The short version says we met and travelled, built a boat while having kids, and then travelled forevermore.
Magic some would say. Maybe fate. Here’s a little bit more of our story.
Jack began life in an American mega-city during the topsy-turvy time following WWII. He grew up amongst skyscrapers and super highways, smog and streetlights, so he rarely saw the stars; and except for wide sandy beaches and beautiful surf, he had few escapes from city life. A memorable one came when his parents took him on a donkey ride deep down the gloriously carved Grand Canyon in a scary ride that awakened his love for the great outdoors.
Judith, aka Jude, had a completely different upbringing in a quiet north England town. Her family often explored the green hills overlooking the North Sea, fished for tiddlers in streams, and experienced thick North Sea fog and wild gales.
So how did these two extremely different people meet? What forces brought them together? Some say fate takes us along through life while others believe karma brings good fortune when doing the best for Earth and her creatures.
Did karma weave the intricate plan that sent Jack overseas at the precise moment Jude was celebrating after graduating as a registered nurse? Did it send him lonely and disheartened into a Frankfurt Pub looking for cheery laughter and have him see two bubbly blonds radiant with laughter. Being a bit shy and unsure, did it then cause him to do something quite uncharacteristic. Ordering a round of drinks then fidgeting he approached. Stammering in rather poor German, “Hi, my name is Jack,” both girls burst into wild giggles.
Our honeymoon was a road trip through Africa, north to south, in a derelict VW van that we’d resurrected from a Scottish field. From South Africa, we came to Australia intending to earn enough to make it to Japan for Expo 1970. But in the sunburnt country, finding space everywhere and that feeling of ‘she’ll be right’, we were encouraged to not only start a family, but to also start the construction of a 12 metre yacht that we christened Banyandah, meaning “home on the water” as she became our family’s first house.
After those three arduous hard yakka years of construction, with little sailing experience and sons now just two and three, we began our voyage into the unknown. Frightened, unsure, lacking skills, and with mountainous obstacles to overcome, our sea roving life took the four of us in ever-increasing circles around the world on “voyages of education”. Pretty corals, shells, fishes, and people of all cultures filled our minds with thoughts that life upon this special planet is to be cherished. Having amazing adventures, we touched eighty countries in an odyssey that lasted not the one year first imagined, but the next sixteen.
Still hear the call of the wild
In 2007, after sixteen years on the land rebuilding the very same vessel we homebuilt in Sydney, we set sail on her maiden voyage circumnavigating Australia to see what had changed.
There are many grandchildren now, and our physical forms have changed a bit and our confidence tempered, but we still hear the call of the wild, and are ever so delighted to answer and be connected to earth, her winds and topsy-tury seas.
Through our lifetime we’ve witnessed man take what it wants from the wild kingdom, leaving less for every creature and have noted the balance of Nature being greatly upset. This reinforces our thought that there is a better path for Earth and her creatures.
During that two year odyssey around Australia we wrote stories peppered with historical notes and regional details within the matrix of two grandparents piloting a powerful sailing craft through some of the world’s most dangerous waters. Adding maps and photographs this became our first book, “Two’s a Crew.”
To help publicize “Two’s a Crew,” we fashioned a film from the 200 hours of video recorded during that voyage. This grew our skills just that little bit more, illuminating a new direction. Being so very grateful to the many who have helped us, and with Earth needing strong voices to inspire a new direction, we dedicated our energies to sharing our life afloat.
We have produced six films highlighting the wild “Off the Tourist Track” in Australia, as well as four volumes of true stories and practical suggestions we have acquired while sailing those miles.
After seeing a need for interactive Cruising Guides downloadable from the internet, we packaged our anchorage information into electronic guides around this magnificent island continent.
In 2010, to share this information, we established this website that’s grown to become another positive reason to continue sailing and exploring.
Welcome on Board, J&J