One of the things I’m enjoying about cruising down the Queensland coast, is the early dawn. After nine hours of night, which are very pleasant when all is calm and moonlit, but not so pleasant when it’s black, windy and turbulent, the discerning of a faint glow in the east is cause for celebration. 4am on a cloudless morning sees the eastern sky starting to pale, and by 5am you’re wondering where you left your sunglasses, because you’ll need them in another half hour.
We usually up anchor and leave by 5, and get a few good miles under the belt before breakfast. On a good day we can cover over 100 nautical miles, even sailing to windward as we have been so far. The conditions have been varied on the voyage – a lot of strong winds around 35kn and some heavy seas, but the boat handles it well (a lot better than me!) I’m not a fan of speed and strong winds, but I’m improving. I think. Read more »
I now understand that old sailors’ maxim: “A gentleman never sails to windward”, although I think they were more concerned about spilling the drinks. It’s certainly a lot more work sailing into the wind, requiring more tacking, hauling on ropes and grinding away at winches. My hands, gone soft and smooth after years of city living, have callouses again which appeared so fast I think they were just lying dormant under the skin.
Cairns was a welcome respite after the slog from Cape York. The genoa and staysail needed repairs, so the moment we tied up, we pulled the sails down and rang a number we found on the internet. Read more »
Entering Torres Strait
Lex and I sailed out of Darwin on 8 October, arriving at the Torres Strait islands after a non-stop seven day passage. The biggest discovery about the Straits was the wind! Rarely stops blowing, and had a lot of yachts hemmed in for a while. After exploring Thursday and Horn islands, we set off for Cairns on the 19th October…
31 October – Hooray, Cairns! We motored quietly into the marina yesterday morning just after daybreak, at the end of a 24 hour sail from Lizard Island. It’s been a long haul from Horn Island. Read more »
You know that old chestnut about what you’d take with you to a desert island? Which books, which friends, which food…? Last week we had to actually make that decision about our boat’s life raft.
We’re getting ready to leave Darwin in September and sail to Hobart. Read more »
I was tidying up my work space this morning and it got me thinking about the things I was picking up. Or more to the point, what wasn’t there. We’ve lived on a boat for the last six years, and my writing space is a bit small. Just part of the saloon table, where my MacBook Air sits. When we lived onshore, I had my own room to work in, a delightful, odd-shaped, attic-like place upstairs that held crammed bookshelves, an old Huon pine cabinet with wide flat drawers full of art paper and paints, a big table and a comfortable chair. Read more »
Ronan’s Echo was launched at a large gathering on 26 March, at William Forster Chambers in Darwin, where I’ve been the “writer in residence” for the best part of two years. Read more »
Pan Macmillan is kindly providing 10 copies of Ronan’s Echo as a giveaway through the online book club Goodreads. Read more »
Happy New Year! We’ve had a truly traditional start to 2014, seeing in the new year with very old friends, people I’ve known for what is getting uncomfortably close to fifty years. Read more »
I have to apologise for the infrequency of posts in my blog. When I’m actively writing or editing, I just can’t think in that vein. But at the moment I’m waiting for my manuscript to come back, hopefully for the last time, from my editor. Read more »
Is letter-writing a lost art? When was the last time you received a hand-written, personal letter – or wrote one? Read more »