hi, dear friends, some years after sailing into Hobart, and then living aboard, we have made the decision to sell the dear old Bluebottle.

As summer trails off, we are working every day to restore her to her full sailing trim. A Lidgard design 49 Ft ketch, built in steel in New Zealand in 1985, she is a fine sea boat, and absolutely comfortable to live aboard.

Lots of work has gone into the varnish work above deck, and new canvas is being fitted tomorrow - dodger, bimini, and sail covers; every little detail attended to. Photos to follow!

This video, taken on the passage from Vanuatu to Bundaberg, With Kez and Quent aboard, evokes the feeling of passage-making. http://youtu.be/HM0_K20kxoc

Pic: Bluebottle, Tahuata, French Polynesia, The night before we went aground at Ua Pu.

To Keep, or Not To Keep, that is the Question

19 December 2013
Summer is here, at least seems to be here, because in Tasmania we are careful to roll the eyes or raise the eyebrows and use an ironical tone of voice as we say it. Summer is not inevitable, as it is in Sydney, for example.

So with the warmer weather we are thinking of working on the boat, to bring her back to full seagoing condition. The problem is ... we are thinking about it, and not doing it! Puzzled by this lack of motivation, Adrienne and I sought some guidance from the hoary Chinese I Ching, of which you can ask any question at all. When the oracle spoke it advised to keep the Bluebottle, and not sell. We were both delighted, demonstrating that it's not hocus pocus, but leads you past your own confusion to an answer already within your mind.

So we are freshly energized, and have started working on her already. One of the main reasons to keep her is that we have some grandchildren who are very interested in the boat - what a wonderful thing, as a child, if you have a Grandma and Grandpa who have a real sailing boat!

Photo: Earlier days - family summer day, on Antares, Lime Bay, Tasmania.

Dead Duck Dramatically Discovered

19 December 2013
I was cleaning behind the stove. It wouldn't swing on its gimbals. There must be something down there behind it. As I lifted out the "something", I said to Adrienne, "it's either a shoe or a dead rat", not believing either.

Letting out a shriek that a girl would be proud of I dropped the dead duck on the galley floor.

I took its photo. Now the stove swings freely. Adrienne said "I thought I smelled something funky".

It was hot yesterday. I held my end of year party for the ukulele class.

Living aboard, post-desert

16 September 2013 | Kings Pier Marina, Hobart
Since arriving back from our privileged contact with indigenous people at Engawala, in the red desert heat and heart of Australia, we have settled in a unique location - we 're living aboard dear old Bluebottle, in berth 38, Kings Pier Marina, one street away from a main artery of the Hobart CBD, Davey Street.

A 5-minute walk to the GPO and Elizabeth Mall, electricity and a parking spot included in the rent, we have a prime spot. Friends, family drop by and we have a new little 2000 Suzuki Baleno (only 52,000 Km on the clock!) to buzz around in, which we bought the first week back, while staying with my son Dom.

The plan is to buy a new mainsail, renew some of the running rigging, repair the boat where it needs it, varnish and clean and generally refurbish, refit and refresh her with the intention of S-E-L-L-I-N-G (whisper it so she doesn't hear). But first, one more cruise!

New Caledonia is French and we loved the French islands and their way of welcoming the sailor. We sailed right by it as we did the final Pacific passage from Vanuatu to Australia, with Kez and Quent aboard, and The Isle du Pines is famous for its beauty, I'm told. So, next winter we hope to be sailing north, in a rekitted Bluebottle! With crew! My brother Neil has said we would come, and perhaps my friend Ward too.

I've let my hair and beard grow long while waiting for the next adventure, hunkered down in a Tassie winter with the wood-fire glowing, reading books about Yoganada and Ramina and Billy Connolly (some of my gurus). We do our peaceful spiritual practice for an hour or two every morning. Yesterday I sat in the midst of Adrienne's family - children and grandchildren - with attendant partners/parents and friends - while everyone ate and chattered away sitting on blankets, while distant families picnicked and threw frizbies, in the beautiful botanical gardens. The afternoon sun held the blossoming tree, the lawns and the old brick wall - built to warm the plants (with fireplaces built in, too) on cold evenings. Looking out past all this to the river, and seeing it all at once - a peace slowly insinuated itself into everything. I'm still feeling it.

Photo: Floating berth, Kings Pier Marina
Vessel Name: BLUEBOTTLE (ex-Aura)
Vessel Make/Model: Lidgard 49' steel ketch
Hailing Port: Hobart
Crew: Adrienne Godsmark and Joe Blake
We have completed our trans-Pacific voyage - from Panama to Hobart via Ecuador, Mexico, French Polynesia, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu and Bundaberg, and are now pausing before resuming land life. [...]
When the port authorities here were approached to renew our Panamanian boat registration, they said "You can't call your boat Aura - that's taken" so we decided to call her Bluebottle! If you know the Goons, you know of Bluebottle, that little twit! He was always getting into trouble with his thin [...]
BLUEBOTTLE (ex-Aura)'s Photos - Main
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Who: Adrienne Godsmark and Joe Blake
Port: Hobart