Free Gifts along the way
01 September 2014 | Nara Inlet
So now we can tick the blue waters of Hamilton Island Race Week! What an awesome experience where the island and all of the staff added to the beauty as much as the race courses around the Whitsunday Islands. There have been so many treasures along the way I couldn’t begin to do justice in a story. Memories of those incredible whales and dolphins that joined our venture, the fresh tuna and massive sweet mud crabs that were caught and shared, the underwater coral discoveries, the schools of fish that swam with us in the thousands, the massive groper who let us pat and feed him, the trillions of butterflies that surrounded us as we walked the islands. There are the friends (furry and human) that we have made both on and off the water, kindred spirits of the older classic boats that were moored side by side. The nights we became part of the band aboard the 1930’s Pearl Lugger creating camaraderie during those post race hours. He who hums toe tapping and hip slapping the shakers in time with the tambourine I played and the songs we sang as if we had heard them all before. The unexpected invitations to dinner, drinks and events from people we had only just met. The pomp ceremony, colour and experienced of the other 178 yachts that raced in all of their glory speed and skill on the water who cocooned us every day in the bustle and fluster of getting to the start line for our own category start. The memories of their lightweight sails flicking and whisking across our vision close enough for me to almost touch and the remarkable moments where He who hums and I were in absolute sync and tacked like we knew what we were doing in time with all others on the course was exhilarating stuff!
However there was a small but significant moment in time during this trip that I will never forget. We had sailed many nights and have anchored in many islands, inlets and marinas that have been memorable for one reason or another. We have had peaceful nights of sleep as well as some not so perfect anchorages of restless waters where “bullets” of wind escalate as they run over the hills and through the valleys of the islands that tried to take us for the ride.
The one night in the deep valley of Nara Inlet (Whitsunday Islands) we were surrounded by the sheer cliffs of true blue Australian bush-land mixed with tall wooded areas of dark green pine trees. We had trekked to the caves that were up in the hills and enjoyed the aboriginal art from hundreds of years ago. The waters were glassy and stilled and we knew were in for a magnificent night of peaceful sleep. With all of our experiences we had learnt to check any item that was a chance to move, shake rattle or roll and so lines were secured and tied off so as not to “ting” against the mast when the wind lifted during our sleeping hours. There was one slight movement of our boat that night that found a minuscule squeak as the davit hardware moved a millimeter back and forth and it was just enough to be heard in the deafening silence and was not letting up. I took it upon myself to attend to this one as he who hums clearly could not hear it for his own deep sounds of slumber. Besides I think I owed him a few night checks anyway.
I climbed up out of our cabin to the wheelhouse and carefully stepped out on to the back fishing platform and into the dark of night. As I reached out to catch the small but squeaky culprit I saw something I could never have imagined in all of my wildest dreams. The zillions of stars hung like LED lights in the night sky and in direct reflection to the stars were just as many Bioluminescences that lit up the deep narrow and dark inlet waters. I was spellbound by the luminous green of living plankton that surrounded not only our boat but others and for as far as I could see. I was standing alone in the void totally spellbound with the beauty of nature’s incredible Phosphorescence gift. It was such a delicacy I dared not wake He who may not appreciate “it” or being woken. So I savored it all to myself for I did not want to taint the moment with words or actions.
I headed back to bed with that vision seared into my memory, a gift from heaven that I added to the list of wonders that this planet offers us.