Thursday, May 15, 2014

More adventures on AMARA

The gang hiking up to Cook's Lookout on Lizard Island.  (AMARA in the background.)
AMARA and crew made it successfully to Lizard Island.  Upon arriving, they immediately went on a three hour hike up to Cook's Lookout. Captain Cook climbed up to this point in 1770 to assess the Great Barrier Reef and figure out his way through it.  I can't imagine having to navigate the Reef without the modern tools that we have today to wind around it.  However, it should be noted that Captain Cook did do some damage to his ship while getting around the reef.  His ship, the Endeavor, had to do repairs for seven weeks on the beach in Cooktown because of the damage.
The remains of Lizard Island after the devastating tropical cyclone, Ita. 
The category 4 Tropical Storm Ita, hit Queensland in early April of this year.  Lizard Island didn't fair so well after the cyclone.  Sue sent me this photo of the effects of the storm.

What happens when you stay ashore too long and the tide goes out.
This is always my worst fear–coming back to AMARA's tender only to find that the tide went out so far that it is beached.   No worries though, the crew of AMARA found some nearby poles and were able to create a slipway to get the tender back in the water.

Martin wrote me and said that while on the hike, they saw lizards as big as 4 feet long.  Some were guarding their nests and seemed to be more like Monitor lizards than iguanas.
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They also went on a dive and saw giant clams but also found that some parts of the Reef had coral sections that were completely dead.
David diving the Great Barrier Reef.
A night out to the local pub and participate in a trivia challenge.  
One of the fun things about David and Sue is that we played LOTS of trivia games while on AMARA last year.  It was no surprise that this group came in second in the challenge!  It looks like fun and makes me sad that I'm not with Martin to enjoy the good times on AMARA.
This is what happens when someone yells, "Cell coverage!"  Everything is dropped, cell phones come out, texts are sent, Facebook updates posted and Skype calls are made.  But just as fast as it comes, it fades away.  Then back to sailing AND fishing...
Double fisted Tunas.
Which means...
Mountains of sashimi.  Yum!
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AMARA is now headed to Flinders Island, about 80 miles northwest of Lizard Island.  Flinders Island is known for it's interesting Aboriginal petroglyphs.  

I'll post some photos as they come my way.

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!}