Ho hum,just another shitty day in paradise!
There are definitely worse places in the world to wake up!
One of the delights of ‘messing about in boats’ is pulling up into a sheltered anchorage for the night, sitting out on deck with a well earned beverage and having a 360 degree view of your surroundings. On occasion you get sunsets that are pure magic!
This particular evening, it looked like we may get a thunderstorm come across with an associated windshift that would make this bay exposed.Luckily, it didn’t happen and as the sun hit the horizon, the wind dropped, a gap in the clouds opened and gave us a 10 minute light show that was gold!
The title alludes to a film that was made in the area that starred Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill and Billy Zane about a romantic sailing voyage that went horribly wrong. A classic.
“At sea, no-one can hear you scream!”
It’s a yacht racing frenzy here in the Whitsundays at the moment. Airlie Beach Race Week is under way at the moment. 107 yachts racing around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands for a week. Winds have been fairly light but the weather has been great.
This regatta attracts entrants from Australia wide and as far afield as NZ and is known as the “Tropical Shirt Regatta” with an emphasis on good racing and having fun doing it. With nearly nearly 1000 sailors and family members arriving in town, it’s a real shot in the arm for the local economy.
Next week is the start of Hamilton Is. Race Week which is a bit more serious and a lot more expensive. That regatta attracts the cream of racing yachts and sailors.
I was invited out for the day on one of the yachts and managed to get some images during the day. I wanted to get some images showing close racing from an on board perspective but as it was a longer race the yachts were more spread out than if it was short course racing. Next Year!
Annyway, I am off to hospital again for another hip replacement so I will see you all when I get back!
This would be the dream of many people, save up enough money to buy a decent yacht, sell the house, sail around the world to exotic locations or at least spend your winters cruising around places like the Whitsundays or the Carribean.
In my years as a professional seaman, I have seen many people do just that. I call them the middle class yachties, they do it reasonably comfortably,utilise marinas for the convenience (sort of like caravan parks) and usually maintain their boats with adequate funds to keep them seaworthy and comfortable.
I have also witnessed the extreme ends of the spectrum. On one end you have the
millionaires/billionairespeople with obscene amounts of money who have huge yachts with professional crews and are like floating palaces.
Mostly seen around the ports of the Mediterranean and Carribean where they are like a status symbol. They cost a fortune to maintain and in a lot of cases the owner is lucky to spend a month a year aboard because he is too busy running his empire to actually enjoy his boat! To be fair some of these vessels are at the cutting edge of technology and certainly have a real “wow’ factor about them.
At the other end of the scale are the people who build a boat in the backyard or scrimp and save to acquire a vessel that is of sometimes questionable design and seaworthiness. I liken them to sea gypsies. They are living the dream on limited funds often scrounging parts and cobbling things together to keep going, or working along the way to keep cruising.
They are often seen on the fringes of harbours or anchored off because marinas are too expensive, their boats often have a scruffy, down at heel look about them. No shiny stainless steel here nor insurance either!
The interesting thing is that they help each other out in many ways from sharing information about anchorages or the cheapest ways of doing something to giving a hand to anti-foul before the tide comes back in.
They also probably cover more miles and see more deserted anchorages than many cruisers. They may not do it in absolute style and comfort but they do it and I have an idea that they are probably the most contented because they are doing it their way.
I have previously posted about “Solway Lass” last year but have never been aboard while she is under sail. Yesterday I went out on her for a fundraising daysail which was a great day with great people,live music and good weather.
Having been skipper of ex Racing Maxi-yachts for many years I was interested to see what a Square- rigged sailing vessel was like to be aboard under sail.
Looking around the boat, there are a myriad of lines for sail control and it looked very complicated. In the old days of the clipper ships sailors needed to know where each particular line was and be able to find them in the worst weather and darkest nights. No easy feat!
The biggest difference I found between the modern racing yacht and a traditionally rigged vessel was how quiet and calm the older heavier vessls were. Very peaceful!
This is one of the images I took to try and capture some of the romance of that bygone era.
This image is something a little different.
A few months ago I was down at Conway Beach which becomes a large expanse of sandflats at low tide. Because of the prevailing SE Tradewinds blowing pretty well directly onshore, it is a great spot for wind surfing and Kite-boards. (Crocodiles and large sharks also think it’s not a bad spot!)
This particular day there were a couple of land-sailers or Blokarts as they are probably better known. These things are probably the best fun you can have on 3 wheels! In a good breeze you can attain some serious speed.
I wanted to try and give an impression of speed so a high shutter speed was not going to cut it. Settling on a shutter speed of 1/30s, I sat out in the middle of them whizzing past me, panning and trying not to get run down!
A lot of the shots were a little bit too shaky, but this one and a couple of others came out ok
To focus the attention on the Blokart I desaturated everything but the sail and gave it a vignette.
Love to put a remote operated camera on one of these things!
This image is a bit of a favourite of mine. I was anchored off Whitehaven Beach on one of the charter yachts I was skipper of and decided to go to the beach before sunrise to see if I could snag some images that weren’t the usual staple of the tourism industry.
Arriving on the beach the sandflies were in full force and I realised I had left the repellant on board! Bugger.
But I was the only person on this beautiful three mile stretch of world famous beach and the tide had washed away all traces of the hoards of people that frequent the beach during the day.
Seeing this beach without footprints is rare, so how do I convey this emptiness?
I wandered down the beach a way, taking care to keep away from the area that had been washed clean by the tide, looking for a point of interest like a piece of driftwood.
The only mark on the beach was this crab hole which illustrated what I was trying to convey perfectly!
I waited with the tripod, hoping the crab may poke his head out, which would have been the icing on the cake, but he was keeping his head down.
Never the less, I was quite happy with what was in front of me and I shot a few different images with the 10mm wide-angle of which this image is the best.
Not long after this people started to arrive on the beach from their boats, footprints all over the place!
Had a great day out on the water yesterday,first time in 8 months! Also,one of the few times I have been out to the islands and not been working.
Beautiful sunny day with no wind at all for most of the day, so sailing didn’t come into the equation unfortunately.
Still it was nice to be out in the “office” again!
On the way home we came across one of the local charter yachts attempting to make the most of what little wind there was.
Much better seeing them on the water than on the beach!
This is another angle on the boats that were driven ashore recently during TC Ului. Wanted to see if I could get a darker feel to it, not sure if I actually succeeded. Constructive comments welcome!
Happily all the boats pictured have been returned to their native element although they will need some time in the shipyard to undergo repairs.
On another note, I am having trouble with my stitching. They come out all shapes and sizes! Is there a way to get a certain ratio, 2;1 or 3:1 without making them look stretched or squashed?
Any help would be much appreciated!
I went back down to Shute Hbr today to try and get some images that give an idea of the desolate look of vessel that has found itself on the beach due to forces that are sometimes far greater than the seamen who spend a lot of their time doing everything in their power to keep their boats afloat!
Luckily these vessels have suffered little real damage compared to many others and hopefully will be afloat again, albeit with some ingenuity,brute force and funds.
“We don’t have a problem, it’s just an unresolved situation we haven’t thrown enough time and money at yet!”.
The biggest cost will be the loss of earnings for the various commercial vessls that have found themselves in this predicament.
As it is a little difficult for me to get out shooting at the moment, I am playing around with the images I have on file and trying some things which sometimes work and sometimes don’t.
Digital imaging is so much easier than a darkroom!
Anyway, Mark Stothard (truenorthmark) posted an image of a sailing canoe from PNG which reminded me that I had scanned an old B&W print taken in Fiji 20 years ago.
Just shows that while technology has advanced hugely, to a large percentage of the worlds population, those advances are about as useful as a wooden barbecue plate!
On the flipside, if the power fails or there is no fuel it won’t worry these guys at all. It will be a big problem for all of us who rely on our technological advances!
I was out on the water the other day when one of the local charter yachts came past and sailing hard. “Maxi Ragamuffin” is a retired ocean racer which now takes people on a daysail around the Whitsundays.
If you are ever in the area and would like to have a good day out and find out what sailing on racing thoroughbred is like ,book with these guys, you won’t regret it!
Click on the Link to right for more info.
Once I get the hang of all this blog stuff I will be posting some images of the area that I have shot and some random musings as well.
For those of you out there who are interested in the Whitsundays or you have nothing better to do, drop in occasionally,feel free to comment and hopefully you like what you see!