Our Life Afloat

April 2024                                                   March 2024 >>
Blog of Jack and Jude
explorers, authors, photographers & videographers 

Maintaining Banyandah is a labour of love

Maintaining Banyandah, the vessel we launched in 1974, has become ingrained in our very being. It’s not just about keeping her seaworthy; it’s about nurturing a connection that runs deeper than the ocean itself.

Sure, there are moments of joy in routine maintenance, like when we lovingly polish the brass binnacle or apply a fresh coat of varnish to the timber trim. Those tasks almost feel like a form of meditation, a chance to reflect on the memories we’ve made aboard this floating home of ours.

But then there are the tougher jobs, the ones that leave our hands blackened and our muscles sore. Cleaning the bottom and applying antifouling is perhaps the most demanding of them all. It’s a dirty, gritty task that requires us to get up close and personal with the less glamorous side of a sailor’s life.

In the early years, when money was tight and slipways were a luxury, we had to get creative with our maintenance routine. The easiest, taking bottom and scraping away barnacles while the tide receded or making use of careening poles like in Darwin became part of our seafaring adventures. And when we could afford a proper slipway, it felt like a victory, a reward for our perseverance and dedication.

Through it all, our vessel has been our faithful companion, carrying us across oceans and into countless unforgettable moments. Each scrape of the hull, each stroke of the paintbrush, is a labour of love—an acknowledgment of the bond we share with this vessel that has been our home, our sanctuary, and our greatest adventure.

Slipping Banyandah in Strahan April 2024 HERE

Echoes from the past: Exploring Historical Memories
Singapore 1976 ~

Singapore 1976 –
The first time we stood Banyandah on her wide flat keel, with lines from masthead for security.
Comparable to Judith’s England, where huge tides leave vessels standing upright between tides.

Brunei 1979 ~

Brunei, North Borneo 1979 –
We’re resting against the naval jetty before our South China Sea Expedition
(with their permission, of course)

Scrape on the way down – Antifoul as the tide returns is always a big day’s work

Japan 1980 – Cost-Free Haul-out

As we sailed through the stunning islands of Japan over seven unforgettable months, the generosity and warmth of the Japanese people continually awed us. From the southernmost reaches to the northernmost corner of the archipelago, they welcomed us into their lives.
Our two blond sons seemed to charm everyone they met, breaking down cultural barriers and forming connections that transcended language. The Japanese people’s curiosity and enthusiasm for our adventure opened doors to experiences we never imagined. From sharing meals with local families to learning traditional crafts through to taking part in cultural festivals filled our time in Japan with moments that still we hold special in our hearts. Reminding us of the beauty of human connection and the joy of exploration.

Throughout a journey defined not only by the breathtaking landscapes and seascapes but also by the deep connections we forged with the people, several generous gestures stand out, this one in particular. When we needed to prepare for our North Pacific crossing, the locals arranged to crane Banyandah out of the water free of charge—a remarkable act of kindness that exemplified the spirit of generosity we encountered when the man in charge of building the new port offered his crane, a ship builder supplied the paint, and the locals stepped up to help do the work.

Socotra – The Horn of Africa 1984 ~

Scary encounter becomes a memorable experience
Described in Around the World in a Homemade Boat

Banyandah, arrow right, had already scraped off a carpet of gooseneck barnacles when three Somalian shark fishermen arrived.

They burned coral on an open fire to produce lime, then mixed in shark fat to form a thick paste that they spread on their hulls.


Strahan Tasmania 2024 ~

Ahoy there! It’s been quite the journey navigating the changes here in Macquarie Harbour. Once a tranquil sanctuary of natural beauty and serene seas, our beloved waters have undergone a dramatic transformation since the triple expansion of fish farms. Now, our once pristine mooring buoys, piles, and ropes are draped with the unwelcome green macro-algae and pesky marine muscles, demanding more frequent slipping for upkeep.

But fret not, for though long in the tooth, we are no strangers to hard work and dedication. After much contemplation and a few spirited runs down harbor to shake off the winter growth, we decided to give our cherished high seas lady the attention she deserves and invested in 10 litres of the finest Altex 5 Plus antifouling paint. (Aye, hasn’t the price of keeping the sea’s embrace at bay climbed to dizzying heights!)

In Strahan, where slipways are as vital as the wind in our sails, options are limited. The lightweight rail cradle across from the town won’t bear our vessel’s weight, and the Grinnings’ rail slipway in Mill Bay is currently off-limits to yachts. Thankfully, the stout traditional slipway in town stood ready to accommodate our lady’s needs, and we secured a slot for an early April haul out.

With the stars aligned, the weather gods were kind, giving us several warm dry days to complete our task. And lo-and-behold, fortune again smiled upon us as we navigated the perils of shifting planks while blasting away copious layers of muscles, then meticulously sanding the remnants before applying not one, but two and a half coats of our precious premium antifouling.

Banyandah alongside Trevor Norton’s Harmony – SUN ODYSSEY 36I

She’s looking ever so sweet for a ship that’s sailed a couple hundred thousand miles to over 80 countries.

Our lady rejuvenated and ready to conquer the seas once more.
May the stars continue to guide us as we sail forth towards new horizons.


Discover Table Head: A Wilderness Escape ~


Nestled in the untamed beauty of Macquarie Harbour, Table Head awaits adventurous souls seeking a true bush experience. With no established tracks, the journey begins amidst narrow shore growth, leading explorers to the ascent. Reaching nearly 200 meters above sea level, the assent is manageable for moderately fit individuals, offering glimpses of Hells Gate, the Sorell Mountains, and the Southern Ocean along the way.

Not quite on the plateau, Betsy Bay to Hells Gate

Upon reaching the plateau, a serene landscape unfolds, adorned with exquisite rock outcrops and panoramic views in every direction. However, the terrain demands respect, with short growth and patches of stone requiring careful navigation. While some may opt for better footing in the scrub, others will prefer to manoeuvre up and over obstacles.

The Table Head Plateau

Preparation is paramount, with good balance and wilderness experience essential for a safe journey. Adequate supplies and appropriate footwear ensure readiness for the adventure ahead.

In the heart of Macquarie Harbour, Table Head beckons intrepid travellers to explore its rugged charm and breathtaking vistas. So, lace up your boots, embrace the challenge, and discover the untamed beauty of Table Head.

Liberty Bay – showing the extensive sand flats

Route, waypoints and Topo map HERE 

Ocean Beach Fab Adventure ~

1/2 km bush bash to sand cliff overlooking the Southern Ocean then a fun slide down monster sand dune followed by 5 km return along beach and access tracks to our car. Good fun and a good workout.

A wonderful, wild and unspoilt stretch of beach

A hour through fairly easy bush following a ridge brought us to the sand cliff.

Ready, Set, GO!


car park: -42 12.178′ 146 14.812′
sand cliff: -42 11.882′ 146 14.692′


To our followers, we wish you all fair winds and smooth sailing, onwards with determination and courage!



Our Life Afloat — 14 Comments

  1. Hi Jack and Jude
    Glad to see your still as active as always. I very much enjoyed your latest blog ,Thank you. We are currently at Emu point slip getting some work done prior to heading east.
    Kind Regards
    Brian and Sandra
    MV Sealeaf

  2. A very enjoyable read .We appreciate and are respectful of southern ocean weather.We are heading Nth from Cairns tomorrow heading to Darwin.
    As always Warm wishes .
    Brian and Sandra
    MV Sealeaf

  3. Hi Jack and Jude
    We are in Townsville at the moment and memories of temperate Tassy are a bit appealing.Always good to hear of your trips .
    Best wishes
    Brian and Sandra
    MV Sealeaf

  4. Hi Jack and Jude,

    I am from Perth and am planning on sailing my boat from Mexico through the South Pacific and I plan to get to Bundaberg by November. From there I am not sure whether I should head south to Tasmania and then cross the Bass straight around February to get back to Perth or wait for cyclone season to pass and sail around the top end and down the West Coast. Can you offer any advice? Thanks.

    • G’day Andrew,
      Crossing Bass Strait and the Australian Bight in February is fine, and preferable to beating down the WA coast to reach Perth around the Top End.In Summer, easterlies prevail close to the southern coast, and the Southern Ocean swell is at its mildest.  Hope that helps. 

      Our book Where Wild Winds Blow records our east to west and back to the east under Australia and is filled with weather information, places of interest and historical notes. Available both in print and digital.

      • Thanks Jack. I’ve got it on the kindle and will read it in a day or twos time when I cross from the La Paz to the Puerto Vallarta. Hope to see you guys around when I make it. CT 41 – Wastrel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *