Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Never say Never! .. Even more Louisiades (getting near the end now!)

The skipper with his foot in a cast sailing along to Little Pioneer Bay on Orpheus Island - on the way south. 

I should know by now that it tends to be a useless exercise to say - with any degree of certainty - something is not going to happen.  That's how I felt about getting back on the boat to head south with just me and the Captain (George) hobbled by the cast on his foot.  I was determined I wasn't going to get back on the boat for awhile and hoped that we could get friends to go with George down to Yeppoon and Roslyn Bay.  But, here I am because all other possibilities ended without any luck.  George is doing well.  We are motoring mostly with just the head sail out so that's easy for me and him on one leg to handle.  Anchoring is difficult and even pulling up the mooring here at LPB was tough because the mooring line is so huge ... we had to rig a bridle up on the front of the yacht to hold the mooring buoy in a better position which needed the two of us.  But everything worked out.

The trip, so far, has been great with calm winds and flat seas.  We left Cairns on Tuesday with a first stop at Dunk Island and tonight we are at Little Pioneer Bay.  Being at both places brings back great memories of the trip up with people from the CC13 crew out of the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club.  I must say when I look back on all that we've done, the people we've met, the places we've seen and walked and enjoyed it's amazing to think how much we've crammed into these months.

A friend of mine in Atlanta - Donna - made a comment after reading one of my Louisiades blogs on Facebook.  She said, "Life enrichment - indeed!"  I guess I've thought about this half year sailing trip along those lines in some respect but never with the clarity those 3 words gave me.  This journey has been/is a prodigious adventure in so many many ways.  Not many 63 year old women get a chance to do something so completely out of the ordinary and out of their depth ... and get to enjoy it with their life's partner and so many wonderful new people!  If I sit still for the remainder of my life (which I won't, I promise you) I have, at the very least, added a layer of richness in life experiences that won't leave me ... ever.  Thank you universe!

Tomorrow we hope to be in Horseshoe Bay at Magnetic Island and, with a little luck, we should arrive at the marina in Airlie Beach by Sunday or Monday next week.

More Pictures from the Louisiades Rally

'Southern Belle' inside the lovely lagoon at Sabara.
After the events at Misima the rally fleet spread out for a few free days to different locations.  There are many many islands and villages to visit in the Louisiades and the rally can only realistically take in a few so we were given free days to explore on our own.  A lot of the fleet came straight to the lagoon at Sabara - a picture perfect South Pacific location.   The lagoon is very shallow - only 3 metres deep in most places.  Our keel is 1.99 metres deep - 2 really - so at any time there was only 3 feet left under us.  But the place was beautiful!

The water was crystal clear - unbelievably so.  And the lagoon was surrounded by limestone "floating" islands (islands that had the bottom washed away which made them look like they were floating above the water).

There was a good size village here and Guy + the yachties did a presentation of goods for the community and the school on shore.  One of the banana boats arrived at the back of our boat looking for the yacht 'Desire' because they had a grease gun.  George ended up towing them up the fleet to find the grease gun so they wouldn't have to use their gas.

There were a good many of us from the rally there the last night at Sabara.  We all went ashore and had a beach party complete with Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley music ... you should have seen the village kids dance!  It was the first time we had all been together at a place to let our hair down since the robbery in Misima and it was a great party.

Late into the night after the beach party the wind came up and it howled all night long.  The next day we were due to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet and move to our last - and biggest inside the Calvados Chain - island ... Nimoa.  The trip there was through a number of passes, reefs, etc. etc. and it was windy.  But we all made it there safe and sound.  It was good to have everyone together again.

Next time I'll tell you about the jungle river trip we took on our first full day in Nimoa, the other goings on and the trip back complete with mid-ocean transfer of our special crew - Calum.

All the best to everyone!

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