An Update from Australia

16th January 2016

Yes we made it home to Australia, and have been busy with celebrations, reunions and life to the point that the blog update has been somewhat delayed. So before we begin with the update may we send out belated wishes for Christmas and New Year and trust that everyone had a safe, memorable and happy time.

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Our arrival back into Australia had been planned around the wedding of Tobias Barnes who is a long time school friend of our sons. Tobias had joined us sailing in the Caribbean in 2013 and there was no way we were going to miss such a special day in his life. The wedding on November 25th was held at the picturesque grounds of the Mt Mee winery and was a real credit to Tobias and his bride Lauren for their organisation. The wedding gave us an added bonus of catching up with our son Scott who flew in for the occasion from Adelaide along with Darb and Nell who live in Brisbane and who we had last seen in Denmark in July.  

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From Brisbane we flew north to Cairns to join Mike Ball Dive Expeditions on a three day dive trip. Having never dived in Australia we figured we were long overdue and this trip just happened to coincide beautifully with our arrival home. After overnighting in Cairns we were flown to Lizard Island onboard a light aircraft. The low altitude flight gave us a good view of the reef that we would be diving over the next three days on route back to Cairns. 

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We were last at Lizard Island in 2010 onboard our previous yacht Xscape. The landscape of Lizard Island since that time has changed dramatically due to the impact of several intense cyclones. Where once there had been a dense cover of trees there are now just short sticks and low lying cover left - the island looked dry and almost desolate. Awaiting our arrival in the bay was Spoilsport an 85 foot motor cat that would be our home for the next three nights. 

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We have never done a “Liveaboard” dive trip before and in reflection definitely think we chose the right one for our first. Over three days we were looked after by an excellent and professional crew both in diving and catering. As for the Great Barrier Reef it certainly met all expectations both in colour, shape, size and sea life. We managed to complete ten dives over three days including our first of two night dives. Highlights were many and included Snake Pit where one sea snake slithered past Lee so close that she could have counted the scales had she be inclined to hang around. Cod Hole was home to huge sized Cod Fish that were rather intimidating in size. Andrew accidentally captured a classic picture of one which suddenly had a few human like qualities. Our first night dive was approached with a little nervousness but it is amazing how floresent a glow stick hanging from the bottom of a boat can be.  The dive was rewarding for the sighting of a number of huge Loggerhead Turtles that had come in for the night to rest. We challenged ourselves for the first time completing dives without a Dive Master and Lee was always relieved when our navigation saw us safely back to the lead line to the boat.  

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So after having left Katherine in Southampton on 7th November we finally arrived home into Darwin on Friday 4th December almost one month later. But we had no intention of hanging around too long. Just ten days later on Monday 14th we were back on a plane again - this time a small jet service out of Darwin that flies to Dilli in Timore-Leste just over one hour away. The reason for visiting Dilli was simply to go diving. Scott had joined us having just completed university for the year and was completing his first PADI qualification - the Open Water Dive Certificate. Andrew and I decided to take the opportunity whilst Scott was under tuition to also do a speciality course - Deep Water - which would see us dive to 40m. The staff at Dive Timor-Leste were fantastic in their instruction and we really could not have wished for Scott to have a better introduction. The smile on his face when he came up from his first Open Water dive said it all - totally hooked. The diving in Dilli though challenging at times with currents from all directions was simply amazing. We were truely blown away by the diversity and colour of the coral. What it lacked in large fish that we had seen in the Great Barrier Reef it more than made up for in its micro world. We saw so may clown fish that it almost became - “just another nemo" - well almost - there is something very mesmerising about watching these fish dart in and about the anemone in tune with the surge of the water. Timor saw us do our first shore dives an it proved a little challenging on rounded rocks with surf breaking. With a little help from our dive master Lee was able to, all be not so gracefully, get into and out of the water successfully and without incident. So with another eight dives under our belt, experiencing depth to 40 meters, the challenges of currents to a new level and for Andrew a lot of macro photography it had been another great learning week in the world of diving. Scott had  achieved his qualifications and even more importantly really enjoyed the experience and best of all, it was all just an hours flight from home. 

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Back in Darwin on the 19th December it was time to get the Christmas tree organised and prepare for the celebrations of Christmas and all too soon New Year. 2016 OMG didn’t we just start 2015. As always with the New Year comes a little time for reflection and we have to say with all the great places from Cuba to France, Netherlands, Denmark, Scotland Ireland England Mexico and Timor that we have been during the year it is no wonder our time flies. We are very fortunate to have the ability to travel and we certainly don’t take that for granted. The opportunity to explore new places is rewarding in itself but it is definitely the people that make it all the more special. The fact that many of those we have met along the way are now part of our lives is one of the greatest gifts travelling has given us. 


So once more Happy New Year and with a little luck we will cross paths with many of you again during the year. But if not the wonder of technology makes the world very small and the ability to stay in touch all that much easier.

Till next update.
Stay safe healthy and happy. 


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© SV Katherine 2017      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Faro Portugal with Askari of Australia