The adventure begins

It was like one of those dreams where you have to be somewhere and although you are running as fast as you can towards your destination, your legs feel like dead weights and you don’t get any closer to your goal. Is it always so complicated getting a boat ready for a voyage such as we have planned?

Jonathan at the helm as we finally sail off into the sunset

Finally, on Tuesday 26 May at 11.30 am we dropped our lines at Scarborough Marina and slid quietly out into Morton Bay. 

It is 28 years since we went off shore and since then the thought of more sailing adventures and a wandering life on a boat has been a distant dream that carried us through the ups and downs of every day life. 

Over the past five years in particular, our dream was held close. We were able to purchase our boat Bali Hai, a sleek Jeanneau 44i, through an international yacht charter company based in Australia in the Whitsunday Islands.

Bali Hai as she was for her first five years

The good part of the arrangement was that we were able to partly finance the purchase of the brand new Bali Hai through the rentals we received. In theory, her marina fees and maintenance were also at least partially covered but with the onset of the GFC and the high Aus$, it meant that we had to put our hands in our pockets far more than anticipated. 

However, the arrangement made it possible to have the boat in the first place so that was the big positive! 
We also had some great trips away with family and friends around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and were able to do a ‘boat swap’ in Thailand which was amazing. 

For the most part, she looked very clean and tidy when we had breaks aboard. However, the disadvantages were that often, the people who chartered her didn’t have a clue how to sail her and she had ‘more hits than Elvis’ on her poor keel. There were groundings that people didn’t ‘fess up to (one where the skipper, when challenged, claimed she ‘lightly touched’ the bottom but in reality she had such a bashing that it caused thousands of dollars worth of damage.)

And then there was the maintenance. Hmmm better not start on that but suffice to say, the charter company wanted the boats in the water making money and there weren’t enough staff to keep up with everything (hard to keep good staff in the Whitsundays and probably the American parent company pared staff costs to the bone during the GFC) . 

Let’s just leave it that when we took her out of the water in Brisbane the already replaced gear box needed replacing, some of the oil filters in the engine appear to have never been replaced, the prop shaft was just about hanging on, etc etc

Enough! We finally replaced, refurbished and renovated everything you can think of, and we were “ready” to go ( nobody is ever ready – you just have to go and finish things on the way.)

As we edged past the dredger boat at the entrance to Scarborough marina we felt triumphant but also nervous, excited but anxious, happy but sad at leaving our friends and family behind.


Goosewinging our way North

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

6 thoughts on “The adventure begins”

  1. I have so much emotional tension invested in this. On the one hand, I already miss my friend and mentor who has given me so much to work with and without him I feel bereft, and against that, I want both Jonathan and Dot to maximize the benefits of the investment in the boat, and the time available to explore and get away and enjoy the opportunities that lie ahead. But never underestimate how much I will miss you. ⚓️


    1. I thought I had replied to this Bruce but it’s gawn.

      I know how much fun you and Jonathan have had working together with your shared sense of humour and enjoyment of strategy discussions etc. what an amazing story of how you got together again this side of the world! You have a precious friendship which Anita and I have been fortunate enough to be part of too. We won’t lose touch, promise! Much love to you both x


  2. Really looking forward to knowing some of the boring stuff about sailing at night and sunrise and sleep deprivation and random meetings of other steel/manufactured vessels and skinned/feathered/scaled animals. I imagine lots of boring, and I know sometimes 5 acres is not enough space, so how do you manage such a close living arrangement. As with Bruce never underestimate how much we will miss you.


    1. Thanks Peter, I will write about being on night watch specially for you! Actually there are long periods of what might seem like inactivity but you are always watching, observing, checking, enjoying the sounds, smells and sights, even at night. I don’t get bored at all! In fact I keep thinking I should have read more of my book but find I have been too busy. We will miss you heaps but hope to see you in Cairns or somewhere else en route x


  3. Hi Guys it was a great pleasure meeting you both and working closely with you to solve some of the mechanical issues that held you up in Scarborough, ill be keeping track of your adventure and i hope its much better than you expected.
    Stay Safe and Happy Sailing.
    Regards JIM – AQUA MARINE


    1. We are both very grateful for the way you stepped in to help us out Jim, despite how busy you were. Your workmanship is second to none and you went way above and beyond to get us sorted out and ready in time to leave this week. We will be singing your praises up the coast. Wish all our experiences with people who worked on the boat could have been as good but if they had been we would have never met you! Thanks so much.


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