2 November to 13 November, 2015 – Passage from Mackay, Queensland, Australia, to Pittwater, New South Wales, Australia: Joyful’s Friendly Dolphin and Whale Escorts through the Tasman Sea! – By Anne
Life is good! Joyful lived up to her name once again on this merry passage through the Coral and Tasman Seas way down under bound for a quiet, secluded part of the sea just north of bustling Sydney Harbor. November 2 was the time to start our journey southward to escape the cyclones which commonly assaulted the East coast of Australia during that dreaded 6 month season. The Southern Cross up in the night sky, would lead us Southward to the Tasman Sea. Our crewman, Tasmanian Rod, Jeff and I set sail from Mackay, Queensland, Australia, during a rare weather envelope in November which gave Joyful a chance to sail with Northeasterly winds. That she did until the strong Southeasterly winds blew up a near gale for three days. No trouble! We knew they were coming before we departed Mackay due to our vigilance in tracking the weather via Joyful’s satellite monitoring system. So the morning before the winds created havoc to any boat on the sea in that local, we sailed Joyful to a port of refuge called, the Southport Yacht Club in Southport, New South Wales. There, after refueling Joyful’s diesel tanks, we stayed for three days while the weather became suitable again. There were strong tidal streams and currents throughout the passage, lots of islands we threaded our way past, and we delighted in sailing by beautiful, untouched natural forests and beaches all the way from Mackay to Pittwater, except for Southport and only a few small villages. This is because the population of Australia is 24 million people living on a land mass the size of the United States!
By viewing my photos, and reading their captions, you will see the marvelous sights we encountered on the seas during this short passage and while on land in Southport. Dolphins, whales, sea and land birds, ocean critters on the beach, and typical life aboard Joyful while on passage will be most of the photos’ subjects. My goal while behind my camera was to let you feel as if you were there with us on Joyful – because you were there in spirit for certain! Have fun and I hope the dolphins don’t splash you with salt water!
On Observing Sea Birds – During this passage we encountered many sea birds who had a great talent of avoidance. They avoided posing for photos! However, we did get some photos of a few land birds who were more “hams” than their sea going cousins! We contribute all the photos we take on this circumnavigation to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, whose scientists study the migration patterns of birds.
Secchi Depth – The current was always too strong on this passage on Australia’s East coast to take a good Secchi depth reading. We like to contribute data we glean from using the Secchi disk the children at the Round Hill Elementary School in Round Hill, Virginia made for us. With this disk we collect data about phytoplankton which we submit to the Secchi App. The app is monitored by oceanographers at the University of Plymouth in Plymouth, England, who study phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are essential for life on earth to flourish.
Observing Other Marine Wildlife – Once again, on this passage to New South Wales, Joyful attracted dolphins and whales as she plied through the sea! We saw that as well as birds, dolphins and whales are also difficult to photograph, most of the time disappearing beneath the water surface a microsecond before our digital cameras took a photo! Even so, I had a little success in capturing their images for you to enjoy!
While Joyful was at Southport, her port of refuge during a few days of bad off shore sailing weather we enjoyed walking on the beach. There we had the pleasure of meeting the famous Australian life guards diligently watching for people needing help. They had flags displayed as to the status of the deadly rip tides, poisonous jelly fish, and the presence of sharks. During our stroll along this lovely clean beach on the South Pacific Ocean, I picked up one of the more common jelly fish which Rod insured was a safe critter to touch. You can see in my photo how the interesting little boneless creature looked like a dollop of crystal clear glass!
Monitoring Radiation Levels
One of the scientific projects with which Joyful is involved is that of recording the radiation levels that we experience along our sailing route. Radiation is a form of energy that comes from various sources (e.g. x-rays, radon gas, nuclear power plants, etc.), which, if the levels are too high, could cause a health hazard. On Joyful, we use a GQ Electronics GMC-320 Geiger Counter to take radiation level readings. The data we record is sent to the Nuclear Emergency Tracking Center (NETC), a world wide volunteer radiation reporting site. NETC posts radiation readings from numerous sources, including the US Environmental Protection Agency and volunteer reporting sites, into a data base; the summary is shown on http://www.netc.com. We take hourly readings when we are on passage.
The highest count per minute (CPM) reading on this passage from Mackay, Queensland to Pittwater, New South Wales was 14 CPM and the least was 7 CPM. The dosimeter (Geiger counter) will show a new reading about every second. We keep the dosimeter inside of Joyful’s saloon, usually at the chart table out of the sun. We keep it charged via a USB port connected to Joyful’s 12 Volt electrical supply.
Artistic Inspirations from the Lord About this Passage from Mackay, Queensland, to Pittwater, New South Wales, Australia
During this short passage from Mackay to Pittwater, Australia, a verse from the Bible came to me through the Holy Spirit that reminded me how those who hope in Jesus will gain strength from Him. Committing oneself to a circumnavigation on a sailing boat such as we have done on Joyful, coming face to face with Mother Nature every minute day or night, facing challenges and dangers of various types, requires a strong faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps you, too, will enjoy this verse, and gain strength in your life through Him.
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
That verse is the one I will incorporate into the design of a piece of art work I will create which reflects the most significant aspect of this passage from Mackay to Pittwater, Australia. I plan on publishing a book of my artwork which reflects important aspects of this circumnavigation; every passage and every landfall. Each work of art will feature the Word of God, and will be created in watercolor and gilded in 24 karat gold and silver in the traditional method used by European monks during the middle ages. I plan on publishing the book via the traditional method, as well as through e-books. My hope in doing so is multifaceted. Among the reasons are these three: I wish to bring the Word of God to those who do not know it, to encourage people in their walk with Christ for those who do, and to use it as an inspiration to others to be open to the Holy Spirit in their own lives.
What’s Next on the Blog?
The amazing area of Pittwater/Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, has extraordinary sights and experiences in store for us! And you, too! So please open my next blog entry and delight on the sights we encountered with Joyful in this interesting part of the planet! Maybe you will see things of which you’ve never dreamed! We did!
1. Flat Mr. Davis and Jeff doing navigation.
2. Rod and Jeff at the computer.
3. Anne tending to Joyful’s garden. We keep most of Joyful’s fresh fruits and vegetables in nets tied to the bimini structure because there is not enough room in the galley or saloon for them.
4. I store Joyful’s fresh fruit and vegetables in cockpit nets. In the Southern Hemisphere, I put certain ones to port or starboard, depending on their tolerance to the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, because the sun transits the sky in the opposite side of the equator, the placement of the fruits and vegetables is opposite, too! Do you know what I mean? No! Sorry!
5. Sometimes I cooked salmon fillets for dinner.
6. Rod asleep behind his sunglasses dreaming about Vegemite.
7. Dolphins loved to jump and play with Joyful.
8. Sunrise from Joyful’s cockpit on the Coral Sea. This is also a photo of Joyful’s wind powered steering mechanism called a Hydrovane. It is wonderful! It was a real blessing crossing the South Pacific because we did not have to hand steer most of the time, and it can also act as an emergency rudder if needed.
9. Flat Mr. Davis yelled, “Southport Ho!” From sea, it looked like Fort Lauderdale, Florida! The entire East coast of Queensland and New South Wales was natural and unspoiled, except for Southport.
10. We docked Joyful at the Southport Yacht Club to escape bad seas and strong winds for two days on the passage to Pittwater.
11. Flat Mr. Davis and Joyful at the Southport Yacht Club in Southport, Australia refueling Joyful for her sail to Pittwater, Australia.
12. The clouds were ominous and we were happy to be in this safe haven until the weather improved. You can see Joyful in this photo. She is the third boat from my camera. Her mast is the tallest one in this photo.
13. Southport Yacht Club with skyscraper condominiums in the distance.
14. You can see Joyful in her berth at the Southport Yacht Club as she waited out strong winds and seas on the way to Pittwater.
15. Joyful in her berth at the Southport Yacht Club. It was one of the few ports of refuge along this part of the coast of Australia. We had to wait here for two days to let bad weather pass by before we proceeded to Pittwater. Joyful’s Australian courtesy flag is flying from her starboard flag halyard. Her American ensign flies from a flag staff on Joyful’s starboard quarter.
16. Joyful in Southport. You can see Joyful’s American ensign flying from its staff on Joyful’s starboard quarter (right hand back corner of her hull). Joyful has two 58 US gallons (220 liters) diesel tanks in her hull. On deck Joyful keeps 12 plastic yellow jerry cans of 5 US gallons (20 liters) of diesel each. So in total, Joyful has 176 US gallons (680 liters) of diesel. She has a 55 horse power Volvo-Penta marine diesel engine.
17. Joyful at Southport in the marina. Joyful has two water tanks in her hull, each holding 58 US gallons (220 liters). On deck we keep two blue plastic jerry cans full of fresh water for emergencies. So in total, Joyful has 126 US gallons (485 liters) of fresh water. She also has a reverse osmosis water maker for converting sea water into potable water.
18. Joyful had a good view of interesting Australian trees and some tall apartment buildings.
19. Joyful had never been so close to high rise buildings in Australia before! You can see Joyful’s two foresails. The forward most is a genoa sail, and the aft is a jib. Joyful is a Solent rigged sloop, which is a very strong ocean cruising design. In order to tack or gybe the genoa, the genoa sail must be wound completely up, then unfurled on the new side of the boat. The jib is a self tacking sail, so the jib can tack or gybe without any effort by the crew.
20. Joyful’s bow view of the Southport condominiums with the approaching bad weather in the distance.
21. Joyful’s coachroof and foredeck in Southport. We had to lash Joyful’s lightweight sail, called a “Istec Parasailor”, onto the deck forward of the mast because there was no room below decks. In this photo you can see Joyful’s jib sheet traveler just forward of the mast, just aft of the two hatches. We can turn the two air vents on either side of the mast, called dorades, forward or aft, depending on the sea state and winds. We can even remove them and screw a tight cover over each opening so in certain sea states, ocean water cannot get into the boat through those openings. Normally, we keep mosquito nets over the air vents inside of the dorades. Joyful’s dinghy, which is an inflatable boat made of hypalon, is folded up and stowed in a bag, and lashed securely on top of Joyful’s coachroof. We had to remove Joyful’s davits from her transom because the davits interfered with the wind powered steering system (Hydrovane). We felt the Hydrovane was essential for this circumnavigation. You can see Joyful’s 6 person Viking life raft on the left side of this photo near her cockpit. The item on the right side of this photo is a “MOM 9”, which is an inflatable raft designed to assist a disabled man overboard back onto the boat. It is unlikely we will ever have a man overboard situation because we require anyone leaving the cockpit at sea to be harnessed and tethered onto the boat.
22. These ibis birds liked to stand on top of the rubbish bin. They saw their reflections in the windows of the building next to them, and I wondered what they thought about that!
23. A beautiful ibis is on his way to a nice breakfast in the rubbish bins at the Southport Yacht Club, Southport, Australia, but the club restricted his entry due to his noncompliance with their strict dress code.
24. Two seagulls stop to have their photo taken in Southport, Australia.
25. Rod and Jeff with Joyful’s chartplotter in Southport.
26. Joyful needed a new Australian courtesy flag because half of it had been shredded as it hit Joyful’s standing rigging when the wind blew hard.
27. Rod kindly cooked delicious poached eggs on toast.
28. Kind Rod made everyone delicious poached eggs with parsley.
29. While in Southport, Rod kindly made Joyful’s new favorite breakfast/lunch/dinner, poached eggs on toast.
30. Warning! Vegemite on deck!
31. Rod was the only one who liked Vegemite on Joyful. He did not mind, it meant more Vegemite for him!
32. Jeff enjoyed eating the delicious breakfast in Joyful’s cockpit that Rod kindly made us.
33. The beautiful beach by Southport.
34. A beach at Southport on the Coral Sea.
35. Australian lifeguards are some of the best trained lifeguards in the world.
36. Flags warned of dangerous conditions in the surf due to the high off shore winds Joyful was avoiding.
37. Jeff and Anne on the beach at Southport.
38. This is a jelly fish I found on the beach.
39. Jeff, Rod, and I walked from Joyful into town.
40. Anne and her koala friend in Southport, Australia.
41. A pigeon like bird in Southport, Australia. It has a long feather on top of its head. If you look closely, you can see the long feather.
42. I posed with this Australian pigeon in downtown Southport. Pigeons over the first half of our circumnavigation look the same as everywhere – USA, Panama, Nuku Hiva, Bora Bora, Tonga, Vanuatu, and now Australia!
43. A pelican in Southport, Australia.
44. Flat Mr. Davis and a Blue fish with long nose. This blue fish was in an aquarium in a Southport mall. This is not a trick photo! You can see my reflection in the glass. That fish is really alive and looks like it does in this photo!
45. Flat Mr. Davis and the blue fish. The fish was intrigued with Flat Mr. Davis.
46. Anne and the fancy dessert at the restaurant in Southport.
47. A joyful sunset on the Tasman Sea from Joyful’s cockpit.
48. We ate fruits and vegetables we harvested everyday from Joyful’s net garden under the binimi.
49. A peaceful sunset from Joyful.
50. A joyful sunset on the sea from Joyful’s cockpit.
51. A sunrise in the Tasman Sea, a few miles off the coast of Eastern Australia. Sunrises at sea were such a delight! They changed every second, and so did the sea!
52. We always delighted in each sunrise and sunset!
53. The same sunrise a few minutes later.
54. Sometimes waves would break.
55. A white sea bird (in upper right corner of this photo) circled Joyful during the night on the Tasman Sea on the way to Pittwater. Many times birds will land on top of Joyful’s mast, or solar panels, or life lines, or even on top of Jeff’s hat!
56. Dolphins race around Joyful’s bows.
57. Flat Mr. Davis liked Joyful’s dolphin friends.
58. Flat Mr. Davis made friends with Joyful’s dolphins.
59. Flat Mr. Davis met Joyful’s dolphin friends.
60. Joyful had lots of dolphin friends.
61. We had some lively seas some of the time on the way to Pittwater.
62. Joyful’s genoa and jib roller reefing drums.
63. We sailed past countless beautiful beaches on the East coast of Australia.
64. We saw humpback whales in the water. This one is broaching!
65. This is the huge splash another whale made when it broached seconds before this photo was taken.
66. The sea was turbulent sometimes but the seabirds still liked to fish!
67. Flat Mr. Davis and Anne enjoying lapsang souchong and raisin buns for elevenses.
68. Joyful sailed closely to some of the islands to avoid certain contrary currents. I put the camera down low by Joyful’s hull so you could see Joyful’s bow wave up close!
69. Joyful kept some of her fruit and vegetables in nets suspended from her bimini.
70. We could see waves crashing on the islands off Australia’s east coast on the Coral Sea.
71. We sailed Joyful between some of the many islands on the east coast of Australia in the Coral Sea.
72. Flat Mr. Davis enjoyed “elevenses” every morning. Today he ate Australian Lamingtons with his lapsang souchong tea.
73. Flat Mr. Davis, Jeff and Anne open a Round Hill Bears hand made greeting card. Very beautiful! Thank you Bears!
74. I harvested fresh fruits and vegetables every day from Joyful’s garden!
75. Jeff at Joyful’s helm on the east coast of Australia.
76. Jeff at the helm.
77. Rod taught me how to cook lamb on Joyful.
78. We eat well on Joyful even underway on passage! This is a lamb chop lunch with salad and potatoes!
79. Joyful sailed by many stunning islands and beaches on the way south to Pittwater.
80. Joyful sailing along the east Australian coast on the Tasman Sea.
81. Joyful’s deck with seas that rolled.
82. One of a few light houses we passed as we sailed southbound to Pittwater.
83. Rod helping with sailing Joyful.
84. Rod is happy with a surprise Vegemite on toast!
85. Sunset on the Tasman Sea.
86. Sunset on the way to Pittwater.
87. Another extraordinarily beautiful sky greeted Joyful on the Tasman Sea.
88. Joyful’s autohelm was useful as well as her wind powered steering system. They both saved us energy from having to steer by hand day and night.
89. Flat Mr. Davis and I walked out on Joyful’s bow at sun up to see where we moored in Broken Bay the night before at midnight! We sailed to Holme Point Marina in Church Point, Pittwater a few minutes after this photo was taken.