14 February 2011 | Langkawi Malaysia
12 April 2010 | Guess
12 February 2010
19 November 2009 | Now Malaysia
11 October 2009 | Off the coast of Borneo Indonesia.
03 September 2009 | Labuan Bajo, Flores Indonesia.
22 July 2009 | Saumlaki Indonesia.
05 June 2009 | Gove
26 April 2009 | Magnetic Island
14 December 2008 | Townsville
31 October 2008 | Townsville
23 September 2008 | Port Clinton
19 August 2008 | Pancake Creek
24 May 2008 | Sydney
27 April 2008 | Hobart
02 April 2008 | Hobart
16 March 2008 | Cygnet

End of the Journey north for this Year.

31 October 2008 | Townsville
Dave , hot

We arrived in Townsville a couple of days ago and have decided to sit out the cyclone season here. We will investigate this area and take cover in the marina if the weather is threatening. The marina is quite secure with two large breakwaters for protection and Townsville is in the dry tropics so doesn't get the stifling humidity that Cairns gets. As far a cyclones are concerned it's just the luck of the draw. We spent 16 yrs living in the Dandenongs bush fire belt so a similar frame of mind is required, be prepared and hope.

We have been slowly travelling north through some of the less visited islands (except by yachties). Like the Percy Islands, Scawfell Island, Keswick Island, Carlisle Island; the last three were named in the 1930's by an Englishman who thought that they looked like the hills of England's Lake District. Jean and I both agree that there is a distinct resemblance apart from one thing, it's about 20degrees warmer here. The sailing guide book says that most of the anchorages north of Gladstone for a distance of 100 miles or so are very roly even when the wind has dropped, we can certainly vouch for this but would not have liked to miss these islands. We have been in company with our friends Doug and Pam on their yacht Helly for the last few weeks and enjoyed the company even though our stocks of red wine are severely depleted. In one of the anchorages Doug had trouble starting his engine, he had somehow flattened the batteries including the separately wired starting battery. I was able to help him get it going then headed off to Mackay. We stayed for a couple of days whilst Jean and Pam went to stock up with provisions and I was busy on "Helly" doing some rewiring. With the work on Helly completed we headed north towards the Whitsunday Islands (Australia's premier cruising ground) with its hundreds of charter boats. On the way we would listen to Comedy hour on the VHF radio channel used by the charter boat sailors to log in to charter base and state their position and any problems. For example one guy radioed in to say he had locked himself inside the boat and could only get out via the ventilation hatch, the charter company were about to send someone out when he radioed to say he managed to open the door. Same guy 10 mins later radioed in to say he had got the dinghy rope wrapped around the yachts propeller and couldn't start the engine. Not a day would go by when there wasn't some unusual happening on a charter boat. One guy radioed in to say they had run out of beer and if anyone was coming their way could they bring some. Etc etc. Despite all this I can recommend the Whitsunday's to everyone, it is a great location and even complete beginners will be able to have a great time.

Many people who are not sailors look at the exploits of Ellen Macarthur and the sailors who race in the Sydney to Hobart races and think that what we are doing is dangerous. Whilst we have to be prepared for whatever comes our way, we try to select the weather pattern that will give us the safest and best sailing and as a result the dangers are minimised. Unlike the racing sailor who has to go when the gun fires for the start of the race. Cruising sailors and racing sailors are a world apart and a prime example came to light a couple of weeks ago whilst we were in an anchorage some 25 miles offshore. On the radio there was a skipper in trouble and talking to the local coast guard, his sail was stuck fully up and the wind was quite strong. He wanted the coast guard to get someone qualified, to come out climb the mast in the dark and fix his problem. He was getting quite irate when the coast guard could not help (despite many phone calls) after all it was 8pm on a Sunday night. My friend Doug was listening to this radio interaction and offered to help if the skipper of the racing boat were to sail the 20 miles to where we were anchored. He would go up the mast at daybreak and free the sail. To cut a long story short Doug and I sorted out the problems. The moral here is that Doug who is 60+ and has 30 yrs of seamanship behind him was used to dealing with problems at sea, the other guy is 60+ and has had 30 of sailing (racing) experience but is used to calling for help when things go wrong. One day that help won't be there.

Since we moved into the trade wind belt we have had some great sailing days, with the wind blowing 25 knots from behind us and pushing us along quickly to the next destination. We have met some interesting characters along the way, one day we pulled onto a mooring at the Eco Lodge at Gloucester Passage and for $20 were entitled to use the resorts facilities, swimming pool, restaurants, bar, showers, laundry etc. Whilst we were there we met a group of Harley Motorcycle enthusiast who had booked out the resort for the weekend for a wedding, people had flown from all over Australia and one from England (his gran was from Bolton) to be at the wedding. It was a fortunate we were sleeping 200 mtrs off shore as the party went on to the early hours of the morning.

The fishing has certainly improved over the last few weeks with the fridge overflowing with tuna and Spanish mackerel, the lines have been stored away until there is more room to store what we catch.

Thanks to all that have entered comments, it is good to know people find what we are doing is of interest and I hope it inspires you to follow your dreams whatever they are.

Good Luck to all.
Come and see us if you are passing
Dave and Jean on
Vessel Name: Whistle Down the Wind
Vessel Make/Model: Adams 40
Hailing Port: Melbourne