Two boys and a boat

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Boating has always been my life and as a youngster Cooper didn’t get much choice in his aquatic activity. As he goy older, despite my increasingly desperate attempts to keep him interested he drifted away with close to a hatred of life aboard.
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We hence turned our attention to biking,touring and then independent riding at park’s.

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I basically gave up any hope of having him join me and concentrated on sailing solo.

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But suddenly, at the beginning of the year, Cooper discovered fishing! Suddenly I, and more importantly, the boat became relevant! Slowly and carefully when the weather was right we have been going further afield. A sail has not been raised and the voyaging has been altogether different however Coopers appreciation of the boat has been reinvigorated.
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So much so that we have spent the past four days exploring the Great Sandy Straits, always with rod in hand having the time of our lives and always breaking down the myths and barriers of life aboard a boring old yacht!

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Although I have left the camera behind I couldn’t break the habit totally and have subtly been snapping away on the iPhone trying to capture special moments

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A happy last day of Autumn

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As life moves on it seems I am constantly comparing myself to others. I know thats probably a really bad thing to admit but when your friends include a state premier and and an amazing best friend who’s wealth is only exceeded by his generosity, business smarts and wonderful family it can be a little difficult to ignore the comparison.
This weekend however, I headed out for a rather more exotic location to continue the boat work.

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I barely noticed the fog lifting as I buried myself in the more fun stages of boat restoration. Gone are the mending, repairing, laborious stages, replaced by the excitement of setting up for new and interesting additions.

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Before too long the sun was sliding down out to the west and so I downed tools, grabbed a box of matches and the camera, inspired to do something that I almost never do, make a fire on the beach.

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Firstly though I took a long walk on the white Fraser Island sand, noticing the birds all around, a dugong breached not far from a pod of dolphins fishing on the incoming tide and a cacophony of buzzing spilt out of the inland vegetation. A dingo trotted out from the bush but beat a hasty retreat at my presence.

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Behind all that my boat, Wild Goose sat quietly at anchor, looking far better for the makeover under way and the removal of all the gear that has been littered all over the deck.

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As I busied myself with my fire I felt more content than I had in a long time. Im no political mover or shaker, my bank account continues to struggle, I have been somewhat left behind in a business world of younger movers and shakers, but what I have is a rich,textured and wonderful life that cannot be measured in worldly terms.

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So as the sun sets on this last day before winter and I sit in front of a fire in shorts and a t shirt I am ashamed of how I can complain and take all these wonderful things for granted when so many would dream to have a weekend where I hang out regularly.

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Truth is that this is what is important to me anyway and this is where I am most comfortable.

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As the sun disappeared behind the cane fields filling the sky with smoke, I turned my attention to the southern cross and catching some light trails in the sky clear of human light pollution. I couldn’t help but watch the dancing flames and found plenty to appreciate and be very thankful for. Surely this has been a very happy day.

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Waiting out a cyclone

480A2876 You may remember several weeks ago I posted a blog detailing some of the consequences of Cyclone Oswald as it crossed the coast back in January 2013 You may remember several weeks ago I posted a blog detailing some of the consequences of Cyclone Oswald as it crossed the coast back in January 2013- 3 Days away (Australia Day long weekend). This morning as I sit back on the boat I listen to the wind whistle through the rigging and the beating of rain squalls drumming on the deck their is a air of steely determination in the cabin that I will not let history repeat itself.
People often ask me if I am scared of being so exposed to the elements and the truth is, as times like this yes. it can strike the fear our insignificance into the soul, but mostly it is more just a deep respect for mother nature. As much as she can be breathtakingly beautiful and awesomely magnificent she can also with the same power, strike out and wipe us away without a second thought. Yet, at the same time, nature provides us with ways and means of dealing with her malevolence.
A half day sail away from my position is a perfectly protected little anchorage, perfectly suited to ride out
. This morning as I sit on the boat I listen to the wind whistle through the rigging and the beating of rain squalls drumming on the deck, there is an air of steely determination in the cabin that I will not let history repeat itself.
People often ask me if I am scared of being so exposed to the elements and the truth is, at times like this yes. It can strike the fear of our insignificance into the soul, but mostly it is more just a deep respect for mother nature. As much as she can be breathtakingly beautiful and awesomely magnificent she can also with the same power, strike out and wipe us away without a second thought. Yet, at the same time, nature provides us with ways and means of dealing with her malevolence.
A half day sail away from my position is a perfectly protected little anchorage, ably suited to ride out Cyclone Marcia bearing down on my location and due to cross the coast sometime tomorrow. Ideally I would have liked to have been there yesterday but one can only take so much time off work and so despite the journey being a little wetter than ideal I can arrive in plenty of time to ride out the worst of it. Time to weigh anchor and find my new home for a few days!

3 Days away (Australia Day long weekend)

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10yrs ago I took my family sailing for 12months travelling up into Far North Queensland for the year of our life. Sadly, not all panned out as hoped and as the years passed my energy to continue the maintenance required was distracted, absorbed and worn away until 2013 when cyclone Yazi bore down on the coast and my once pride and joy was washed up on the beach.
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The ensuing result was a lot of damage rendering the boat with no motor/electrics and basically a hull taking up space in the bay. Unfortunately it also coincided with a year of work and study leaving me with no time to do anything and thus my boat sat, rotting away in silence. Spotting the weakness several boats broke their moorings and created further damage to the point where every low tide she rolled over on the sandbanks unloved and uncared for. Unfortunately my mood was no better and as I struggled to cope with life working on the boat required more energy than I had to offer.
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By March last year I had a choice to make – Do I scuttle, cut my losses and move on or do I commit to another restoration? My energy was flooding back and after some long soul searching I made the decision to bring the Goose back. I ordered a new engine, and together we limped through the Sandy Straits working tides and wind and so the process began.
I know this has been a sorry, long story but this weekend I managed to take 3 days to really get a kick along and find some perspective on the way.
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As storms battered the southern coast I slipped the mooring and motor-sailed along the shores of Fraser Island. Knowing I had plenty of sanding and associated noise to do I anchored in a quiet spot away from other boats and quickly attracted the curiosity of a dingo.
Each day I settled into a rhythm of doing some work before moving to another lovely Fraser Island gem for a swim and more work.
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The evenings brought in storms that lit up the sky’s and as they rumbled away left calm and beautiful nights.
Off course I made some time to play with the camera a little bit and with no/limited internet enjoyed an evening movie.
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My last morning broke classic red and still rubbing my eyes I took a few shots, made a coffee and sat and watched in awe, appreciating the effort and reward of being back on the water and experiencing all the parts of boating life where I feel so at home. Off course the boat is a long way from visitors and there is still much to be done, but we can sail, have a motor, all the dents are sealed and a long way toward completion. This weekend I have been a boat builder, an electrician,a plumber, a carpenter, and a whole heap of things in between so I am home a happy and content person at the achievements thus far.
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Boxing Day traditions

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Everyone has their traditions. Here in Australia, boxing day is a special day. Whilst some queue up to take advantage of the sales on offer at major department stores the two big sporting events getting under way are the cricket and sailing.

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Down on the docks at Rushcutters Bay people are buzzing around in anticipation for the blue water classic Sydney to Hobart yacht race. My boat Wild Goose has actually completed 5 of these races a long time ago when a 37 ‘yacht was considered a largish boat, a long way away from the 100’ weapons that will thunder down the coast in under two days!
In Melbourne the cricket starts with Australia playing England in their ongoing series.
So as both events prepare to get under way the beaches will be busy and the morning found this kite taking it in from its unchallenged vantage point!

Laying low on a Monday

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I know this may sound a little sexist and I don’t mean to offend anyone but Ive always thought of boats a bit like women. They are all beautiful and I can admire them and appreciate them for their own special qualities and uniqueness without wanting to own them. They all have a story to tell and I often think how much I would like to know the story behind their very being. So this morning I headed out to Boreen Point at Lake Cootharaba and found this little gem tucked away out of the wind amongst the reeds. She was obviously well looked after and loved judging by the brightwork and attention to detail. In my imagination she had spent the weekend with the gaff raised and sails harnessing the light breezes yesterday and was being allowed to have a little sleep in this morning under the more overcast conditions today.