Dan and Justy Down Under


February 7, 2005

Dan or Justy

The process of anchoring the Solway Lass involves lots of oil. The mechanism is heavily rusted and oil must be liberally used whenever the anchor is lowered or raised. This must be a bit of stress on the crew, not knowing if this last lower/raise is now permanent.

We took the dinghy to shore and hiked to a fantastic lookout. The white sand (actually rare here, most beaches are washed up coral), layers of blue and green water, green and rocky mountainous islands, a picture-perfect postcard of tropical loveliness.

The trail had interpretive signage that cued us in on the local flora. One plant sits low to the ground and has long thin leaves that radiate up and then down, outward. Rising from its center was a thick stalk straight up for 10-14 feet with flowers adorning the top. This looks just like the Yucca in the Americas, but the plant itself lacks the spines and prickles evolutionarily designed to keep ground animals at bay. More importantly, it is a potent phallic image.

I remarked to Ash (one of the crew) on its resemblance to the Yucca. She looked and said, "d'yer mean that Black Boy? Oh, (embarassed) we're not supposed to call them that anymore ..."

Ash was very fair skinned, but seemed almost immune to the sun. I asked her about this and she explained that her grandmother was Aboriginal, but an albino. Her father was a Kiwi (I took this to mean New Zealander, not the bird) and her great-grandmother on a different side was from Fiji. This explained very little, but was very entertaining.

To keep the guests from getting crispy-fried by the sun, the midship area is covered during the day. Since there was no a/c in the cabins, folks would lounge, sit and generally fall about for the doldrums of the afternoon. The swiss boys had a deck of cards and taught Ash how to play the swiss version of crazy eights. They left the cards and I organized a game of blackjack. I was the house and we played for peanuts. Actual peanuts. It was a lively game with many players rotating through. I'd like to think some of them won't be such easy marks at the tables next time they play.

Life on board settled into a rhythm, just in time for the last day. Yummy sleep in a/c comfort, interrupted by DIY breakfast. Groggy reacquaintance with our amazing surroundings. A morning activity designed to leave you a bit nackered and ready for lunch. The afternoon had another activity (usually snorkeling) and maybe a rope swing or two before settling down to a serious snooze before dinner. Grand!

The Lass and crew are spectacular. Capt Buster has presence and charisma, he took tonights opportunity to tell us all about the boat and her history. He also mentioned that the Lass is the only tall ship in the Whitsundays that has a generator good enough to support carrying ice cream. We would get to have the ice cream tomorrow eve, on the condition that we sign the guest book under the 580th entry. With a cut-throat dash for pencils, the drawing and signing began.

Itinerary Highlights
January 20: Winery Tour
21-23: Moreton Bay Diving
25: Australia Zoo
26-30: Lady Elliot Island
February 13: Diving the Yongala
15-17: Cape Tribulation + Daintree Rain Forest
17-20: Atherton Tablelands
22-28: Coral Sea Diving Liveaboard
March 11-13: OzTek Dive Conference: Sydney
14: Fly to New Zealand
20: Poor Knights Islands Diving
31: Mt. Cook
April 2-4: Queenstown
TBD: To Be Dreamed

Digital Pix Courtesy of Shimmivision.com
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