Tag Archives: adventure

The issue of not being on time

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Queensland Roadtrip Day 1: Ballina, NSW – Brooyar, Queensland (381km)

Our race to beat the setting sun was a lost cause.

If only we’d set off earlier, as planned then we might have got pitched in daylight. If only we’d not taken a diversion to put our pennies into the honesty boxes of roadside stalls in exchange for avocados and potatoes and tomatoes, if only the calamari at Brunswick Fish Co-Op hadn’t called out to stomachs that lightly rumbled barely thirty minutes into the journey, if only the super supermarket conveniently positioned right on the highway at Gympie hadn’t reminded us of forgotten necessities, well, maybe then we would have gotten to Brooyar State Forest on time.

But, hang on! This is holiday time, time off from being on time. 

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Queensland Roadtrip Day 1: Still a long way to go… what adventures are up ahead?

We could have stopped off somewhere sooner, somewhere closer to the road. Brooyar was an en-route decision, a decision that took us away from concrete and the last light of day, down a long, pitted dirt track into an expanse of rain forest and a scattering of gum trees. Glastonbury Creek Camp. Arrived.

And realistically  setting up camp and cooking in the dark was more of an adventure than a problem, three concentrated explorers equipped with head torches, hammers, high spirits and unspoken coordination.

Tents up, kick back, eat easy food, say goodnight to the glow of neighbouring fires, switch off the lights and lie beneath a light sheet.

Listen to the darkness.

And fall into a fresh air sleep full of dreams about what this place might look like by day.

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Filed under activity & sport, australia, camping, food & drink, national parks, nature, oceania, roadtrip, uncategorized

Boat guardian of the hour: what happens on watch?

I’m sitting up at the helm, rocking and rolling around on a slightly choppy sea and studying the spinnaker – the big front sail – for the two holes that I spotted yesterday. They seem to have disappeared. Fair weather clouds clutter the sky, moments of beautiful sunshine breaking through and warming my bare feet.

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Up top pew…

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…with a view

We’re heading towards a dark lined horizon, maintaining a steady speed of between 6 to 7 knots but it feels slow after a great yesterday averaging 8.4kts. Tahiti is still over 2,500nm away, at least another two weeks on this empty ocean. It seems both a short while and an eternity.

Occasionally I contemplate how vulnerable we are: four somebodies floating along in a carbon fibre frame, trying to employ and mix ancient sailing wisdom with modern technology.

My skipper is relaxed and knowledgeable. I wonder if he ever wonders just how he ended up crossing the Pacific with three newbies. Too late to switch things up now. What we lack in experience and knowledge, we make up for in interest and enthusiasm. He keeps the lads busy changing sheets on the genoa and unfurling the spinnaker. Other than watch duty, I’ve put myself forward as cook. I’m keeping busy.

With four of us on board, we can develop a routine. Every six hours, for two hours it’s my watch time, during which I look out for potential collisions or obstructions, keep an eye on wind direction and speed, check the sails, make minor adjustments to our course and, where necessary, trim the sails (or rather, I help to trim the sails, because although I have a good idea of what needs doing I lack the experience and therefore the confidence to make any bigger decisions).

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Keeping an eye on the sails

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Captain’s seat

And I try not to hit the track button on the captain’s main computer. It resets everything. But then someone does hit the track button and our whole mapped course disappears. Uh oh.

Honestly, it wasn’t me.

Far out in the South Pacific and unsure of where we’re going or where we’ve been? Nah, it isn’t quite that drastic. A tech savvy captain and we are back on track with only a little gap in the mapped route to show for the mistake.

And I am reassured that even in the event of a full on technological failure, night sky navigation isn’t something unfamiliar to my skipper, Alan . I put my trust in him and my crewmate Matt, who starts to read up on celestial navigation.

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Night time nav and sail switch

But now, back to my watch and that oncoming moody horizon.

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Filed under activity & sport, nature, pacific, sailing, sea

Travel tired after eight months? Happy to keep going?

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Waiting for the bus back home? I don’t think so. Not just yet.

There’ll come a point where you’ll just want to stop’, said my friend Jim. I was chatting to him about another friend who had hit the travel tired moment that most backpackers experience at some point, if not at many points.

I had taken time out of whizzing around South America and New Zealand to be based up in Byron Bay, Australia for just over a month. This in itself was a bit of a challenge after an otherwise very nomadic lifestyle with different places and beds every few nights.

Whilst it was wonderful to unpack my bag, hang out with people that knew me and meet a new group of fun, active and interesting people, I knew I hadn’t yet hit that point of wanting to stop. I was thirsty to return to South America and continue my journey there.

The language, the culture and the simpler approach to life over in South America all somehow felt more comfortable and welcoming to me than the gloss and riches of developed nations. Luckily for me, my ticket was easily reversed so rather than continue on to Asia or stay in Australia, I headed back across the Pacific and landed in Brazil to continue my South American adventuring.

But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t hit travel tired moments. During one of the lows I decided to bring together experiences – mine and others – and put together an article of sorts. You can read it here.

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Filed under australia, brazil, new zealand, random, south america, travel