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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is It a Vacation? Or Real Life?

These wonderful people are Miles and Melissa, friends who we met in Iluka at the beginning of the year. We just spent ten days with them at Haslewood Islands, in the Whitsundays, where they camped out on the beach with their two kids.

Here is Pelagic, anchored off the beach where they camped. Haslewood is a fairly out-of-the-way spot in the Whitsundays, and camping is normally not allowed on the island. Melissa and Miles wrangled special permission from the Parks people to camp there. When we arrived, Alisa and I looked at the colors of the place and said - ahh, we're back in the tropics!

Elias LOVED having Remeny, on the left, and Malachi, on the right, to play with. I realize that I am probably not spelling those names correctly. That must of been one of the great consolations of the distant era when people gave their kids names like "John" and "Sue". You didn't have to worry about demonstrating how poorly you really know a friend by misspelling their kid's name.

We had thought that having one child on board a sailboat could be pretty hectic. This photo shows how much more chaotic three kids can be. I love all the action in this pic. Two year old Malachi really really wants a cup and his six year old sister is helpfully holding it just out of his reach. Elias is so excited by having his friends on board that he is clenching a butt cheek in one hand and stomping his foot. Melissa is wondering if she should wade in and referee the fracas between her kids. Miles, meanwhile, is doing his best to eat all the guacamole while the kids aren't looking.

In the evenings, we reverted to our normal routine on Pelagic. Here is Elias, petting the horse ("Gray Mare") that Alisa made for his birthday. He scratches Gray Mare on the nose and says a soothing "wheyyy", just like his Australian uncles do with their horses. As an aside, I will mention that Elias has recently been checking all of his stuffed animals for penises, as a way of seeing if they are daddies. Turns out they are all mommies.

"Boy, some of these connections are really loose!"

Elias is very interested in trying to catch fish with a bucket.

When he succeeds, we get an impromptu lecture on ichtyology.

Apropo of nothing, the view from the spreaders, with the deck awning set.

One day we chucked the kids on Pelagic and took them to nearby Whitehaven Beach, which according to our Rough Guide to Australia regularly makes "ten best beaches in the world" lists. In the background you can see a line of boats anchored off this famous beach - compare that with the earlier picture of Pelagic anchored all alone off Haslewood Island. A few minutes after this picture was taken, charter boats showed up and unloaded scores of daytripping beach lovers. That's how it goes in the modern world of travel - the "best" places are too hectic to be much fun, and the out of the way spots that no one has heard of are the places to be.

These are some longfin spadefish that came to Pelagic, begging for food, at the crowded anchorage at Whitehaven Beach.

This is a beach we went to on Haslewood Island a couple days later - not famous, no one else there. Just right.
Elias flew the kite that he got for his birthday.

Underwater life off the beach. The coral was out of this world, far and away the best coral I've ever seen. The underwater visibility, though, was generally terrible, which is usual for the Whitsundays.

More underwater life. Having Miles and Melissa along to watch Elias meant that Alisa and I got to snorkel together for the second time of our whole trip.

Miles brought his tinny along, and though the engine had troubles throughout the trip, the tinny was great transport.
While we were driving around to different snorkeling spots, Miles commented what a nice break from the hectic routine of working and child-rearing this trip had been for him and Melissa. I answered that it was kind of a vacation for us, too, a nice break from our routine - no work (yes, I have been working a bit in Oz!), no boat jobs, no big writing projects. But then I thought about it, and realized that these ten days weren't really a break from our routine - this was the sort of routine that we try to get into, the purest sort of cruising. We had lots of leisure time each day, in a fairly wonderful spot, and we were doing it with local friends who we never would have met if we hadn't chucked it all to spend a few years living on a sailboat, and traveling the world slowly enough to have the chance to make friends along the way.

Ahh, the sportin' life.

The end.

2 comments:

Jessy said...

Lovely pictures! Porter has been admiring them, namely because...

1. He has the same pj's as Elias! Much excitement.

2. We've been paying a lot of attention lately to what is and what isn't a mammal.

3. They're swimming in the ocean!

Anyway, it's good to check in with you guys. Looks like you continue to have a great time. Cheers.

Jessy

Mike, Alisa and Elias said...

Hey Jessy -

That's great - secret dinosaur PJ brothers!

Yes, swimming in the ocean - strange concept for a Juneau boy...

Hi to Bryce!