2012 Bahamas to New York

United States of America!

2012 started in St Martin in the Caribbean. Sea Life had a safe voyage through the Bahamas to the USA and up to New York City.

She is much better to see from the deck of your own boat after a week long voyage!

Lots of people drop in when you’re in New York. Ali from Sydney bumped into Catherine working in NY and bumped into Megan so they all decided to bump into Sea Life!

Off Cape Hatteras

I have never seen more dolphins than in the area Cape Hatteras to New York. Most amazing is when they first see you… they may be patrolling looking for fish and then one jumps and sees the boat and then turns directly towards you calling the others and the RUSH towards the boat!

Bahamas

Shroud Cay, the Exumas, Bahamas. When the wind don’t blow and the ship don’t go, at least you can tell if there’s a shark about to bite ya toes.

Georgetown, the Exumas, Bahamas. How do the cruisers wile away a winter?

2011 Caribbean

Read the experience with the Somali Pirates in the Gulf of Aden

Venezuela!

Sea Life had a safe voyage from Grenada to Venezuela. Its a little more dangerous at sea so precautions needed to be taken harking back to Gulf of Aen times. The good news is I am loving Venezuela and will write up a detailed account for other cruisers wishing to come here.

Read about Medrigal Village, how to get there and more.

Meddrigals Swimming Pool is huge, with a resort and haulout facility in one. The Bar and Pool area is best…

June to September 2011 Grenada.

The Hurricane Season is affecting the Caribbean so Sea Life is spending a few months in the very green and pretty island of Grenada. Since its devastating communist revolution and resolution by force from the other Caribbean Islands and the USA in 1983 Grenada has evolved in to perhaps the friendliest island in the region. Its full of colour, music and delightful people.

Just love the Boganvillia.

Its Carnival! Kim, right and her husband Rikki, of ‘De Big Fish’.

April and May 2011 Antigua.

The most beautiful marina in the world is Nelsons Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua. Horatio Nelson was a mere Captain in 1784 when he got the shove to the Caribbean – had he stirred up the wrong Admiral? Anyway, he had a rough time of it but left the place his name. Today many of the original buildings remain and yachts are tied to bollards he probably kicked. To make it even better the marina price is about $1 per foot of boat per night. Bad news is its booked out till after Antigua Sailing Week.

Sea Life cuts the opposition in Antigua Sailing Week! *Jason Pickering Photography

Sea Life racing in “Antigua Sailing Week”, a 5 race series. Of course we are jus’ cruisin’. Joining Sea Life is Brian and Kerrie Wexham from Sydney. After sampling the restaurants of Antigua we will be heading to Barbuda which is quite a wilderness compared to the rest of the Caribbean. We will be grabbing the snorkels for some of the most pristine coral. A great relax before Brian and Kerrie head back to the rat race.

Nelson’s Dockyard.

St Martin

Its Carnival time on the French side of St Martin. Marigot comes alive with the colour, music and movement with that slight French accent!


Carnival is for the locals and the streets are full with families… and everyone else.


This photo is not faked! The airport ends right on the beach and the Sunset Beach Bar has a great, if not fractional close view. Its the only place in the world where noise isn’t complained about.

You can’t leave your past behind. They follow you around the world! Its was a sensational few weeks when John Whitehall found Sea Life. Its was a mad mix of tourism, bars and … well, more bars!

Its difficult work out if an anchorage will be good or not. Touristy to the max, but a very pleasant surprise was Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, The British Virgin Islands.

In some film Bruce Willis said one of the 10 things to do before you die is to go to Foxy’s on New Years Eve. Looks quiet in this photo! Foxy and his Australian wife are great and I enjoyed New Years Eve 2011 in their wonderful restaurant and bar on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.

2010 / 2 Greece to Caribbean

2010 saw ‘Sea Life’, the Beneteau 393 sailing yacht go through her most tumultuous year. Leaving Thailand just after New Year I sailed through the northern Indian Ocean into the pirate infested waters of Somalia via the Gulf of Aden. There we witnessed a real pirate attack on a container ship and were far to close to being caught ourselves. Then the magic of the Pyramids in Egypt, Turkey, Greece, France and the Mediterranean. I continued on to cross the Atlantic completing Sea Life’s circumnavigation. What a year! so much so that its split into 2 web pages. part one and part two.

Read our experience with the Somali Pirates in the Gulf of Aden

Circumnavigation complete! 21st December 2010!

Current location – Arrived St Martin 21st December. Let me catch my breath and I’ll tell you a story….

23 October to 22 November 2010, Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.

Don Pedro of the Texaco Fuel Outlet at Muelle De Portivo, Las Palmas hosts the anual Dinghy Race. We entered a combined Sea Life, Mojomo, Mollymawk team and of course won! OK, maybe we didn’t win but we certainly had fun. Look CLOSELY and to the right of the white hard dinghy you will see the grey with black striped dinghy of Mollymawk, standing starboard stern is Matt of Mojomo; port stern loading ammunition bucket is Caesar of Mollymawk, port bow leading attacker Glyn of Mojomo and starboard bow is me.

Anchored in the bay at Las Palmas are many boats ready to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. Inside the Maria are 250 ARC Rally participants who leave here on Novenmber 20th. However everyone else goes when they want to. Its a bit like migrating birds – we are waiting for the Hurricane Season to finish. But when is that? A couple of early birds have left, and the rest of us may follow suit within a few days of each other when each of us sniffs the air and thinks its right.

This fleet of Optimist dinghies use Vladimir & Céline’s Kafeoli as a turning mark in their race. Crewed by teenage girls they identify their location with their screaming! They are very funny and verrry fast.

‘Lil Dink the Zodiac dinghy that has done one and a half circumnavigations under 3 owners and over 12 years old is in semi-retirement. She has more leaks than an onion paddock and I am only using her once every few days to get into town. Even then I need to take the outboard engine off and chain it to the dock so ‘Lil Dink can stay afloat. That gives me about an hour to race around and find bits for Sea Life and pump her back up again. She done herself proud so I don’t mind. She gets full retirement as soon as Sea Life gets to St Martin in the Caribbean.

The ARC is a rally for sailing boats to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Las Palmas to St Lucia. It leaves here on November 21st. I am going further north to St Martin and will be leaving within a week of the ARC, before or after. The anchorage and tha marina are getting quite crowded as more boats come her in preparation for their great voyage. Its getting quite exciting meeting more people either ARCing or going over on their own.

23 September 2010 Arrived in the Canary Islands! Dropped anchor in Las Palmas the main town of the island Gran Canaria.

25th August 2010, Villefranche, The French Riviera -Cote D’Azur

Fireworks are the french Riviera – a popular event in the summer!

A visit to beautiful Nice. What a lovely port and town. We enjoyed walking around the old town and seeing so many gorgeous buildings. The beach was very popular. There is wonderful shopping, we especially love the gigantic Carrefour supermarket, it has everything we could ever need!

The lovely colourful port of Nice, France

Villefranche, a beautiful, safe anchorage. We are enjoying relaxing, eating lots of delicious French cheese and bread and loving France! Mark is enjoying the French wine too. We are taking a couple of weeks to relax after such a busy years so far since we left Thailand in January. We can take a bus to Nice, Cannes, Antibes or Monaco they are all very close.

The lovely anchorage of Villefranche on the French Riviera with the cute town full of little, old narrow streets

7th July – Ariverdeci, Italy! Bonjour France! We arrived in France on the very wealthy, exclusive and famous French Riviera – Cote D’Azur with a sail past famous Monaco – Monte Carlo

4th August – Pisa – The quaint town of Pisa and a visit to the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. We even got to walk inside the tower and up to the top. It was lots of fun and had great views of the town below us.

2nd – 5th August 2010 – Santa Margarita Ligure, Italian Riviera with a scenic sail past Portofino

Lovely morning light over Santa Margherita Ligure on the Italian Riviera

30th July – Our first Med storm while at sea. Very nasty storm, strong winds (up to 70-80 knots), heavy rains and spray lifted up off the sea. We were healed right over and sailing along very FAST through the storm, a bit more adventure than we really needed!

Some interesting clouds around the time of some stormy weather days in Italy

28th July, A lovely sail along to Almafi Coast and a sail by the famous Isle of Capri, Italy at sunset on the way to the Italian Riviera!

The beautiful Trevi Fountain where we sat and had our lunch during our walking day around the city of Rome

25 & 26th July – Pompeii & Rome, Italy

Mark outside The Coliseum, Italy

A lovely view of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background

24th -28th July- Salerno, Italy! A beautiful Italian town with lively Italians, atmospheric piazzas (public squares), puppet shows and wonderful gelato!

21st July – Scenic sail past Stromboli Island, Italy. The volcano puffed away all afternoon and we drifted around the West side of the island to see the amazing night time explosions – black smoke and red fiery ash along with the rumbles of the volcano. Just like watching a nature documentary only it was happening right in front of our eyes and we had the best view on the deck of Sea Life. So beautiful and mesmerizing!

The beautiful nature wonder, Stromboli Volcano a sight to see on approach to the island and at night!

20th July – a nice calm motor at night through the famous Straits of Messina, Italy

16th July 2010 – Goodbye beautiful Methoni, Mainland Greece, onwards to Italy!

The Pathenon, a site we saw amongst many others on a land trip to Athens, Greece

10th -16th July 2010, arrived on mainland Greece – Methoni! We love Methoni, it had a wonderful, safe anchorage. A very pretty, very Greek, local town with a great pub. We found a gorgeous little cove to swim in which had the clearest (see through) water we have ever seen, it was calm and peaceful and you had the beautiful historic fort and castle right behind you. Just glorious.

8th July 2010 – A scenic sailing tour past Santorini and through the beautiful islands of Thira, The Cyclades, The Greek Islands!

Sea Life happily anchored in the bay of Serifos with the lovely old Chora village behind her going up into the mountains

7th,8th July July 2010 – Folegandros Island, The Cyclades, The Greek Islands!

The view from the town of Kastro to the lovely blue domed church sitting on the edge of the island

4th – 7th July 2010 – Sifnos Island, The Cyclades, The Greek Islands!

The view from the chora in Serifos down into the town and the bay

3rd, 4th July 2010 – Serifos Island, The Cyclades, The Greek Islands!

A beautiful blue domed church in the chora (village) on the mountains in Serifos

29th June – 3rd July 2010 – Syros Island, The Cyclades, The Greek Islands!

A lovely quaint street in Syros with the famous bright, colourful Bougainvillea

The beautiful crystal clear water at our lovely little beach just a short walk from Sea Life in Syros. We swim here many times each day, it is lovely and refreshing during the warm summer days

beautiful bouganvilla gracefully sweeping off a cute white and blue Greek house in Syros

A beautiful view from the hill of the town of Syros (after our long walk through the town and up step hills and stairs!), blue domed churches and Seas Life tied to the harbour quay somewhere down below

A cute, narrow, marble Greek street with beautiful Bougainvillea, blue domed church, Mark and two perfect little pussy cats posing for the photo

29th June 2010 -Hello Greek Islands! Yay we are now in Greece cruising the beautiful Greek Islands. Sea Life is now in Europe! How exciting!

Lovely Miss Sea Life happy to be in Greece and tied to the very nice harbour quay in Syros with restaurants and the town behind her. Syros is a beautiful town with marble streets and marble buildings everywhere, very nice!

29th June 2010 – Arrived in Syros, Greece, Cyclades – Greek Islands!

Beautiful bouganvilla gracefully decorating the charming street in Syros

FOR MORE PHOTOS SEE OUR 2010 PAGE FOR THE FIRST HALF OF OUR 2010 CRUISING YEAR! TURKEY, EGYPT, RED SEA, OMAN, AND THAILAND.

2010 Part 1 Red Sea, Pirates, Egypt & Turkey

Cruising in 2010 – The First Half Of The Year Jan – June 2010. Thailand to Turkey!

26th June 2010 – Goodbye Turkey (we loved you and will miss you!), The Mediterranean! After almost 3 months we left Marmaris behind and sailed out to sea for a 3 day passage to Greece

Our favorite performers from the Marmaris Folk Dance competition in the Amphitheatre

A beautiful afternoon view of the gulets tied to the town quay with the Marmaris Fortress in the background and the beautiful mountains as a backdrop

A lovely collection of our market produce from the weekly markets in Marmaris, we enjoyed buying lots of delicious fresh fruit and vegetables

18th May – Marmaris, Turkey.

16th May – Kinidos, Turkey. On our way to Marmaris.

12th May – 16th May – Gumusluk, Turkey

8th May – Ancient City of Ephesus (Efes), Turkey

Mark performing on one of the most grand and ancient stages, The Great Theatre, Ancient city of Ephesus (Efes), Turkey

A close up view of part of the front of the beautiful Library of Celsus, Ancient City of Ephesus (Efes), Turkey

6th May – Foca -Eskifoca (Old town)

2nd – 4th May – Behramkale (Ancient Assos) Turkey – An ancient city, Temple of Athena, beautiful little harbour !

Sea Life in her berth right in front of the lovely little village and restaurants in Behram Kale (Ancient Assos)

We berthed Sea Life right of the lovely little row of restaurants in Behram Kale (Ancient Assos) and stepped ashore to explore this beautiful little harbour & quaint village. We enjoyed a fabulous walk up through the farmland, olive groves and local town area up the hill to the ancient Temple of Athena (our first temple in the Mediterranean). Glorious views of the coast all around. A beautiful and delightful little harbour. We love it.

Temple of Athena in Behram Kale (Ancient Assos)

1st May – Bozcaada Island, North Turkey – A Castle and Red Wine! We loved Bozcaada, a quaint little Turkish fishing village with great local red wine, great food, lovely people and a beautiful castle. It was our very first castle in the Mediterranean which we enjoyed

Mark sitting in a room with a view in the Bozcaada Castle, he can see our beautiful yacht Sea Life sitting in the harbour (she is the one in the middle)

1st May sailing on a beautiful day to Bozcaada, we sailed across the busy Dardanelle’s shipping lane for the second time, the first time with were motoring and it was during the night. Today is was a glorious day, gentle winds, sunshine and full sails up, even our genoa was poled out.

25th April – ANZAC DAY – Gallipoli – We walked to North Cove and slept overnight where the ANZAC soliders landed in 1915 in the First World War, then attended the dawn service & then walked to Lone Pine for the Australian Anzac Day service. A very moving and special experience for us both. We also walked to the Nek cemetery to see the trenches and the area where they fought against the Turkish 95 years ago. If you would like to read more about our Gallipoli experience with Sea Life Click here

North Cove Beach one of the beaches were soliders landed in 1915 in the Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsular, North Turkey (the Sphinx is featured coming out of the cliffs, it reminded the soliders of the Sphinx in Giza, Egypt)

Shrapnel Valley War Cemetery, Gelibolu (Gallipoli) Peninsular, North Turkey

17th April 2010 – We motor sailed for three days and now we are further North in a lovely little port called Kabatepe, a small fishing vilage. Sea Life is in a berth with all the local fishing boats, very quaint and atmospheric! It is close to ANZAC Cove at Gallipoli and we made a run close to the beach seeing what the soldiers saw just before they landed. We will attend the dawn service at ANZAC Cove on the 95th for ANZAC Day to remember our brave soliders who died here in the First World War.

Our first ANZAC poppie is growing just near our boat in a small field of wild flowers. They grow isolated, or maybe up to about 4 flowers together, so theres just a splash of blood red in amongst the sea of colour.

8th April 2010 -We have arrived in the Mediterranean (after a four day sail into the wind up to 38kts on the nose), in Fethieye, Turkey! YAY!!

A beautiful view from Fethieye in Adasi Bay of the snow capped mountains

2nd & 3rd April 2010 – Transited the Suez Canal, Egypt. Click HERE for a full description.

There are many horror stories from cruisers about transiting the Suez Canal. We had a wonderful time, lots of fun and paid only a small amount of baksheesh ($10 USD to each of our pilots – is the normal amount), the scenery was interesting, especially in the second half of the canal. It was exciting to go past the convoys of large ships during our transit, just as it was fun to be so close to the ships when we transited the Panama Canal in 2008. If you would like to read more about our Suez Canal transit Click here

A beautiful natural pryamid in the famous Valley of the Kings, Luxor Egypt.

16th – 25th March – 10 day Land Travel trip through Egypt. We visited Luxor, Cairo & Siwa Oasis, seeing along the way the tombs of the famous Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, The Nile River, Temple of Hatshepsut, Karnak Temple, Cairo city, the Pyramids of Giza, the Egyptian Museum (where we even saw mummies), Siwa Oasis, the famous cold and hot springs found there, Fatnas Island, the Temple of Ammon where Alexander the Great visited the oracle and the beautiful sand dunes of the Great Sand Sea desert.

Sand dunes in the Great Sand Sea Desert, Siwa Oasis.

The heavenly natural hot spring we soaked in, surrounded by palm trees in the middle of the Great Sand Sea Desert, Siwa Oasis.

A gorgeous sunset over the Nile River.

18th Febuary – 10th March, passage of 1500 nautical miles from Oman through the Gulf of Aden and up most of the Red Sea.

6th – 18th Febuary,Salalah, Oman.

Some happy, friendly dolphins playing with Sea Life on the way to Oman in the Indian Ocean

10th January – 6th Febuary, passage across the Indian Ocean to Oman, 2800 nautical miles. We had a wonderful passage from Phuket to Oman, it was a really nice chance to relax before our long and difficult passages coming up ahead. We saw lots of whales, dolphins, sea turtles and sea birds. We even had a little bird come and sleep in our front cabin for the night. We called her tweet because she was always busy talking and singing to us, isn’t she beautiful?

Our special little baby bird tweet, our guest for the night in the Indian Ocean

Beautiful cloud formations across the Indian Ocean passage which took us 26 days!

6th January 2010! Phuket, Thailand- HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Mark does a great James Bond off James Bond Island of all places!

Lighting a paper lantern on Sea Life at Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand for New Years Eve.

Elephant trekking in Nai Harn Beach, Phuket Thailand, an amazing experience.

FOR MORE PHOTOS SEE OUR HOME PAGE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF OUR 2010 CRUISING YEAR! THE MEDITERRANEAN, EUROPE, GREECE, ITALY, FRANCE ETC.

2009 Australia to Thailand

Here is what we got up to cruising the world in 2009!

Cruising in 2009!! New Years Eve – Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand.

20th – 31st December – Phuket, & The Similan Islands, Thailand!

A picture perfect tropical beach, Ko Rok Nok.

One of the many beautiful views around Thailand, The Landscape is towering around Maya Bay, Phi Phi Le .

Mark looks tiny looking at the cliffs around the beach at Phi Phi Le.

We found Nemo at Ko Rok Nok, Thailand, while practising our underwater photography .

28th November – 13th December 2009 – Langkawi, Malaysia.

One of the many beautiful views around Langkawi.

24th November – We arrived to the beautiful island of langkawi. We hav e spent the past few days relaxing around Singa Besar & Pulau Dayang Bunting. It is so peaceful, beautiful and the scenery is just breathtaking. We love it here! We have been swimming to keep cool in this hot, hot weather. We had a dip in the lovely Lake of the pregnant maiden which is a large fresh water lake with beautiful mountains around it. The town of Kuah is a very cute little tourist town, very nice.

21st -24th November, Penang, Malaysia!

18th November 2009- After about 9 weeks we left Danga Bay, Johor Bahru, Malaysia today headed for historical Penang!

10th – 13th November. We took a few days holiday by land and took a bus trip to Malacca and then onto Kaula Lumpur which was lots of fun. We even stayed in a hotel that had a bath, we enjoyed many hot baths during our little holiday, it was wonderful!

Mark enjoying a cold beer at a lovely outdoor cafe right on the river in Malacca.

The sparkling Twin Towers of Kaula Lumpur at night, very pretty.

We got to play with a 4 month old baby tiger at the petting zoo, we also saw some cute little Australian Sugar Gliders and a very cute little furry thing with big eyes which we are not sure what it is.

Beautiful flowers in Little India for the temples, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Downtown local Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Little India in Downtown local Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

11th -13th September 2009 – Singapore!!!! Changi Sailing Club & Shopping at the famous Sim Lim Square!

We have arrived in Malaysia after crossing the Singapore Straits. The Straits were amazing, lots and lots of HUGE ships, barges with tugs and all sorts of traffic. YAY! We have crossed one of the busiest shipping channels in the WORLD!!!!! So after a 5 day direct passage from Indonesia, it is now time for us to relax and enjoy Malaysia:) 8th September 2009

1-2 September 2009 We went on a 2 day river cruise to see the beautiful wild Orangutans of Kumai. They were just amazing, so interesting to watch, so cute – yet strong and powerful. A once in a lifetime experience!

A lovely mummy Orangutan with her little baby, very cute!

27 August – 4th September 2009 – Kumai, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia!

20th -27th August 2009 – Bali, Indonesia!

12th – 13th August 2009 – Komodo Island, Indonesia!

A glorious red sunrise in Asia – Komodo Island, Indonesia.

4th – 7th August 2009 – Ambon, Indonesia!

30th July – 3rd August 2009 – Banda, Indonesia!

25th – 28th July 2009 – Tual, Indonesia!

Mark made some new friends on a beautiful Indonesian Island.

Beautiful view from traditional beach village in Tual.

Local fisherman at sunset.

20th – 22nd July 2009 – Saumlaki, Indonesia!

18th July – We are leaving for Indonesia today! YAY, we are so excited and cannot wait to see all of the wonderful places in Indonesia we will be visiting.

30th June- 18th July 2009 Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia!

A gorgeous sunset in Fannie Bay Darwin.

6th May – 20th June 2009 – Lizard Island & Ribbon Reef#10 (The Cod Hole),The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland’s Coral Coast, Australia!

The beautiful paradise called Lizard Island, we just love it! We stayed there for 6 weeks and had the most wonderful time.

3rd May 2009- Port Douglas, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland’s Coral Coast, Australia!

22nd April 2009- 2nd May 2009 -Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland’s Coral Coast, Australia!

What a beautiful port Cairns is! We have enjoyed our 3 weeks in this tropical paradise. We took the train to Kuranda and saw beautiful waterfalls, then got the skyrail back which was amazing to see the rainforest from above. We took a lovely walk along the Barron River and went to the fabulous Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, where we saw the famous Cairns Birdwing & The Ulysses Butterfly amongst many other gorgeous species.

The beautiful Cairns Birdwing Butterfly (Mark took this excellent photo!)

The historic Kuranda Train underway in Cairns

19th April 2009 – We are having an amazing time in beautiful Cairns. I went to Perth and on the way stopped off and saw the famous Uluru. Now getting our provisions and a few things for Sea Life in Cairns and enjoying the tropics for another week or so. Then going to continue to explore the beautiful Great Barrier reef over the next month or two. The weather is beautiful!

The beautiful Uluru in the centre of Australia

11th April 2009 – Fitzroy Island,The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland’s Coral Coast, Australia!

Friday 10th April 2009! What a wonderful year we have had! Today marks the anniversary of the first year of cruising around the world aboard Sea Life.Since this time last year we have sailed over 13,136 nautical miles at sea, done the famous panama canal, crossed the vast Pacific Ocean, and travelled from the Caribbean to Australia. We have survived strong winds, squalls, a cyclone and above all we have discovered so much about what we can do, how strong we really can be in challenging times and how wonderful the world truly is!

It has been a year of adventures including, climbing mountains, snorkelling in crystal clear waters, swimming with wild Galapagos Sea Lions, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, beautiful passages at sea, spotting turtles, having encounters with wild birds, dolphins, whales and seeing animals and nature as it really is. It has been the most rewarding, exciting and happy year of our lives, we have made so many wonderful new friends from all around the world, we have learned so much about about different countries, their cultures, history, people and animals. So many wonderful experiences and stories to treasure in our heart forever.We look forward to the many, many more wonderful cruising adventures and years of cruising we have ahead!

7-10th April 2009 – Dunk Island, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland’s Coral Coast, Australia!

Here is a photo taken at sea on the way to Dunk Island, beautiful sky and clouds!

March 2009 The Whitsunday’s, Queensland’s Coral Coast, Australia!

1st April 2009- We have been enjoying the glorious Whitsunday’s for over a month now. The weather this week is just wonderful, light winds and beautiful sunshine. We are enjoying our favorite spot Blue Pearl Bay for a few days and then catching up with our lovely friends from Sydney on Saturday for a picnic cruise on Sea Life. Happy days of beautiful weather and fantastic snorkelling!!!

6-9th March 2009 – Severe Tropical Cyclone Hamish – Category 5 cyclone – Hayman Island, The Whitsunday’s, Queensland, Australia. We survived our first (and we hope last!!!) cyclone, anchored in a cyclone hole aboard Sea Life battling through the gale force winds for over 20 hours without sleep….we were lucky….we are safe, Sea life is safe and we didn’t get the eye of the cyclone going over us, but rather an outer circle.It was hard work, but we did our best and got through it all with a laugh and a smile!

19th February 2009 – Lady Musgrave Island Lagoon, The Southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Australia

The beautiful coral loagoon – Lady Musgrave Island, Queensland Coral Coast.

We had an amazing time at the beautiful Lady Musgrave. It is one of the first coral areas of the (Southern) Great Barrier Reef. We sailed in on a glorious morning with the dolphins, turtles and sea snakes welcoming us to this beautiful part of the world. It was the most amazing experience to be totally surrounded by a coral lagoon, with a circled wall of breaking waves around us, protecting us from the open ocean swell. Inside the coral wall was calm and peaceful, like a magical paradise. We had lovely weather which made the experience just perfect. We also saw the hundreds upon hundreds of birds nesting ashore.

A bird at sunset on Lady Musgrave Island.

We were lucky enough to see the gorgeous, tiny, little baby turtles hatch and make their way down the beach to the ocean. They were just so perfect, tiny little versions of their mummy’s and daddy’s. They were so small they were about less than half the size of our hands. We also saw the beautiful much larger mummy turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs in the sand.

A baby turtle hatchling on Lady Musgrave Island February 2009.

They were so big and graceful. It was so amazing to see the complete circle of life of the turtles. From the vulnerable and tiny babies rushing down the beach to the water and the mummy laying the next batch of babies who will soon be having the same trials right after birth of trying to make it through their first night in the big, dark ocean. Sadly we saw lots of predators waiting to take advantage of the tiny babies, including sharks waiting in the shallow water, crabs and seagulls. It was very sad, but it is nature and at least we had comfort knowing that their would be babies that survived to be as old and beautiful as the large mummy turtles we saw. We felt very privileged to be able to see this wonderful miracle of nature

Early February 2009 – Bundaberg (The home of the famous Bundaberg Rum, Bundaberg Ginger Beer and Bundaberg Sugar), Queensland, Australia!

You have to make a home brew up in Bundaberg!!! Mark made his first batch of beer aboard, we had lots of fun, especially Mark. Now he has to wait a few weeks for it to be ready to drink on a beautiful afternoon on deck at sunset.

Mark is very happy making beer!!!.

Bundaberg, Queensland, a lovely river.

Early February 2009 – Fraser Island, The Great Sandy Strait, Queensland, Australia!

Tin Can Bay – We have had huge flocks of wild Lorikeets fly over Sea Life each morning and afternoon. This morning we had the treat of hand feeding a rare wild Indo Pacific Humpback dolphin 5.2.09.

We got really close to him and he came really close up to us to say hello a few times….just beautiful.

The Indo Pacific Humpbacks are only found in rivers, not in the open ocean so they are very special and quiet rare, they are also found in the Amazon too (sometimes known as pink dolphins).

Southport, Surfers Paradise – The Gold Coast (sunny) Queensland, Australia!

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!!!! Monday 26th January 2009. Aussie, Aussie, oi,oi,oi…..We are off the enjoy our happy Australia day to celecbrate what a wonderful country we have in Surfers Paradise, a day of swimming at the beautiful beach, some fish and chips….and watch the celebrations on the Gold Coast….how wonderful!

A gorgeous sunset at Sufers Paradise, The Gold Coast, Queensland.

We had the most amazing sail to the sunny and very beautiful Gold Coast, yay….we are now in Queensland where the weather is glorious and warm! Surfers Paradise is just lovely, very coastal, warm and relaxed….we love it! And we are going to have a fantastic time in a true holiday city…we are even going to Sea world to say hello to the dolphins and Sea Lions……wooohoooo!

Gorgeous dolphins at sea taken from Sea Life, we saw 9 different pods along the NSW coast it was wonderful!

A beautiful sunset on the sail to Surfers Paradise

Camden Haven New South Wales Coast, Australia! Happy New Cruising Year! Camden Haven is just beautiful! It is the perfect example of an little Aussie coastal community, friendly locals who love a chat, beautiful coastal landscape with everything you need close by and great food! We are having the most relaxing and peaceful time in this little paradise.

Today we walked 4 km up the huge Big Brother mountain and back, it was very steep and went from bushland into beautiful lush rainforest, and then had the most amazing view of Camden Haven at the top. In the above photo you can see Sea Life at anchor near another boat, near a large patch of sand. It was hard work, but wonderful! 6.01.09.

FOR MORE PHOTOS & TO SEE OUR CRUISING FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR, SEE OUR 2008 PAGE!

2008 Caribbean to Australia

Our Life At Sea – Cruising in 2008! Here is what Mark & Sea Life got up to in 2008, our very first year of cruising.

31st December 2008 – New Years Eve on Sydney Harbour was an amazing New Years Eve on gorgeous Sydney Harbour. We had our friends Tanya and Blair aboard for a lovely evening and our friends on Fast Forward where anchored close by. That afternoon we had a lovely cruise around the harbour (which was very clam and not too busy as most boats had already got a spot at anchor), then found a perfect place to anchor at about 7pm for the evenings celebrations. We were very close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House with stunning view of both and the city backdrop.

Fireworks on Sydney Harbour NYE.

We all sat back, relaxed, filled ourselves with yummy nibbles and drinks and watched the beautiful afternoon float into a glorious evening with the most beautiful sunset and exciting, yet peaceful atmosphere, filled with laughter and the feeling of how wonderful it is to be alive. What a beautiful city Sydney is, the harbour really put on its most beautiful face for us and all the other boats on the harbour that wonderful evening!

The 9pm fireworks were wonderful and followed by an even more spectacular display at midnight. The fireworks were amazing. We have seen them from land many times before, but they were a thousand time more beautiful and special from the water and they were even more beautiful and meaningful from the view of our own boat Sea Life. A wonderful evening (Sea Life had a ball too), the fireworks were even more beautiful than I can put into words and the evening was a lovely reminder of all we have achieved and experienced in 2008. 31.12.2008.

Boxing Day, we enjoyed a lovely sail out the heads and over to famous and stunning Bondi Beach (where I used call home), then we enjoyed coming back through Sydney heads and into the harbour as the race fleet for the Sydney to Hobart race was starting the race, it was great to see the boats raising their sails and begin the race out the heads. We also enjoyed coming back through the mass of hundreds and hundreds of various spectator craft of all shapes and sizes, it was a fun and exhilarating experience.

December 2008 – Sydney Australia! We are back in Sydney again for a little while.

We have been busy painting Sea Life’s bottom and doing a little job or two for our lovely boat. Today we did our first coat of anti-fouling today and have some more to do over the next day or so. It is lots of fun and we are having a great time learning some more boat skills.

It is big job but Sea Life is looking gorgeous with her new paint and she is very happy to get sone extra TLC after a long time at sea with long passages and many miles over the past 8 or so months. Nic’s birthday is coming up very soon and we are looking forward to having our very first Christmas on Sea Life.17.12.2008.

November 2008 – Cowan Creek & Smith Creek (near the famous Hawkesbury River) New South Wales, Australia.

We are having a wonderful and relaxing time in Cowan Creek NSW, the area is full of beautiful Australian bushland and right near the Ku-ring-gai Chase national park. We have made friends with the local ducks, Cormorants, Jellyfish, Eagles, Kookaburras and other lovely wildlife here. The sunsets are gorgeous and the native flowers here on our bushwalks are most colourful and lovely! We feel very spoiled as we are able to have fresh water sun showers under the most stunning waterfall we have seen so far in our cruising life. The sounds, smells and sights of the Aussie bush are so special and unique; Australia really is such a beautiful country! We are having lunch today at the delightful Cottage Point Kiosk, which has the yummiest hamburgers around and great, friendly service. 5.11.08

October 2008 – Sydney Australia.

Wow, what an amazing time we had in Sydney, our old home city. It was wonderful to catch up with our friends and family. Thanks to all of our friends who took the time to catch up with us on our short visit. We had a wonderful time taking friends out for a harbour cruise on our beautiful home Sea Life.

It was such an amazing feeling sailing into Sydney heads after almost 2 weeks at sea and then to have the joy of spending some time out on the harbour on our own boat. We could never get sick of going under the Harbour Bridge or sailing really close by the Opera House; the harbour is so busy and so beautiful. We enjoyed staying at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron which is my yacht club and spent a couple of weeks enjoying Sydney. 3.11.08

Our Life At Sea

Heading to Sydney Australia! Down Under….

We are sailing out of Neiafu, Tonga Friday 19/9 and are sailing to Sydney, Australia….home to the land down under for a short visit and then we will be off again cruising. We are looking forward to catching up with our wonderful friends and family and having lots of Aussie BBQ’S and fun in the beautiful city of Sydney. Smiles, Mark & Nic oxoxxo 18/9/08.

Tonga!!!!

We are now in the beautiful Kingdom of Tonga! Mark and I are enjoying the lovely islands, the beautiful water & fantastic snorkelling.The people of Tonga are so friendly and sweet! We are having a fantastic time relaxing and enjoying this beautiful paradise. We had a funny experience sailing in, Mark lost his birthday when we crossed the international date line! But we had a nice birthday day for him the next day which was still just as special. 01.08.08

Guess where??????????

Galapagos!!!

We are now in the very beautiful Galapagos Islands and are having the most wonderful time! We went on a water tour of the area on Tuesday and had the most amazing experience swimming with the beautiful wild Sea Lions in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. It was amazing, the Sea Lions are so cute, friendly and playful. They love to come up close to your face and say hello and then swim upside down around you. It was such a special moment for us both.

Full information on Panama Canal and the Galapagos Islands click here

Sea Lion Video made in the Galapagos

We then went and snorkeled through the famous Kika Rock which is a huge rock that we sailed past on our way into the Galapagos. We sawm through a channel in between the two sections of the rock and all around the huge rock. We saw turtles, beautiful fish, more sea Lions, coral, starfish and all sorts of other lovely sea life. It was just so beautiful and looking up from the water at the towering rock was just fantastic. We never thought we would get to see the rock that close.

We also took a land tour on Wednesday and saw the famous Tortoises & Marine Iguanas. Galapagos is very beautiful both on water and on land. It is a very special place. The Sea Lions are my favorite though, they even come and visit us on our boat which is so cute, sometimes we have a baby one, and other times we have two or three adults at one time. They have such beautiful playful personalities and they are very intelligent too! 10/07/08.

Full information on Panama Canal and the Galapagos Islands click here

We transited the Panama Canal Thursday 12th June (Panama time).

We leave Colon Thursday with 2 other boats and all go through the first 3 Gatun locks (which are locks going upwards – usually you have a large ship in front of you) during the evening, then we separate from the other boats, pick up a mooring for the evening (at midnight) in the beautiful lake, say goodbye to our first advisor, then have a little half way celebration, then relax & go to sleep. In the morning our second advisor comes aboard (8am approx) and we motor up the canal (35 nautical miles = 70kms) towards the last 3 locks (which takes a few hours- all morning and into the afternoon), we then nest up (tie up) again to the other boats and go through the last 3 locks (which are downwards locks) and then enter the Pacific side and anchor there.

We might spend a few days there or a week and do some provisioning etc before we set off to beautiful Galapagos Islands and then cross The Pacific Ocean. We are so excited and are having a wonderful time in Colon and getting ready for our exciting advenuture!!

Full information on Panama Canal and the Galapagos Islands click here

We sailed from Saint Martin to Cristobel Harbour, Colon, Panama. It was a gorgeous sail which took us 10 days. We had a wonderful time relaxing, sailing and watching the ocean and all of the sea life around us. We even caught a lovely big tuna, which was just delicious! We saw 3 pods of dolphins, flying fish, sea birds, beautiful star filled nights, a full moon, and the magical bioluminescence which are microscopic algae that generate light, they look like sparkling faires dancing on the water around the boat. It is amazing!

Just finished out 1,100 nautical mile sail from Saint Martin to Colon, Panama. Thats over 2,000kms! Mmmmm those tuna taste great! 25/05/08

We have received our Australian registration and put our Australian flag on Sea Life. So she is now an offical fair dinkum Aussie! We also visited the beautiful & historic Fort Louis.

Tonight we are enjoying another beautiful Caribbean evening at Grand Case, in Saint Martin. We can hear the live French music from the shore and are sleeping on deck tonight in the gentle cool night breeze. Tomorrow we are going to take a short day sail and try out our new fishing hand reels and see if we can catch a nice yummy fresh tuna from the back of the boat. 08/05/08

We have been living aboard our lovely boat “Sea Life” now for two weeks and are anchored at Grand Case on the French side of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean. Life on our boat is just glorious and we are enjoying it so very much. We are getting to know our boat and enjoying some treasured sailing time. Grand Case is a beautiful area, so peaceful and just gorgeous!

Today we are going to “Walrus” which is our term for simply relaxing and doing nothing but enjoy the beautiful Caribbean (or in other words to just be completely relaxed and laze in the sun like a Walrus does). We might go for swim, or do some turtle spotting, or have an afternoon nap… but whatever we do we will be relaxing and enjoying our time “Sea Life”. 24/04/08

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