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

On the move again

26 April 2009 | Magnetic Island
On our way again.

Its been a while since my last post but don't think we haven't been busy, we've had plenty to do ( in between drinks and parties). The boat has been in Townsville all this time. From the beginning of December the heat and humidity started to build significantly, making life on board quite uncomfortable, we eventually succumbed and did what the majority of liveaboards do when in a marina, we bought an air conditioner. The boat became our refuge during the day and we would venture out in the evening when the temperatures were more tolerable. A pleasant respite from the heat was a day trip to the rain forest swimming holes at Paluma, 70 Km north of Townsville where the clear, cool water cascades off the mountains. It was a treat after the sticky heat of Townsville.
Christmas day was one of those bitter sweet days, it was the first time we have ever been apart from both our sons at this time of year and we missed them dearly but life still goes on, we took comfort in the fact that both Matt and Pete were having a good time but missed us too. Many cruising sailors are in the same boat - pardon the pun. We have been very fortunate to have met some wonderful people in Townsville who have become true friends. The disappointment of not having our boys with us was eased by the friendship and camaraderie of our new friends. Traditional Christmas lunch was served onboard "Windcutter" where a few couples brought there favourite foods and we had a feast that went on into the early hours of boxing day.

It had always been our plan to fly away during the worst of the wet monsoon season and visit New Zealand, as those who have been following this blog will know, we left it too late to sail there last year. Before we could leave Townsville we had to remove anything from the boat that flapped or moved; sails, covers etc (some of the things we don't like were left out in the hope that a strong wind would carry them away). The boat had to have extra ropes tied to the dock and be made as secure as possible. In retrospect all of this prep would have been irrelevant if cyclone Hamish (Cat 5) had hit Townsville, not only would the marina have disappeared but so would much of Townsville. The weather was becoming increasingly uncomfortable and we experienced the tail of a cyclone that had been down graded but still had plenty of bite. We chose exactly the right time to go. Soon after we left it started raining very heavily according to the reports we were getting from our friends. In fact it rained for 18 days continuous and 20+ hours per day. In NZ we were experiencing just the opposite with sub zero temperatures at night in the mountains and avalanches on the glaciers. In NZ we saw all the tourist places did a few multi day walks and day walks, went white water rafting, kayaking through pristine limestone gorges; walking on the Fox Glacier etc etc. Definitely all mountained out by the end. A fantastic country if you ever get a chance to go. We were lucky enough to spend St Patricks day in Christchurch where Paddies day is celebrated to the full. In the midst of the entertainment at "The Bog", I met Peter, the most fervent Burnley football (soccer to you non Anglos) supporter ever. I have been watching Burnley since I was 9 yrs old but like most ex pats I now just keep a check on the scores every week and hope they will do better next week. Not Peter, he has subscribed to an internet site that provides live coverage of all Burnley's games and gets up in the early hours of the morning to listen to the coverage. After meeting Peter on Paddies day he was so excited at meeting a fellow fan that he invited Jean and I to breakfast so we could listen to the live commentary of the Burnley match the following morning. Unforgettable. This was the day before we left to head back to the tropics. We arrived back at the boat toward the end of March and the weather was noticeably better, still hot but the humidity had dropped considerably.

Our reason for staying in the cyclone belt for the season was that our plan for this year was to join the "Sail Indonesia Rally" leaving from Darwin on 18th July and not have to rush to get there for the start. We are registered on the rally and have spent the last few weeks since arriving back from NZ preparing the boat for the trip around to Darwin. Since sailing out of Melbourne we have not really been too far from civilisation, except the trip around the south coast of Tasmania. The coastal journey from Cairns to Darwin is about a 1000 miles ( give or take a few hundred) with little opportunity to buy spares or supplies. On Saturday we bought 22 litres of wine, half a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread, we hope to catch fish. (only joking we bought a dozen eggs). It is obviously important to ensure the boat is in top condition and the lockers are filled.

I am writing this sat at an anchorage on Magnetic Island, a short distance from Townsville enjoying the peace and quiet of a calm bay. We made the break from the marina this morning and said a sad farewell our friends. It is the first time since November that we have taken the boat out. When living in a marina the boat becomes a little house rather than a sailing vessel and it is a major task to revert it back to being fit for sea. That is now all done and we are ready to continue the journey. I hope you will continue to follow us.
Dave and Jean
PS I will upload more photos of NZ into facebook.
Vessel Name: Whistle Down the Wind
Vessel Make/Model: Adams 40
Hailing Port: Melbourne