Hitch a ride on a boatAustralia has an active sailing sport community and a small percentage of the population live on sailing boats, house boats, catamarans and power boats.
Living on a boat in Australia is particularly easy on the Australian East Coast where the series of rivers, harbours and ports along the coast have good facilities and typically part of population centres.
Specifically enjoyed by most is living on a sail boat between Cairns / Port Douglas and the Sunshine Coast. This section of coast is mostly inside the Great Barrier Reef, where the ocean swell and its large waves can not enter. The reef makes a barrier (thus the name) and the waters perfect for sailing island to island, river to reef. Because of the weather range along this length of coast in Queensland there is also evidence of an annual migration, North in Autumn and South in Spring. This means the people living on the migration avoid the worst weather and storms and the live in a relatively constant tempurature.
There are regular opportunities to join these sailors for some nights staying on their boat or better, find someone make a trip along the coast and join them. A coastal journey is likely to be the experience of your lifetime and include paradilic island stops that are only approached by the traveling live-aboard sailors.
You will learn sailing and maritime skills and likely experience at least one "risk event" where the captain will skillfully deal with something gone wrong.
All of it will be character building as you experience a very different lifestyle.
How to find a sailing trip or nights onboard a boat.
- Sailing live aboards tend to hang out in the local sailing club, where ever they are. Ask around
- Sailing clubs always have a notice board. Sailing making a voyage will often advertise for extra crew to "stand watch" or simply keep company.
- Walk around marinas and harbours regularly with an inquisitive smile on your face, make eye contact, nod and say hello. Take opportunities to strike up conversations and ask about future sailing events. (There are plenty of solo sailors who will announce a trip spontaneously for your enquiry)
- The web site Findacrew is an Australian based community of worldwide sailing, crewing, paid work, boat jobs and boat crewing. You have to pay a subscription to get in, but it may change the course of your life.
- Some sailors have a love affair with alcohol which might be extreme
- You are best to travel together with another traveler
- Ask around about the captains credentials at the local sailing club
- Sailors that frequently take crew will have a helpx.net or couchsurfing.com profile. You can check out reviews about them on these websites to check on their trustworthiness.
- Check the boat for cleanliness, smell and obvious signs that it is maintained at a safe level.
Otherwise, hitching a ride on a boat is likely cheap and entertaining. You will learn, see places most don't and gain valuable memories you will never forget.