Cruising Updates
Hi everyone, Hope you are all well? (November 2012)
This is my latest story for the coastal Passage newspaper due to be published next month.

Just thought Id share it before its released. Love Natasha     

From Zen to Adrenaline Having lived in a house now for 6 months (after sailing on our yacht Kalida) we all needed a dose of water fun so we decided to surprise dad for his 50th birthday we packed his bags and took him to Sydney harbour and stood at the base of a very large cruise liner called Carnival Spirit and all sang happy birthday.
 Dad was blown away at such a surprise, we were all going to the South Pacific for 11 days of diving, exploring and catching up with friends, who used to manage Lizard Island and now is at the 5 star hotel on Havana Island, Port Villa.
We all enjoyed stunning sites at remote Islands with villagers taking us in and feeding us all sorts of foods we have never seen before.
The fishing is so good here all you do is drop a shiny lure in for a few moments and you have a fish.
My brother Matthew and myself started to see that gleam in mum and dadís eyes again (not in that way) I mean when they started talking to yachties in various Island anchorages, they are like magnets drawn to steel when they see yachts.
I overheard them talking last night how nice it would be to start looking for another cruising boat and what features we want in it. Imagine if they actually got another boat, what would we call it, where we would go, and my own cabin at last! I think that mum and dad would like to cruise and live in the South Pacific for a while, they just love the cultures and freedom to swim and dive in waters that are so deep with fantastic corals.
 I know that the Barrier reef is rather hard to beat but it is also to do with the cultural difference that makes a place.
Itís such a small world when it comes to the sailing community. We bump into boats that we know all over the place.
At the Isle of Pines we saw a boat that had a red stripe down the hull called Freya and mum said isnít that the Germen boat that helped us five years ago change a hose on the engine when we split one and didnít have a spare.
We waited until they dinghied ashore and then wouldnít you know it, it was them.
Since seeing them last they had circumnavigated the world and were heading back to Australia, Iím sure that they will come and stay with us in Sydney.
Do you know that they still had our boat card that we gave them all those years ago and dad never found that replacement hose that Klaus said to get I think dad said it was a shizen hose? (We only got it 5 years later)
When we were on the deck the other day and we just had a huge sea bird hover past us, itís looking at us and we are all looking at itÖ is it a sign to say go live again and be free or maybe it wants to come and hide from the pending storm.
Anyway we are back in Sydney suntanned and healthy with one happy dad and as my title says from Zen to Adrenalin we made it happen.
We gave dad a special present he will always remember, he just reminded me that this is his 9th birthday he has on a boat not in a house, letís see if we can make it a decade of boating birthdays next year. Maybe Turkey or Greece.
Natasha Harper LY (Land yacht) ďDonít Move ď
Updates from Kalida February 2012
A quick fix for the wet season.Kalida

As we are still in Cairns with the wet season upon us, keeping an eye open for potential cyclones lurking around it makes it hard to go places.
Sometimes you might get a day other times you might get a little longer between showers or weird weather. I thought that I would ask a variety of boatie friends as to where they go for that short trip to get their ďquick fixĒ of the cruising life they once had ...ÖÖswimming, diving, fishing and trimming those sails Ė oh thatís Dadís job, dragging anchor in those strong squalls that come out of nowhere.
Now thatís living!
We have a saying Ė ďWhen leaving the marina turn left to play; turn right to hide from a cycloneĒ. Once we took our Nan from Sydney to Michaelmas Cay. She asked a lot of questions and we will always remember the look on her face when we answered them.
Here are a few things Nan asked:
What was that thing that just flew past the window? (Matthews reply) Could be any thing Nan, probably our washing blowing away How strong was that gust? (Matthews reply) About 30knots. Does it always do this? (Matthews reply) Every so often youíll get used to it.

Whatís the banging under the hull? (Natashaís reply) Just sharks or big fish, want to go for a swim Nan?

Why does David sit out in the cockpit for hours in the middle of the night when itís really windy and raining? (Natashaís reply) Just in case we drag he will be awake and try and stop us ending up on the reef and sink and have to abandon ship and call mayday to get rescued miles from any where in really rough seas surrounded by sharks. (We didnít really mean to scare her)

When I asked some of the other boaties where they go for a short break from Cairns this is the response that I got. (Some have some strange answers but thatís ok)

Boat name Sokari
What is the island, reef or destination called? Fitzroy Island How far away from cairns is it? 15 nautical miles What do you do there? There are some lovely little bays so visitors can swim, snorkel, visit the resort and have use of their facilities for a nominal charge. What wind direction is the anchorage? The bay where the resort is has protection from the south east. If a northerly should pipe up, boats slip across to the mainland to Kingís beach and anchor there. What was the experience like? We first anchored there in 1985 with our first yacht and found the best spot to be to the left of the jetty in a sandy area, generally the anchorage is calm and the water clear. There is some nice coral so snorkelling is good. Did you anchor or pick up a mooring? We have sometimes picked up a mooring, but generally we anchor. Did anything funny happen? On one visit, a small yacht arrived from Yorkeys knob marina at around 10pm. John and I were sitting in the cockpit when we heard some chain rumbling over its bow. "Chain", said John. The sound of chain stopped and John said "rope", assuming that there was rope attached to the chain. Then we heard some cursing and John grinned and said "no rope". He hopped in our dinghy and went to talk to him. Sure enough the poor guy had forgotten to attach any rope to the chain and everything was lying on the bottom. He didn't have another anchor so John helped him onto a mooring behind us and in the morning he and the female crew member dived and found the anchor in 50 feet of water.

Boat name Soya
What is the island, reef or destination called? Australia How far away from Cairns is it? Close What do you do there? Spend money on the boat. What wind direction is the anchorage? Mainly SE, some northerlies What was the experience like? Depressing Did you anchor or pick up a mooring? Marina Did anything funny happen? I fell in the water 2 weeks ago. Then spent more money.

Boat name Lady Emily
What is the island, reef or destination called? Green Island and Fitzroy Island How far away from Cairns is it? About 15 miles to each island What did you do there? Snorkelling at Green Island. You can use the floating trampoline at Fitzroy Island, after the last ferry leaves! Lots of free fun! Sometimes we eat in the restaurant at Fitzroy, and sometimes we have a BBQ on the boat. If itís a full moon, we swim in the moonlight just before dark. What wind direction is the anchorage? Usually SE which is blowing most of the year. What was the experience like? Great Did you anchor or pick up a mooring? We anchor at Fitzroy, and sometimes weíre lucky to pick up a marine parks buoy for 4 hrs at Green Did anything funny happen? Too many to mention

Boat name Second Lady
What is the island, reef or destination called? Falls Creek in Trinity Inlet How far away from Cairns is it? About 3 miles What did you do you there Hide from cyclone, fishing, crabbing, drink beer, catch sand flies, crocodile spotting, and tie lots of knots I cannot get undone later, still great to get out on the boat. What wind direction is the anchorage N, S, E, W What was the experience like? Scared before first beer, third beer made me brave, forth beer made the fish I caught huge. Fifth beer what wind? Did you anchor or pick up a mooring? Anchored in mud and mangroves. Did anything funny happen? Broke the world record in sand flies bites, it started to get funny after about 6 beers.

Boat name Restless spirit
What is the island, reef or destination called? Orpheus Island and plenty of stop overs on the way there and back. How far away from Cairns is it? About 120 miles What do you do there? We went diving, snorkelling, oyster gathering, walking and fishing What wind direction is the anchorage? South, South East What was the experience like? Fantastic very nice place to visit Did you pick up a mooring buoy? Mooring Did anything funny happen We caught everything that started with the letter (S) eg sucker fish, sock, shark, sea snake, stingray and seaweed

Boat name Stargazer kalida
What is the island, reef or destination called? Low Isles How far away from cairns is it? About 32 miles What do you do there? Snorkelling and walking What wind direction is the anchorage? South East/ North East What was the experience like? Embarrassing but pretty good Did you anchor or pick up a mooring? Mooring Did anything funny happen? I didnít peg the wifeís undies on the lifeline properly and it was very embarrassing trying to explain to the marine parks that I was not fishing for fish in a green zone but actually fishing for my wifeís undies that blew off the boat.

All in all most people seemed to try and sneak in a quick fix somewhere in the wet season to see them through until the finer weather.
Natasha Harper S.V. Kalida P.S Donít forget to shop for your junk food because it makes the trip taste better and Matthew and I get our quick fix from being able to eat as much of it as we want.
Pocket money for sailing kids
When our cruising ends for the year and we go back to a safe haven for cyclone season we need to look around for the odd jobs to earn some money to fix our rusting bikes which are always falling apart by the end of the season.
Of course its time to buy Christmas presents and after 8 months of not going to the movies its amazing what Iíll do to earn money for a movie ticket..
My brother Matthew and I have done a variety of strange and wonderful jobs over the years.
One day we went past a rather large yacht and they called us over and asked if we would like to earn some money by sticking our little hands down a dark hole in the floor next to the mast then into another gap to retrieve his wifeís watch.
He also said if you find any money down there you can keep it.
Well the gap was too small for my hand but Matthew could get his in (I could have got mine in but it looked too dark and scary so I thought Iíd sacrifice Matt - thatís what brothers are for, and he managed to get the watch and about $43 in coins.
Pocket Money
He said it hadnít been cleaned in that area for about 3 years.
What a find! We had a great little business at one stage over the wet season bailing dinghies on the dinghy dock each day.
We were paid weekly to keep them floating but we suddenly realized it might not have been that good as we sometimes had to empty them 3 and 4 times a day when the really heavy rains came.
We have babysat young children and pets on peopleís boats some of the pets range from puppies to cats to a cockatoo in a cage.
The puppies are the nicest.
A few other jobs we have done are washing and polishing two small submarines, delivering The Coastal Passage to boats that donít normally get them, delivering fliers for shops like the DeckStore, selling bread, yoghurt and beef jerky that we make.
We have even helped the odd boat with stainless polishing (donít like that one).
Matthew was doing pretty well with his knife sharpening; he really knows how to get a very sharp edge on cooking knives.
One job that we thought was pretty good was an overseas yacht that was traveling north had a real sweat tooth for cakes and paid us to bake all these different types of ďAustralian cakesĒ that they wanted to have cut into slices and frozen.
We made in two days five cakes, we cut them up and put them into cliplock bags and they froze them.
I hope they liked them as I think Matthew might have left a few things out of the one he made, perhaps they might have thought thatís how it was supposed to taste.
Well I hope I have inspired other yachtie children to do some strange jobs so they can also save up to buy stuff they might like.
Just watch out for your parents jobs on your own boat they some how think they donít have to pay us.
Why would they think that, and they always seem to have so many jobs.
Natasha on Kalida Ps we refuse to clean under our boat or anyoneís boat.
When you get those creatures on you youíll understand.
Kalida February 2011
On Monday the 31st Jan we were playing around the dock with some other children at Marlin Marina Cairns when dad came out and said we might need to go up the creek in a few days due to cyclone Yasi getting bigger, so make sure all our stuff is packed back on the boat.
Come Tuesday the 1st at 8am we got the call to say we have to evacuate the marina and go up the creek. (how sad no school)
The news is that it was heading for Cairns and travelling pretty fast.
They put the Harbour on Yellow alert.
We headed off and found our little anchorage up Falls creek, we had been up this creek once before for another cyclone and this time we were prepared with more ropes and industrial strength insect spray.
After mum and dad had dropped 3 anchors and tied what looked like a cobweb of ropes to the mangroves we had to do our homework. I thought cyclones made homework go away (not in our family unfortunately) We did take the opportunity when mum and dad returned to deliver a few Coastal Passage newspapers to new boats, they were so excited to get them.
As soon as we were settled mum and dad took off to help others get settled and tie up. When they returned they got busy again taking more stuff off the boat, when we asked whatís happing they said everyone is saying the cyclone has gone to a cat 5 and heading toward Cairns. Kalida
Next morning still looking like it was going to hit us we decided to get off the boat and look after ourselves on land rather than up the creek, Iím not sure if Kalida would fly but we didnít want to find out.
We launched the dingy and packed what ever was important to us just in case we did lose the boat. We did this all in about 10 minutes and I packed some clothes and my guest book that everyone has signed since we have been cruising and Matthew packed a bag that had shells, knives and toys.
I told him to leave that bag and put some clothes in another as mum wonít let you take that stuff.
Mum and dad just took the laptop as it had all our photos on it and a hand held vhf and phones. They said the photos are the most important if all is lost we still have all our memories. †
We headed with a few other boats out the creek in building wind, current and rain to land some miles away. Our little dingy was struggling but we finally got to shore and tied the dingy up and headed with Scuttlebug and Planetpuegot to higher ground to a friend that Scuttlebug knew.
The roads were empty all shops were shut and it was pretty scary. We got to this little place and felt safe for the time being but as the night crept on it got windier and the rain came down.
Matthew sleeps through everything, I opened my eyes a few times to see just candle light as the power was out.
After it had all passed the next day we all tried to get back to our dingy (hoping its still there) and head back to the boat.
When we got about half way we had flash flooding that stopped us in our tracks and we had to hide under a shopping centre car park until it stopped some hours later.
We headed to our dingy and raced to our boat before a huge electrical storm hit us. The muck in the water was terrible and the outboard kept stopping as the prop was jammed with leaves from the mangroves. †
At last, home again back on the boat. It only had few things wrong with it. The electrical storm hit and heavy rain came down but that didnít stop us from having a pot luck dinner on Scuttlebugs boat.
We had 8 adults and 6 kids and everyone made some very yummy foods. When we were all done we dingyed back to our boat in the rain and pitch black and went to bed and woke to a calmer day to head back to the marina.
We all hate these horrible insects that live in the creeks they leave us all swollen and sore. †
When we arrived back in the marina we cleaned the boat up checked our homework was all done. I was going to try the excuse that a cyclone ruined my homework but that seemed a bit corny.
We all survived this time but our friends down south had their boats broken and we really feel sorry as we have spent lots of good times with them so if you are reading this we are so sorry but youíre a boatie and we can over come most things well thatís what mum and dad say.
Good luck we are thinking of you all.
Natasha on SV KALIDA
Ps Matthew helped me with this story by asking me to type quicker when he gave me his information. Boys!!!