Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Visiting AMARA

The wonderful part of having a boat is having friends come out for a visit.  Martin and crew were lucky to have our friends form Utah, Stan and Connie, come out to Australia and stay on AMARA for a few weeks.  While visiting, Stan and Connie were able to do a few dives, help to provision the boat, get in some serious fishing and help sail AMARA.  They even got to celebrate Stan's birthday (which proved to be a success from the pictures below).
Party Central on AMARA
Celebrating Stan's Birthday.
John and Stan catch a Yellow Fin.
Provisioning the boat in Cairns.  5 shopping carts!
Saying farewell to Stan and Connie in Cooktown, Queensland.
Stan and Connie stayed for two weeks and had to leave AMARA in Cooktown where AMARA had to anchor to try and fix satellite issues.  Martin says it was wonderful to have them here and hopes that they had a wonderful visit.  Safe travels to them and we are so glad you were able to come out and see AMARA firsthand!
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More pictures to come.  It's been a busy two weeks for both Martin and crew, as well as, for me out here in Utah.  Lots going on and now trying to play catch up.

Stay tuned for more posts in the next few days!

The Sailing Continues

Sunset and sails.  A great combination.  (Photo Credit to Stan)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I've got my Google Earth eye on you!

Well, it looks like AMARA made it to Cairns and is safely docked in a marina.

By using our tool, "Where In the World" on the right side navigation bar (on the front of our blog), I was able to zoom in and pinpoint exactly where AMARA is in the marina.  I love that I can check up so closely on Martin.  In fact, I sent him an instant message this morning asking him why they didn't dock outside the marina?  This was just to let him know that I am watching!

This application really is so much fun.  Give it a try!

The yellow tack on the screen shows exactly what slip AMARA is tied up to in the marina.
Martin and crew will be in Cairns for a few days as they are waiting for engine parts to arrive.  This is where Lily and I were to meet up with the crew, but alas, it looks like it will be another week or two before we set foot on AMARA.

Meanwhile, Lily and I are enjoying the most beautiful spring here in Utah.
Lily enjoying springtime at our home in Utah.
I'll continue to keep you updated and do a few more screen shots along the way to let you AND Martin know that I got my eye on him.  {wink!}


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!  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

And they're off... FINALLY!

On Monday, AMARA was set to leave "Boat Works" (the marina where AMARA had been docked) in Brisbane and head to the Whitsunday Islands only to find that the generator wouldn't start.  

Everything was working fine right before they were to leave.  Following proper protocol, Martin went down to change the engine oil and turned off the engines before he proceeded with this routine procedure.  After changing the oil, he went to fire up the engines and found that the generator wouldn't start no matter how hard he and the crew tried to troubleshoot the problem.  This then turned into a long session of the men trying to figure out how to fix the generator.
The troubleshooting session begins...
The worst part of this whole scenario was that it was a holiday in Australia, so the crew had to sit around for a day to wait for the mechanics to come in to work the following day.  The next day went smoothly with the mechanics fixing the problem (and figuring out that when we had the generator repaired back in October in Fiji it was, in fact, not fixed—just patched.)  It was actually a blessing that it broke where it did so that they could have qualified mechanics come in and actually resolve the issue and fix the generator.

....And they're off!   Well, kind of...  AMARA set sail Tuesday evening, once the generator was fixed, and continued sailing the 700nm toward the Whitsunday Islands.
While pulling out of Boat Works, the straps to the tender got stuck in the cradle.  Here, John holds onto David while David grabs the straps.  Yep, this should solve the problem!

However, about 86nm's (about 100 miles) into their sail, they soon figured out that the water maker wasn't working. They hadn't turned on the water maker in the marina because there was too much sludge in the water and it would have just clogged up the filters.  So once they got out into the open ocean, they turned on the water maker only to find out that it wasn't working.  Now another problem that needed to be troubleshooted!  The solution?  Martin was going to need to hitchhike back to BoatWorks in Brisbane, pick up the part that was needed to fix the water maker and then hitchhike back.
David still trying to pull the straps out from under the tender while trusting Sue to hold on so he doesn't go overboard.
So, they had to pull AMARA into Tin Can Bay and anchor her while Martin began his trek back to Brisbane.

Martin called me on his way back and didn't seem to be the least bit bothered about the "planes, trains and automobiles" experience and was just glad that they were able to resolve the problem, get the part and fix the water maker.   Soon they were underway... again!

AMARA's Crew.  Sue, Tamrika, John, David and Martin.
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Today, AMARA motored up the Great Sandy Straights past Fraser Island (which is the largest sand island in the world).  While motoring, a dinghy came up behind them and gave them a bucket of prawns!  Now, their luck is finally looking up!
John and Tamrika showing the spoils from good neighbors on the water.
Bucket O' Shrimp
When in Australia, it's only appropriate to throw some "shrimp on the barbie" and as Sue said, "Show some yanks a real taste of Australia!"  I'm a little bit jealous... that sounds good right at the moment.
Tamrika enjoying the impromptu BBQ
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Today was also ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand.  

ANZAC day is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all the Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all the wars.  It was originally about the troops who fought at Gallipoli during World War One.  

In 1915 allied tools set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula as part of Winston Churchill's campaign to open the way to the Black Sea and capture Constantinople troops.  They were met with fierce resistance in a 8 month battle that had no victory.  Unfortunately, 8,000 Australians died in the process.  At the this time, Australia had a population of fewer than 5 million people.  It was a huge loss to the newly formed country.  

In order to commemorate this day, throughout Australia and New Zealand, people gather at local war memorials and pay their respects at dawn.  On AMARA, the crew gathered on the top deck for their own commemoration.  They played the song, "The Last Post" which is a haunting trumpet solo played on this occasion, followed by a minute of silence to remember the sacrifice paid by all those who served and died.  Then they read the poem:

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn, 
At the going down do the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them. 


Following the service, the crew celebrated with tea and ANZAC cookies.  They are a kind of cookie that women made and sent in by tins to the troops during the war.  

David didn't get to join in on the festivity as he needed his sleep.  Sue says he will be attending the traditional "family service" usually held at 9 am.
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Well, I have already gotten a list of around 15 boat parts that I need to focus on now and track down and try and send back to AMARA with the next visiting crew member, so I need to call it a night for now and start working.  I'll keep you posted on the crew's progress as I continue to get updates.

I can't tell you how happy I am that they are FINALLY underway!  Let the adventure begin!