|June 2007, Australia|
|To the right is the small town of Bowen, when we pulled the dinghy up they told us to stand off. There was an explosion right after, as they are widening a road. The kids really enjoyed seeing that. We went ashore to shower at the Yacht Club and provision. Bowen is the town where they are filming the movie "Australia", with Nicole Kidman. We did not have a star sighting. However, we saw them run 100 cows down main street, which they filled in with dirt. Phoebe celebrated her ninth birthday on Blue Sky in Cape Bowling Green. We never got off the boat, and she had a ball, nice to have no parties to plan. We baked brownies and the children recived some new legos. It was blowing 25 knots and the current was so strong the boat could not stay in the wind.|
|From Cape Bowling Green we were going to stop at a couple islands along the way to Cairns. After looking at the GPS, we realised if we sailed over night we could make Cairns by the next day. So we decided to go straight there, and arrived after passing six tankers in the night with reefs around us and rain. Spoiling ourselves we pulled into a slip at the Marlin Marina. Our friends Sandpiper and Shiraz were due to arrive the next day, they thought we were behind them, so it was fun to surprise them.
Phoebe wanted a hair cut and curl for her birthday present. She is at the Cairns Lagoon, a free swimming area, posing for the before photo.
|Here is a series of Phoebe at the Hair Saloon, she had the biggest smile on her face the whole time, it took an hour and a half. To the right is her new doo, she loved the curls and sparkle hair spray.. (Not quite what I was expecting.)|
|Rene and Steve on s/v Shiraz had a birthday party for Phoebe and Jim. Rene made her delicious brownies. Jim received a, "grow a beer" for a present.|
|We took an old fashioned steam train through the mountains, rain forrest and waterfalls. The children had a great time. It was a long ride, so we opted for the bus ride back. The town was quaint with loads of tourist markets and too many boomerangs & didgerydoos for sale. Phoebe got the hang of it, so we may have to buy one before we leave Australia.|
|s/v Blue Sky underway. To the right is the lagoon in Cairns, the kids had a great time swimming here. Martin, my cousin, from Sydney came and joined us in Cairns for a week. We sailed to Low Islet where he enjoyed building sand castles and snorkling.|
|To the left is what we call a smurf. All the tourists wore these stinger suits, so they wouln't get stung by jellies. I guess they did not realize it wasn't jelly season. They all snorkle in packs with floaties, see in front of Phoebe and Drake. Good on em for giving it a go!|
|Low island to the right at high tide, at low tide there is land to the right and left. This was the last nice day we had for a long time. The weather was turning and we needed to get Martin to Cooktown so he could make his flight home.|
|We managed to get Martin to Cooktown, just as the weather changed. He was able to see that it is not all fair sailing, as we spent a rolly night at an anchorage nearby. We did not stay in Cooktown as it is very shallow and not very good in bad conditions. We went around the corner to Cape Bedford. The tanker is heading south and you can see the size of the waves on his bow, three meter seas and 30 knots of wind. Top right is the anchorage we were stuck in for three days waiting out the weather, we were joined by five fishing boats. Travelling up the coast we had to wait out five strong wind warnings in a month and a half. (seven in all since we left Sydney)|
|From Cape Bedford we stopped at Howick Island, Stokes Bay and Stanley island, finally arriving at Morris Island, where our friends Sandpiper and Shiraz were waiting for us. Phoebe is standing next to a moving starfish and Blue Sky is approaching the tiny Morris Island. Sandpiper and Blue Sky are happy at anchor.|
|Morris is a small island. At low tide it has miles of beach to explore, the shelling was excellent. At high tide it is just a small sandy hill. There is a lone pine tree and under neath is the grave of a pearl diver. Phoebe put a shell on the grave and Drake wanted to put this large bamboo branch on. Pulling the dinghy out of the water was this small octopus swimming by. It was a very beautiful and peaceful Island, and we ended up staying two nights. Then did an over nighter with Shiraz and Sandpiper to Mount Adolphus, Island. After that is was a four hour sail to Thursday Island.|
|Blue Sky sailing wing on wing, it was a nice sail for a few hours. Drake is helping me bake bread underway. Sandpiper is wing on wing in front of us. To the right is the light house on Cape York, the top of Australia. It has been a long slog, but we finally made it.|
|To the left is the crossing from Thursday Island (TI) to Horn Island. We anchored at Horn, as it is better protected and safer. One day we took the dinghy over to TI, big mistake, as there can be 7 knots of current running through this passage. We opted for the taxi survice home.|
|Tom is showing off the Spanish Makeral they caught underway, we had some great fish tacos. Below right is the fancy grocery store on TI, and to the left is the one on Horn. Surprisingly, the one on Horn was very well stocked.|
|The children had a wonderful time on Horn, the school was on a two week holiday. One day we had the local children come to the boat and they all went swimming. Despite having crocodiles around. Actually we never saw a crocodile and I think this many kids would have scared them away. Phoebe is with Andrew and below is Anna, her new friend and Sean. The kids were so friendly and really made our stay special.|
|Above is the sign warning of the crocs. On shore we would lose Phoebe and Drake for hours, while they played with the children. There is a great museum about the history of the Torres Straits during WWII and the pearling industry. Thursday Island was never bombed because there is a Japanese Princess and Japanese pearlers burried there.|
|Jim bought four lobsters from local fisherman for the huge cost of three cigarettes, they were delicious. Top right are all the cruisers that were stuck at Horn waiting out yet another high wind warning. Everyone is on their way to Darwin and Indonesia. Thankfully we waited out the warning, as one boat decided to leave and experienced 45 knots of wind and five meter seas.
Adam, Ross with Drake and Phoebe, they live on Horn Island and played tiggy (tag) with the kids.
Thankfully we had an uneventful crossing, we left Horn/Thursday Island on Friday and arrived Darwin on Wednesday. The wind would die in the evening, so we sailed during the day and motored in the evening. Going through the Dundas straights in the Gulf of Van Dieman we were flying at 10 knots with the four knot current.
|Arriving in Darwin there were eight packages waiting for us. It was Christmas in July, Drake and Phoebe loved receiving their wonderful gifts from Granny and Grandpa.
In town we all went and had hair cuts, Rene and I are modeling ours and the four boys are showing off their short dues.
Rene, Amy and I are enjoying the Mindil Market, held on Thursdays and Sundays.
|Amy and I loaded up the dinghy and went to find a laundry mat. We had not done a wash since Cairns. Six loads each. Drake is sitting on the clean clothes. We found a great bar, with a pool for the kids to swim in. After drinking nine beers, we got free Coopers t-shirts. Jack and Jude from Banyanda are below left, we met them in Horn, they are circumnavigating Australia, as they sailing around the world with their kids in the 70's. Below is our anchorage, the sunsets are great. The tide is 20 feet so it makes for an interesting dinghy landing.|