Born to be a sailor

Trip Start Oct 04, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Saturday, January 14, 2006

In 1770 I read Jimmy Buffet's "A Salty Piece of Land" about a cowboy sailing around the Caribbean, so I was really excited to board the British Defender and embark on my own sailing adventure...even if it would only be for three days. I arrived in Airlie Beach, one of the party cities of Australia, ready for anything...and then it started raining. On the morning of the day I was supposed to meet the boat, I checked out of the hostel at 10 and walked up and down the one main street of Airlie in the pouring rain, trying to think of ways to kill time without spending any money and praying to whatever gods that the rain would stop in time for my adventure. And believe it or not, it worked. By the time the twenty of us boarded, the rain had stopped. That first day we had cloudy skies, but at least it wasn't rain, and the storm had left a really strong wind that took us out to our first snorkeling spot on the Great Barrier Reef in two hours. I am proud to say that I helped to raise the mainsail and didn't even feel queasy as we raced along the water at nearly a 90 degree slant. It was really fabulous fun! When we got to our dive spot, we all donned our super sexy stinger suits which are basically full body condoms. One of the deadly Australian creatures is the box jelly fish which, if stung, will kill you before you make it out to the beach. And these little suckers are basically invisible and inhabit the waters of the Whitsunday Islands for six months out of the year. So, I decided that I could handle looking like a complete idiot for a couple hours each day. And it was so worth it. The first place they dropped us off was truly incredible with all different types of coral, all different colors and only a few feet below the surface. Some coral was blue kind of rocky looking, some was orange and looked furry waving in the water, and others were white and looked like some sort of crazy forest of petrified wood. And the fish feeding amongst all of it were amazing, unlike any fish I had ever seen before! There was one that the guides in the area had named Elvis who was at least three feet long and blue and green and black with eyes the size of quarters. The first time I saw him I pretty much freaked out, but then I saw how friendly he was and even got to pet him. It was so surreal. That night, exhausted by the excitement of sailing and the couple hours of snorkeling, I decided to sleep on the deck under the stars and moon that was almost full. And this time it was really amazing and not scary or cold like at Fraser. I didn't see any shooting stars, but just looking up at the stars while listening to the waves crashing on the nearby beach and feeling the rock of the boat as I drifted off to sleep was pretty special. Not something I'll forget anytime soon. The next two days were spent sailing and snorkeling, though no place we went was nearly as stunning as that first one. I kick myself now for waiting to bring my underwater camera till later. But then again, there is something to be said for just enjoying the reef and fish without worrying about capturing them on photo. The whole experience was just about letting go of worries, kicking back, and enjoying the sea, the amazingly clear skies, and the beautiful scenery passing us by. A lot of time was spent lounging around on deck and eating the best food I've had in a really long time. I'm beginning to get a little sick of flavored tuna straight out of the can and peanutbutter sandwiches. I have begun to crave juice more than anything alcoholic. But anyway, back to the boat. It really was a great little trip, one that has made me think that maybe when I run out of money in Europe, it'd be cool to try to work on a boat for awhile. I would definitely love to try out my sealegs and my original plan for my round the world trip that I cooked up while I was walking in the Abel Tasman all that time ago was to go around in a boat. This would be fulfilling at least part of that dream. Though I guess we'll see. Any plans I make seem to change about ten billion times before I actually follow through with them. But no matter what happens, my time aboard the British Defender will always leave a lasting mark...
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dadofdivaboots on

starry nights
it was so good to talk with you tonight...your sailing adventure sounded so nice...i wish i could see you in a body condom...i think we should buy som e land in australia...
love dad

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