Saturday, May 3, 2014

Adventures on the Great Barrier Reef

I have been out of town this past week and fell a little behind on my postings.

Let's see, where is AMARA?
Picking up more crew in the Whitsundays.  
Well, to say the least, AMARA and gang have been busy sailing off the coast of Australia.  After a few nights at sea, they arrived at Hamilton Island.  The moorings opposite Hamilton Island were a bit tricky since many of the "pick up" lines were tangled around the moorings because of the strong currents running up and down the pass.  In typical David style, instead of finding a mooring that wasn't tangled, he just jumped onto the actual mooring and untangled the lines himself.

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The beautiful spinnaker that I helped to design.  (Thank you very much!)
After a few days at Hamilton Island, AMARA took off again to pick up more crew and arrive at the Great Barrier Reef.  Martin sent me a wonderful email describing their arrival to the "Reef" that I thought that I would just share.  It reads:

"We are 30 miles out to sea and spent the night here on the Great Barrier Reef tucked in a little sheltered lagoon.  It was perfectly calm.  On the way here we had dolphins playing on the bow on two different occasions.  We also caught another yellow fin tuna, and everyone loves your beautiful spinnaker!  Last night, for dinner, we had a wonderful tuna sashimi as an appetizer, and tuna steaks with sweet potatoes and green beans for dinner.  Sue is up to her finest.

The day before yesterday, we stopped at an ancient historic site and saw cave paintings made by the Ngora people who were early aboriginal people who lived here on the coast about 9000 years ago.

We also lost another cushion off the fly bridge.

I can't believe it has been over 40 years since I have wanted to get to the Great Barrier Reef, and now I am finally here!  We are Scuba diving today and I will let you know how it goes.  Can't wait to get in the water.   We will also be testing out our new dive compressor to refill our scuba tanks.  No more trips to the dive shop!  Dave made a nice home for it mounted in the port engine compartment. 

We are anchored here with a 360˚ view of just the ocean and yet there are no waves or swells.  The wind is only at 5 knots.  One beautiful day!

I'm off to get wet."
A giant and colorful clam in clear waters.  Breathtaking!
This picture documents the first
 fish caught off the stern for this leg of the voyage.
When in Australia... eat Vegemite!  John's first try.
I can't tell from the photo whether or not it was a success.  
"Anchored on the Great Barrier Reef in the best
conditions you could ever dream of!"
Fish #2.  Spanish Mackerel.  Dinner!
Bat Fish in the Whitsundays.
The best part of this whole voyage is that Martin has been within cell coverage most of the time while they have been sailing.  It has been great because all I have to do is check to see if Martin is on Skype and 9 times out of 10 he is! It has been easy to stay current and talk with one another two to three times a day.  I love this little luxury.

Martin told me a great story today.  They stopped in Townsville just for two hours in order to try and get some parts for the engine.  Martin went ashore to try and get to the place that would have the parts that were needed for AMARA.  As he turned the corner at the marina, he ran into some LDS (Mormon) missionaries.  He stopped and talked to them and in the course of the conversation, he found out that where he was headed for boat parts was actually clear across the island.  In true Martin fashion, he asked one of the missionaries if he could borrow his bike (since they were about to give a lesson in a park close by) and then he took off on the bike to cross the island.  After retrieving the parts, he came back to join the missionaries in the park and helped to teach three college-aged kids about the church.  Martin quickly joined in on the discussion and spent another hour sharing his testimony about the church.  After the discussion, Martin headed back to the boat with his parts in hand.  Never a moment wasted when it comes to my husband.

While in Townsville, David and Sue were able to visit with David's sister, Megan, who lives there along with his dad (who lives with his sister).  Martin said it was a lovely afternoon in spite of them only being there for a few hours.

Tomorrow AMARA leaves for Cairns (pronounced Cannes) and Lizard Island.  They'll need to spend a few days in Cairns provisioning the boat and waiting on more parts.  I had planned to join AMARA and the crew in Cairns, but as luck would have it (which doesn't seem to be on my side), I had another event come up that requires me to stay for another week or so in the states.  Lily and I hope to join the crew before the end of May.  I would hate to miss David and Sue, and of course, I REALLY miss my husband!  Speaking of which, Martin reminded me today that currently AMARA has 3 couples on the boat that are helping to crew, meanwhile Martin remains the odd man out.  Man...This is killing me... and him!

More adventures to come.  Stay tuned!

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If you want to know where AMARA is at these days, you can click on the section titled, "Where In The World" on the righthand side of the front page and you can zero in right where AMARA is anchored or sailing at all hours of the day.  I am loving it!