Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cooktown and Lizard Island

“I had ambition not only to go farther than any one had 
been before, but as far as it was possible for man to go."   
—Captain James Cook

Martin sent me this quote found on the statue above from Captain Cook.  Martin sent me the quote and I really liked the message.  

Turns out that AMARA's satellite stopped working, so instead of heading to Lizard Island as planned, they had to change course and go to the closest anchor off shore.  That meant, Cooktown.  Cooktown is a small town in Far North Queensland and is named after Captain James Cook when he beached his ship, Endeavor, to do repairs on it.   

After working with the satellite company until 3 am, Martin was finally able to get the satellite up and running again.  AMARA is very dependent on the satellite as it sends weather updates regularly to Martin and David which is very important information to have when sailing.  That is why they had to get to the nearest island with internet access and get the thing fixed before they could move forward.
An impromtu picnic.
The crew and Martin finally left Cooktown yesterday and headed for Lizard Island.  

I talked to Martin today and he said he was relieved to get the satellite up and going and that they had finally made it to Lizard Island after a nights sail.  When I talked to him, they were all getting ready for a hike through the island.

After Lizard Island, AMARA and crew will make one more stop and then head for Indonesia.  Their visit to the beautiful Great Barrier Reef is coming to an end and soon they will be on to a new country that will have new customs and even more discovering and diving.  
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Before we get ahead of ourselves with Indonesia, while in Australia, Sue cooked up some Kangaroo for the gang to give it a try. (Glad I wasn't there for that one.)
Sue also made some beautiful fish pies that deserve mention (notice the little fishes).
And let's not forget Sue's delicious tuna steaks...
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While sailing, they had some friendly visitors, swimming off the bow of the boat.
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We are also happy to say that John and Tamrika haven't jumped ship and are still enjoying their time on AMARA.  Here are some great photos of them enjoying their time in Australia.
Riding in the tender with AMARA in the background.
Martin has really enjoyed John and Tamrika and is so glad that they are having this experience.  
There is always plenty to be done... and fixed when on a boat.  John and David.
Internet access has come to an end (sigh) and now Martin and I are on to talking on the satellite phone to get daily updates from each other.  The good thing is that I still have contact with Martin, the bad thing is that now it costs $$$, so our conversations are short and to the point.  Our conversations now are something like...  Martin: "We are doing great and I love you."  Me responding, "Things are moving along and I love you too, K' bye!"  That's about all we can get out before we have to hang up.  Although the internet is now a faint memory, the satellite is up and running so I can still zero in on where AMARA is and keep an eagle eye on them.  

Please check back in a few days when I get a few updates and maybe some more photos of their time at Lizard Island...

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!