Dan and Justy Down Under


February 8, 2005

Dan or Justy

Our morning involved another stunning setting. We had sailed (motored, really, with the lack of wind) up Nara Inlet. Nara inlet could be the setting for any pirate movie. Viewing the Solway from high in the closely surrounding hills, it was impossible not to think of a pirate movie, especially when another tallship (though there are none in the area to compare) approached from a distance.

We had hiked up to see Abroginal cave wall art. It was cool. There was only one people who lived in the Whitsundays. Most Aboriginals shun the Whitsundays, we were told, because of a large grey bird that lives here. They are thought to be spirits of the dead who haven't moved on, and make the Whitsundays a very unlucky place.

They are an amazingly beautiful place. The foliage competes with the rocks and an uneasy truce is maintained. The rockfaces are numerous and eminently climbable. Mouthwateringly inviting.

From there we hiked another 20 minutes to a waterfall. It was two weeks since heavy rainfall, so there was only a couple pools still extant. We saw huge spiders (called Golden Orbs) at a couple points. If there had been a waterfall, it would have been impressive. As it was, we rock-hopped along it's path up a ways to a big pool. There was lots of wallowing.

Back on board and time for a last rope swing. Mostly first-timers now, this being their last shot. One of the swiss boys was warned not to keep the rope between his legs, but he did. This was one for the funniest videos, but I was not on duty. I did see it and it went like this: a burly lad, he set up for a long swing. Upper-body strength to spare, he swung out far and at the apex, he let go. He neglected to inform the legs of this maneouver, however, and he pivoted about his crotch. As gravity came into the picture, we realized that the large knot of the rope was neatly cinched into his privates. We all began to grimace and then it happened. His fall was arrested momentarily, followed by a spasm of his body. Then he fell flat into the water. He's OK, folks! But we were all falling about laughing.

Afternoon was mostly a dull wait to return to port, but we all enjoyed the setting of the sails. Well, some of them, anyway. Captain Buster had promised to set them and "motor backwards if necessary, to billow them."

This was almost necessary, but with the sails up, we moved about 2.5 knots. The Bosun took me for a dinghy ride around the ship to video her in (most) of her glory.

Justy and I agreed that the trip was a visual feast, and very worthwhile, even despite the small annoyances. Solway Lass is a grand ship and a piece of history. I shall remember her fondly.

With our sailing appetite wet, our discussions roll towards the possibility of learning to sail once home. Todays boats and equipment give me full confidence that sailing can be an enjoyable adventure, not merely a life threatning adrenalin rush. Ive a long way to go before I can even say that I know anything about sailing, but Im certainly hooked into the fantasy it provides. Maybe Ill start with an eye patch, or maybe a parrot. Baby-steps!

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
More Digital and Film Pix Coming Soon.