Explore Earth with Jack and Jude
About Us ~ the long and short of it
The short version says we met and travelled, then built a boat while having two super kids and travelled forevermore.
Magic for sure. Maybe fate.
Here’s a little more of our story.
Growing up in a mega-city with few escapes, Jack blew up his neighbour’s garage when testing his first rocket, then found a new passion when riding a mule down the steep sides of the Grand Canyon. A raging love for the great outdoors saw him at twenty-one hitchhiking through Europe, where he met a lady willing to try anything and make it happen.
Judith, aka Jude, had a very different youth. Raised in a quiet Northumberland seaside village, her family often took long walks upon green hills overlooking the North Sea.
We have written four true-life adventure books chronicling our travels across the lands and oceans of the world. Taken from journals and diaries, alongside a plethora of logbooks, we write our tales with a touch of humour and like to add history to our practical knowledge. To help share our knowledge of anchorages around Australia, we have compiled three cruising guides. As nothing equals vision to capture beauty and action, we are also proud and pleased to have produced four full-length films-proving dreams do come true.
So, how did these two extremely different people meet? What forces brought us together? Some say fate takes us through life, while others believe karma brings good fortune to those doing good for Earth and her creatures.
Did karma weave an intricate plan, sending Jack overseas just as Jude began celebrating her graduation as a registered nurse? Did it send Jack, lonely and disheartened, into a Frankfurt Pub looking for joyful laughter and then let him see two bubbly blonds radiant with mirth.
I was shy then, did karma have me do something quite uncharacteristic. Ordering a round of drinks, fidgeting, I approached the two beauties, stammering in rather poor German, “Hallo mein Name ist Jack.” Can you imagine? Both girls burst into uproarious giggles.
Our honeymoon was a road trip through Africa, north to south, in a derelict VW van 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 once in the sunburnt country, finding space everywhere and a feeling of she’ll be right, encouraged us to start a family and build a 12-metre yacht we christened Banyandah, meaning “home on the water” Banyandah became our family’s first home.
Three stressful and strenuous years of construction saw us cast off our mooring lines with little sailing experience and sons just two and three. Beginning a voyage into the unknown, baby-steps comes to mind. Lacking skills created mountainous obstacles to overcome. In baby steps, we gained knowledge through good and bad experiences and this grew into a sea roving life that took the four of us around the world in ever-increasing circles on “voyages of education.” Pretty coral, shells and fishes filled our minds. Further stimulating us, a myriad collection of people and cultures focused our thoughts on this special planet urgently needing some TLC. Sailing thousands of miles, the Four J’s touched eighty countries and experienced an amazing odyssey that lasted not the one year first imagined. By working hard, we enjoyed good fortune all those sixteen years afloat to see our sons graduate high school then wander off to Uni.
Still hear the call of the wild
Sailing around the world fending for ourselves gave us heaps of practical knowledge and skills. But when we landed back in Australia, we had very few assets other than one well-used boat. While our sons attended Uni before joining the workforce, for another sixteen years Jack and Jude, with help from our sons, fashioned a modest recluse on land overlooking the Richmond River and rebuilt the same vessel we home-built in Sydney. Relaunching Banyandah in 2007, we set sail around Australia just to see what had changed.
When we sailed away in 2007, we had three grandchildren. Now, in our seventies, they number ten! We are still exceptionally fit, which is a tribute to actually using our bodies. But we are changing, our strength weakening, which tempers our confidence with more caution. But, we have always heard the call of the wild and excel when connected to Earth, loving her topsy-turvy seas, her rivers and mountains, and the wind.
In our lifetime we have witnessed humanity take what it wants from the wild kingdom, leaving less for every creature, and have noted the balance of Nature being upset. Within all we see, feel, taste, and imagine, Earth is unique, with humans the greatest power. As such, we are the dominant carers of Earth and her creatures.
During our two-year odyssey around Australia, we wrote stories peppered with historical notes, set within the matrix of two grandparents sailing a powerful 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 produced a film from the 200 hours of video recorded during that voyage. This grew our skills just a little bit more and illuminated a new direction. Being so very grateful to the many who have assisted us, and with Earth needing strong voices to inspire a new direction, we dedicate our energies to sharing the goodness of our life afloat.
We have now produced six films highlighting Australia’s “Off the Tourist Track.” As well as four volumes of true stories and practical suggestions gained while sailing those miles.
And then after seeing a need for Cruising Guides downloadable from the internet, we packaged our anchorage information around this magnificent island continent into electronic guides suitable for most devices.
In 2010, to share this information, we established this website that has grown into another positive reason to continue sailing and exploring. Please enjoy our blogs and short stories, our online videos and our drone footage from around Australia. You may also download our books in electronic format for the cost of a cup of coffee. Question gladly answered. Also, please join our newsletter mailing list to be kept informed of recent adventures, anchorage information, and practical tips.
Welcome on Board, Jack and Jude.
BLOG: “Our Life Afloat”
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