First Winter Storm ~
As I write there’s a force 10 storm raging through Bass Strait with Hogan Island recording blasts of 78 knots. Cape Sorell lighthouse, just seven nautical miles from our vessel, has recorded 57-knot gusts with sustained winds above 40 knots while 25 mm of rain fell on our vessel as 13-metre waves pounded the shores.
Just a week ago, Jude and I were scurrying around Banyandah removing halyards, sheets and running blocks, packing away the Green Machine kayak, lowering the furling headsail and storing it. All done with worrisome thoughts of mingling with potential Coronavirus carriers after the security of living aboard our floating home on the wild west coast of Tasmania. The hamlet of Strahan had been a virtual ghost town since the tour boats closed early in March when Tasmania shut entry to all but returning residents. Walking to the only shop, we might encounter one other on the deserted streets, or a vehicle or maybe two would pass us. No one ever stopped to talk, although we might speak from a distance with friends we knew well.
In that month after all transport ceased, Jude and I were thinking we’d be wintering in Macquarie Harbour, a fact that unsettled us. We might not succumb to the Coronavirus. Instead, a wet, cold winter aboard a small boat without much exercise could lead to other illnesses that at our age could prove just as fatal. At first, we thought of sailing to South Australia where we have a berth exposed to milder winters. That required unseasonal winds to achieve, and spying one approach, we started making preparations for the 500-mile voyage. But that weather window closed, never to reopen.
Changing Hats never so dangerous
Raging storms no longer strike fear in us, and no more do we wear thermals to bed or work on the laptop under a duvet to keep warm. Why? Well, we made our escape last Sunday with help from a good friend who drove us to Hobart, where we stayed a few days in another friend’s vacant bungalow before boarding one of the first flights to leave Tasmania after the month-long lockdown. Love the helpful nature of Taswegians. Something we miss in the busyness of a more significant community.
After failing to get off the ground a month earlier when our first booked flight was cancelled, this time everything went sweetly. A vacant Hobart airport greeted us and then ever so slowly a few others arrive until a single boarding booth opened, and hooray, we took-off with half a planeload. Scary that. Being surrounded by other potential virus carriers. And, worse to come. Landing in Melbourne, trapped within the herd collecting baggage, we then repeated the process, all the while thinking we’ll be infected for sure. Gosh! We’ve never disinfected our hands so much. We tried wearing masks, but cheap things were pretty useless and just plain uncomfortable. So, with fingers crossed, we ran the gauntlet, reaching Sydney at 6 PM to find our rent-a-car waiting for us.
Finding our way north out of Sydney in the drizzle and darkness after a whale of a day proved tiring, but it too ended in success. Near Taree, we found a quiet tree-lined lane and settled down best we could for some rest. Surprisingly we both slept well till the morning chill woke us at 5 AM
Then when driving down an empty motorway, the lovely golden sunrise filling our view became a cloudless day of cerulean blue. Magic. We’d escaped!
The remainder of this tale is boringly beautiful with a smooth transition back into our shack, which was remarkably in good nick. Waltzing around the grounds, admiring the lush green foliage on the tall trees and shrubs sent our minds spinning because we’d left the place with everything dead from drought. Wow, now our water tanks nearly burst with full capacity, the grass was thick and lush, and further magic, our neighbour had planted out our veggie patch with seedlings that were all jumping out the ground.
Although NSW only requires overseas arrivals to self-isolate, we are going to stay at home for the next couple of weeks to make sure we did not pick up the deadly lurgy. There’ll be plenty of time ahead for family and friends.
Celebrating Jude’s Birthday
In our last fling amongst the wilds of Macquarie Harbour, we celebrated Jude reaching three-quarters of a century. That’s amazing considering the adventures this capable lady has survived. On our honeymoon, a deranged Arab put a knife to her throat, demanding her valuables. In Nigeria, they put her in jail as a spy and in the Congo just after the Mau-Mau uprising a pair discussed slitting our throats as we lay petrified in our pup tent. All that before she sailed across oceans, home-schooling two little ones afloat from birth to maturity.
Above all these trials, she has had to put up with me. Daring, brave, a willing worker with extraordinary courage, she survived being flipped upside down during a North Pacific gale that wiped out our dodger and shredded our mainsail. Not to mention my muck up at Madagascar recorded in our latest book that she survived and saved our lives with her cool action.
So, how to celebrate such a momentous milestone? Well, first off it rained on her special day. Cold misty west coast weather, but we launched our Green Machine kayak to paddle up the Pine Cove creek to where the first Huon pine was cut by James Kelly in 1818. Lonely quiet spot frequented by a pair of white sea eagles.
As we left the creek, Jude spied something unusual on the bank, which upon closer inspection proved to be a gill net owned by a mate of ours. So, we set it, hoping good fortune would bring Jude a delicious birthday gift. Watch this video to see the results.
Run Away to a New Life
Years ago, while circling the world, we met many with strong personalities who achieved great deeds. Several have remained dear friends in the decades since those halcyon days. One, in particular, carved out a life that is the envy of many.
PACIFIC EDGE ECO-LODGE IS FOR SALE
This hotel was built in 1992 by world travellers who settled along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and cherry-picked the best location on a lush tropical mountainside just above the Bay of Dominicalito and rugged Costa Ballena.
Two acres of land with a two-story main house and four comfortable cabins, rancho hall and pool, with the best views overlooking the rainforest to a long shoreline extending to the far horizon!
When you think of Costa Rica, and the close encounters with nature and wildlife, along with the dramatic setting and views, this place offers that and much more! Plenty of room to expand and increase revenues if one desires.
Are you looking for a unique investment opportunity that allows you to enjoy a laid back lifestyle while meeting great people from all over the world, and generating a nice income. Well, it does not get better than this. Do not miss out on this opportunity to be the owner of one of the most dramatic boutique eco-resorts in the world.
Email Susie and George for more details and be sure to mention that Jack and Jude sent you. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
COVID-19 and Earth ~
Jack and Jude have been on Earth for three-quarters of a century and have never witnessed an event so testing of the human spirit. Great numbers of our fellows are falling and many many more are fearful of succumbing to an invisible killer that we know not how to defeat. It is an insidious attacker that can be carried by your best friend, your neighbour or any stranger that you pass on the street. Therefore it invades our peace with visions of death from an unseen assailant.
Jack and Jude believe it will test the bonds of social living and we say to you, maybe bigger is not better.
A smaller population would be easier to manage, give all more space, require fewer resources, produce less pollution and with our labour-saving devices, give everyone more time to enjoy the beauty of Earth and her myriad creatures.
In the moments of solace ahead, imagine having more time to savour the beauty of a sunrise bringing light to a new day. Imagine more time to listen to children’s laughter that carries the joys of life and more time to feel the fresh spring breeze and hear the minute rustle of leaves. Imagine more time to read human thought and ponder our artistry, and imagine time to explore the meaning of life.
Look around and see travellers with earplugs hiding them from the outside world. Why? is it not because we all pine for space and time for our thoughts. Perhaps this threat is the creator reminding us that we have lost touch with the creation in our lust for bigger and more.