April 2005

Click pictures to see the full-size photos.

Before - after. Could this be the same boat?

Roastbeef. Roastbeef is Erica's and Mark's sailing yacht. Erica, who is a convinced vegetarian, would like to rename it to Tofu Burger. But that is a different story ...

Anyway, since a veeery windy regatta in March 2004 Roastbeef is mast-less. Definitely a fact helping that she sank into oblivion and oysters began to grow on her hull. Without neither motor nor mast many people started slandering about the "biggest kayak in Sydney Harbour". Finally in April 2005 Erica and Mark decide to revamp Roastbeef. In do-it-yourself style the boat gets lifted out of the water and jacked up so that the hull can be cleaned. And Peter is part of the working people. We are talking about spine-breaking work: Oysters and mussels have to be removed with scrapers, afterwards the lower hull is sanded, and finally anti-foul is applied as paint and new protection shield. Erica spends most of the day on the road to organise missing bits and pieces and lots of food for the hungry workforce. Which surely helps jolly everybody along. Though all are in good spirits anyway cause the progress is more than evident (see photos). Only the mast is still missing ...

Sea charts with paddling route - and return

Moreton Island — of headwinds, sand hills, wrecks, snorkelling, and big sharks. From 3.-12. April 2005 Claudia and Kevin go on a kayaking expedition in Queensland: 250 km from the Gold Coast to the top of Moreton Island and return. A detailed trip report that Claudia wrote up for the NSW Sea Kayak magazine has been published in our Specials section . A brief summary of the highlights: We experienced 20-30 knots S/SE winds during all 10 days. On our way north we loved these winds, set our little sails and were blown along the coast. On the return leg however, we learned to hate these same winds: Everyone who has ever paddled 45 km per day into (very) strong headwinds will understand the exhaustion we experienced each day. However, around us we had deserted beached, dozends of turtles, hundreds of sting rays, many many dolphins, and they all made the trip well worth it. Right at the top of Moreton Island we had an encounter with a shark. BIIIG (4.5-5 metres), fat, 30 cm beneath Claudia's boat, he was looking straight into her eyes. Swam away, returned back. Swam away again, returned back again. Swam away and was never seen again. Claudia refused to land on this beach as had initially been planned. Hence, we turned our boats and went to shore on a different beach in different waters to set up camp for the night. Research at home tells us that we most likely encountered a bronze whaler shark next to our kayaks.

Southern Goatfish

Jervis Bay week-end. Australia is looking forward to a long week-end: Each year on the 25th April ANZAC Day is meant to commemorate the servicemen of the first and second world wars. End of April, that also means late autumn with shorter days — especially now that we have changed back from daylight savings time — and decreasing temperatures. Good reasons to spend one more week-end camping and paddling away from city life. Therefore, it draws us south to Jervis Bay where we spend most of our time with named activities as well as with snorkelling. A new hobby that we only recently discovered in Sydney. Whilst the fishes in and around Sydney are not comparable to those in the tropics there is still such a variety of fishes, starfishes and shellfishes that we are fascinated. Jervis Bay's crystal-clear waters are even better (see photo). No wonder the Jervis Bay waters were declared a Marine Park, i.e., (Under-)Water National Park. Once again, dolphins are a highlight on our kayak trips. What else would you wish for?! ;-)

Jenolan Caves

Blue Mountains week-end. By the end of the month Elke and Siegfried come to Australia. As usual Sydney is the last stop on their journey which brought them to Western Australia this time. It's their forth visit to this city and they know all the must-sees. Therefore, we had planned two surprises for them. Hence we barely believe what they tell us after their arrival: That they had visited two caves during their WA trip. Such a tour is exactly what we had intended to do with them!

Nonetheless, this "draw-back" wouldn't slow us down. On Saturday morning we get up early and head towards the Blue Mountains. This day a visit to the autumn Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens is on our schedule, a place Claudia and Peter had already been to two years ago (cf. Photo Gallery Mt. Tomah). Like at our first visit the proteas are in full blossom and their colours are overwhelming. Our next stop is Edith, a remote collection of farm houses on 1000 metres altitude. Claudia had booked the former old schoolhouse to accommodate us for the night. On our arrival the fire in the chimney is already lit and warms us up quickly. Something we had been longing for given the outside temperature at around 0 degrees. As indicated above on Sunday we finally go on the so called River Tour at Jenolan Caves which includes climbing 1280 steps in two hours. All of us master this challenge with style ;-) Elke and Siegfried keep on telling us that this was the best caves tour they did during their whole journey.

Regarding the second surprise you have to wait for our monthly report May 2005.