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Windsurfing In The BenAnna Republic

The world of Ben-kingdom seen by Anna-rchista

An Afternoon of Beachcombing

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Some friends one day called us “freeloaders”. It actually shocked me to consider that doing things the smart easy way (without hurting anyone) can be classified as taking advantage of the rest of the population that work hard, find life hard and complain about the hardness of it all. I mean, should we feel guilty if most of the worries that people usually load themselves with are, for us, not part of our reality?

Not that we have no problems or that we swim in money (very far from that actually), but that we attach to it less importance compared to the big picture of living you life at the fullest? Someone one day should explain to me why you should feel guilty for living your life and why you are supposed to pay for everything, including things that belong to everybody (water, national parks in Tasmania, anchoring in Europe, boat registrations, toilets in France, electricity in houses even if you are completely powered by your own solar panels, camping, fishing permits). The absurd examples of what you are supposed to pay for when actually you shouldn’t, are numerous. Ben reckons one day someone will propose a tax on oxygen and another one on rain water. Anyway I am sidetracking here, let’s go back to the main topic: How we got a full load of free stuff by walking along the beach. The BenAnna version of Christmas.

For starters, let me say that we found a little island downwind of the Whitsundays. The Whitsundays are so touristic that every day probably 1 ton of stuff might find its way overboard thanks to the wind, the bad luck (oh no my sunnies sunk in the water again) or the stupidity of people (don’t shake your head while looking to the dolphins playing at the bow over the water).

So we walked ashore and we started by picking a box each: a new plastic container for me and a fishing tackle box for Ben. Then we filled our boxes. We found not less than 8 fishing lures, two paddles, a boat hook, two fenders (one got stolen sneakily by someone that followed us from a distance as we left the fender to pick it up on the way back), my nice black hat, a collection of caps, a volleyball, golf balls, nice new bits of rope, heaps of buoys, an inflatable anchor (toy), a brand new plastic owl, a plastic noodle (we needed one for the storage of the windsurf boards), a speargun.  We didn’t keep everything but packed up some above high water mark for the next explorers. We also collected some of the rubbish (plastic bags and rubber parts) and I wish I would have had one of the reef protecting rubbish collection bag to give to the shore a proper clean up. Unfortunately we couldn’t pack all the rubbish with us and bring it back onboard Inara. So much stuff. Poor Turtles.

So yes! We appropriated ourselves with the goods, bought by hard laborers, lost overboard by nitwits and floated by the sea (let’s not forget the sea!) to the shore. I know we are getting close to Christmas and I get a bit more upset every day. Stop buying stuff, stop buying junk that has no meaning just because you want to please someone for a little more than 5 seconds. It will all end up in the sea and if we are lucky we’ll collect it to put it into landfill. Please buy meaningful /organic/ fair/ handcrafted/ eco-certified items for only the people you care for. Don’t buy crap to make yourself feel better for someone that will do the same for you. Just give them a handmade card made out of recycled paper or nothing even, just wishes and good thoughts will do. If they are really your friends they will understand.

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Would you survive Halloween on Fantome Island?

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Fantome Island is an island situated at a few nautical miles north of Palm Island on the Qld Coast. The island sounds like paradise on paper (and also on google earth, check it for yourself): large sandy bays surrounded by reef and crystal clear water. The scrub is dry but not so much and the island is fairly populated by trees. Yes but…. This paradise island has been used as a secret quarantine zone for non white people (aborigines, kanaks, torres straits islanders) allegedly suffering  from venereal diseases starting in 1928. This institution closed in 1945.

In 1940 a leprosarium was established on the island. Before this, in 1907, a leprosarium to house all Queensland patients suffering from leprosy was established on Peel Island in Moreton Bay near Brisbane. In 1940, the coloured patients were transferred from Peel Island to Fantome Island, under police escort and in conditions of great secrecy. The numbers of people admitted to Peel Island fluctuated during the mid-1920s and rose to 47 new cases in 1928. Although no new cases were reported in 1929 the reason might have been the secrecy with which this whole issue was managed by the Queensland Health authorities and the inability of the health regime to locate and track down the source of infection. This was not a simple problem and it persisted well into the next decade.

Anyway, 200 persons are buried there (somewhere….). The institution only closed in 1973 and was “purified” by fire. But enough of facts. Let the creepiness begin.

When you walk ashore on Fantome Island, you don’t realize so much that there is so many things and traces of human lives everywhere. I mean, they burned the shacks down with every personal items still in there! It’s highly disturbing to see bowls, bathtub, ovens, cutlery,  and really more left to your imagination, lying scattered on the grass all over the place. You can still see where the olds buildings stand of course, but also names engraved in concrete and more than your share of stairs going to nowhere. The beating sun of Queensland takes all sudden a feel of doom when you discover with horror  rusty old bed frames with parts to treat and attach the patients standing facing the turquoise sea. The wind is slowly pushing dry leaves with the unnerving habit to crush them following you. The goats are moaning on the distance on a repetitive and lamenting sentence. Hundreds of clams shells are spread everywhere. To collect the water maybe?

There is more: you follow an old overgrown path through plants that clearly try to discourage you to follow this way and then… you arrive in front of an old  cursed ominous concrete altar, shaded by the plants in a mischievous way and next to a massive pile of rocks that presumably has been the chapel. So many prayers unanswered and lamentations around this place….. creeeepyyyy…..

You can easily imagine the suffering, the harshness of the place, forgotten from everyone, cast away in a tropical island but surrounded by sickness, unknown from the public. Who really knows what happened in that place? A perfect setting for a Guillermo del Toro movie.

I left the best for the end. As the BenAnna team had its share of wandering around the place looking at odd things but being careful of not touching anything; we went down to the mangrove in search of fish and crocodiles. We followed the tortuous waterways through the green foliage up to a sandbank hidden behind. We landed the dinghy there and walked 50 meters on the sandbank just following a hunch. And then…. Around the corner….. there were graves. Old graves with a wooden cross on each and a little circle of stones to show the boundary of each deceased. There were 50 to 80 people buried there, hidden from any sight in the sand getting slowly washed away with every tide. A few graves have already been eroded into the mangroves and we didn’t look to close for fear of finding human bones. Actually I didn’t even take any pictures. Too creepy.

So, would you spend a night on Fantome Island for Halloween? Even if it’s a tropical island? Personally I wouldn’t; any kind of night at all, Halloween or not. And call me a wuss but something is definitely not right with this place.

Maybe one of the saddest things, is that anywhere else in the world this place would have been cleaned up and preserved for its high historical interest. It could even be a very interesting touristic educative site if only they (QLD government) would make the effort to set explanation boards and guided paths. But alas the subject is still very sensitive in Australia. This site was only recognized in 2012 by being registered on the Queensland Heritage List at the demand of the Palm Island Aboriginal council. The apologies of the Australian government to Aborigine people for the conditions endured the last 200 years were made in 2008….

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Hill Inlet, the dreamy waters for a windsurfing ride and RIP to an old friend.

When I was a teen, 15 years ago, I sometimes fantasized on how one day I would be rich and I would windsurf all over the world from a boat (ideally a catamaran) and my partner would be as keen as me. It was all a wonderful dream but I never really believed it  would happen to me (especially the partner part) and even if we are very far from being rich, we somehow are living it now.  When Ben and I met several years ago, I was full on talking about windsurfing and him about sailing. We quickly came to conclude that windsurfing in Hill Inlet would be the pure dream, an awesome spot remote and virgin. And then, one thing leading to another, I brought my windsurfing gear from overseas and Ben proved himself, very quickly, a better windsurfer than I. We both love it and there is nothing better than being at full power, skimming over the water at impossible speed with your other half few meters ahead or behind you (or jibing just in front). After all those years, we finally windsurfed in this Mecca; Hill Inlet and its meanders of pure white sand.

The first time, the forecast was 15-20 knts SSE. We anchored just past the sandbank on the SE side. High tide was early in the morning, so basically we had 2-3 hours in the morning of enough water to go over the sandbanks. You need half tide usually. The little tricky part is the current which can be quite strong depending where you go. We mainly windsurfed in the first inlet (north of the sand bank) where the tide against wind creates interesting waves just after high tide and where it brings you back upwind. A couple of hours after high tide the spot flatten a lot and you can enjoy great speed runs making sure that your fin doesn’t come to close to touching in shallow spots. Ben rigged his 6.0 m2 NCX and I was comfortable in 5.0 m2 Blade. Three days in a row we had a great time, slashing the turquoise waters with endless fun and resting sometimes in the bubbling sand of the inlet, a natural Jacuzzi. On the fourth day, the wind was still here but our muscles were quite sore. I inherited a dreadful pain in the neck and a jaw ache from crashing at full speed with my mouth open. So we chicken out knowing that it was just a matter of days before we have a go at it again.

Ben’s mother came onboard with us and for a week we enjoyed calm weather, snorkeling at the reef and sailing around the Whitsundays islands. Then, after a few hiccups due to one of our outboard destroying its impeller, we went back to Hill Inlet again. The forecast was 25-30 knots this time and it was a good 20-25knts in the Inlet. The high tide being this time at the middle of the day, it was perfect and we enjoyed great wave conditions with the flooding tide. Very strong and very tough ride, though. We both shared my 4.2 m2 Force on the 74L board. It was the first time in 2 years that this gear had touched the water. I also inaugurated my new helmet and even made use of my buoyancy jacket after a terrible horrible crash that left me out of breath and my ears still ringing with non-identified cracking noises inside my body. These dampen me a bit to be honest and Ben enjoyed most of the day with my gear and my helmet. Until I picked him up nicely with the dinghy, he was quite tired by then. The second day was more civilized, we had fun, him with his 105L Starboard and NCX 5.5  (a bit too small, the conditions were quite fluky) and me with my 5.0 m2 and 87L Naish Vector. It was, probably one of the best sessions of my life, I surfed endlessly, jumping at the last second over crumbling waves (1.2m not to big), pretending I was Robby Naish, carving , slashing, bumping, exhilarating; the greatest cross playfield ever.

In the middle of the session, something final happened though. As I was water-starting, a strong gust flipped me over with the sail. As I pulled back the sail out of the water, the aspect of it immediately caught my eye: the main panel was broken from side to side; this would probably mean the end of life of a great sail. I still continued planning for over two hours with a bit less power and trying to make the most out of my last moments with this very dear object of mine.

Now, let us have a couple of minutes to remember the amazing moments and untold exploits this piece of composite mylar equipment had survived. Born in 2004, fresh out of a Severne Australian workshop, it has been shipped to the other side of the planet, France to meet its new master. It wasn’t me, I was just a very poor student and I couldn’t afford a 1200 AUD new sail. Its life started quite rough on the northern beaches of France and it made an encounter with a picket fence which brought a few scratches at the top. Also, this being the first model of Severne Blade, the stitching of the luff was quite bad and it already started to have a few holes, although this wasn’t affecting the shape in any way. I picked it up in 2005 for 250 EUR as a bargain, his owner doubting of the quality of the young Australian brand. From then, we had so many sessions, it is impossible to count. Love at first sight, its power and drivability enchanted me. I almost went lost at sea with it, so much I didn’t want to stop sailing offshore. I was picked up by a monohull when the wind dropped off 3 miles from the shore. One day, while coming back to the shore after another lousy session without wind, the shore break grabbed the sail and pounded hundred of kilos of water over it. It resulted in the clew  being in pieces and several panels to replace. The little sewing lady I brought it to did an amazing job and saved my holidays. I was back on the water with it again. Then came years in storage in my parents shed, while I was travelling all over the world; wondering  if I would ever windsurf ever again with my beautiful fluro yellow and silver sail. In 2010, I bought her big sister (5.3m2) and had a few more sessions before heading to Asia and then Australia. There I met the magician of my childhood dreams and thanks to him I brought back this cleverly assembled piece of plastic to the water where it had been initially designed, Australia. From there, paradise sailing in Moreton Island, Port Stephens and even  New Caledonia, Ouvea. So many sessions with it and so many good moments. I have had other 5.0 m2 but they all have resigned early, not this one. The stitching all over it had gone a bit scraggly and I knew that the day would happen when I would have to say goodbye. It finally reached its climax at Hill Inlet and seriously, for any windsurf sail in the world, that would probably be the best place to caress the wind one last time.

Lure fishing, Prospecting, and a Treasure hunt.

Maybe it would be time to write randomly of some of the activities we do when we are not in the water. However, I won’t name each of the locations where we did such activities because as the fishing spots are sometime not divulgated, the good prospecting and caves exploring are better kept secret, at least not on internet for everyone to ruin it.

Still with our habits from Tasmania, where fishes competed to bite the lures, we spent literally hours rock fishing, beach casting, dinghy trolling, without having much success. Ben got a few stripeys and I brought back a blue tusk fish. Very weird as the bones are bright blue but it had very firm flesh and mild flavor, very good eating indeed.

We’ve got some good fun though: while walking on South Percy Island, we spotted a 5 or 6 HUGE stingrays (3 meters long at least and 1.5 meter wide) and twenty or more reef sharks right next to the beach in the shallow water at thigh deep. Not listening to Ben, I cast my favorite lure toward the deep water and there; as soon as the lure touched the water; a good size Queen fish grabbed it. All excited, I started winding it when Kaboom, a shark sized the Queen fish in distress (quite expected, Ben said…). Not really understanding what I was doing but really resolved to get my lure back , I start fighting the shark on my light gear. I mean, it was quite a fight, and I really thought I could eventually land that shark. But when the shark saw the beach (1 meter for the edge), he suddenly realized what was going on and turn straight back at sea with all the force that a 1 meter shark can have. There was no stopping it, for sure, and I watch my line whizzed on my reel while apparently screaming to Ben “cut the line, aaaaah cut the line). Ben laughed a lot. The line eventually broke at the trace and my beautiful lure was gone forever.

I also got bruises on my ribs for holding the rod with quite a catch on the line. The adrenalin surge of it was fun though. SO if you find a 15 cm lure, turquoise blue, silver/yellow and red on the bottom, deep/average diver 1.5 m, mullet shaped with squiggly eyes, please send it back to me….. Anyway, I stopped fishing because I lost 3 lures in just 48 hours fishing, 2 to sharks and the third one because I forgot to lose the brake, on its first cast, new from the shop….

While we were in Tasmania looking for rocks, I read a bit (a lot) about geology and what kind of rocks are to be found next to gold. Ok, that might sound crazy, but there is a lot of gold in Australia, people are still living from it, and it’s fun to try to understand the geology of a place when you newly arrive. Also fossicking and beach combing can be quite rewarding on islands where only a handful of people go, and even less actually wander around and look the right way. Anyway, cutting down the suspense, I found a couple of very interesting things: clear transparent quartz crystals coming straight out of the rocks from the “nursery” and jade. The quartz crystals were from boulders right on the beach. I followed the veins of white quartz , looking around at each irregularities (oxide patterns) and change in color. I finally found a “nursery”, the white granite rock was hosting something if you look the right way. The color, sand white, was changing to bright red to dark red then black (coal). In the hollow in the middle, tens of quartz crystal had formed, some as big as the last knuckle of my little finger. I used my knife to harvest them. I followed the tracks and got about 50 of those crystals. I didn’t harvest them all, at all. There was hundreds of nurseries and thousand of crystal if you knew where to look. I got just the ones I liked. I admit I felt bad to take from a natural environment stones that had taken hundred of years, thousand of years to grow under such high pressure. I finally got a very big one, as big as my thumb . I mean, you can find stones like this in any hippie shop and they probably worth a couple of bucks each. But it’s not the same thing if you find them yourself. Also, in this special spot, there are good chances to find gold (because of the amount of quartz and the purity of it), but we didn’t have time to play and pan the beach. I will go back though, in the mean time I got a nice sample which I’d like to get analyzed.

For the jade, it was a lot easier. It was on the beach, little pieces of very green stuff, a little bit fibrous varying in color from an opaque green turquoise kind of ceramique to a translucid algae green on top of a harder stone. It’s nephriite, the tender kind of jade, not so precious and not so rare either, but quite pretty. The veins were there, going straight down the beach. I got some from the veins directly but it was quite crumbly. The advantage of picking them after they got washed by the waves is that the erosion process keeps only the harder (purer) material and also gives it a natural polish.

What else interesting did we found? One day, as we were exploring some unnamed island; we went down a protected secret little rocky beach stuck between two huge cliffs, 30 meters high. The access was new and only possible as the erosion had crumbled a large portion of dirt and stones. At mid-height, a dark opening was continuing long inside the cliff. This cave had a high ceiling, 5-6 meters high in a A-frame form and was quite narrow , 1.5 meter wide. This tunnel was continuing for 50 meters inside the rock and some hint gave away that sometimes the sea washes there: the floor was soft mud and a polystyrene body bard had been pushed far inside. A nest of swallows guarded the entry and when Ben shined on the ceiling over our heads, the thousand of pearls from condensation, forming over a yellow lichen were gleaming like gold spread in flakes. On the background the sea was growling as if some sort of wild animal was momentarily allowing us to visit its den.  Dusk was setting and we still continue down on the stone beach to see if anything of interest had washed off. There was a wreck, many pieces of a large boat, maybe a fishing trawler, quite old. On a corner, Ben called me as he pointed out the pink orange yellow glint of a large piece of riveted brass/copper. We unearthed it, pushing the hundred of smooth rocks that had buried it and polished it. It was quite big and heavy, some part of an old boiler maybe. My first reaction was it would worth a bit of money but there was no way we would take the risk of carrying it back over the crumbled stones, the cumbersome weight would make it dangerous. But more important than this, it was a piece of a wreck, apart  from the fact that having a piece of wreck on Inara could be bad luck, who would really want to stole away some part of history just to give it to a metal wrecker? So we left it there, happy to have discovered a treasure and satisfied that we will not be greedy in stealing some piece of heritage. Not completely pirates, then.

Welcome back to Paradise, Lady Musgrave Island, a symbol.

Once in Sydney, we were resolved to get jobs and go back to a monotone life of savings, selling 50 hours of your life for a bargain and spending 100 hours per week to recover from this. Unfortunately, it was quite cold and life was hard. The Hawkesbury was magnificent but the down side was that the sun went behind the hill at 3pm and up in the morning at 9 am. As we depend on solar panels for our electricity (no much wind in the gorges), our batteries were quite low. We started worrying that this lack of charging might destroy them. After having met with a happy sailing couple well inspired to go north, we decided to follow the crowd and up north we set our sails. We sailed back to Port Stephens. It was best sail ever, beam reach, averaging 15 knots on the last part of the trip, we smoked the distance by covering 74 miles in 6 hours. Inara top speed record on our GPS is now officially 21.3 knots.

We stayed in Port Stephens a week, catching up with friends and family then we hurried up to Brisbane: in 17 hours we were in Coffs Harbour where we slept 6 hours. Then, we did a great sail of 24 hours to arrive in Redcliffe around 1 pm the following day. It was Ben’s Birthday and his mum was delighted by this quick and unexpected arrival… surprise! We literally got “Inara lag” as the temperatures in Brisbane were in the mid 20’s when just two days before the thermometer was barely going more than 15C. The 48 hours rally to Brisbane was done under layers and layers of clothing (very cold at sea) that we had to discard very quickly (back to bare torso for Benny) as soon as we dropped the pick in the murky waters of Scarborough (North Brisbane).

We left Scarborough on the 04/08. We arrived at Airlie beach on the 06/09. Here follow the list of anchorages we stopped to in just a month, just to give you an idea how it is be on the move and how sometimes it’s difficult in the morning to remember for a couple of seconds where exactly you are on planet Earth: (in brackets are the alternative names)

– Double Island Point.

– Big woody Island (Fraser Island/Sandy straits)

– Burnetts Heads

– Lady Musgrave

– 1770 / Agnes Waters

– Pancake creek (Bustard head lighthouse)

– Yellow Patch (Cape Capricorn)

– Hummocky Island

– Yeepoon

– Fresh water Bay/ cliff point

– Pearl Bay

– Island head creek

– South Percy Island

– Middle Percy Island

– Scawfell Island

– Brampton Island

– Thomas Island

– Airlie Beach

A lot of Islands, a lot of adventures, so I dunno where to start….

I guess, I will start by writing about what this blog announce as a title: windsurfing; the good spots, what we were expecting to do, what we really did.

First, Double Island Point.

This is a famous headland at the end of Rainbow beach. The name comes from the particular form of the headland, cut in the middle by a large saddle oriented SSE, it seems from the sea that they are two islands. It’s a anchorage for SSE winds a bit rolly as the swell wraps around. There is a lagoon we used to anchor in at high tide but last time we checked, the channel had been closed. We’ve been dreaming of having the right conditions to finally windsurf on that spot (we tried 3 times). Either we have been very unlucky, either the saddle doesn’t let enough wind through it; we actually never managed to touch the water with our boards there. The main reason being that each time a system quite strong was forecasted, and we had to move along with Inara in the safe haven of the sandy straits. Double Island point seems promising, though: clear crystal water, waves around the point break of the headland, and a huge run parallel to rainbow beach with waves and swell all along it. It looks that it would be secure too: if you break something, you’ll end up on the beach where one of the tens of 4×4 always driving on that beach can pick you up.

So we continued our way up north, we skipped Hervey Bay, another prospective good windsurfing spot. But you can access easily with a car in this one and it’s a really touristy place. Moreover, we were not so enthusiast at the prospect of avoiding the whales who crowd the place at this season. Imagine planning at 25/30 knts flat out and see right in front of you a moving island flicking its tail to get rid of the unlucky windsurfer as if it was a fly… I’m sure there is also the risk to get a fine for disturbing a wild protected animal in its natural habitat.

We finally stopped for a few days at Lady Musgrave, our favorite BenAnna activities spot. Hurrah, the board (we only rigged Ben’s board for that one) did finally touch the water. It was a very light breeze (10-12 knts), quite fluky so we didn’t go into planning much but just riding that perfect turquoise lagoon water was a treat. The following calm days were filled with plenty of spearfishing where Ben got all the honors for a coral trout and a stripey while I kept hitting bare coral. Far were the days (2 weeks) when we had to hide under mounts of clothes and triple scarves. We won back our natural brown color and happy salty hair in a couple of days surrounded by this natural entertainment place which is Lady Musgrave lagoon, hundreds of meters of live reef, scores of fishes, turtles, a few sharks and devils rays.

The island in itself was quiet at this time of year and I missed the thousands of terns and the hundreds of turtles which come nesting during summer. Lady Musgrave is the perfect symbol for life, a balanced ecosystem, and the magic of Darwinian evolution: The trees on the island are born from the guano of the sea birds. In return they hoist the pairs by bearing their nests and therefore allow the chicks to grow up. But not only. The trees have developed a sticky sap which tangle itself to the feathers of any bird staying on the ground, too weak to stand on the branches. So the weak and old birds die and feed the tree which can grow taller and hoist more nests. And only the strong birds survive which ensure the breed to obtain good genetic characteristics. They are no predators on this island. This is so perfect, the birds are born on this island, migrate, come back and pair several times and then when they are too old, they still serve a purpose for the future generation. They are recycled. Life and death entwined together in an infinite circle.

I stop rambling  and I’ll go on. We left our paradise as a good windsurfing breeze was forecast from the north (20-25 knts). We didn’t quite trust staying in the lagoon for that sort of winds and we wanted to check a prospective good spot for our favorite activity in 1770. As it happened we should have stayed in Lady Musgrave to windsurf our heads off. The tide was low in the middle of the day at 1770, there is a lot of current and oysters on the sides, the sand bank that leads to the sea shore (we were anchored in the river) is at least 800 m long and soft; it would be painful to carry the gear on such a distance (yes we are sissies, we want to windsurf from the back of our boat). We decided that it was a terrible spot to windsurf, too narrow, too murky, too full of kitesurfers. This is quite a good spot for kitesurfing by the way, you can’t go too far and plenty of people can watch you.

Anyway, I reckon Pancake creek and the Yellow patch are way better spots for windsurfing, especially at high tide. Unfortunately, the wind wasn’t there so we walk around the bustard Head lighthouse, picked up and juiced a great amount of prickly pears for vitamin C. Aouch my fingers.

By then, our stores were dwindling a bit so we replenished at Yeepoon, thanks to Dan and Liz, and up we were for our next adventures.

Riding around in south NSW.

This is the last post of the winter adventures down south. Essentially I will try to be succinct and honest without pushing the truth too far or use too many superlatives. So dot by dot the places we really liked and the things to do there.

– Eden and Two Folds Bay: With a name like this you either get yourself ready to be disappointed or enchanted. For us the latter took over. Eden is a small town, not too far from Victoria but quite detached from the main highway. Situated on top of a hill, you will be sure to enjoy good exercise every time you want to do your laundry, replenish the boat in food, send postcards or just give in to eat a hamburger. The view is top, at 360 degrees showing the large deep bay where many yachts are anchored (terrible spot for westerlies). At Eden there are free hot public showers (accessible at the jetty/marina) which allow you to warm yourself for an endless 2 minutes and then see you scrubbing for 30 seconds until you can start the hot water again. Fair enough, this is quite efficient to save the town money and to avoid than people abuse this wonderful service cherished by yachties and travellers. Hot showers might seem ludicrous but when we were there, temperatures were in the maximum 18-20C during the day, so a good warming up was very welcome.

Eden is famous for its Killer Whale Museum where it exposes the story from the beginning of the 20th century when orcas and humans were hunting whales in a cooperative fashion. This “tradition” and hunting technique seems to have been inherited from aboriginal customs. Unfortunately, the symbiosis stopped after one of the hunter had hurt the male Orca lead, Tom, causing the latter to loose a tooth and leading him to his death by infection. This accident unsurprisingly was caused by the greediness of the man who wouldn’t leave the whale have the “tongue price”, which was the only thing the orcas were after; following the kill of the whale. The orcas were never seen again fishing with men or even visiting Two Folds bay. Out of guilt and remorse, the town built the Museum where Tom skeleton is exposed and his deeds are celebrated. Curiously, nothing of the final accident that led to Tom death is mentioned in the Museum. The Museum is quite famous now and it is the main source of income for the town: buses of tourists and grey nomads stop there by the truckload. It’s a very good Museum indeed, worth every cents of the entry fee.

For the ones that love outdoor, the Ben Boyds National Park is ideal. It offers a large choice of walks (or MTB for us), along the foreshore to discover this area full of history through the eccentricities of Ben Boyds. The Tower, never used as a lighthouse is reputedly haunted. Bittangabee, is a heaven hidden in the midst of the national park. Finally, Green Cape has a historical lighthouse and from there you can admire a full section of the coast never touched by civilization. The extreme south-eastern corner of Australia looks very attractive for survival camps and Bear Grills aficionados, its unspoiled wilderness extends endlessly for hundreds of kilometers. Have a look in Google Earth.

What else in Eden? Well, it is full of bell birds, filling the anchorage with their endless calls echoing as thousands of tiny golden bells. It can get to your nerves after a few days but it’s lovely. There is an great sea swimming pool on the main beach on the other side of town where pink granite overhang over a crystal clear sand filled bath while the foamy waves are lazily licking the rocks around it.If I have an advice about Eden: go there while you can a.s.a.p., because they are planning to built a gigantic ugly marina where the old cannery used to be. Therefore, there will be no more clear water on the anchorage (probably no possibility to anchor in front of the marina anyway), no more bell birds, no more melancholic old jetty full of delicious mussels that you can pick for free. They will ruin it, they will sell it and then they will forget how such a piece of paradise it was.

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Bermagui

A beautiful anchorage for very shallow draft boats. We were anchored in the main river in the middle of the sand bank which leaves 1m depth at low tide. Perfect for Inara, this clear water river does not have many fishing boats passing through as the main marina/boat ramp is down the stream. Also Bermagui doesn’t have any maritime officer (delegated to Narooma), so we were not harassed by any cowboy desirous to spend his frustration on innocent yachties. Bermagui has an excellent coffee shop and bakery, a very nice atmosphere, MTB tracks very close from the anchorage and an endless network of trails in the national park adjacent filled by the songs of highly inspired lyre birds. It is criss-crossed by hidden little creeks (probably full of gold also). The track along the shore goes to the Wallaga mountain where gold used to be mined. You can still visit the old gold mine. We did so, with a group of elderly tourists all around 75 years old. I owed Ben so many apologies (crepes making) for insisting on taking the tour. We ended up “escaping” it at half visit scared and reminiscing memories from another gold mine and another zombie story. At the bottom of Wallaga Mount, there is a vast lake and it seems to be another area where MTB riding is promising. We spent a full week in Bermagui, not feeling the weight of time, really enjoying each single day.

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Narooma

A dump. Bad maritime officer. Crappy anchorage, terrible town scared by the highway, no good bakery or coffee shop, horrendous overbuilt foreshore, food replenishment made difficult because far from the water.

The goods things: Great trails for MTB and bicycle paths everywhere. A kitsch little arty cinema in the middle of the town. The seals that bake themselves on the main rockwall just 10 meters away from you.

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Ulladula

A tiny, ridiculous cute little harbour. Next to the road. Excellent anchorage, very shallow (1m draft). Next to the road (downside) but extra close to Woolworth, Coles, Aldi (accross the road) The best spot for replenishing on the south coast AND heaps of delicious restaurants (especially Thai restaurant). We only stayed one night.

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Jervis bay

Beautiful if it wasn’t for the huge Naval base with warships that go back and forth all day across the bay for training. And at night, they fire bombs. Very good MTBing around the numerous tracks in the National Park on the south side. The Green Patch is an absolutely gorgeous place. They have hot showers at the National Park camping facilities. Free access for yachties. 🙂 Otherwise,not much more can be said, the towns around the bay are as boring as the weather we got while there: raining most of the days for 2 weeks. Cold, wet ghuuuh…

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Finally my favorite place in the NSW coast: the Hawkesbury river.

There is nothing that can prepare you for the amazement of this labyrinth of gorges accessible from the sea so easily and most of it inaccessible by vehicle. The cliffs of sandstone abruptly covet kilometers of calm waters full of fishes, abundance of streams, caves, rocky bluffs and even waterfalls. We anchored Inara in front of one, very special. The downside is the proximity of Sydney which provides a huge number of boats. The upside is that even if Sydney is close, there is not one soul living on this land. This is mostly National Parks apart from a few tiny clusters of preposterous mansions officiating as weekenders for the rich and famous. “To live happy, let’s live hidden” as a French saying goes.

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And I can’t resist. The worst place ever in the Eastern Australian coast I have ever been in: Batemans bay. There is absolutely nothing worthy of writing I can tell you about Batemans bay. The worst rock and rolly anchorage, no access to the foreshore, busy road accross the river, weekender place for Canberrans.

To finish still on a happy note, NSW was great. It kept us healthy, we did heaps of walking and riding. We almost were not bothered by the Maritime officers. It was cold, each dip in the water was a treat but we really enjoyed it.

Flinders Island, why it left us speechless.

The temperatures starting to drop down; (It was May by then), we quickly decided to make our way up North; but first we HAD to stop at Flinders Island. You see, someone very close from us (he will recognize himself, he likes amphibians and two accessory floats for the main hull. :D); had been lobbying the last three years or so on how Flinders Island was “sooooo beautiful”, that it was a jewel undiscovered, that it was THE place to be in the whole world, so pure, so pristine, so depopulated.

We passed close to Waterhouse Island and it seemed a pretty place with a homestead, a cattle farm and absolute pristine water but unfortunately we couldn’t stay as the wind was forecasted to change and the anchorage wasn’t protected enough.

Our first stop in Flinders was Trousers point which beams crystal clear waters (you would think it’s tropical in the pictures) and the Mount Strezlecki National Park less than 5 km away. We climbed the 760m of the roof of Flinders, a very nice walk which takes you quickly to the top through eucalypt and fern tree forests. Heaps of wildlife everywhere, wombats and wallabies, we saw the endangered swift parrot.

On the way north (Flinders is about 50 km long) we stopped at Whitemark for replenishing (Aaouch for the prices) and bled ourselves in the luxury of getting a second gas bottle (twice the normal price). We were anxious that we would run out of gas. The temperatures being under 10C during the night, our evenings were spent baking all sorts of delicacies (potatoes, cheese, bacon). Whitemark sports a bakery, a little tiny grocery store, a butcher, a pub, a coffee shop, a tool shop, newspaper/tourist shop, and the post office share the office with the bank. All of it is over-priced. This is the capital of Flinders Island, 50 souls (including the pets).

Then we strolled along toward Marshal Bay where we visited the Furneaux Museum (really interesting actually) which enlighten us with the display of the trade of the baby muttons bird. So young… their parents having spent so much energy to come back from the other side of the world and fed them tons of fish. All of this, for them finishing prematurely snatched out of their burrow by a human who will eat their meat, transform their feathers in pillow and squeeze the oil out of their gland to make hand cream…..unless a nice tiger snake inhabits the hole…..

Also Flinders Island has an endless count of shipwrecks…. Not surprising when you see the treacherous rocks all around and the non less vicious wind which takes a malicious pleasure to turn around at 360 in 24 hours…. Many human stories finished exposed in the museum.

We also stopped next to Roydon Island and in Killicrankie Bay. In the latter, we missed our last weather window for departure because I absolutely wanted to hunt for topaz gems which are abundant on the beaches. I found a few but the cost of them will stay forever in my frozen bones: it was cold, very very cold. The coldest being the night in Killicrankie, when the thermometer painfully rose to a little more than 4C in a full moon night. As a result, the sea steamed and threw itself in vapors to the sky as many white flames wanting to lick the ivory pale globe. The dark ominous accidental lines of the mountains on the background were only adding to the tragic stillness of the night.

We hurried back south of the island as a serious westerly gale was forecast. The Bureau of Meteorology has a color scale for their forecast: light blue for light wind, blue and green for a good sailing breeze, orange for a gale, bright red for storm wind. On our forecast screen, the next 10 days were showing from bright red to dark red (50 knts+// very very bad for you) all around us with patches of black, where BoM doesn’t even want to give you a forecast.

Anyway, we holed up on the beach in Badger Corner, next to Froggy (Dan’s trimaran). Inara was like a spider in a web: 3 big ropes to 3 trees and 2 stern anchors. But when the first bullet hit, we felt it hard. A good 45 knots hammered us at high tide and we were praying for our system to work because Froggy was just behind us (it first hit from the N-NW then went W). Luckily, we were pointing into it and we watched Froggy, 20 meters behind us, take the hit on its side. As a result it heeled a bit on his leeward float but stayed the right way up. For the ones that know the boat, you would remember that it has been very unlucky and have already found itself the wrong way up. Anyway, 10 very gloomy days followed with maximum temperatures at 8C. The condensation inside the boat was impossible to bear, it was dripping everywhere like inside a cave. We had good times though. One of them:  watching Dan trying to light his fireplace inside his boat. The wind was so gusty and so strong that the smoke simply refused to go through the normal way, i.e the chimney. So we would witness smoke coming out from all the hatches on Froggy, Dan coughing and sputtering, but not a plume of grey wisp out of the normal exit.

Every day brought his shares of screaming banshees hurling themselves spinning onto the sea, bringing havoc on the surface of the water, deadly Eerie Walkyries. Every night brought his shares of cheeky giants toying with our masts, with their clumsy hands, shaking and banging as if to check if we would finally have fallen asleep. I highly recommend Flinders Island in a western gale for a resort you would send your worst enemies to. It was entertaining though to monitor the wind instruments on the airport clocking 74 Knts at a time. We thought that 40 knts where we were was quite protected.

Thankfully, some of Dan’s friends kindly let us use their car (we had to ride our bicycle around the bottom of Strelezcki to get to the car, a great 8km ride); so we could get supplies, hot chips, and drive around to use the car heater mainly.

When the gale stopped, everything went back to its monotonous normality. And that’s why it left us so speechless, despite all the fantastic boulders, sightseeing, abundance of fishes, rarity of people, Flinders Island miss something. It’s barren in its soul and you have the feeling that human species is not welcome here, everything is too salty, nothing would grow and the fantastic horizontal light for photography at the end leaves you depressed.  The granite are prominent and the bushes rugged. It’s an island of hardship with all the inconveniencies of an island (remote, expensive, impossible to find anything) and none of its advantages (there are still too many people, you can’t go swimming, you can’t live on the foreshore).

At the end, it’s hard to really grasp the general feeling of loneliness that Flinders Island communicates.  Everyone on this island seems a bit out of place, rough individuals and lonely. Flinders Island is just the place they ended up. There are no dreams, just rain and cows. We had some adventures still, and at the top are the following ones: we discovered a large old Whale carcass, we saw the highly endangered Cape Barren Geese, we spied on penguins going back to their burrow at night, we collected and ate delicious Abalones, we fished Australian salmons, and started a collection of micro colorful shells out of boredom. And if one day you’ll find yourself there out of incredible luck (or not), don’t miss out the best view at the Lady Barron pub eating scallops.

The Ghost Trawler and Tasmanian Adventures

After our landing in Flinders Island, we headed toward Badger Island where we scored three big flathead in less than a couple of hours and sighted not less than seven fishes. They were very playful and responded handsomely to the lures. Good fun.

We then made sail for Bridport. From there, we were visiting Ben’s family, his aunts and especially his nan; who is a cricket fan (the ICC was then on);a very amazing person, strong minded and amazingly alert being 97 years old.

So Inara was landed on the beach in Bridport. We were spending most of the day at the family house. Bridport is a small town which sport a caravan park, a salmon farm, few shops but nonetheless a fishing activity on the decline. The ferry for Flinders Island (loaded with cattle) leaves from there several times a week. The creek being quite narrow and shallow we had no other choice than getting out of the way of the steel barge that sometimes run aground even at high tide. With the cows onboard panicking and carrying on, it’s somewhat funny, a pure glimpse of Tasmania.

Other things are less glamorous though. For example, at some times on Saturdays, the water of the creek turns as black as coal and thick even at high tide just next to the salmon farm. Curiously, we never have seen any sign of fish, bait fish or even normal proof of life in this creek… The soldiers crabs are very few and look a bit sick. Even if the water is very clear most of the days, the global feeling is very similar to Moreton bay. Highly contaminated from the farms… But apparently EPA doesn’t have a strong word in Tasmania.

Anyway, a couple of days before the very important match (ICC) between India and Australia, we came back at night to our boat. A Westerly change was forecast this night with winds in the 25-30 knots range.

We noticed another boat was beached 500 meters far from us downstream to the northwest. This fishing trawler didn’t seem of any threat at all being very far.

Yes but….

Around 1 am, the change kicked in, just at the top of the tide (Murphy Law). Strong winds and battering rain (and probably some instinct) pulled Ben out of bed (I usually stay nice and warm buried under mounts of blankets) to check if the anchor was holding alright. We were then floating in 1.5 meters of water. Behind us, 25 meters away, was a big solid wooden pole delimitating the channel. I wasn’t too worried, we have a good anchor and those blows usually last just over half an hour.

When, all sudden, I hear the voice of Ben panicked (extremely  rare, my skipper being of the cool headed sort):

“Anna, come on deck, the trawler, it’s gonna get us!”

SHIT!

Before I understand how, in a quarter of a second, I am in the cockpit, naked and shivering while the rain was drawing curtains all around us. I wasn’t cold though; so much my heart was racing. I could make out clearly the ominous dark form coming straight toward us at 2 knots, pushed by the tide and the shrieking wind. Thirty tons of screaming unforgivable metal with no one onboard which was aiming to grab our anchor pin us against the pole and reduce us to splinters in the blink of the eye. Absolutely nothing could be done and both our heads were racing to find a solution in the longest 20 seconds of our sailing life. Already our body were running around setting the outboards and getting ready for impact. I was on the verge of crying, praying, busting for a miracle to happen when suddenly Ben exclaims with relief, joy and emotion (also very unlikely, him being of the reserved sort):

“It’s gonna miss us, oh my God, It’s missing us!!!”

And it did. Against all odds, the current and the wind sightly pushed the Abomination and it passed just a couple of meters away from our delicate shiny sterns. That’s when you know that both our mums have been sacrificing to the right gods to grant us safe life at sea. When you think that you did well to release such and such fish and somewhere maybe someone is counting for all the bit of plastic you have been fishing out of the ocean.

That’s when the air seems lighter and the rain warm even when it is actually icy. This great feeling of immense gratitude directed towards everything on Earth for sparing Inara.

We watched the Thing going into the main stream of the flowing creek, turned around a couple of times before it hit the river bank on the other side. It hung there, looking as it wanted a second go at us, revengeful and full of hatred for nice shiny looking fast catamarans.

After a couple of hours watching the tide starting to recede, we finally were convinced that it couldn’t come back toward us and grind us to pieces. We went back to bed. I was seriously praying for this Horror to either sink (and block the ferry, haha), either to be taken out at sea with the ebbing tide and never be heard of, ever again. It would only have been fair for the owner.

Oh, did I mention that the owner DID NOT PUT ANY ANCHORS OUT WHILE BEACHING!!!???

He just let that Monstrosity on the beach, on its own, with absolutely no anchors, while a westerly change was forecast and went back to his home to warm his feet to the fire. Nooo Wooorries maaaate…!!! What a moron!

Anyway, in the early hours of the morning, we heard a huge splash. The Bloody trawler was back in the water for God’s sake! It had fallen from the high bank it was hanging to. A nice fall of two meters that put it a bit on its side and it started taking water. Finally!!!! Yeaaah!!!

Alas, the tide was still ebbing and before the water had finished its work on burying this mountain of worries, the owner was back. He was quite surprised, the damn fellow to find his boat taking the water on the other side of the river. “How this can possibly happen?” he might have thought.

Ben went to have a serious talk with him but he quickly realized the depth of the guy’s wits when he sheepishly announced:

“Well, back in the days, we used to beach it there and it wouldn’t go anywhere.”

Yeah sure, and back in the day, the tides were smaller too?

Anyway, he eventually emptied the water out of his boat and put it back afloat. And then he beached it on the exact same spot, a bit on higher ground. He put an anchor out, a small one. Ben went to give him a tide chart and he also he told him that the tides were going to the neap tide, meaning the range was getting smaller. We put Inara a bit higher, just to  be sure that we would be out of reach for the Monster. We missed the very important cricket match India VS Australia because we were so worried for Inara, so we stayed aboard (with the radio on the cricket though…)

The obvious thing happened: His boat didn’t float on the next high tide and neither on the following one. After being a great Danger for the creek users, it was stuck for good!

But the story doesn’t stop here, for the next three following days, the owner brought a huge pump and he literally dug his boat out of the beach, moving hundred of kilos of sand. Finally, it worked and the Thing left a huge hole of 10 X 3 meters in the sandbank.

Ben joked saying “You think he will tie his boat to the jetty or just leave it there without any mooring line thinking that it would be alright?”.

Apart from this, I fell in love with Tasmania. I mean : “Waaahoo!!!”. This island gives you so much a feeling of freedom and wilderness; the air is sooooooo clean, the wildlife is everywhere, there are creeks at every corner and mountains tickling the horizon. There is also a strong spirit of self sustainability, largely increased these last decade, so you can find locals dairies (cheese, yogurt), veggies grown by the amish, free range everything, RAW honey and a larger range of organic products than on the continent. And all the fruits that we get in Europe (similar climate), and the seafood and so on….

What about the TASMANIANS though? Well, they sure are not the best welcoming people on Earth. But you can’t really hold a grudge against them when you consider that most of them live in semi isolation in farms or acreages and that they go through a very hard winter copping with all those westerlies coming from the Antarctic…. Brrrr…. And if they all look alike, it’s because they are not so many cousins you can actually marry. (hahaha) Joke apart, I think they are two very distinct categories of people in Tasmania: the farmers/ loggers/ miners and the hippies/ greenies/alternative genre. They have fought well for twenty years now, but in the last years, I would say the second group (which I like a lot) is having the upper hand.

Anyway, with all of that, Tasmania has a plethora of National Parks (none of them free by the way, but we usually never enter through a door; coming from the water; so, we don’t pay). And also Tasmania has this delicate trendy development taste for eco-tourism; in their first priorities: MOUNTAIN BIKING !!!! YEAHHH!!

Oh yeah, I forgot to explain: the BenAnna Team is an “Aquatic” team in … Summer (or when the temperature is over 20C in the water) with plenty of windsurfing, spearfishing, snorkeling, fishing. But in… Winter, we change our coats and we jump our MTB 29er that we love so much.

It happens that they built the ultimate last MTB complex in Derby, Tasmania. They did it for the Worl wide Cup in May 2015 and it opened in February. We were there in April…. J. Just awesome, there is no other word for it. The complete loop is around 20 km, taking you through not less than 5 different types of forests. The track is PERFECT with heaps of obstacles, boulder riding, bumps,  jumps, rock garden, mud and an endless succession of smooth beams while going down. It’s unbelievable the work they have done through such a beautiful valley, culminating at the top around the 200-300 m climb, a stream in the middle, gullies with tree ferns, huge massive eucalypts several centuries old. A day there and it’s a journey you would never forget.

What else happened in Tasmania worth saying…? Heaps, but I will shorten this post already long. We caught up with a friend and went walking up to the Myall waterfall and then to the plateau. A good hike, the top being at 1600 m. We came back knacked, well past dark.

Oh and Port Sorel. At the moment it’s probably the most probable place I would think of, if I was buying a block of land. It’s just awesome. A nice clear river, sea anchorage, national park around, the best French bakery up to now, wildlife absolutely EVERYWHERE and the state reserve free of people up to the Tamar river. Briggs reserve is criss crossed by trails, forest trails, and fire trails, pretty hilly, awesome mountain biking. There is NO ONE (no car allowed, and no tourists hiking as the smallest loop is 20km); it’s not advertised, it so beautiful and perfect.

Anyway, I loved Tasmania and I am looking forward to go back there. Here are some of the animals we had the chance seeing while there: Wombats, Potorroos, Benett’s wallaby, Echnidae, Yellow Wattle birds, King Parrot, Tiger snake.

WHY IS IT SO MUCH BETTER TO LIVE ON A SAILBOAT

Most people look at boats with marvel and dream; or as the symbol of wealth for someone who can spend it on superfluous. Almost no one consider that they could be the best sustainable and exciting home than one can have. The reasons for this being that most of the people are afraid of the sea, afraid of being seasick, afraid of the cost and more than anything afraid of the responsibility.  A great amount of persons also don’t actually know that you could live perfectly well on a sail boat, they just never have thought of it. Boats can be scary, unsafe, dark, moldy, rotten, complicated and unusual.

A lot of people also have a problem with their image and they can’t imagine setting themselves out of the herd; them; for whom suburbia is the quintessence of social achievement, pretenting to themselves that “they couldn’t afford anything else”.

Living on a boat and enjoying is MAGIC, literally. It is as rewarding financially as it is inspiring philosophically. You see so many things with an exceptional point of view from a sail boat. Starting with the light and the feeling of space which are unique compared to the life on land. You will be able to see the horizon most of the days and the confinement inside the craft is largely superseded by all the space available all around you. Even better, the organization required to live on a sail boat gives a secure feeling because each item has a place and a use. There should not be too much superfluous aboard and if you allow yourself a bit of non essential items (my paintings for example); they really feel being a treat.

The light will be an important part of your life because you will witness every sunrise and every sunset each day. It will be normal for you to awake with the shimmering reflections of the water painting themselves inside the hull through a window. You will feel the slightest change in the breeze and the smallest variation of atmospheric pressure. The birds will sometimes display unusual habits just because you see them all the time and you will notice small things that researchers on a short field trip would have no idea about. We saw a group of pigeons developing a taste for fishing copying sea eagles, for example.

You will live with the weather forecast constantly. It is not just useful for a social chitchat; you will actually understand the weather changes and see them coming a long way ahead when you consult the weather maps.

There are so many places that you will have the chance to discover from the coast. Better even, you will witness the reality of distances travelling at a normal pace. Each headland and each island will have a meaning for you and will be remembered. Each anchorage will have a story and a particular flavor. On a boat, you approach so many animals; mammals, fishes and birds; that you feel being part of a wonderful ecosystem where you are only a peaceful spectator.

Whether you believe me or not, you will develop quicker reflexes and an incredible balance (and grace) out of using your internal ear constantly. Catching in flight objects falling from a table out of instinct will impress you and your friends at first but then; you will realize that you are dealing with moving parts all the time.

Your sense of smell will become extremely accurate and sensitive to artificial emissions and human activity. You will be trained to think, to act and not to panic.

Now the tough thing: being salty and cold can be actually fun when you know that you can enjoy a dry towel and a hot cup of tea when you are safely at port. Sailing provides so much adrenaline that when you are surfing down a wave, you will barely notice how cold and wet it can be. You will be too busy laughing your head off.

Modern sailboats nowadays have all amenities onboard including the luxurious oven and the fabulous hot shower. And this is a point that makes life at sea even more worthy: the sense of rationing. Somehow, you enjoy something more when you have a limited quantity of it. Water becomes gold and each times it rains and you tanks are full, you feel rich. Electricity is a luxury and each time your computer is charged you make those minutes counts by getting news from your family and friends.

All these other times, if you have no wind, no water or no friends; you will learn patience and contemplation. This might even stimulate your creative side and your taste for craft, photography or writing. Being unable to do anything on your boat and getting bored only happen if you are very unlucky or very disorganized.

For the ones who dream to have it all; get a sailboat. You will actually own million dollars views all throughout the year without never having to pay the rates for it.

On the cost of life, the obvious still stands: passed the initial investment, if your choice is wise (a seaworthy composite sailing craft); you will spend a maximum of 10 000 AUD per year, maintenance and cost of living included. The water is free as well as the electricity (solar panel and wind generators). The fuel can be almost equal to nothing if you sails when there is wind. It is then a lot easier to get all that great organic food and organic cleaning products to reduce at the maximum your impact on the environment. What’s about work? Well, you will be able to earn your low cost of life anywhere close to the water and relocating for you will be as easy as resigning: hoist your sails and there you go.

So why is there no more young people living aboard? For less than 20 000 AUD, one can find a handful of perfectly seaworthy composite sailboats ready to jump onboard and be sailed along the coast. The word has to get out there, that yes, you can live differently and you will even enjoy the few sacrifices for it.

Finally, it is true that it is not a lifestyle that encourages laziness. From all the wrong concepts out there, the one depicting the sailor as a beach bum, lazy and unwashed, is the most wrong. It requires a lot of work, organization, personal hygiene, anticipation to live full time on a sailboat.

This is exactly the key which makes the magic works: You will enjoy each day because you will have earned each of them.

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