A Travellerspoint blog

"Whitsunday Escape...Whitsunday Escape...this is Zig Zag"

Whitsunday Islands, Queensland

sunny 80 °F

"As we lay in the sand and we stare at the sky....
oh my, there's no place on earth i'd rather be....
And our minds were meant to sail
take a rest from our thoughts, take a brake from this world
and we'll feel miles away from the places that we used to be."
- "Miles Away" by Years Around the Sun

We have just returned from our weeklong sailing trip around the Whitsundays - a group of islands in the Great Barrier Reef - with our good friends Pete and Vanessa. After a 2 hour walk around the boat and a 3 hour sailing lesson/refresher with our new found friend/instructor Mark - the beautiful 35 foot Catalina Sailboat "Zig Zag" was OURS!

By the first day, we were tacking and jibing like pros - in fact, we sailed 16nm* from Airlie Beach through Hook Passage and back south to a tucked away mooring* within Tongue Bay. Here we saw heaps of turtles, snorkeled with colorful fish and strolled the spectacular sands of Whitehaven Beach (see photos for proof). During the next few days, we explored the northern inlets and beaches of Hook Island, specifically Maurine's Cove, Manta Ray Bay, and Stonehaven Bay. Here is where we mastered the art of RELAXATION - averaging 10-11 hours of sleep each night, a half case of beer by day (thanks to the boys), and dinner under the stars. The girls "noodled" around while the boys practiced their flips off the bow* - a modern day walk of the plank. Katie also attempted some flips with her wet suit on for protection - turns out back flops still hurt with a 3/2 mm on. Our final days were spent cruising Blue Pearl Bay, motoring the coastline of Cid Harbour by dinghy, and enjoying early morning sunrises and clear starry nights. Oh yeah - almost forgot to mention - we did spend hours at night playing Pass the Pigs (think dice with little plastic piggies instead). It was a hit!

Let us preface that Lukin and Pete were listed on the contract as the "sailors" of the group, however all four of us, much to Ness and Katie's surprise (and excitement), TRULY had to be involved on a daily basis, tacking* and jibing*, steering the boat, making radio calls, and laying anchor at night. We were all old salts* by the end of it. It was a trip for the memory bank - and while we hope to return one day as anyone would, we will remember this week forever.

  • *Listed below are some basic definitions for those of us - Katie and Vanessa included - who didn't have the sailor lingo quite nailed yet
  • nm = nautical miles (1nm = 6,000 feet)
  • mooring = large round offshore buoy/ball to which you lash your vessel to
  • bow = front of the boat
  • tacking = turning the bow of the boat through the wind by switching the position of the head sail
  • jibing = turning the stern of the boat through the wind etc. etc.
  • old salts = so much time spent at sea, you have salt crusted all over you?!?

large_Whitehaven_Beach_.jpgLukin_on_Z..Whitsundays.jpgKT___Pete_at_Sail_.jpgNess_Sailing_Whitsundays_.jpgZigZag_tac..Whitsundays.jpgLukin_afte..Whitsundays.jpgSunset_on_boat_.jpgMaurine_s_..Whitsundays.jpgGirls_on_N..hitsundays_.jpgBoys_flipping_.jpgNess___Pete_on_Dinghy_.jpgKT_on_BOat_.jpgKT___Lukin_on_Rock.jpg

Posted by lukinktlain 01:30 Archived in Australia Tagged and australia sailing whitsundays escape whitsunday tacking jibing Comments (4)

Zig Zagging through the Whitsundays

Cairns to Whitsundays, Queensland

sunny 85 °F

AHOE MATIES!!! We are sitting at the marina about to set sail for a 7 day adventure through the Whitsundays on a sailboat with our good friends Pete & Vanessa who flew from Sydney yesterday. We drove 9 hours south from Cairns to meet Pete and Vanessa, and spent the rest of the evening grocery shopping for our 7 days aboard "Zig Zag" - a 35 foot Sailboat (Catalina). Pretty sure we have more beer than water so if for some reason we do get stranded on one of the islands, we will at least have a good buzz! We will be spending a lot of time snorkeling, swimming and relaxing on the boat - and of course spending time with Ness & Pete - our last quality week with them before we head back to the States in December. We are lucky lucky people to be going on this sailing trip and also to have friends like them. ANCHORS AWAY!!!

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Posted by lukinktlain 17:17 Archived in Australia Tagged sailing whitsundays escape catalina Comments (1)

Finding Nemo

The Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Queensland

sunny 90 °F
View Dusty Trails - Taking the Long Way Home on lukinktlain's travel map.

Marlin: So, Mr. Turtle?
Crush: Whoa, Dude. Mister Turtle is my father. The name's Crush.
Marlin: Crush, really? OK, Crush. I need to get to the East Australian Current. EAC?
Crush: Oh, dude. You're ridin' it, dude! Check it out!

We have just returned from our "live aboard" scuba diving trip to the Outer Great Barrier Reef outside of Cairns, Queensland. We boarded the Prodive 30 meter vessel with 30 other divers, 5 crew members and 1 cook (amazing food by the way). In 2.5 days, we completed 11 dives in 4 different sites, including 2 night dives along the reef. Our daily schedule included 2 morning dives, an afternoon dive and a night dive. Visibility was excellent, the reef was beautiful and the marine life was everywhere. Everyone on board was so nice - representing countries from all over the world. It was the most unique experience and the best way to experience one the natural wonders of the world. We enjoyed great food, a lot of laughs, sunrises/sunsets over the reef and great company. By the last day, we'd all become good friends and went straight to the pub for Halloween dinner and drinks in Cairns.

  • **ANIMAL UPDATE*** While diving, we saw very diverse and unique marine life, including Nemo (clown fish), green turtles, parrot fish, angel fish, blue spotted sting rays, cuddle fish (looks like an alien), barracuda, white and black tip reef sharks, grey sharks, giant clams, hard and soft coral, and much, much more. The highlight of one of the night dives was finding a GIANT, 123 year-old green turtle that the crew had named "Brian." As Lukin says, "that thing is the size of a dining room table!" Personally we thought it should have been named Crush, but Brian was also a fitting name.

KT_between..r_Reef_2012.jpgLukin_Divi..r_reef_2012.jpgKT___Lukin..r_Reef_2012.jpg Crush_Turt..r_Reef_2012.jpgFinding_Nemo_.jpgSunrise_on_dive_boat.jpg[laughing]

Posted by lukinktlain 03:52 Archived in Australia Tagged diving great scuba reef barrier liveaboard prodive Comments (2)

Porttoberfest

Richmond to Port Douglas, Queensland

sunny 88 °F
View Dusty Trails - Taking the Long Way Home on lukinktlain's travel map.

We made it to Port Douglas yesterday on an extreme high from hearing the news that we are now Auntie Katie and Uncle Lukin to our beautiful niece Callan Leigh Martha. We send our love to our brother and sister-in-law, Jonathan and Sabrina, and cannot wait to meet this bundle of joy when we return stateside in December. It is KILLING us not to be home right now visiting the new baby (or as Jonathan puts it, he and the girls ;)), but we will be home soon Callan!

Port Douglas is everything it's cracked up to be. We spent yesterday exploring the town on vintage bike cruisers and beaching it for the day. Quick dips in the ocean were needed as it was a scorcher, but it's nearly Box Jelly Fish time here in the Cairns area so we were quite careful to swim in designated areas. Once we were sun-soaked, we grabbed the opportunity to live by Granddady King's moto "a day without ice cream is a day wasted," and devoured some pre-dinner Gelatos. Today, we vegged by the pool and checked out Porttoberfest - Oktoberfest in Port Douglas - for some tasty brews.

We travel a short 45 minutes south to Cairns tomorrow evening, and leave very early Monday morning for a 3 day/2 night scuba dive trip to the outer Great Barrier Reef. We will be living onboard a dive boat and are very excited to see one of the natural wonders of the world.
We_Love_Yo..y_Callan___.jpgLukin_and_Kronosaurus.jpgKT_running..Kronosaurus.jpgBikes_in_Port_Douglas.jpgBiking_in_Port_Douglas.jpgLukin_Porttoberfest.jpgKT___Lukin..rt_Douglas_.jpg

Posted by lukinktlain 05:19 Archived in Australia Tagged port queensland richmond douglas porttoberfest Comments (0)

Road Riders

Darwin, Northern Territory to Richmond, Queensland

sunny 85 °F

Not much to report other than we smashed out 2,100 kms over the last 2 days!!! Finished our drive today with a bright orange sunset over the flat land and pulled in for the night in a little town called...wait for it Spider fans Betsy and Brian...RICHMOND...home of Australia's Dinosaur Trail and the Richmond Butchery where you can "purchase locally killed beef." It's not quite the bustling college atmosphere of UR, but the local watering holes (The Mud Hut and Federal Hotel) bring a certain frat-like feel to this lil' old town. It's our first night in weeks going to sleep without a fan. A cool breeze, cold bean burritos and some local wine have made our night quite enjoyable here.

We have 800 kms to go until we reach Port Douglas - but we are bound and determined to start our day off tomorrow with a run along the DInosaur Trail and a photo next to the mighty Kronosaurus displayed prominently in the center of town.
Road_Radio_2.jpgRoad_Rider_.jpgJammin_to_MJ_.jpgSunset_dri..nd_Oct_2012.jpgQueensland..et_Oct_2012.jpg

Posted by lukinktlain 04:02 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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