Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meet Me in Maumere

It's official, I am finally off to go meet up with Martin and Doug in Indonesia.  It has been one crazy week trying to get the house settled and get ready to meet them in Maumere.  I am so excited to see Martin!

The week leading up to seeing him, however, hasn't been quite as pleasant.  Like all good wives of husbands that have big boats, I am lugging more boat parts with me than I am sunscreen!  In fact, I think I was close to a mental breakdown on the ven diagram of emotional health just trying to pull these parts in from all corners of the US.  I got to be VERY good friends with a Yanmar distributor, who now recognizes my voice before I even introduce myself on the phone.  Words like mixing elbow, turbo pumps, oil plugs, cylinders, filters (for generator and water maker) and injectors now easily slip off my tongue.  I have looked at more diagrams of engines than I ever thought was possible.  My bag is H.E.A.V.Y!

My trip to get to Martin will be more like a planes, trains and automobiles kind of trip.  We are talking 52+ hours of travel before I even meet up with him on the island of Maumere.  Currently, Martin and Doug are racing to get to me (a five day trip for them) by Saturday.  From there we will head to the Banda Islands and go see the Kamodo dragons on the island of Kamodo (they waited for me to join them).

Well, I am off to Tokyo (where I have a 15-hour layover) and then onto Bali.  Then I'll eventually catch a little puddle jumper to meet up with Martin on Maumere.

Wish us luck!

Check back in a few days!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Whale Sharks!

Martin swimming with whale sharks.
Martin and crew had an amazing experience last week.  They were able to go to Cenderwasih Bay and swim with the elusive whale sharks.  This has been a dream of Martin's for so long and I am so happy that he was able to finally swim with the huge creatures.   
Martin hired a dive master, Tommy, to take them through many of the famous
dive sites in Indonesia.  This being one of them.
It was very tricky for them to get to this site because there is a lot of red tape to get to this marine park.  While in the park, you have to host a ranger on your boat the entire time.  So everywhere Amara went, the ranger went with them even spending the night on Amara for the week while they were there.
Doug getting a closer look.
Trevor filming from above the whale shark.
Martin said that when he first jumped in the water to see the whale sharks they were right there in front of him.  They were just as curious about Martin as he was about them.  He said they came right for him and he said that for a moment, he got a little startled.  Quickly, he remembered that they don't have any teeth so he knew he was pretty much safe.  He couldn't get out of the water after that point knowing that they were so close to him and wanting to play.

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Martin and crew got fuel for Amara in early June and have been paying a price for purchasing REALLY BAD fuel ever since.  In the picture below, you can see visible layers or water, dirt and fuel.  Martin says that the quality of the fuel purchased is probably the worst fuel that he has ever seen, and they have been paying a price dealing with the effects that this horrible fuel has had on the engines.  They were finally able to refuel in Sorong this week and are HOPING that it isn't as bad as what they got before.  As Doug said, "Cruising off the beaten path has its advantages but it also has it's disadvantages."  Bad fuel is one of them.

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Martin and Doug are the only crew left on Amara at the moment.  They left Sarong today and are making their way to the Kamodo islands to go and see the famous Kamodo dragons.  It should take them about two days of sailing to arrive.

The great news is that Lily and I are going out next week to meet Martin.  I know, I know, he is in paradise and I am home doing who knows what?  Actually, I have been handling a lot of things here and have finally seen a window where I can come up for air, so Lily and I are taking advantage of this and heading to Bali to meet Martin, Doug and Amara.  The reunion will be grand.

Since I'll be back on Amara next week, I am hoping to keep our blog updated more, so keep checking back as I continue to write about Amara's adventures.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Obviously, from my last post, I have fallen a little behind on blogging.  Life away from AMARA seems to just suck up my time with little time to sit on the couch and just type.  Lily and I plan on rejoining AMARA at the first of July, so I am sure my blogging will take on a little more energy when I join Martin and our crew.  So, where to start...

First, Martin came home for a visit the first two weeks of June.  It was absolutely lovely having him home even though I felt like we were in fast forward the entire time trying to fit everything in on our list of "to do's".  Other than not getting two (very important) filters for our engines, I think Martin was able to pull in boat parts from all over the country to take back with him to join AMARA back in Indonesia.

Upon his return, it also meant a change in crew.  Sue, David, John and Tamrika took off in different directions in Indonesia and our new crew stepped on board.
Saying "goodbye" to David and Sue.  You will be missed!
And now, our new crew...
Top Row, left to right:  Patty (Doug's daughter), Vicki, Trevor and Doug
Bottom Row:  Ali (Martin's niece),  Tommy (a local dive guide) and Martin
Patty and Ali are just out for two weeks visiting.  Doug and Trevor have sailed with Martin before when they sailed from the coast of Florida to the Bahamas back in 2012 on Doug's boat.  So, Martin already knows that they will work well together.  Vicki is Trevor's wife and we are so happy to have her along, I only hope they don't put her to work too much in the galley since Sue is no longer on the boat.  
Ali taking in the sights in Bali.
Ali (our niece) just graduated from high school so Martin invited her out to Bali to join him and the crew as they dive in some of the most beautiful spots in Indonesia.  I am a little jealous because every time Martin calls, he explains in detail the beauty of the areas of where they are anchored.  I wish I was already out there, but things are also happening here in Utah (more on that later) so someone needs to be here in Utah to hold down the fort.

Check back in a few days and I will get some more pictures of their dive adventures and the story of our ripped spinnaker.  Oh the tales one can tell when it comes to figuring out a way to get it repaired while in Indonesia.   Leave it to Martin, and a lot of effort on his part, in getting it repaired.  More on that later...

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...