Our Life Afloat

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Blog of Jack and Jude
explorers, authors, photographers & videographers

Happy Face

Movie: Happy Face

IN her own words, Beccie is a Best Selling Author, a World Travelling Sailor, an Awesome Wife and the Best Mum to the 10 most Amazing Children on the Planet, a Millionaire, a Polyglot and an Oracle

Her latest blog takes us on a amazing journey. Drop over to their place and be amazed and amused.

Today we had a real adventure. I took two of the kids out for the day.

Munchkins number 3 and 4 had never been on a train. Well to be honest, none of the kids have been on any public transport except the oldest Munchkin, who flew to Sydney by herself last year, to spend her birthday with Dad. That was a trip to remember. 

The Two Jays got to know them in Eden. A beautiful example of the fun loving, well mannered, inquisitive children that live life afloat.

Plan achieved – On holiday 
First off it is indeed a pleasure to at long last announce that the first USB Flash sticks are in the mail. Hallelujah.
Sometimes reality doesn’t match the plan, so we just kept at it till we got what we set out to achieve. The films are great. Enjoy.

Comments are very welcome, but you might want to be careful mentioning Jack’s singing. You can Email your thoughts straight to us or post them here on the blog site.


The wild shores of South Ballina remind Nadia of Madagascar.

The wild shores of South Ballina remind Nadia of Madagascar.


Project complete, it’s now time for a bit of R and R and while we do dream of sailing again to Madagascar, at the moment that dream is being fulfill by our French niece visiting from Madagascar where she teaches tenth grade students in an international school. Her story is also pretty amazing. So close to the brutal and emotionally personal. We know a bit about this from our encounters around the planet.

Now is the time for the three of us to go walkabout out west. In the car new to us of course.  More on that later.  🙂

Older news –
Wow! We’ve been back in our shack for just on two months and there’s been little to report. While Jude’s been active in her garden and very busy with the imminent visit of her French cousin from Madagascar, and a thousand other things, I’ve been holed up tackling a highly technical project, both eyes firmly on a monitor.

Our DVD Videos on USB Memory Stick
Last summer, while away in the wilderness, I was thinking of my video workstation back at the shack and planning, by popular demand, to re-engineer our earlier videos into widescreen high resolution files that could be loaded onto a memory stick. 

I am pleased to report that the project was a great success and good fun, although hugely time consuming and challenging. This last month, I’ve enjoyed plenty of time reminiscing over video footage recorded these last ten years while waiting for the computer to do its thing.

Extras on stick – 11 hours of viewing
Putting our DVD Videos on a USB Memory stick has given us an opportunity to also give you a slew of extras – like the drone footage of remote locations we filmed this year, along with a peek at places filmed over the years like WA King George River and Daw Island on the edge of the Bight. A complete list of files can be found here.

28 files – 11 hours of viewing – delivered worldwide
Single DVDs also available on USB Flash Memory

Down Memory Lane
Many will know that long before this decade of sailing, this amazing journey of ours began with building a boat then sailing the world with our sons, taking them from toddlers to young adults while touching eighty countries in ever increasing circles that we called voyages of education.  That was so long time ago. In the 70s and 80s, film was the only way to record memories and that was far too expensive for a young couple with kids and a boat. So, while we have a slew of slides, but only one scratchy super 8 recording of our young family in action. With today’s technology a darn good movie can be made using a phone!

What’s been keeping us busy?
When we relaunched Banyandah in 2007, we embarked on new voyages of discovery and having a bit more cash than yesteryear, we purchased a professional video recorder and immediately began filming just about everything. We wanted to record visual memories to share with our fellow sailors and those not able to sail the seas, and equally important to document our achievements for our rather large family. And so we filmed just about everything from making bread on board to managing our ship in storms to climbing mountains and exploring extremely remote locations. It became our passion, a reason to make the extra effort.

Now after ten years of editing and making DVDs, technology has moved forward considerably. A single layer DVD can only hold 4.2 gb of data in a format that has been superseded by newer ways to reduce file sizes without losing visual quality. I think we all know that DVDs suffer physically from scratches and age. They’re also rather bulky to package, handle, and store. Enter the 21st century memory stick and no longer are we limited to the meagre capacity of a DVD. While a single stick can hold a terabyte, more easily found and cost effective are 16 gb and 32 gb sticks. Another feature, memory sticks can plug directly into modern TVs and laptops for easy viewing of the files. And memory sticks can be easily posted WORLDWIDE.

Update on Matt and Gill

Before House

Many of you will remember our first meeting Matt and Gill when miles up a remote Kimberley River on our first voyage north in 2007. They were sailing up the west coast on their first voyage north on Wooshee. Good meet up, admired their spirit, we traded ideas then both went on to great adventures.



Banyandah sailed the Southern Ocean to Hell’s Gate the first time, and Wooshee to Japan, for a year of work, skiing, culture, then on to the Aleutians Alaska, all that coast with their first son. Settling in Dover, Tasmania brought another son while they were building a self designed straw bale whiz bang house.

That is living the dream – Hard work for sure, Goodonya.

A Great New Service

Matt and Gill have launched a great new service to visitors of South East Tasmania –
Hiring out Canoes and Kayaks.

Get out on the spectacular waters of the far south.
Kayaks and Stand-up Paddle Boards for hire.
Fishing Gear also available.
Delivered to you anywhere in the far south region of Tasmania


Green Machine exploring Dover waterways

Green Machine exploring Dover waterways

Wow! Having paddled the waters around where Matt and Gill live in Dover, we know it is some of the most spectacular calm water paddling of forested waters past a railway and jetties, both invigorating and fun, heaps of Nature, birdsong the background and peaks.

Fine views and north aspect 


Drones on Board – first published in Deckee.com

Jack and Jude
I’ll admit to being smitten by our newest addition on board Banyandah. Jude may be our resident photographer, snapping upwards of seven thousand photos each year and hours of video – But none of it flies like eagle high aloft, swooping on detail. We tried an experiment three years ago, tying our GoPro camera to a kite then flying it above an isolated sand cay alive with thousands of sea birds. Although the stills are spectacular, the wildly swinging video made us seasick. Later that same year I watched a man in Albany WA fly his drone so high it was lost to sight, and then I persuaded him to show us the footage. Amazed we were!
It took a while being frugal to gather the coin, until last winter, when we took the plunge, investing around $1800 on a Phantom 3 Advance, spare battery, iPad mini, and carrying case. With our training wheels on, the first flights had us trembling, the thought our very expensive camera would crash or fly out of sight always in our thoughts. This must have appealed to our lust for adventure because in no time at all we were driving to the beautiful, isolated locations to fly the drone. After that, we took it sailing.
There are several important points to remember when flying off a ship. First, the “Return to Home” facility is your enemy, not your friend. Boats move – GPS home positions do not.

Next, taking off and landing in a confined space filled with rigging is also a tad bit difficult. We have found a good place to launch, and hand retrieve. A smidgen dangerous, a bit like plucking a four bladed whipper-snipper out the air, except the stability is excellent, besides isn’t all life afloat a little like that. These highly technical drones do not like metal as it upset their inbuilt compass – Our takeoff site is atop the solar panels on the aft tower.We are real nature lovers – can’t get enough of the great outdoors, and now with the drone we’re keenly looking for truly beautiful sites to fly – tis fortunate we’re presently down here in Tasmania.In fact, we just used the drone for our reconnaissance and search of a very isolated area – the farm in Farm Cove, which began growing potatoes in 1825 and then pigs for the Sarah Island Penal Colony until it closed in 1832. At that time it was described as ‘fast relapsing into its original state of wild luxuriance.’This state of wild luxuriance prevailed until the fires of 2016After those fires were extinguished, each time we sailed past those burnt hills we wondered what historical treasures might have been revealed. Other members of the Friends of Macquarie Harbour held a similar view, and so together we mounted an expedition to look for the farm that was last in use nearly 200 years ago. Here’s the aerial footage on Vimeo If you want to view the whole adventure, go here to see the complete video with the history of this amazing place.I’m still a P-plate flyer and am sure my grandkids could make it do loops – Here’s an example of what can be done when proficient. Search for Lost Track. Compare that with my best so far – Kelly Basin .You can see that drones are a powerful tool, great for enhancing story telling, and perfect to capture views otherwise not available to us mere mortals.If we can be of any help, keeping in mind I’m a P-plate flyer, just drop us a line at info@jackandjude.com


Single DVDs also available on USB Flash Memory Stick

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Our Life Afloat — 3 Comments

  1. Hi Jack and Jude
    Great video – the aerial footage is great, our engine has been fully restored over in Port Arthur by Mick Skegg, Tasman Mobile Marine.
    So, will finally make it to Hobart.
    Slow boat SV Reggae.
    A few extra jobs still to go.
    West coast sounds exciting,maybe next year for us.
    Part time cruiser, Warren

    • Hi Warren, Great to hear you’re a going machine once again. Looking forward to seeing you on the west coast. And really pleased you liked the aerial footage over Farm Cove. Flying our new drone has become a passion.

  2. Always enjoyable to read your posts. You are true adventurers! Since I know you enjoy a good story, I’ll recommend two older books about an adventuring couple called Dana and Ginger Lamb – one is Enchanted Vagabonds and the other is Quest for the Lost City. I’ve had to read them more than once. In fact, I’ve had to purchase them more than once because borrowers don’t seem to return them. Safe travels, wanderers!

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