May 13 2011

What to do while sailing along at 2.5 knots

Tag: Australia,fun activity,humorous,Justin,picturesJonathon Haradon @ 4:08 am

This post backtracks and refers to events that happened on May 2nd.

We left Middle Percy Island noon on May 2nd. Anxious to get to the Whitsunday’s, famed to be the best sailing grounds of Australia, we had spent only one night on Middle Percy, a beautiful though nearly completely deserted island. It’s one claim to fame is a hut with various sailing paraphernalia from the last 50 odd years. Every boat it seems, leaves a little artifact and quite a collection has built up.

Anxious though we were, the wind was not so in a hurry. With both the drifter and jib up we slowly putted along on the glassiest of seas barely breaking 2 knots. We already knew we were in for an overnight sail, and so I didn’t feel like turning on the engine.

We spent the time in various ways.

First and foremost, Justin cracked a beer at precisely noon to celebrate our speedy passage making.

spent some time grinding on our new (for a second time) anchor windlass handle. A welder in Bundaberg charged me an obscene amount for a new handle and then attached a piece that was 50% too thick to fit into the windlass. Alas, I discovered this 50 miles away at Lady Musgrave when we tried to anchor. To date we’e made do with our dilapidated rusting back-up until now. No more. With no rocking and no boats around, I set about to grinding.

Justin made me lunch.

We relaxed with more beers at two in the afternoon, a gentle breeze at our backs, enough to keep us cool, but not enough to push us any faster than 2.5 knots.

Justin played some video games.

And finally, I set about to thinking how I could rig up the hammock. I normally set it up on the forestay, (the wire holding up the mast in the front of the boat) but since the jib was rolled out, this wasn’t possible. See pictures below for my set-up. As I lazily swayed in the hammock, drinking a beer and watching the water meander underneath me, I may or may not have thought about how things couldn’t get much more relaxed.

 

May 06 2011

Lady Musgrave

Tag: Australia,fun activity,Justin,pictures,wild lifeJonathon Haradon @ 4:02 am

This post backtracks some and talks about events that happened April 21st to April 25th.

The first truly tropical awesome place that we’ve been to since Justin arrived was Lady Musgrave Island. It is at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, a mere 30 miles offshore, 50 miles from where we sailed from Bundaberg. A tiny cay of sand and trees 600 yards wide juts up out of the ocean with a small two mile wide fringing reef surrounding it. The Tuomotus, where I first joined the boat were similar (though this was even smaller) and as I wish I could have spent another month there, I was in love with the place before we even got there.

The entrance through the coral reef was rumored to be blasted out with dynamite years ago by guano harvesters. Goats were introduced on the island in case of shipwrecks. Jonny would be glad to know they have since been eradicated. I was nervous entering the coral ring, the pass felt extremely narrow, much narrower than anything in the Tuomotus or anywhere I’d been. Running aground here would be disastrous as it would mean impacting and potentially sinking on hard, sharp coral, not the soft forgiving sand I’ve hit twice now in the last month. I had left the drifter pole up after pulling the sails down and I swear it seemed like it’s 20 foot length was able to overhang the obvious shallow edge of where the pass had been blasted out. Nerve-wracking, but we made it through.

Inside was beautiful glistening water. The Pacific Ocean crashed all around against a ring of fringing reef that, save the tiny cay, remained just two or three feet underwater. The water was brilliant turquoise and blue. We relaxed. We snorkeled. We spear-fished. We meandered around the island. We lazily swung in the hammock.

Our spear fishing adventure was short. I bagged one smaller sized fish within a few minutes. Justin then said he had spied a bigger fish. I asked if he wanted to take a shot at it. He dove down to within three feet of it… the fish didn’t budge… and then Justin surfaced without firing. He had forgotten to undo the safety!  Back down he went, the fish hadn’t moved an inch, and with one shot from three feet away, one-shot wonder Justin bagged what is easily the biggest fish that someone on Syzygy has caught. King’s to Justin today!

Justin, however, doesn’t really eat fish, so I spent the next two hours trying to gut and clean them. My fish only produced a small amount of meat, but Justin’s… Justin’s provided two beautiful large fillets. He gamely tried a few small bites of what I cooked up, but in the end sided with Ramon for dinner that evening. I dined on fish in a lemon butter sauce, fish in a sweet chili reduction, and fish teriyaki. Thank you Justin!

 

Apr 19 2011

ex-HMAS Brisbane

Tag: Australia,diving,fun activity,Justin,pictures,scuba divingJonathon Haradon @ 12:41 am
This post pertains to events that happened June 9th.

Justin and I went diving on a wreck called the ex-HMAS Brisbane just outside of Mooloolaba. ‘Ex’ because she’s sunk. HMAS is her Her Majesty’s Australian Ship. Justin was our dive master for the trip based on his getting certified more recently, three years ago, than I, fifteen years ago. He also paid for the permit and listed himself as dive master. He also has a dive computer. I have yet to figure out how mine work.

The ex-HMAS is quite possibly the best first wreck dive you could do. It was purposely sunk to create a reef and a dive site. Large panels were cut through the sides to allow easy access all throughout the ship’s interior. Justin was hesitant before diving about going through the interior; going inside a real wreck can be a serious endeavor. Once we were down though, and right next to the eight foot wide cut-outs, I found it irresistible to not meander through and motioned that intent. What a cool experience.

We almost were unable to do the dive, rough seas gave us fits as Justin tried to motor up to the mooring while I tried to snag the mooring with the boat hook. At one point, we had to execute a boat hook overboard, when I had snagged the mooring but was unable to hold on as the waves pushed us away. The boat hook was ripped from my hands. Justin did a few circles around the hook before finally closing in. We retrieved the hook and managed to secure up. And glad we were because it turned out to be a fantastic dive.

Here are a few pictures.

Oct 23 2010

Mt. Yasur pictures

Tag: fun activity,pictures,VanuatuJonathon Haradon @ 10:02 pm