So Far, So Good

When Eric and I sailed from England to California on Duprass in 1977-78, we met an outgoing English couple whose sailing motto was “So Far, So Good.” They employed this phrase, they explained, so as not to become overconfident and assume that just because any particular leg of a voyage was going smoothly that it […]

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Countdown

When Corroboree sailed north from Bundaberg in late April 2020, there was still some hope that the recently declared Covid-19 pandemic would be brought quickly under control and we could proceed to Indonesia as planned. By the time we reached Townsville at the end of June, it was clear we weren’t going anywhere. And as […]

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Of Ghosts and Gold

In December 1871, three prospectors—Hugh Mosman, George Clark, John Fraser—and their horse boy, a young Aboriginal named Jupiter, were searching for gold when their horses got spooked in a thunderstorm and bolted. Jupiter, so named for his luminous eyes, was sent to retrieve them, and when he found the horses beside a stream, his eyes […]

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A Stitch in Time

The first thing you learn when you’re diagnosed with a melanoma in Australia is that virtually every Aussie has either had one themselves or can claim a friend or family member who has. That’s not surprising in a country that is: 1) populated largely by people of white-skinned European descent, and 2) exposed to intense […]

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Water, Water, Every Where

What a difference a year makes! In January 2020, bushfires were ravaging Australia, and my blog post was titled “Australia is Burning.” In January 2021, rain is the order of the day. Not to mention two cyclones within two weeks. On 3 January, Cyclone Imogen struck the York Peninsula, the pointy tip of northeast Australia, […]

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Stalking the Giant Cassowary

Back in October, Eric and I were about to cross a busy intersection in Townsville when a white SUV rounded the corner on which we stood. In the three seconds before it vanished into the traffic, I glimpsed a large, colorful decal and the words “Birdwatchers’ Cabin, Atherton Tablelands.” Well, I know a sign when […]

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The Red Heart

First, you have to remember that Australia is BIG, roughly 2,400 miles wide. Flying from the east to west coast is like flying from New York to LA. Then you have to wrap your mind around the emptiness, because within 10 minutes of our flight taking off from Townsville, virtually every sign of civilization disappeared. […]

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A Few Words on Capt. James Cook

When Capt. James Cook was murdered by the natives of Hawaii on 14 February 1779, the Hawaiians didn’t just club and stab him to death and leave his body in the surf where the attack occurred. They dragged his corpse ashore, and, rumor has it, butchered and ate the great explorer. “Wonder how he tasted,” […]

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In Praise of Trees

Me: “Wait, wait, give me the camera!”Eric: You’re not taking another picture of a tree, are you? (He doesn’t say this out loud, but I know he’s thinking it.)Me: “Now go stand next to the trunk for scale.”Eric: Sigh.Me: “Okay, more to the left, back up…that’s it.”Eric: Smiles for the camera.Me: “Got it! Just look […]

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What’s in Your Library?

Forty years ago, cruising from England to California, Eric and I met in the Canary Islands a gentlemanly English sailor by the name of Tom Blackwell. Tom was in his 70s and on his third solo circumnavigation aboard a 50’ wood yawl. It was a big, heavy boat with a full-sized, claw-footed bathtub—in which he […]

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