Friday, 17 June 2011

So it begins.

June 17 2011
Well my final event as head of the Willowbank Raceway commentary team became a slight anti-climax as rain halted proceedings after two of the four days but I am very appreciative of the presentation made to me by Willowbank President John Winterburn marking the end of my 21 years on the microphone at the Raceway and over 32 in all. It was much appreciated.
Then we finally hit the “no days to go” mark and flew from Brisbane on June 15 to join “Nae Hassle” in the Marlin Marina at Cairns where we are now making final preparations to sail north around Cape York and across to Darwin for the Sail Indonesia rally.  The last couple of weeks were a hectic schedule of last minute arrangements and farewell, dinners, drinks, lunches, more drinks and catch ups. We have been overwhelmed by the number of well wishes we have received and amused by the almost equal number of people who didn’t believe we were really going to go through with our cruising plan.  A huge thank you to all our family who have been so supportive and helped us get almost everything done before we left and are dealing with lose ends left behind.
Karen with Milin on board Nae Hassle in Cairns
Nae Hassle is a Benateau 57 footer and we have settled in nicely. Owners, Colin and Milin have been welcoming and we have now also been joined by Marc, the fifth member of our crew. Marc is from the UK and is also embarking on his first cruising  experience. Along with a German cruising couple tied up on one side of us, we all joined the Canadian couple on their yacht Gavia Artica for Sundowners yesterday afternoon. It was amazing listening to stories of different places all around the world  they have experienced in their travels.

Nae Hassle flanked by Symi and Gavia Artica
We have spent the last couple of days settling in on the boat. For a yacht our cabin is huge as evidenced by the fact that we have even managed to fit all our belongings away.  Despite our best efforts to pack as light as possible when you are going away indefinitely you do tend to end up with a lot of STUFF. Karen did incredibly well to get her clothes and gear (including 12 pairs of bikinis I’m told is the absolute minimum required number for the trip) into one duffle bag. By the time I included equally essential computer, camera and video gear, my duffle bag certainly ended up a bit lighter on in the clothing department so don’t be surprised to see the same t-shirts etc popping up in a lot of the photos we plan to post here.
Our GPS Spot tracker is doing its job perfectly and if you click on the link to the right and go to the satellite version you’ll see exactly where in the marina we are currently moored. We intend to update our fix each day that we are on the move so it will be possible to follow us through the whole route.  Speaking of which, the current plan is to head off on Monday or Tuesday with our first stop being Lizard Island.
As much as we have been enjoying the start to our adventure today is a particularly sad day for us. Our wonderful daughter Yasmin has been so kind to allow us to store our personal goods in her garage while we satisfy our wanderlust. As a precaution against rodent damage we scattered a number of rat baits around the place before locking it all up so Yaz’s precious pups couldn’t get anywhere near them. Unfortunately it appears that little Baxter dog has got a mouse or rat that had ingested the poison and despite the vets best efforts passed away this morning. After living with Yaz and baby Lyla for the last month and spending so much time with Taco and Baxter we are devastated and know how much Yasmin is feeling his loss.  Baxter took a particular shine to Karen while we were there, never being more than a foot or two from her wherever she moved. Despite her repeated threats to “unfriend” him facebook style when he was flatulent while sitting on her lap, Karen actually enjoyed his attention and has been particularly upset by this unexpected turn of events. Sometimes life is very unfair.


  1. Can't wait for the comments, pics and tracking to get underway in earnest...shall be keeping a close watch and enjoying the trip.

  2. I hope you both have a great time. Sorry we did not catch up with you before you left.
    All the best
    Richard, Pauline, Georgia & Hannah

  3. Thanks guys


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