30 September 2007

nuther day at the office...

Rocky Isles. Die of jealousy here. Nuff said.

29 September 2007

cape country and crays

Our last day at Cape Melville we motored up the coast a few miles to investigate a freshwater spring ashore. A walk through beautiful country, paperbarks and bloodwoods and long crunchy ochre grasses. The vegetation changed and we were upon a rainforest gully and spring. We stopped so Hector Michael and Des Bowen could tell the boys about their own experiences in this country. We pass a couple of dirt bike riders and a German couple in a four-wheel drive and make our way to the swimming hole. Flat granite slabs and boulders provide a platform for firetruck red wattles abuzz with bumblebees. The water is cool and mineral fresh and everyone gets wet. Little streams escape from nooks and tumble down rock-sides. Dragonflies like red biplanes swoop the waterflows. The older boys go climbing and see a rock wallaby. Ranger Mal tells me this is one of the few places on the Cape where fox palms – the iconic tropical palm tree – are endemic. It’s warming to see the Elders get excited seeing their country and sharing their knowledge. On this morning’s little voyage, softly-spoken Hector Michael pointed out a couple of islands nearby which according to local folklore are a mother dugong and her calf. Des pointed out the delineation between Starke and its northern neighbouring lands whose name I forget. He told the story about the government’s attempted sale of large parcels of land at Starke in America - which became the impetus for The Wilderness Society's lobbying for protection of Cape York. This is the same land he drove cattle through in his younger days. I wonder how much of this knowledge will be retained by the boys. I was impressed by one of the older boys telling E and I about the medicinal use of the milky liquid found in the green ant nest, which can be boiled down and used as a pain reliever. Generally I suspect that much of the traditional knowledge will be lost. I hope I’m wrong.

After the swim we went back to our anchorage so the boys could pack up their camp. They had a final boys fire circle on the beach and returned to the boat. We made dinner early in anticipation of a rough overnight sail into the wind, heading south to Cape Flattery. We were right: it was pretty lumpy (the seas, not dinner!). I managed to cook copious amounts of rice and serve 24 curries from the very hot galley in the chop. I emerged a little green and desperate for air but having done the job. I think being at anchor for three days and going below deck immediately in rough seas did it, but I settled in an hour or so and was fine. Up at 5am for another dawn watch (with full moon) and tea-lady duties as we approached Cape Flattery. We anchored and unloaded the boys, Elders and Hopevale teacher (a dedicated young bloke who chose to spend his holidays with us). Pushed through extreme tiredness to clean the galley and then dropped into bed for a powernap and then up again for a few odd jobs and dinner prep, which required a trip ashore to pick up some fresh crays we were given.

Last night I fed The 7.30 Report / Message Stick crew – rationalisation at the ABC means the same crew produce both programs. The crays were on the small side so I cooked them up into a pasta salad and served this along with a green salad and toasted Turkish bread with pesto. My trepidation at dining with news guys – having not read a paper in a week – was unfounded. Dinner conversation was all jokes and who knows who in the small world of Indigenous communities on the Cape. Jeremy Gaia (very amiable Message Stick reporter) made the mistake of asking where I did my chef’s training. More jokes, this time everyone’s suddenly not hungry. Yes, very funny indeed. I didn’t tell them about the little black bugs I sieved from the pasta (which had been onboard for an indeterminate time). Just made sure I served it with lots of cracked pepper… hehe!

The cooking is lots of fun when it's just the crew. We're all real foodies and skip is committed to ensuring we eat well – organic, free-range and fresh where possible – so I just cook the things I like to eat, which is pretty easy as we’re still stocked with fresh stuff. (They also know their coffee. First mate is head coffee fiend onboard and took personal responsibility for having all the espresso pots reconditioned before we left Cairns!) The holus bolus industrial pot stuff is a different experience. I enjoyed supervising the boys to cook for the entire mob... though we use their provisions so we’re all a bit over moo food and bully beef sandwiches!

Anyway, back to the ABC guys, who are here to document Pelican’s work with the Hopevale community. The film crew came aboard this morning to interview skip (and had their first real coffees since leaving southern capitals). They’ll hang around for a few days and also film us on the day sails. The Message Stick program will probably screen in early 2008. Not sure when or whether the material will find its way to The 7.30 Report.

Free day today. Chose not to go ashore in preference to chilling out on the boat - should be plenty of time yet to go and check out the community camp and hopefully some of the famed silica dunes. After a long-awaited shower, several espresso injections and the media bizzo, I edited skip’s log and contributed photos. Also picked up the el-cheapo nylon-string guitar, which skip acquired in Cairns, for a bit. Lovely nylon.

We saw dolphins from the boat this morning – either Indo-Pacific Humpbacked or Irrawaddy, but they didn’t surface for long enough to be properly identified. Also, skip and second mate sighted a croc round the cape yesterday when they went to get a manifold welded (or something like that). Luckily they were on land at the time and not in the duck. Speaking of ducks, there's a pair of cute little birds hanging round the rigging, which skip just chased out of the sailbag. Am yet to get in a decent turtle sighting but will probably spend lots of time on deck in coming days...

26 September 2007

update from cape melville...

At dusk on our first day of sailing from Cairns, skip caught a mackerel which, an hour later, became sashimi entrĂ©e, followed by succulent steaks on the barbecue... mmm. Arrived in Cooktown at about 4am on Saturday. Did two more trips to the stupidmarket (the provisioning thing made my head spin) and a sunset walk up to Cook’s lookout.

Sunday - first day on the project. We welcomed aboard 11 boys aged between 11 and 16, three elders and an Indigenous park ranger – all from Hopevale. We also have a teacher from Hopevale and the ANZ rep from Cooktown on board. All up, 24 ‘ POB’ (people on board). Left Cooktown early Sunday and sailed to Lizard Island, arriving at sundown. Anchored at Watson’s Bay (the main anchorage at Lizard) with quite a few cruising yachts.

The first policy on the boat is to get the boys involved in all parts of Pelican’s operation. From the moment we untied at Cooktown, they’ve been hands on with both the sailing and cooking. My directorial debut was a barbecue lunch, followed by a barbecue dinner with baked spuds and salad. Both for 24 people (more head spinning, and in both directions this time).

A note about the food. The mob brought their own supplies for five days, which I estimate as roughly six cows and truckloads of bread, potatoes, rice, tinned meat, weet-bix and sugar. The second policy onboard Pelican is that when we’re all together at lunch or dinner, we eat their grub. After two days, skip is the first to bitch (albeit to crew) about the quantities of flesh being consumed.

Some funny anecdotes re the food:

One: Little Elijah is a real foodie and always hanging around the galley. Seeking something other than iceberg lettuce for the salad, I thought of the very ripe avocados in the top fridge. “Let’s put a couple of avos in the salad!” “Abos?” he asked with all the disgust a ten-year-old can muster.

Two: Supervising my first lunch, I darted between the barbecue (on deck) and the galley, where the onion chopping operation was in full swing. Looking up at me from the galley were three scruffy boys crying their eyes out over onion fumes. Even second mate, who was sitting near the hatch, had to move to escape rising vapours. (Second mate is the person formerly known as first mate. We have a new FM on the project.)

Have also learnt a few tricks about engaging wayward boys to do the washing up. “I need three strong boys in the galley!” “Me Miss Sam, I’ll go in the galley!” I throw the dishcloth at them before they realise what’s going on.

Back to Lizard Island. Had another “Oh my god it’s Monday morning” moment, walking along the beach that famous and obscenely well-to-do folk fork out $2,000 a day to stay and play on. Tropical blues and hot sun. We took the boys on a 4km walk through the forested inland to the marine research station (one of four on the Great Barrier Reef), where the head scientist spoke about the station’s work. Lunched on the beach (the boys made us tinned meat sandwiches - eew!) and walked to the outrageously priced resort via a succession of secluded coves, where the boys’ chatter about sloppy farts, etc, shattered the idyll of several honeymooners. Arriving at the resort, we were delayed in the hot sun by management, who would not let us continue walking on the beach in front of their restaurant. I suppose if you’re charging people two grand a day, a bunch of little blackfellas traipsing across your lunchtime panorama shatters any illusion of isolation and exclusivity. The upside to their snobbery was a free ride in a glass-bottomed boat over coral and clams back to Watson’s Bay, which the kids loved.

Back at the boat there was time for a swim (yes, it’s still Monday and a working day) and then a walk up to Cook’s lookout (a different one) at sundown with first mate. Arrived back at boat to find dinner organised and being plated, with the boys serving the Elders and women first. (How I managed this, I’m still not quite sure, but lapping it up nonetheless.)

We left Lizard at midnight, sailing north to Cape Melville - the traditional lands of some of the boys. Up at 4am for dawn watch with new first mate. Second mate brings coffees and banana cake (not my handiwork) before knocking off. The wind swings. We furl a genoa and pull the sheet through to port, then set both genoas. Cruising at 7 knots. Sea is calm and the boys asleep on the middle deck. It gets light. The old fellas rise. I put the kettle on and make a round of teas. A light appears on our bow. A fishing boat, heading straight for us. We maintain course. So does the fishing boat. Though we have right of way on two counts, I can now see wet clothes hanging from his deck and my nerves are jangling. Over the radio comes a blast, “What the hell are you doing?” By this time, skip (who sleeps in the wheelhouse) is up and his retort is unflinching. No reply and the other boat gets out of our way. A close call…

I get the boys’ brekky on the table while they sleep. Swear they can smell the sugar (which they complained to the Elders was missing on the first day) and they’re up and into it like a flash. I chat to some of the Elders and make another round of coffees and teas and wash dishes. Crash for an hour and am woken by a man-overboard drill. Little Jepho has everyone in stitches administering CPR to the danbuoy.

Arrive at Cape Melville where the kids and some of our crew go ashore and set up camp for the next two nights. “And then there were six,” reads the whiteboard on deck. (The cook is one of the lucky ones and gets to stay onboard.) I give the galley a clean and muse at the sound of… nothing! “We won’t know what to do with ourselves,” jests first mate to someone on deck. “Oh yes we will!” I reply from the galley. Coffee, chocolate, fresh food, sleep!

Chores blitzed, I prep frittata for lunch, with a crazy green salad and toasted sesame garlic pitta breads. Skip puts on Louis Armstrong. We rock in a stiff breeze and sunlight fills the gleaming middle deck. V civilised. Lovely to have a break from the non-stop madness of 11 boys.

Went ashore today for a walk to a burial site. Then the boys made us lunch (damper burgers!) and had a ‘men’s only circle’ so the three of us girls went beachcombing and got crafty. I made a windchime, a necklace and a Pelican sign from shells, seedpods, grasses and driftwood. E (deckie) made a woven basket. We (the third being the ANZ rep) also collaborated on a flotsam totem.

Tonight’s plans got waylaid by a pan-pan call from a boat a few miles from us, with a 12-year-old on board having an asthma attack. Skip got on the HF and picked up Adelaide Coast Patrol - which got ambos on the line - and a relatively nearby dive vessel with a doctor on board. There was talk of getting a chopper up from Cairns. After a few hours of radio to and fro, the situation settled, and we had a late feed.

Have stacks of photos but will post later… tis well after midnight and must be up in five hours for an early sail up the coast a mile or two where we’ll go ashore for a walk to a freshwater spring.


20 September 2007

three things...

Just a quick note to let you know:

1. Have just posted a couple of comments but am sorry I can't reply to all (gee I sound almost famous) as am v short for time. Am about to go do the humungous provisioning shop at the stupidmarket, before rustling up a seafood bbq dinner for seven and doing last personal laundry for three weeks (OMG I didn't bring enough underwear)...

2. We leave the zoo - I mean Cairns marina - early tomorrow morning, after an 11th hour swat team hits the farmers markets for our fresh produce. I suspect it's going to be action stations for me for the next 19 days, so if I'm a little quiet, it's because I'm cooking for a crew of between five and eight which may extend to lunches and tea-breaks for half the Hopevale community, cleaning out the bilges, helping the deckies, collapsing in a quiet corner somewhere, etc.

3. Will be back in Cairns on 8 October and with any luck, will be back in communication then.

Thanks for all your well wishes, provisioning tips and editorial support.


18 September 2007

the glamorous life

Rampant fingernail grime. Heat rash. Stinging eyelids. Scorched bum… See how glamorous the new life is? I do appreciate how lucky I am to have stumbled on this gig, really. But let me share...

Big hot day today. Sat on burning concrete trying to revive corroded zippers on wet weather gear. The steel-polishing project continues with new reason. We must make Pelican shine for Kerry O’Brien, whose very fine program said yes and will join us for three days in week two (though I don’t think the big K himself will come). I figure that by this time, untold numbers of people will have spewed all over the boat, rendering my cleaning-binge null and void. I heard last year the cook’s bed copped it. As there are no off-limits areas, I’m trying to quickly let go of my hitherto penchant for personal clean space. A totally unreasonable penchant, I now realise. Clean bed – bah!

Did I mention that the steel bizzo has been conducted under the gaze of a passing parade of pier walkers? The finger (pontoon) we’re on runs parallel to the public pier. So people stop, lean on the railing, look at the boat, exchange a few words with one another and walk on. Feel like a boat monkey.

We ‘swung the compass’ today. A whiskery old guy came out with us into Trinity Inlet to work out how much deviation our magnetic compass has – most boats have metal bits that skew the magnetic compass reading. Skip was elated to find Pelican had nil deviation… until whiskers delivered the bad news: the north-west quadrant is five degrees out. Was like failing an exam of sorts.

Other things that impressed me today:
1. Skip’s terminology on the boat. On Pelican, the Leatherman tools are referred to as ‘leather people’.
2. Description of the six-week return trip to Melbourne: two weeks sailing, a month stopping in beautiful spots. Won't sign on though til I wet my toes in Hopevale!

Pardon my lack of reply to first post comments. Have belatedly rectified this and promise to engage in two-way conversation from here on.

Two days til departure.

Hope all's well.


17 September 2007

on the up and up (and up)

Saturday dissolved in a metal blur but am pleased to report that all 24 of Pelican's staunchons (spelling?), along with her two pulpits and two pushpits, now gleam most brilliantly. I got very tasky and 'in the zone' with my iPod on. We were treated to fireworks from the boat that night, over beers and tofu burgers, rustled up by first mate. As the Cairns Festival is on, I'm pretty sure the fireworks were real and not just a figment of my jubiliation at reaching a very important milestone in the steel-polishing project.

A well-earned day off yesterday... after a visit to Rusty's markets in the early hours, first mate and I took off with FM's rainforest guru friend on a very intense bushwalk. I was warned there'd be "lots of botanising" and they weren't wrong. 'Twas like being in my own private episode of Totally Wild, tagging along with two plant nuts. I became ship's unofficial orchid photographer for the day. The 12km walk - to the summit of Kahlpahlim Rock in Davies Creek National Park - was mostly conducted at a 45 degree angle. Hard going but great. After the walk we stopped at the creek, an amazing spot with a white-and-gunmetal rock floor, white sand, waterfalls and the most stunning orange grevillea with charcoal branches. Beers at the Kuranda pub and sushi back in Cairns topped off a great day.

Things should start ramping up this week as our departure date (Friday) looms. Two more crew arrive tomorrow and skip is coming back aboard today. Have just seen the itinerary for Hopevale and am a little daunted by the scale of planned proceedings and traffic through the boat (which, along with FM, I've had the run of for the past week). We do a five day sail up to Cape Flattery, where the community will set up a beach camp. There'll be fishing, snorkelling, hunting, turtle tagging, day sailing to reefs/islands and community development/healing activities. There's also the Hopevale Rodeo and Hula Festival which we might get to see. We've got an indigenous woman joining us who has experience in digital storytelling which sounds v interesting. There is some media interest - Australian Story were keen but pulled out; Message Stick and Four Corners may do something. So keep an ear out for Pelican on the ABC.

Oh... am onboard for the Cardwell gig - an Indigenous Land and Sea Management conference after Hopevale. It's only for a few days though.

14 September 2007

all that steel

Boats are damn demanding creatures. I’ve decided this after a day and a half scrubbing rust off stainless steel bits and bobs. And let me tell you, there are lots and lots of stainless bits and bobs on this hefty mama (all 63 feet of her and nine metres - what's that in feet? - across the beam). Now, I don’t consider myself a slacker when it comes to helping maintain other people’s boats, having done the odd bit of scraping, sanding, bogging, sanding, bogging, bogging, bogging, antifouling, etc. But the rust assault just plain sucks. After an entire morning, you have two gleaming bits of metal the size of chopsticks and sunburnt knees.

So today, after my sunburn started getting sunburnt, I downed gloves and took to the streets on mah new wheels… merrily pedalling to the Botanic Gardens where I came across a little patch of Chocolate Beehive Ginger which looked like something very delicious that Winnie the Pooh might invent if he was working for Willie Wonka. (Let it be said I spent the morning hovering over a bottle of Jif – a product choice greeted with much wincing by our neighbours with the very shiny boat.) Also checked out a couple of exhibitions at a place called The Tanks and one of them was, curiously enough, by a Brissie-based artist who recently asked me to housesit and whose offer I was ‘unavailable’ for due to description of said house - ‘it keeps the rain out’ - and the pet rollcall requiring the best part of two hands to count off).

Last night first mate and I took the zodiac for a squirt around the marina and checked out his dream-boat (a Sparkman and Stephens) and went on an envy tour of all the cruisers anchored outside the marina. I haven’t elaborated much on first mate but he’s a bit of a thinking girl’s man (who beams about his temporarily absent partner, thank you). In the week and a half I’ve known him, he continues to grow in my esteem. Half-way through our apres-dinner cruise, he turned the steering over to me.

Moi: “Where should we go then?”

First mate: “Up to you, you’re in control now.”

Let me remind readers at this point that first mate is… a boy. Read that last comment again (please).

I wonder if this is how Anna Bligh feels right now…

First mate's brilliance continued this afternoon with:

“I thought I’d cook dinner tonight if you're keen."


12 September 2007

bug-eyed in Cairns

Well Cairns is hot and humid, and very, um, Cairns-like. We arrived late on Monday afternoon, greeted by a welcome party of skip's friends offering beers and bubbles (the best kind of welcome party, I say). Not that I knew a single one of them, but like the time on the ferry to Tassie, that didn’t stop me waving madly and chasing streamers (or in this case enjoying offered hospitality).

Am a bit bug-eyed this morning. Realised at 1.30am after about six hours online that I was maybe experiencing web withdrawals after a week at sea. Marinas aren’t known to be quiet places, and accordingly I was woken after not nearly enough sleep by ship horns and choppers and the new neighbours in their towering ‘see how manly I am in my very big boat' boat. The blessed thing is also unlawfully shiny and temporarily blinded me in the morning sun, when I gave in and got up.

Yesterday skip handed me the company card: “Take this and get whatever you want to eat for the week. Don’t spend any of your own money from now on.” OK, can do. The Girl Who Has Renounced Shopping felt a little overwhelmed. And a lot giddy. I might’ve looked in a horribly overpriced shop on the way to the supermarket. But only looked. Before fleeing, violently repulsed.

Today skip will bring me wheels (of the treadly kind) so I will be mobile. Gotta love that skip. Also, there’s a few boats here I’d like to check out (since have been glued to laptop til now), including the Duyfken which I missed in Brissie, and Athena, a luxury three-masted schooner (pretentious and ugly but strangely compelling, just like Paris).

Tonight am catching up with friend Fee who I worked in Yarrabah with. She grew up on a boat and now spends half her time in Wujal Wujal which is right near Hopevale, so she’s going to give me the lay of the land.

Have uploaded some pics from the trip to Flickr – see over there, on your right. Also have a spangly new header which I think has come up alright.

Anyway, best be off since I’m quickly becoming known as She Who Spends Sunny Days Below Deck.

Love to Ren and family – wish I was there. x

10 September 2007

humpbacks, bowlines and b.o

It’s Monday morning and I’ve discovered peace on earth, sailing inside the Barrier Reef at pre-dawn. No other boats around. The radio is silent, the boys asleep. The only sound is that of Pelican cutting through the water at a lazy five knots. We’ve got the leeward genoa, staysail, main and mizzen up. A sliver of moon rises in the east; above it a bright star – Venus, perhaps? – casts a glow on the water. The eastern sky lightens, first yellow, then pink and orange and finally a placid blue moving west overhead. The mainland, now in view, gains definition. I keep an eye on a container ship moving south-west across our bow about five miles off. Skip wakes, we pull in some sail. He makes us coffee. I self-administer a quiz in the Australian Boating Manual (from the nav-desk library – our boat has two libraries!), then practice my clove hitches and bowlines in anticipation of our arrival in Cairns this afternoon. Skip relieves and I go freshen up and lay on the tramp in the sun. With two wash-downs in a week, it’s fair to say that I stink; my hair has felafel crumbs in it; and the top layer of skin has flaked clean off my hands. My shins have copped a hiding from endless trips below deck (usually with an armful of stuff, so I’ve been holding on with knees!). Have to say though, I’m pretty content.

Compare this to a usual Monday morning: get up tired, discover I have nothing to wear, spend way too long getting ready (whilst fending off the always excitable, ‘I drink red cordial for breakfast’ cat), wait for the bus, sit at a keyboard writing speeches and strategies and all sorts of puff that will either be rewritten, not used, stalled in their ascent up the hierarchy and/or were pointless to start with. Throw in a meeting, a ridiculously urgent Ministerial request and a client lobbing round unscheduled for a ‘quick chat’, and that’s the morning done.

If you’re reading this at your desk, my apologies, I don’t mean to rub it in... ok, well maybe just a little! ;) And if you’re a previous manager or client, please stop reading about two paragraphs ago.

This might make a few people rather envious… this afternoon we saw a humpback and calf about 150 metres from the boat: officially the closest I’ve seen whales in the wild. Mum floated with her fluke hoisted in the air for an inordinate length of time (I thought it might’ve been doing headstands but wasn’t game to share this insight with the crew!).

Saturday was a cracker of a day, sailing through the Whitsundays under sunny blue skies and strangely marbled cloud formations - will post photos tomorrow. Can’t wait to get my own boat and go cruising! There was lots of laying around on the tramp, reading and drying out water-logged cells. (Don’t get me wrong, there’s been lots of cooking, washing up and night watches too!)

Fave sailing tunes at the mo’…

Lighthouse, The Waifs
Building ships, Lior
Starlight, Muse
Washed out to sea, Something for Kate
Six months in a leaky boat, Little Birdy version

Secret squirrel stuff… yesterday I critiqued and edited a $10 million funding submission. Can’t say too much, other than skip has a vision (sshhh) which may or may not involve establishing a (crackle, fuzz) marine research and (more crackle, crackle) education institute. Hopefully he’ll remember me when he sits at the helm of that baby too.

Also just heard that my inherited state will get its first female premier this week... about time too! Yet more reason for celebratory ales tonight...

‘Tis all for now. xx

08 September 2007

wet wet wet

Thanks all for the good vibes!

First, my apologies for the lack of comms... after leaving Southport on Tuesday AM, we had a rather uncomfortable couple of days. The weather nastiness peaked off Fraser Island, with a 3-4 metre swell, a 30-something knot south-easterly and a ripper current - all of which made for more chop than a Chinese grandmother's kitchen. The boat has been wet and even my cabin (which affords the luxury of standing room, cupboard space, reading light and porthole overlooking the tramp) sweats. (V good decision to invest in Pelican cases for laptop and camera!)

Even eating has been difficult and I've discovered that there ARE circumstances where a peanut butter sandwich constitutes an elaborate and nourishing meal. Speaking of sandwiches... my first encounter with the galley went down like, well, a sea anchor. Trying to make lunch on day one in a hairy sea-state, having not yet found my sea legs, was a dubious call. I turned green very quickly and had to come up for air. The very gallant first mate Raf took over in the galley, leaving me to ferry plates to the wheel-house. Even that job escaped me... I went a-up on the wet deck and wore the skipper's sandwiches. Yup, a somewhat inauspicious start from the ship's cook!

Since then I've sufficiently redeemed myself with an all-night watch (I got on a roll, assisted by some Old Gold Jamaica and the feeling of being in charge of a 63-foot vessel while three boys slept). Have also churned out a few meals (eg, roasted vegetable ratatouille with minted couscous) - all fare has been vegan in deference to our Sea Shepherd, Nima. Have also perfected skip's coffee... not so hard since he be a fellow coffee snob!

Thursday night we anchored at Middle Percy Island and in the morning motored into the (very narrow) lagoon to replace an anode on one of the props. What a beautiful spot all to ourselves - perfect prop-scrubbing scenery! Middle Percy is home to the fabled beach hut where visiting yachties leave relics from their boats that declare 'I was 'ere'. Spent a good hour wandering through this living library and 'immortalised' Pelican 1's presence in runny ink on coconut husk. Also signed the visitor's book in case you-know-who ever gets here and finds I beat him!!

Well, it's Saturday morning and we're approaching the Whitsundays. Unfortunately we're in a bit of a hurry to get to Cairns for more work on the boat before we leave for Cooktown... though skip has touted the prospect of a stop and a swim, so I'm off to subtly lobby some more in that vein!

May not be able to post again til we arrive in Cairns early next week... will add more pictures then too and resolve blog layout 'issues'.

Hope all's well on land! x

03 September 2007

off with the birds (or one large pelican)

Welcome to the shiny new, just unwrapped blog thing.

After many years stewing inside beauracracies, I've been granted a 12-month pardon to go whet my wanderlust. Woohoo! Life AD (after desk) officially starts at 1100 today when I leave my life in Brisbane to join Pelican - a 63-foot research catamaran in the Polynesian style - to sail to Hopevale, near Cooktown. There we’ll take a group of kids up to their traditional lands at Cape Melville. I'll get a free sail up to Cairns, where my job as cook (hehe!) actually starts. Hopefully I'll find my sealegs quick!

Anyway, gotta busta move so I can shove the last dregs of my material life into boxes before imminent departure. You can see I'm super organised by the hasty establishment of this blog site. More soon, including a bit of background about moi and how I lucked upon this job...