Monday, 27 August 2018

A Skinny Kitty & Chewing on the Anchor.


Yes our blog has been very quiet lately. Well, actually deathly silent. This has left a few people wondering what’s going on with us and even asking ‘Have you swallowed the anchor?- a nautical term meaning to retire from sea life and settle down ashore. ...

The answer is No! We have not swallowed the anchor, however, we may be chewing on it a little for a while.
There's still so much over the horizon.

Followers of this blog who have read our story from the beginning will know we resolved to change our lives by abandoning the corporate world, retiring early, buying a yacht and sailing the world. (You can read how it came about HERE.) We spent three years preparing ourselves for the big change, including actually learning to sail, with Rob finally closing the office door behind him for the last time in November 2010. Just weeks later in January 2011,  our home town of Ipswich in Queensland was devastated by serious floods resulting in a nose dive in house values, including the properties we had planned on selling to fund our sailing future.
Karen at the helm in the Whitsunday Islands during our RYA Competent Crew course in 2007 preparing for our new life as cruising sailors. There's been a lot of water under the keel since then.
We still pursued our dream however and decided if the time wasn’t right to buy a yacht, we would commence our new life by crewing on other people’s boats. Since then we have chronicled here in our blog how we have sailed through South East Asia and the Mediterranean as crew, done deliveries in Europe and Australia, spent two seasons cruising the Med with our great mate and partner Marc on the Jeanneau 43DS, Alcheringa, returned to Australia, bought and re-fitted Our Dreamtime, a Canadian built Whitby 42 ketch, sailed a couple of seasons around the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea before flying to Europe last year to spend the northern summer leading a Charter Flotilla around the Greek Isles.
While cruising we have had wild life encounters we never could have imagined like this Orangutan on Kalimantan.
Dolphins playing around our bow in the Adriatic Sea off Croatia.

A Komodo Dragon we came across on Rinca Island, Indonesia.


Humpback whales at play alongside Our Dreamtime on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Delivering a beautiful 56 foot Oyster from Gibraltar to the UK and sailing her up the Thames into the centre of London is just one of many, many sailing experiences we will never forget.
In essence we have racked up almost 17,000 nautical miles ( 31,500 kilometres) and spent over seven years living our dream. Unfortunately the reality is that our funds ran out. Depressed prices meant our real estate didn’t generate what we originally budgeted and, of course, we probably spent money a bit faster than we anticipated. So the cruising kitty got decidedly thin – read almost fatally mal-nourished. Such is life! We wouldn't swap one mile we’ve sailed or one port/anchorage we’ve visited during those seven plus years. When we eventually leave this planet we'd rather do it after a life packed with incredible experiences than a full bank account.
Two summers sailing the Mediterranean on Alcheringa was incredible.
Morocco. Experiencing new cultures is amongst the greatest benefits of the cruising sailor's life.

Sailing the length of Italy from Circe Terra  to Vibo including the Amalfi coast and across to Stromboli and  Sicily was yet another highlight of our time in the Med.
After the crowds in the Mediterranean, having Great Barrier Reef tropical islands all to ourselves is awesome.

The paradise of North West Herald Cay far out in the Coral Sea is visited by very few people.
Leading a Charter Flotilla around the Greek Islands in 2017 was something we never thought would be in our future.

There's so much world out there to see and we're not done yet.

The good news is we are still young enough to regroup for another Chapter or two. If we had originally waited to go sailing until the normal retirement age of 65, seven or eight years is probably as long as we would have managed before our bodies screamed enough and the rocking chairs on the porch began calling us.  Instead we have already had so many great experiences and hopefully still have time for many, many more.  But now it’s time to knuckle down for a short period to fatten up that skinny cruising kitty up into a tubby tabby again. Then we will be able to cast off and head into the Pacific for a few  years.

So Rob is back in the world of motorsport, employed as Marketing & Communications Manager for Willowbank Raceway as well as heading up the television commentary team for the 400 Thunder Australian Drag Racing Championship series. He’s fortunate to be working in an area he loves and knows so well, although the dual roles are definitely enough to keep him very busy.

Rob has the microphone back in his hand for a while.

Karen is working fulltime as receptionist for Manly Harbour Marine, a marine engineering company located less than twenty metres from our dock. Her commute to the office each morning is the envy of every working friend we know. It's a very good small company who are also authorised Mercury and Volvo dealers so if you're in Brisbane and need anything, you know who to call.

Living on Our Dreamtime in Brisbane's Manly Boat Harbour is certainly no hardship. It’s a beautiful spot and very secure. We have all the delights of Moreton Bay and its islands available to us just outside the breakwaters and will be taking every opportunity to spend our weekends out on the water.
Our Dreamtime on the hook in Moreton Bay with our friends Bob & Lyn's Whoosh
Even the moon didn't want to miss this sunset.

We are also using this time to do some more upgrades to Our Dreamtime so we’ll be even better equipped for extended cruising when we do throw off the lines. Through the blog, we’ll keep you up to date with these as they happen and also invite you along with us as we sail Moreton Bay. It really is a fantastic cruising area.  So please, keep checking back to see how we’re coping with life in the real world. Cheers!

Manly Boat Harbour in Brisbane is a nice place to be based while we fatten up that kitty.
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