Friday, 11 December 2015

Not Crochet!

I just had quite a big, accidental bloggy absence… One of the main reasons for this absence was that I was simply really busy doing lots of other stuff. All this stuff was leaving me feeling very fulfilled and happy, and I wasn’t getting the urge to blog about it (I find that blogging helps me to feel good about things that I would otherwise overlook, so I think it’s a bit good for my soul :) )

But recently my creative side has been pushing to the fore again, and the urge to crochet and (try to) write has been making itself felt. So I’m back, and wanted to catch you up on some of the things that I’ve been up to since the end of May…

One of my main activities this year has been really making me feel good, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. I have done it slightly differently in the past, but the theory and principles are all the same, so I have picked it up again pretty quickly: sailing!

I used to sail and race dinghies when I was much younger, and I have been on a voyage on a tall ship in the past too (I published my diary from this trip – the introduction can be found here, with links to each of the instalments) This year however I have split the difference, and have been sailing on cruising yachts.

We are really lucky here in Townsville (and I think it happens elsewhere in Australia too) in that on a Wednesday night you can go along to the yacht club and head out sailing for free. What a fantastic opportunity! I started out like this, before becoming a regular crew on a Catalina 400 cruising yacht named Freya.

As well as the Wednesday night sailing, I have had the chance to sail in a week-long regatta (I will write about that at some point too) and do a mini, day-long cruise.

This little mini cruise took place one Sunday. Myself and another regular Freya sailor and friend of mine joined the owner to help him sail over to Magnetic Island. I have visited this beautiful place a few times now, (and blogged about one of those visits here and here) but I had previously always got there by ferry. It would be fun to get there by wind power!

After leaving the harbour and getting all the sails up and set, the skipper passed the helm over to me – meaning I got to steer the yacht. It was my first time doing this on a yacht, and I was surprised at how difficult it was. You are constantly having to make adjustments to your steering to compensate for the fact that the slight gusting or dropping off of the wind, and the changes in waves and currents, all constantly influence the direction the yacht is heading. You have to compensate for all of these factors to maintain the direction you want to head in, and to make the sails power the boat effectively. Hence the look of serious concentration on my face!

We sailed north out of Townsville, which is on the east coast of Australia, and around the east side of Magnetic Island. We rounded the island anticlockwise, and after sailing as far around as Horseshoe Bay on the northern side of the island, we changed direction and headed back to Radical Bay (with the red label) to drop anchor for a while.

It was a pretty windy day so we were all working to do this – the skipper had taken back the helm by this point, and us two crew were working hard on the winches to manage the sails.

Radical Bay was relatively sheltered, with just a small swell, and we anchored up for lunch and leisure. While the skipper stayed on board to just enjoy being on his boat, us crew jumped into the sea for some swimming and cooling down. It was so pleasant to float about in a bay on a tropical island, admiring the scenery and enjoying the beautiful day. 

I swam around getting a few pictures of Freya before getting out to dry off ready for lunch.

From the boat, we could see these fish hanging around hoping for a snack.

Fish weren’t the only ones hoping for a snack – the resident Brahminy Kites also know how to work the yachty crowd for food. They weren’t disappointed, as our skipper had brought along some meat specially for them. 

I mostly don’t condone feeding wild animals, but these kites are mainly scavengers and weren’t coming too close to humans (and even then were only approaching the yachts) so I don’t think that it’s a big problem. It was certainly fantastic to watch them circling round the yacht, and see them catching their lunch in mid-air!

We sailed back to Townsville after lunch, but what a great way to spend a day :)

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