Cruising on Dot Com

Entire archive.

06 Jul 2006: Too Mooloolaba
After waving off well wishers at Shorncliffe over a couple of days, it was time to set sail. Well almost... After a short motor north, the first thing required was more BLOODY FUEL! Anchor just offshore north of the bridge into Redcliffe, I headed ashore with jerry cans for the walk across the road to the servo and load up. Next up was sail across the bay to Tangalooma on Moreton Island. Next morning the right wind was in to propel me toward a wonderful stop over at Mooloolaba.
Great as always, the Wharf Marina behind Underwater World is close to everything! Pitching here for the intended 1 to 2 days, Dot Com stayed on for 5, during which time the 500Ah of batteries and 400 Watts of solar panel came on line. This made a huge difference to the liveability of Dot Com which now needs no help from shore power or other to keep her happy running all manner of lighting and the gadgetry that seems to keep us all occupied these days.

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13 Jul 2006: During Mooloolaba
After a couple of days the locals stop prodding you with spears and awkward "if you are not staying here long term, we can't be bothered befriending you" looks (or was it me). Across the finger, Ross was living it up on his 40 foot french made cat that was 6 to 1 times fancier than mine. Beside Brownie and Greenie were staying on a borrowed boat while they fort a battle against incompatible antifouls at the local working yard where they were working on their vessel. 2 doors down, pro skipper Mike on Picasso unleased stories of Pitcarn, and other mystical islands of the Pacific. In the end , there were dinners together and cars loaned for jaunts to the shops. What a wonderful place, but all too soon it was time to punt on up the coast.

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14 Jul 2006: Too Hervey Bay
With favouring breezes Dot Com set off single handed for the short ocean leg to Fraser Island. The light SE winds provided excellent sailing up around Double Island point for a mid afternoon run over a mill pond presented Wide Bay Bar.  Shallowing to 6 feet on the bar, Dot Com's draft was uninterested in the proximity of the bottom, while radio call after  radio call from mono sailors confirmed a stay for them behind Double Island to run the bar at the morning high tide. Pity for them, the SE came in overnight. It was uneasy anchored behind Fraser, never mind outside!

16 Jul 2006: Hervey Bay.
Same as always, the locals were polite and the meals ok at the boating club. Inspirational cruisey Geoff was 70 years old and sailing by himself. This was part of an annual soujorn from the Gold Coast for the past 17 years for him. We talked about solo sailing and how good it is over a glass of Red. We discussed the peace, solitude and time to reflect that is essential for everyone. Mind you, I had been solo for 3 weeks and ever so pleased that sailor girl Kerryn was due in 20 hours to further confront her fear of catamarans born of resort sailing with idiots years before.

18 Jul 2006: Burrum Heads
Having new crew installed and the shopping done, it was time to scout out the township of Burrum Heads. The river entrance is very shallow at mid tide and even presented a challenge to Dot Com as we lightly ploughed the mini keels to a sunset anchorage. A couple of drinks down it was time for photos and dinner... never mind the talking to the locals.

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19 Jul 2006: Burrum Heads to 1770
With Southerly winds forecast from early morning, 0300 was the time to leave Burrum ... with a high tide the pre morning breeze was a brisk and slightly cool South Westerly. This provided for excelled flat water sailing as the Burnett River
was passed at 7.30am. Shortly there after our inshore track kept the sea state down and saw us was 3 cruisey boats that had left Bundy. At 3pm Dot Com turned the corner in fresh conditions and we easily found anchorage just off the caravan park. 1770’s shallow entrance and estuary make it a place avoided by most mono sailors, but it’s a beautiful place and easily accessible by multi-sailors.

21 Jul 2006: 1770 delights
1770 is much talked about, but it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. With little supporting infrastructure, it is a pretty place with a nice bar/ restaurant called “The Tree” next to the estuary. At near dusk locals and tourists gather for a relaxing ale and a sun setting over the water and distant hills. It’s a magic site, but what to do with the rest of the day. Most days, the sunset is soon followed by a hoard of moped’s and mini choppers heading off tin-tinning off into the darkness. A retired South African biker is the operator of the local bike tour company, Scooterroo, and he takes up to 35 backpackers and tourists on a jaunt through the backroads of 1770. It is great value at $30 for a moped or $45 for a mini chopper. It can’t be missed and your soon mounted up on a mini chopper blazing American flag motifs. For two plus hours you’re a free spirit, easy riding in a pack of smiling idiots being shown some views and a sample of the local skippies. At dusk the drink at The Tree with wedges and sour crew tops an experience that is an absolute must for visitors.

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22 Jul 2006: 1770 to Keppel
With time escaping, its time to press on. Mate Alan has just caught up in his cat, just in time to see Dot Com escape at dawn. In freshening SE conditions and an uneasy sea, the decision is made to head into Gladstone and behind Curtis Island, through “The Narrows”. The Gladstone stopover for a shower and fresh bread hunt as the marina does not have an hourly rate, and there is no fresh bread for 100km, err 100m.

The challenge with the narrows is that it “drys” at low tide, with the local farmers actually able to drive cattle onto and off the island when they choose. Thus it is important to hit the shallow part at high tide. Tonight its at 7.30pm, and after dark it is a little more interesting as there is limited lighting. With the breeze still honking, Dot Com is sailed through, with constant reference to the local guide book and the data from the computer charts. At times conflict of the two forces a quick flash with the torch to determine the nearest mangrove.

After 90 minutes of extreme concentration (anyone that knows me, knows that it very difficult for me), Dot Com is out the other side into a wide mangrove lined river making for the Keppel Bay… but its not over. There are no lights in this river and the torch is once again used to gauge mid channel.

Anchorage is found late-ish, in Deception Creek, at the base of Keppel Bay

23 Jul 2006: Keppels
After a sound sleep its time to head over to Great Keppel Island, who’s name has almost been officially changed to G K I, due to heaving marketing and Aussie’s aptitude for saving letters. Over the North side of the Island is the a large anchorage which is currently paying host to about 20 yachts, cats and cruisers. We “shallow up” and take a comfy position close to the beach. It becomes a lazy day of odd jobs and books, signed off with a visit to the beach in “Spam” the newly christened name for the old tender supplied with Dot Com. It has been so labelled as it is a rather tired craft and more of an annoyance then a resource… It is earmarked for replacement as it is jagged exposed fibreglass top sides have become a serious social liability. No house proud cruisey is going to let me tie up along side his pristine Bene or Lightwave and watch as Spam sets about sawing through their gleaming hull….

I digress. The obligatory beach visit fines a lovely beach walk, some relaxing cabana’s at the local eco cottages and the must-do coconut crack on the jagged rocks.

Back at the boat, the decreasing latitudes have the sun higher and hotter in the sky much to the joy of the new solar / battery array which has come up to 100 percent capacity and seems keen to stay there.

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24 Jul 2006: Yeppoon
Oppo the Keppels is the beachside town of Yeppoon. This idealic place is chockers with retirees, people who seem happy that they can't find work and empty accommodation houses scrapping to fill rooms out of season. The islands are near distant, but that is about the end of it - no theme parks or amusements are available ... the locals can't even suggest a decent restaurant.... So it is off to sailing club where the lights flash and the change rattles freely as the old folk and smiling dole bludgers drain their rent and food money into a dazzling array of pokies. It would seem that the local sailing club is owned or operated by some sort of cartel. It has a tight grip on the local food and bev market, seemingly the only place that people gather, the cartel have also arranged mystery maze style incarceration of the locals who's bedazzled senses can't find their way from the pokies to the outside world. Some were observed on hands and knees crawling... but this does not help as the trick carpet emblazoned with swirls and stars has them further confused about the whereabouts of the exit. The sailing club cartel even have establishments either side of the mainroad, with plans for an overpass. As for sailing, there is apparently a regatta held every third blue moon of each decade…

25 Jul 2006: Yeppoon – Percy’s
The next leg of the Queensland coast goes around the Shoalwater Bay military training grounds. Enjoyed and talked about by some cruisey’s, the helo flyovers and beaches littered with depleted uranium ammo are not this captain’s cup of tea… but perhaps I have not given it the chance. A recent trip south by the friends found them happily at anchor in Port Clinton, oblivious to the live firing practise going on nearby. Luckily, they were spotted by a passing gunship, which dropped into their paradise and told them to F**k off.

Dot Com’s passage in the area was much less exciting. Bouncing in shore and off to gather or avoid tidal run, High Peak island was passed close and identified as a future landing field for Dot Com’s mini keels.
After dark, the Percy’s were reached, with Dot Com driven through the assembled pack of mono hulls to a comfy position close to shore.

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26 Jul 2006: Percy's - Scawfell
The Percy morning produced a very attractive day. A Percy visit comes with the demand to visit the local troll, and pay penance by offering a trinket for the cruising hall of flame. Some spare planking was adorned by the on board artist with a rather accurate perspective of Dot Com under sail and set up as an honour board, so that future passings could be logged with ease. Ashore the "A Frame" hut is a place of wonder, as you read names of ships passed and past, the log book identifying accurately recent travellers. From the backpack the honour board offering was delicately raised with ceremony along with the BATTERY DRILL. Carefully a place for the board was selected and items parted with tenderness as a SELF TAPPING SCREW was HAMMERED HOME by the thack thack of the drill at full noise. The Percy's could now be passed by Dot Com  in future with safety and easily scribed recording.

After a quick demo to crew about how to extract a free cuppa and Tim Tams from other cruisey’s, it was off North. The next destination, Scawfell, an island shrouded in cloud and bad luck for this skipper.

Just north of Percy, the statement that whales were often sighted was confirmed by double breaching of the largest mammal, the spectacle almost caught on camera. The group of whales seemed keen to pounce their way south, rather than swim. Understandably really, the locale includes a horizon dotted with over 20 islands.

Stay off shore from Mackay the long day bought Scawfell from the darkness. The strong SE conditions meant anchoring at the deep bay at Scawfell is somewhat off a challenge. As the wind whistled in through the rig, this skipper sensed immanent trouble as midnight saw Dot Com remove itself from the bottom and we headed North at 2 knots. With both motors back in action and the anchor retrieved, a much shallow peg was found in 25 feet of water. The morning would be interesting with the loss of 5 metres of water with the ebb tide.

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27 Jul 2006: Scawfell Stay Over
With the early morning light and obs of the depth sounder, the bottom was reporting 3 feet through 12. This is not a good sign. The low tide was imminent and overboard the blurry grey of first light revealed a bed of coral all around. In the bustle of overnight trouble Dot Com had come to anchor over nasty stuff, but only just. With 30 metres of anchor rope still on board, there was suitable scope (maritime pun there) to let Dot Com back behind the coral line and into deep water. This stroke of brilliance and desperation saw us back in 20 feet of sandy bottom as the low tide passed without incident.

With plenty of water under again, the anchor was retrieved and a better place found to peg and finally get some sleep.

29 Jul 2006: Scawfell – Airlie Beach
After a day of rest an early start saw Dot Com take Brampton to Starboard and head into the Whitsunday Passage. As always, the sun came out, the seas calmed and the temperature lifted 2 degrees. Locals are assured drunk, friendly or both at Airlie, particularly since this sailor was now in home territory and soon to be reunited with comrades under blue skies.

Airlie was reached at half eight in the evening, in time for safe anchor, but after most kitchens had closed. Luckily the bustle of this tourist towns includes a 24 hour Mc D’s ….

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04 Aug 2006: Sydney Boat Show 2006
With so much sailing under the belt, it is always great to sneak down to a boat show. Sydney Boat Show with Cumberland Charter Yachts has never been that much fun. The stand was a sea of Whitehaven blues with the walls coated in the very nice new full height printed backdrops. This bought the crowds running in for a sit down chat about how good a bare boat holiday is. Amongst the fun, Sue, Steve and myself dined on some fine Spanish just up the road, with yours truly having a near death experience after a piece of chilli tried to head down my windpipe. With little to do about it, I decided to turn all sorts of colours cough, cry, says some prayers, drop to my knees, kiss the nearest girl, etc.

Once death had been sent packing, it was back into the beers and straight across the road to the night club for some dancing and more drinking.

Now that is what I call a holiday

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17 Aug 2006: Airlie Beach Race Week
With the same "Dehler Magic" crew as last year returning to contest Airlie Beach Race Week, we were pulling out all stops to go one better than last years result. Second place on a count back, and third the year before.

Dot Com had been shifted into the marina in support of Dehler Magic, allowing my daily ritual to include going around to Dehler in the dinghy, switching on the Powerdive hookah system and heading overboard for some TLC on the Dehler Magic hull. With our sailing better than ever before, smarter tactics, good starts and smooth teamwork, Dehler was out of the blocks fast with 3-1-1-1 in the first four races.

This placed us in a commanding position for the rest of the regatta and even though the wind dropped out (does not suit us), we managed to win the regatta ON A COUNT BACK, beating Restless from Gladstone by the smallest margin possible.

Much celebration was in order, with also taking out the prize for the best shirts (after wearing the same ones for 4 years??) and a runners up for being the most gracious in the thank you stakes.... Ie, there was not much else we could win!

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24 Aug 2006: Hamilton Island Race Week
With a big win under the belt, there was no need to go any further in the mono racing... The best way to take advantage of Hamilton Island Race Week is to then park your 40 foot cat in the Dent Passage and dinghy in to join the party. Amongst preparations for the multi regatta, you will also then slip back to Airlie Beach and then out to the Whitehaven Beach Party - which has to be the biggest thing in the area every year. To cap off that day, head around to Chance Bay and raft up with some Cumberland Charter boats and drink the contents of their fridge while dancing on the roof of the bridgedeck till the wee hours.

That brings you to the Friday which is a must be at Hamo night. Back to the Dent Passage, dress up, dinghy in for the street parade, two great bands and a fireworks display. Sailing mates from all over are there, so you are obliged to have a big night. Seems the only people going one better are the folk next door on the 57 foot cat that seem happy to fornicate on the foredeck - what better way to celebrate a big day under the sun!

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29 Aug 2006: Mulithull Rendezvous
Check the Pronto site (button on the left) for the full story about racing Pronto in the Multihull Rendezvous. This formula of racing is a completely different to mono racing, smaller crews and greater speeds mean less room for error and fewer people to blame it on. We got to lead the pack a couple of times, got some good starts and great wind shifts... but in the end the handicappers and the measurers took exception to Pronto's professional crew, natural speed and oversize mast head spinnaker. Regardless, we had a great time - able to raft up Pronto to Dot Com at the end of each race day for debrief and cocktails.

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03 Sep 2006: Nara Inlet raft up
First its time to wave off Charlie and Betty in Seventh Heaven (Dehler 41DS). They were on their way to the Loisiades archipelago, off the south eastern tip of PNG.

Then rendezvous with Jassmarhi at Nara for a raft up right at the back of the inlet. With the peg safely dropped its time for drinks, nibbles, swims and music. With twice as many people and a combined 123 square metres of deck, there is room for all!!

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04 Sep 2006: Dot Com 1 night, 1 day cruise
With pressure mounting for a trip to the big smoke, its there is bearly time to fit this day in. With the crew of "Jassmarhi" making 5 we set up off the point of Refuge Bay and Nara to have a go and climbing the boulders that hang overhead. Being the most enthusiastic I head up through the "chimney" to stand atop Nara for some solitary photos of the surrounds ... and lampoon the rest of the climbing crew that had not made the extra metres. The difference in view from below is well worth the extra danger and effort!

With no time to spare, its back to the cats and out to Cateran Bay, Border Island. Being a perfect day, 1 hour after low and warmer than the days before, its into the new go fast dinghy, wind up the hookah and head down to 4-5 metres of depth. Once there, peer under ledges at metre long cod that seem somewhat out of sorts to have you there while enjoying the freedom of surface air being supplied down the yellow house of the hookah.

Back on board Dot Com, there is a couple of hours to sundown and over to the entrance to Hill Inlet. Despite the lateness of the day, both "Jassmarhi" and Dot Com lift the undercarriage and dive into the shallow estuary. Being a little checky Dot Com cuts a corner and comes to a halt just metres from deep water beyond. The increasing tide shortly solves the problem and Dot Com comes to peg behind the sandy spit that adorns the majority of the postcards from the area. Once again the raft up increase the party space past 100 squares, more wine, dinner, outdoor movies to complete a very very very large day out.

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21 Sep 2006: Driving North
What better way to get north than in the company of a good mate... and his two sons. But first a stop at the Sunshine Coast to earn some fuel money. Yep, David had organised a QuikDek installation at Kawana for Thursday morning. Much to the delight of all, it was an easy install it was all knocked off in two hours.

The rest of the trip was just driving, talking and being silly. Got to Airlie at 11pm, and a short dinghy ride later, we were snug on board Dot Com.

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22 Sep 2006: Cruising with boys Day 1
With the adventure about to begin, preparations must be made. First, get some running gear from Pronto, which now has three owners. Local lad, Laurie loves Pronto and is taking it over in the next few months.

Next up, jam Dot Com on the beach at Cannonvale for an engine installation. Hervey Bay and Ebay had yielded a near new Yamaha 9.9 to match the existing one. With little trouble, Dot Com was beached, the old motor off and the new motor on. Try doing that on any other boat with in boards diesel's! It was a complete success and late this night, Dot Com was motored back to its mooring, just in time for sleep before the Saturday markets.

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23 Sep 2006: 23 Sept - Market day and awards
With sleep caught up and early start in the murky dawn was required. It was market day, with David and myself due to unleash our market selling skills at the Airlie Beach market. David is an old hand and it is truly excellent to hang out with him have some of his skills rub off. Today it is the Moraccan belts, hundreds of them, some Quikdek (a great flooring product) and a bunch of woven baskets.

For $15, a full morning of fun is guaranteed, David somewhat chuckled by the casual nature of ABM set up. Marketters still setting up at 7.30 is unheard of in the cut and thrust of southern city standby shopping. Regardless, the show goes on, the beach side park ideal for pulling tourist, local and alien into our space and SELLING THEM SOMETHING. The bags sold out, the QuikDek dazzled (even though we had no stock) and the belts, well, in true girl shopping style, we had two local lasses march of with what us males would think is a couple of lifetimes supply. 14 belts between 2! It was a huge success.

Without, a moment to loose the dwindling crowd allowed a hasty pack up and set sail. Tonight is the Whitsunday Tourism Awards show at Hamilton Island and someone has a bought a ticket on the "Fabulously Single" table...

A long motor sail down to Hamo delivered us just in time to set up the play station for the lads, put on the suit and mount the go fast dinghy for the buzz into Hamo harbour. Adjacent, the arriving Fantasea ferry included hundreds of well dressed and masqueraded masked award goers.

The night was huge. The awards quick (no speeches allowed), the food good, the company great, and the dancing developing sore legs the next day. Highlight for the night could have been taking the time out to serve the deserts around the table, the platter of sweet delights named in honour of various flavours of excrement....

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24 Sep 2006: 24 Sept - All roads to Whitehaven
With the money belt now full, and social climbing of the prior day out of the way, there is barely time to set sail. South with the tide from the Dent Passage and away from Hamo, there is an afternoon rendezvous planned with the Kemp family, on board one of the Cumberland cats, "Infusion" at Whitehaven Beach. Taking the time to sail and save the fuel, we took Hamo to Port and headed to Solway Passage at cat casual clip - about 6 knots, the newly arrived ebb tide now carrying us to our destination. The sail through Solway revealed Whitehaven beach in perfect order. After a bit of fiddling for shallow draft, we pegged within metres of the shore, with the guarantee of drying out on the low tide. This is the way to do Whitehaven. All the comforts of home - well it is my home, freshly installed on one of the world's top 3 beaches courtesy of mother nature. What a way to go! Terry & Co. were soon nearby on Infusion, his long experience in bare boats coming in handy for fine tuning the controls, etc for the new engine install. A few beers later, with everything in hand, it was time for the young lads (and young at heart) to assemble in the some recently dug pits with pistols drawn for a photographic re enactment of the Gallipoli landing.

With the day time now closed for the evening, there was a further assembling on the "boys boat" (as it was now known) - 4 + 3 from the Kemp craft for a DVD under the stars. The tele rotated for all to assemble in the cockpit for an evening of viewing pleasure while the milky way twinkled overhead.

Another magic day in an amazing lifetime.

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25 Sep 2006: 25 Sept - Why leave Whitehaven
With food stocks dwindling, there was an inclination to being concerned - but it was short lived. Another magic day was assured at Whitehaven, a brief morning shower washed the deck and revealed a perfect blue sky. Dot Com was still adjacent to the beach and shortly surrounded by large day boats from Fantasea and other. Soon we were surrounded by tourists numbered in the hundreds, but not to worry it made for a spectacle to behold in all its glory, the young lads frolicked, the older watched on.

The sunset caused a gathering of both our boatloads to gather for drinks and nibbles on the beach to watch the light fade on our perfect day, a time to reflect on the beauty that surrounds, some consideration of the future and the sadness of recently departed Australian identities...

Of Steve Irwin, I recently overhead a small child walking past saying to mother, "I want another Steve Irwin". Mother replied, "There will never be another Steve Irwin". So perfectly true, so succinctly said.

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29 Sep 2006: 29 September 2006 - Johnnie time
With too much going and the request by the doctor to rest my arm, it was time to escape civilisation and find somewhere quiet. After enduring some close quarters action in the harbour with Sea Flight, the 300 pax wave piercing cat, Dot Com was fueled and point in the direction of the islands.

After some consideration of wind, tide and the charts, the selected anchorage was May's Bay, just north of the famous Cid Harbour, West side of Whitsunday Island. May's does not get the write up of Cid in 100 Magic Miles, and that alone keeps the hoards away. The truth is that this openish bay has a shallow but safe depth, a great vista across the islands and mainland, North and West and a couple of protected beaches demanding an investigation.

The afternoon and evening were a wonderful, restful, read a book, glass of wine affair, with the night allowing some solo gourmet cooking and a movie of only my choice.

30 Sep 2006: 30 September 2006 - Did the Doctor say rest?
Lying about on Dot Com is extremely restful, but if you are the owner you find yourself looking at all the jobs that aren't done and trying desperately not to get hooked up in some chore.

By mid morning, the new switch panels were unpackaged and walked through a couple of positions to find themselves back where I had originally intended. The nav station is set to become the hub of the vessel with computing, entertainment, vessel control, and funny enough, navigation all pulled into about a metre square.

Some rewiring had already been done and connection was soon in place, as more and more of the vessels electrics found themselves hung from the new panels. Exciting for me at least.

With the day dragging on and a dinner appointment pressing, there was one last thing to do. See how fast the new dinghy could go. In May's flat water, the Sirocco inflatable and its Mariner 15 would be able to stretch right out...  with GPS wristwatch (known as dick tracy amongst my yacht racing companion), the Garmin shortly wound out to 20.8 knots in step with the amount of twist sent to the Mariner outboard's handle. After a couple of back and forths to check for current correction, it can be confidently stated that my rib was worth every dollar and able to sustain 20 + knots if you have no fear. That's in excess of 40km/h in the modern measure.

The sail home was an easy reach across and direct into Airlie, swinging a mile North of the Pioneer stuff, where backpacker and bareboat vessel tend to obstacle... This minor navigation adjustment making life sooo much easier for this solo sailor.

Now where are my good clothes and how will I make them looked ironed....?

01 Oct 2006: 1 October 2006 Fireworks in honour
With the current visit to the Whitsundays coming to close, there was barely time to lay around and let the anchor winch inspired shoulder injury to mend. After consuming a couple of those fizzy GO drinks, the afternoon carried on at triple time as work proceeded on re-wiring the entire boat back to some deluxe switch panels at the nav station, forget it, move the radios too, better put in that special television aerial too... Now take a breath....

Shortly after, mate David arrived back from Cairns with his couple of sons. There were a few antics, and then a night time move around to front of Airlie Beach for prime position for the fireworks. The Harley convention was coming to a close and the Wolverines, were fighting it out with the regular "Broadwalk" entertainment front of Capers and Fish D'Vine. Changing radio stations was simply a question of sticky your head out the other side Dot Com.

Shortly after there was a fast dinghy collection of Gary and Katherine with taco in hand from the foreshore. There was simply too much going on once you included the Broncos getting up over Melbourne in the GF.

Just as it seemed that the believed fireworks time was simply propaganda (strangely in sync with the red wine running out) the sky lit up. We were barely 100m from ground zero and well positioned for our entire universe to be ignited by salvo after salvo. The ringing of tambourines is still fresh in my ears... ha

What a wonderful fanfare to complete this trip. Everyone happy and a night to remember.

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07 Oct 2006: 7 Oct 2006 -
Have little else to do on a Saturday morning with clouds outside, I set out to create new business. With a great relationship in place with the guys at Absorbed Power, I am now a dealer for their range of AGM batteries.

The next thing, set up a web site that promotes their product in the retail space. 4 hours later, I had created a nicely working online business that lists their products and invites consumers to make contact for batteries of all shapes and sizes... The next thing to do is put in a shopping cart, that will require another 4 stint...

Now what's for lunch?

11 Oct 2006: 11 Oct 2006
So long away from the boat for me would have to suggest that something's going on for John Nayler. I have spent a couple of "blocks" in Brisbane recently working on a site for River City Conveyancing, which will revolutionise the way that conveyancing is done in Brisbane. It is true that in recent times, conveyancing has become simpler with people emailing things back and forth, but it has been hap-hazard, un-audited, and infrequently read-receipted. Thus there is documents and communication flying around everywhere with little control... The increasing efforts of Anti-Spam software is also making things more difficult also.

This new site, which will continue to grow, will provide fully audited communications and pdf document delivery to property sellers and buyers in Queensland, while also providing them a place to stay up to date with the property transaction at any time day or night. In addition, they can spend less time on hold by, by booking a time to call their paralegal. That's a breath of fresh air!

Tell your friends about or check out the online brochure by clicking this here

14 Oct 2006: 14 Oct 2006 - 3G Day
I received a phone call from mate Alan who is currently in the waters around Townsville about how Telstra let him off his old CDMA contract to allow him to replace his slightly wet phone with a new Next G phone.

This made me fully aware that all the hype from Telstra about wireless broadband was more than hype. As a sailing internet professional, I have been constantly pursuing high speed internet in my travels and on the water.

It may just be that my prayers are answered.

Today, I went in and took advantage of the same CMDA contract release option to avoid a $700 penalty (just 4 months into contract and only available to CDMA customers) and take delivery of an LG TU500 phone, with more features than you can poke a stick at. I have already put my contacts into it, put a 512mb memory card with a bunch of photos and music into it, sent and received email, downloaded whereis maps and instructions on how to get places... For an extra $12, I can watch foxtel!

The news gets better. I have also tested the data connection and found it to be blistering fast at places around Brisbane...and had Bigpond put their money where their mouth is when ordering my broadband data card, which they say will give me 1.5mbits performance in downtown airlie beach (and possibly just off shore), offering me 3 months free and to return it if it does not perform as it should in Airlie. BIG CALL!

Stay tuned for news about my adventures with this.

This could be changing my life dramatically ... and perhaps T3 shares are worth having - This has the propensity to put them way out in front!

22 Oct 2006: 22 October 2006 - Back on the water again
After a long stint in Brisbane setting up various things, I finally flew Virgin Blue back to Airlie Beach for more sailing in the tropics. While the cruisey's are getting ant-sie about the lack of Northerlies to assist their southern desires, the SE trade continues to assist the Whitsunday perfection. On the flight the other day, its worth mentioning my completely overlooking the fact that I was sitting next to Nathan Brown, coach of the St George dragons. It was only late in the flight that it clicked and we shared stories about coaching a footy team and living on the water. While keen to help them get on the water, the group of eight was a few too many for Dot Com to accommodate!.... I could never hope to carry enough grog!

None the less, Tony has now arrived from Brisbane, and we have now enjoyed our first day on the water in this cruise. Its sunny (already sunburnt), windy (already had some stuff blow overboard) and there are plenty of fish (none legal size).

To escape a day of windy conditions we are now safely anchorage near the entrance of Nara inlet. At the top end of the bay there are about another 25 boats, setting a twinkling backdrop on the sausage in bread dinner and Coonawarra red.

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25 Oct 2006: 25th October 2006 - Cid Harbour Explorations
With a comfy nights sleep out of the way, Errol is along side in the dinghy confirming my participation in the climb to Whitsunday Peak, one of the highest points in the Whitsundays, atop, you guessed it ... Whitsunday Island.

Before I could hesitate we are on shore and marching up through the island type foliage. The lack of rain is evident, with dry creek beds and a thinning canopy. Its about an hour and half up, and an hour down. Plan to spend at least a half an hour at the top to enjoy the vista. Its magic, and while its not a perfect day, the photos are stunning.

The trek was made more enjoyable by the company of Mark and Errol. Discussion continued through out of get rich schemes, the ubiquity of the Internet, how to get cars for nothing, the relative advantages of the Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters.  On the way down, we even engaged with some other hikers, were we received some essential information about credit card merchant facilities and the dangers of delivering product to foreign destinations. Steven and Anne stopped for a good 10 minutes to discuss their business. They, like me, enjoy 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off in the Whitsundays given their business flexibility. They keep a 40+ foot Riveria in the area for the winter and spring months.

So I am not the only one doing this...

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27 Oct 2006: 27th October 2006 - Fish Finally!
Replenished and ready to go, Tony and I set off from Airlie Beach on the big push south. There is an East - North East due for the next couple of days... We must have been a day early.. as the turn South around Pioneer Point greets us with South East breeze.

The next couple of hours are spent motor sailing, with a brief pause at the bottom of the Molle channel to throw some lures into chopping tuna... and throw I did, throwing Tony's lure right off the rod!

With nothing hooked, it was time to press on just in time to hook a rogue Mackerel near Pine Island - he'll do for dinner.

As the wind East'd the motors were finally doused and we reached down the Whitsunday Passage, Dent, Pentecost, Lindeman, and all their friends passed behind. With the forecast holding breeze in the East, we made anchor in a disused bay on the South Western corner of Shaw, opposite Platypus Rock. After passing over some bommies with out care (thanks to the 600mm draw), we rested the anchor in 5 metres of water. First up, Tony was busy in the galley with the mackerel, which became a Thai curry, which was very very nice!

With dinner out of the way, it was time to wet a line. No sooner had Tony got into it, but he had hooked a Spangled Emperor, then another, then another, then a baby barracuda.

Fish. finally! It had only been a week.

Of course, I had nothing big enough to keep.

With all that done and couple of beers, a great nights sleep was had - though I did hear Tony thrashing in his sleep screaming about having a big one. First it seemed that he was having a private moment, then it become apparent that he was talking about fish.

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28 Oct 2006: 28th October 2006 - Southern Group Follies
Rising late, Tony had already pulled a couple more spanny's on board - but they escaped with the lives.

The breeze was now in the NW, and given the long wide footprint of Dot Com, we continued to sit comfortably while the chop passed by in our exposed possie.

With little more to do than record some depth measurements, we set sail around the corner with the North breeze behind. The marine life was still in evidence, and we dropped a carpet of lures amongst more chopping fish, but still nothing.

With survey in depth progress, we passed Billbob Bay, Keyser, Long Rock and drifted for a while for some fishing. With nothing caught, we backtracked for Keyser which stuck out as a favourable stop, given the high tide and Northerly breezes.

Jammed up on the beach, we had this magnificent place to ourselves, we swam, snorkelled, climbed the rockface, repaired, photo'd while Dot Com rest in 4 foot of water.

With lunch out of the way we dropped back to the point in 7 metres of water. I started hooking Parrot fish after Parrot - all of them I think - all undersized, so back they went.

Hang on - Tony's hooked something...
Back now, it was an undersized Spanny. He went back to where he came from.

With little more to do in the evening, we moved position slightly to get a better view of the couple camping nude on the beach at Keyser. Oops - each to their own, but we were here first! They can have all the fun they want - we won't watch

Now time for some cooking. Enjoy the photos!

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30 Oct 2006: With a dinner commitment in the evening, an early departure from Shaw was required. Pity we didn't.

There was a lovely sail up to adjacent to Dent Island where the dying breeze required the iron sails to be cranked up.

3pm arrival at Abel point and snug into A1 was perfect to sort a few things out and ready for dinner.

Soon enough the glad rags were on and I joined Andy, Gary, Katherine and Terry Kemp at the Rotary dinner for "Pride of Workmanship". With a few wines under the belt it was soon enough my turn to front the crowd to receive my plaque and listen while some slightly over stated stats made me sound like some sort of Internet guru in getting to the place that it is. I suppose it is a pretty good site... and has great potential, but I could not help but be humble. Other recipients of the awards included the occ therapist at the base hospital who had established a special interactive green space for the sick kiddies. There was also the 20 year librarian from the school. What was I doing amongst this company??????????

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02 Nov 2006: 2 November 2006 – Doing it on the hard
After another awful, drama filled night on the water in the Whitsundays, we found ourselves following the smell of fish around to Whitehaven beach. With a 3+ m tide on the ebb, there was barely time to shake of a tailing Perry 44 to turn left into the outbound flow of water from Hill Inlet. One of the most pristine and naturally beautiful places in the WORLD, Hill Inlet is a mangrove lined white sand estuary which winds into the heart of Whitsunday Island and site of the occasional wedding.  We picked a spot adjacent the entrance, just out of the view of the look out and punched the beach, Gallipolli style…. But the only chance of Turkish folk awaiting were if they had come via one of the plethora of backpacker boats that variously sneak up behind, anchor off or punch onto the beach beside us.

With the water disappearing around us, it was time for breakfast, err, brunch, err lunch. By the time the snags were cooked, I had my guitar playing interrupting with a nice teaching couple, Richard and Lyn from Newcastle. After some coaxing they climbed on board for a beer and water…. And some of the world’s problems were solved thus.

Next was a bit of sanding and painting of some old dents in Dot Com that reminded of “bog” repairs to cars as a late teen.

With the marks tidied, a short visit and sit at Betty’s Beach to check that nothing had got out of hand and a quiet beer.

By the time I got back, Tony had found some deep tidal pools that were apparently teaming with fish. He was off with rods and lures and shortly returned with a 48 cm cod, which went very nicely for dinner.

Off he went again.

A comfy snooze while the boat high and dry on the beach was disturbed by a family clambering down the rock face, taking the short cut from the look out just above. Blow me down, it was the charterers from Kick n Back, that I dropped provisions to the other day. They suspected that I had been following them… but I made it quite clear that this was simply “the way my life is”.

The tide soon swelled and I motored down to coax Tony back onto the boat for a motor down and anchor in Pig Bay. Few mossies, but it is a very protected spot for some fish eating and some Internet time.

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03 Nov 2006: 3 November 2006 - Back to Airlie for fireworks
Having experience Airlie Beach fireworks from the comfy locale of Dot Com on another recent occasion, there is good reason to try and do it again.

After watching the incoming tide swell around Dot Com and the rays and tiny sharks sniff out some breakfast in the new shallows, we are soon afloat and ease ourselves from another perfect anchorage.

Pig Bay is tucked just off the Solway Passage, with its distant bottom and fast current, we take the opportunity to move in the right direction to get the best from the flow.

After breakfasting on the official Dot Com delight of a Kiwi Fruit and Pancake stack, we meander past Hamilton Island and head out into the passage. Tony is getting us there today and looking after the environment, we sail the entire trip despite the light conditions. It takes 6 hours.

To pass the time, I am online the whole time bashing away are various web sites to make them that bit better.

Back on shore, we nestle into Cumberland's A1 berth, which conveniently has the Bottle shop as its nearest retailer. Gary and Katherine are coming around with Chicken sticks and there is sure to be something special from Katherine.

Over wine, beer, tequila (that's just me) there is some serious catching up to do. Gary and Katherine are selling there unit, to do many things, which may include buying a cruising cat... Where on earth did they get that idea?? Their unit is a fine Airlie Beach investment at $310k and fully documented at if you want to have a look.

With the breeze in the North, the ride on anchor would be a bit ordinary, so we opt to walk around to beside the Coral Sea Resort to watch the works over the water. They are great and my trusty Kodak P850 catches some great pics of the action using its "Fireworks" setting.

With the night only just started, I must have gone into town and danced all night... I seem to recall. It would explain the heavy head the next day anyway...

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04 Nov 2006: 4 November 2006 - Sydney visit
Leaving paradise is only something that you do if there is good reason.... And Monday is a pretty good reason. With Dot Com packed, an evening flight has you in Sydney, collected by good friend Geoff. We go way back and he and I have a lot to catch up on. Semi retired at 36, Geoff and Leanne are 8 months pregnant, well Leanne actually. :- )

Geoff and I head to the Capitan Torres for some Tapas in the heart of city. Despite our ample funding, we drive around the centre of Sydney for half and hour trying to create a car park, before taking the $18 plunge on parking. (Gotta love Sydney). The "Capitan" is where I thought I was going to die back in August, with a chilli catching in my wind pipe - the shortness of breath giving way to the incredible experience of a sizzling wind pipe courtesy of the chilli.

Despite the experience, the place is a "must eat" in Sydney, the Garlic Prawns, the Chicken Chorizo, yum!

Geoff is great to spend time with - we talk about self development, web sites, network marketing, the generally the business of making a difference in peoples lives.  There is never a dull moment.

Sunday is more of the same, before heading to Michael and Donna's place to catch up on the house plans, hold an infant girl and engage with two year old Alex.  It's a fine evening - but this lad is well short of awake by early evening

Monday is the other reason to be in town. Pacific Sailing School had a one day overhaul of their web site back in September. The difference then was huge, but now it was time to go to the next level. With just a days effort in their harbour side office, their online advertising, Google placement are set right... and the afternoon, some clever database design and a few pages has their complete and complex calendar moving online. That replaces several whiteboards of information with a fully integrated online display for all to see. I accidentally put in availability too - so now people can see how many seats are left on each course. My goodness, what a difference.

View their web site

All this in one day.

A evening flight has me back in Brisbane just in time for Melbourne Cup day and collect a new Tigra.

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07 Nov 2006: 7  November 2006
With the Melbourne Cup safely out of the way and the keys to the new Tigra in hand it was time to head north. Driving the 1200 km to Airlie is something that I have done many times, with the right company it's a great run, but by yourself, and EVEN in a roadster it's a loooonnng way.

But things always getting better, as it does, my parents had in the previous day begun to install them in a new house on the highway at Howard... well not quite on the highway, but close enough to wander down at night and watch the trucks roar quietly past.

They have moved from Toowoomba to a new house in a great little town with Hervey Bay just down stream, via the Burrum River - for which Howard has a nifty little river side spot and boat ramp just down the road. The river was loosely surveyed for the ability for Dot Com to approach - and it looks good!

After a couple of snoozes and one overnight, some techno challenges were solved and the house fully blessed - the roof went down on the Tigra and wheels turned north.

The next port of call on this road running was Uncle Nev. He works in the mines and takes time out at a beach house at Hay point. Nestled amongst trees, rocks and co-located with Plover chicks, the cosy pad is right on the beach in an idealic setting right beside one of the busiest coal loading ports in the Southern Hemisphere - but you would never know it!

Brisbane to Airlie by road is now officially a 3 day, 2 night adventure. I may have to start selling tickets.

After a couple of more hours driving, arrive Airlie just in time for hot donuts and web sites.

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11 Nov 2006: 10 November 2006
After sorting a clutch of web sites in one afternoon, 5pm called to the main street, where the annual street parade was already underway. Heavily participated and observed, Airlie's main street came alive with the colour and life that is typically Whitsundays. Water bombs, water babes, clowns and odd dressed school kiddies one after another.

And the with the festival winding up it was time for "Bomba" to do their reggae thing after some fine dining on Barra and crisp fried asian greens at Capers in great company.

Bomba had the crowd jumping till midnight, the carpark in the middle of town turned into a little bit of Jamaica... Thankfully the developers have not yet turned it into a little bit of Hasting St, Noosa - "Progress" had recently been delayed due to the sustained efforts of some local do-gooders.

22 Nov 2006: 22 November 2006 - Oops tripped over and ended up at Nara again.
Having been in the marina for too many days, been able to harness the wind obligates you to head to the islands. Once again, Nara is easy, and the anchorage just inside to the right has almost become my property.

From the comfort of this spot, log onto the Internet with Next G, sort out a web site or two, take a few phone calls and then be ever so pleased to see friends come through the heads.

Next thing Ben and Greta are over for lunch, and no! Ben you can't go get your smokes ... have some champagne instead. I made the mistake of going out with them the other night with the ensuing shots, pool, beer, more shots, dancing was only capped off by the kiss on the cheek from a German tourist (male) - I didn't even think he liked me! Ha!

Forget the sword...

"Live by adventure - die by adventure"

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29 Nov 2006: 29 November 2006 - Brisbane Comedy Bar, Dockside
With a couple of hectic days put together for Brisbane it is important to find some time to enjoy. What better way to take advantage of being in town then to roll about the place laughing at the Brisbane Comedy Bar, at Kangaroo Point, with some good company and gourmet pizza for dinner.

With 5 acts through the night and the quality MC work from that local radio bloke, it just kept better and better. Best for mine was the fresh work from the guy from Ghana, or was it Girana... with spot comedy from armed hold up training and then his fight with the CAPS and Ins key while using MSN.

What a great night out and highly recommended.

01 Dec 2006: 1 December 2006 - Thank you Telstra
I was recently contacted by Telstra and invited to put my story on one of their web sites where people talk about their success with Next G techology. There is little doubt that my story is definitely a success story for them and me. Using their Internet connection and phone, I am currently at Cid Harbour sending this blog entry.... and in recent days, I have even been webcaming from the boat back to friends on land.... with the camera pointed forward through a cabin window.... so they can see the view! WOW! If I can just work out how to commercialise it, I will set up Sail TV!

You can read my G Whiz story here

Now we are talking!

02 Dec 2006: 2 December 2006 - Macona Inlet
The end of the Sailing Club calendar each year includes a group cruise to Macona Inlet, for a BBQ dinner. With little else to do on the beach there, the assembled crowd of 50+ set about getting very very drunk. Beware of the unseasoned first timers to get way to much on, or step about the place in high heal shoes. This must be OK for the Sydney north shore :-)

Anyway, a happy night was had by all - so its all good.

Highlight for the night was Bob on the guitar. This very accomplished fella, grey beard an all sat on a rock and knocked out classic after classic to the cheers of the somewhat debauched crew.

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03 Dec 2006: 3 December 2006 - Who's got my cricket set?
With the recent return of Charlie and Betty from the Lousiades, I have had the opportunity to enjoy stories from this wonderful island group at the South Western tip of Papua New Guinea. Amongst the tales of happy people living a simple life of fishing and fun that is completely devoid of reality TV, advertising, crowds and conflict.

Amongst the photos, they took great glee by enquiring if I had missed the cricket set that I purchased a couple of months ago and left laying their home.... Turns out, my friends had put the cricket set into their bag of goodies for gifts and barter items for use in the islands... and my cricket set was handed to the a bunch of islands kids who took up the game with great enthusiasm based upon 10 minutes of expert coaching from Charlie and fellow cruisey, Frank.

What a worthy home and what a great afternoon they had.

It seems that I am destined to join Charlie and Betty (and 5 other boats) for a Lousiades adventure September 2007. Now that is a trip worth looking forward to!!

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04 Dec 2006: 4 December 2006 - What another dear motor!
Having been out at Mandalay Point for a day of boat work, epoxy and sanding, I was having a short motor back to the harbour when one of my Yammies started to sound very crook. After some extended diagnosis - well past my 10 minute rule for engines (if I can fix it in the 10 minutes, replace it)... I ended up purchasing a BRAND NEW motor. At $4k a throw, its a bit of a nuisance, but far cheaper than replacing a diesel.

So much sooner than you can say, here's my Mastercard, Dot Com found herself high and dry on Cannonvale beach and motors being changed. Being careful in the planning, I had gone up a hour after the biggest tide of the month, to ensure that I would float the next day. The overnight tide was much smaller and as a result, the water only lapped at the back of the boat. With the new motor in place (thanks Terry and Harry), the next mornings tide saw Dot Com slip easily off the beach and back to the comfort of Abel Point marina.

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06 Dec 2006: 6 December 2006 -
Teaming up with local real estate agents of long experience and integrity, came to fruition for Mike and Lesley Storkey.  Storkeys Team now provides prestige real estate services long overdue for Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island and the entire Whitsundays.

Already up and running are some very nice units on Hamilton Island, and more to come in a site that features a lot of the best features that I have to offer and soon more!

If you have time, check it out!

17 Dec 2006: 17 December 2006 - Tourism Christmas Party
Having little opportunity for festive celebration, E Central (me) subscribed to integrating the E Central party into the TW Christmas party. Having a theme of "Something Christmassy", the imagination soon came up with Three Wise Men. True to form and the popular joke, I was only able to find one other wise man... local fella Terry Stevens. The difference between him and me - he really is a WISE man.

So soon enough, draped in old sheets, towels and cheap table runners for sashes we made a grand entrance at the event accompanied by other accomplice, looking similarly troublesome in his "fallen angel" garb.

The rest is a blur, but included too much white wine, eating pavlova inappropriately, and spawning the joke when asked about the 3rd wise man. "The third wise man is rotting in a Bali jail, having been caught trafficking Myrhh.

In the end, we took away a $500 prize for the wise men, and $250 to Andy .... as there was no one else even close!

Finally, the bell was rung about 2am after the mistake of dumping Tequila into an already intoxicated body... It goes without mention that the next day was marked as a rest day with the Cumberland Christmas party that night.... and the theme "Something Christmassy". But that night is another story.

Keep smiling.

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25 Dec 2006: Knock knock - Who's there?
With Christmas festivities out of the way, a drive in the convertible, a buzz in the dinghy, and being generally grateful for everything that I have, there was one thing left to do - Go for a sail.

With mate Joey onboard, the twilight watched Dot Com slip from Abel Point Marina and head across the Whitsunday passage. With little cloud, the billion stars of the Milky Way sparkled overhead.

With no particular destination in mind, we tracked with the wind and tide to arrive at Cid Harbour, anchoring half eleven.

The morning showed incredibly calm conditions with little noise apart from the neighbourhood turtles stopping by cup of sea-grass. Boxing day had begun.

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26 Dec 2006: Boxing Sailing
Ham and cheese toasties out of the way, and the Whitsunday Peak climb aborted due cloud cover, there was little else to do but go the beach. Yes, the great Australia Boxing day ritual of avoiding the sales and heading the beach was in play on Dot Com (in lieu of there being any shops at Cid Harbour)

In shore at waist depth there was bearly time to scrub one water line before realising that there was a Sydney Hobart start to watch. There was a made scurry (at approximate walking pace) to motor to television reception, find a suitable place for the aerial and settle in for a tube in front of the tube.

Mate Joey is pretty handy with internet stuff, so the next couple of hours were spent trying to get Dot Com's position to appear in Google earth... after seeing the Syd Hob shown on same.... (Google Earth if you have not seen it, is an amazing view of the earth that is open to all sorts of opportunities. )

Anyway, despite the techno-skills, we could get the globe to spin and zoom to Cid, but no dot for Dot Com - Booo!

Not to worry, a N E seabreeze had filled providing a leisurely sail back to Airlie Beach, just in time for a couple more odd jobs and prepare to go out skippering for 3 nights on a vessel very similar to Dot Com...

The story continues....

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29 Dec 2006: Girls, girls, girls
With little to in the Xmas - New year period, its always relieving to have a skipper job come along.... This is the second year in a row that such work has fallen in my lap. It would seem that for some reason there is a shortage of skilled people about Christmas time and I have quite fathom it.

Anyway 3 nights on the water on a sailing cat similar to Dot Com provided opportunity for new friendship and sharing my passion for the Whitsundays, with the downside being that the 7 pax, likely meant 3 doubles + 1....

Imagine my surprise to find that the 7 crew were all Aussie girls under the age of 22! Soon enough, we were anchoring in Nara, snorkelling Cateran, racing and whooping in my go fast dinghy and watching 6! Hours of "Sex in the City" episodes.

The final highlight was some good weather and survivor type experience of a 4 hour walk up Whitsunday Peak and back. Shame about the zero vis... and on the way back we all ended up quite fed up with climbing over slippery boulders to make John's "speciality" shortcut to the beach, which took forever.

Another happy trip in the Whitsundays. There is always room for more.

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31 Dec 2006: Happy New Year
The past few new years, only being "nearly theres" was reason enough to try a bit harder in the end of 2006. Starting early seemed to be the key.

Bacon and egg breaky, followed by a massage, meant there was just enough time for a little work, shopping and snooze before heading into the heart of Jubilee pocket to Chuck and G's.

Several games (cricket, PS 2 and Roulette) later, the assembled group proceeded procession style down the block behind the VW convertible towing the esky making racket and commotion was we went.

After fun at a mystery party it was time for town, where Capers beaconed as one of the few quality places in town not cover-charging. Mate Joey and I tried unsuccessfully to drown ourselves in Champs, finding that  bottle at the door was only a prop for Verve.

Soon enough, dancing, Tequila and stupidity dissipated into streamers, balloons and horns on the foreshore of Airlie Beach proper, was fireworks let go.

2007 is billed as a big one as this black sheep enters his 40 year within weeks. That will leave a whole year to plan my 40th!

Happy new year!

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02 Jan 2007: E Central Beach
After eyeing the beach just inside Nara, right side for a while now, it was finally time to put it to work as a landing site for Dot Com. Soon enough after high tide, it was time to nudge and hold Dot Com against the grainy sanding slope of the newly named "E Central Beach", where Dot Com could now regularly be found.

With Dot Com high and dry, there was time to check the hull, scrub the waterline and try out the range of tents that came with the boat. The boom tents are excellent, covering the entire cockpit and provide essential shade from the mid summer hot.

From this great spot, Internet and phone still worked, so it was ideal for busting out a few web changes. It also proved pretty handy for watching over the coming and going charter and bare boats.

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03 Jan 2007: Home the long way
With another big tide appearing on this morning, Dot Com was soon afloat and drifting off the beach. With little reason to rush back to civilisation, with the peg was reset in 4 odd metres of water and enjoy E Central Beach front just a little off shore. The best thing about being on the beach or just off was the extra protection from wind and wave.

In shallows, the colour of the water over sand and coral is beautiful.

With this beauty absorbed, the sails were set for a reach down the Whitsunday Passage from Nara, rounding the south side of South Molle. In the distance was something large in Shute Harbour. It could only be one thing... The new "cruise ship" for Fantasea. Not that big, this vessel has been bought in from Italy, to provide extended luxury cruises around the Whitsundays. A wonderful idea for the travel set that don't want to drink cask wine with backpackers on retired maxi yachts. I am sure the price will be a little higher though...

Sailing back out of Shute harbour, the outgoing tide carried us easily to Pioneer Point and back into Airlie.


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04 Jan 2007: 3 days, 2 nights Cruise
For some time now, the local charter industry has semantically glossed their charter products by announcing them as 3 days and 2 nights, even though they manage to cram it inside 48 hours - I am still trying to work out the maths behind that one.... and I am pretty clever!

Regardless of the way you hold your tongue, 2 or 3 nights on the water in the Whitsundays gets you to some very nice places with the minimum of pressure having to hump clothes and food onto Dot Com.

This time out your cruising companions include Birgit, Chuck, Gee and pommie mariner, Jordie (not his real name apparently). Over-catered, but seemingly short on meat, the first anchorage will be Stonehaven. Its a nice sail from Airlie in the regular South-East breeze. Upon reaching the destination, there will be some circles and the opt for Baird Point, which is very protected and offers reasonable holding just off the bommie line.

Perfect for sunsets too and watch the rich people at Hayman from afar. "There goes Hayman" is the call as the boat drifts back and forth at anchor.

Drinks and nibbles are soon being enjoyed on the cabin top. The peace and solitude ideallic.... until the arrival of one backpacker boat, then another, then two more, then another and finally another. Somehow, Dot Com and crew were now part what would appear to be a Thursday night backpacker boat rally point... Booo...

They will soon be sorry. Little do they know that Dot Com is armed with one of the best anchorage clearing devices known to man - Karoke. Yep, Chuck has "Singstar 80's" of his PS2, which is soon enough plugged into the tele, which is now propped for full view in the cockpit.

Soon enough the drinks lubricated the situation suitably to have very bad renditions of Material Girl, Simple Minds and Karma Cameleon radiating out across the bay.

The fun continued to well after lights out on the boats around.

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05 Jan 2007: Day 2 - God bless her and all who sail in her
With the tide flooding, its an ideal time to head south in the Whitsundays. The tidal run assisting at the rate of 1 to 2 knots (2-4km/h) with your destination at higher lats. Unfortunately, your cruising cat has not really learned to sail to Windward yet, so a long reaching sail across the passage to "Bang" North Molle Island and back again, snugs you in behind Whitsunday Island just as the tide turns. The destination: Cid Harbour. Tacking in the calm waters behind the huge island of Whitsunday is very pretty. Punching further south Cid will soon be found and makes for an ideal stopover adjacent Sawmill Beach. Unexpectingly, there is soon the call to move again. March flies are ravenous at this location ... Close to the beach is not always ideal.

Moving to a location with plenty of breeze, but still in the wonderful Cid, we are soon joined by friends Pam and Simon, who refer to Cid as corporate headquarters.

After a casual afternoon of friendship and a couple of drinks, Pam and Simon clear out just before Singstar makes a repeat appearance. The competition has increased with challenges being thrown down left and centre for head to head singing - where the scores mount as do the busted high notes.

Jordie, perhaps the shy one, is even using the full range of his northern English reserve to raise his evaluation by the PS2 as "Awful" to "Beginner". Tough crowd, Jordie.

The fun proceeds until everything bar the liquer Tequila has disappeared... The skipper somewhat impressed with the resilience of the crew drinking the famed "Fruit Lexia" - Yike.

It will be a slow start in the morning.

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06 Jan 2007: 6 Jan 2007 - Return to Airlie
With water running out, and other engagements pressing, it was time to head back to Airlie - but no hurry. Coming from Cid Harbour breakfast is served close to the beach North Molle. Over on the beach some hapless holiday makers had pulled up in the rental boat, with a lee shore and waves breaking. Trouble was obviously brewing. Within 5 minutes, the accidental North Molle tourists had become castaways, with the dinghy swamped and life jackets floating away at the mercy of the ever pressing sea.

Navy seals launched, a perfect beach landing was made as Chuck and Jordie rolled from the vessel, while skipper powered onto the beach. As the third leaped from the rubber duck, we dodged the machine fire and tossed the dinghy above the tide line. With the snipers quelled with a round of return fire and grenades, we could now safely rescue the sun lovers.

Debris clear, the swamped dinghy was skull dragged into the water and the bucket brigade removed 100's of litres of water from the stricken vessel, while the apparently Dutch husband expressed his embarrassment. With bearly a tear from the small child, hubby, preggy wife and child were slung into the rescued vessel and they sent on their way.

The triumphant team cleaned the beach of remaining debris and ammo, relaunched the duck in style and returned to Dot.Com in time for an early lunch.

After such an exhausting effort, there was a final stop at Poineer Point for photos, debrief and cocktails.

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15 Jan 2007: 15 Jan 2007 - Forestay drama
Back in the beach after a highly charged and adventure filled visit to Brisbane, there was no time to be lost but to get back on the water. Stocked, outward bound and headsail unfurled, tracks were being made to the islands.

A bang from the foredeck brought attention to the furler and forestay. (the roll up thing for the front sail and the wire that holds the mast up from the front) - There was immediately apparent that something was wrong upon inspection. Made of approx 15 strands of stainless wire, the forestay had lost the outer set - so most of them - this meant that the forestay (holding the mast remember) was down to about 30% of its strength!

A hasty turn down wind and headsail furl unloaded the rig, motors started and sailing plans curtailed in favour of shelter in Funnel Bay. Safely at anchor, it was apparent that the scheduled replacement of furler, and head sail upgrade was now on the front burner - along with the replacement of the weakened forestay. (A forestay collapse typically comes at the wrong time and usually costs a mast, sails boom, lines, etc ... ie, all the things that you rely upon to sail... damage to vessel and pride - its not something you ever ask for. It was a similar failure that afflicted "Maximus", one of the leading contenders in the 2006 Sydney to Hobart on the first night that ended their race and injured 4 crew)

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16 Jan 2007: 16 Jan 2007 - Bob the builder
Not to waste the available time, the safe anchorage was used to continue work on Dot.Com's appearance. Genset firing and sander sanding, the "join" work where the new cabin top was made fast to the hull continue to take on aesthetic improvement. Epoxy being the material of preference, safety gear is essential to ensure a long life despite working with nasty materials.

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17 Jan 2007: 17 Jan 2007 - Bob the builder 2
Sanding complete, its time to once again find rough spots and fill them with Epoxy, Q Cell mix. A lovely (nasty) conconction of 2 pot glue and white stuff that floats off on the breeze it not contained well.

Hopefully, this work is nearing completion, so the new roof can be painted and made completely as one with the rest of Dot.Com.

Not to worry, there is plenty of other works to complete and that Forestay still to replace.

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18 Jan 2007: 18 Jan 2007 - Telstra Calling
During recent water based escapades, the marketing team at Telstra had been taking an interest in my success with using their Next G internet and phone stuff to make my life fun and flexible. There are not too many people I know enjoying the freedom of location, while enjoying the surroundings, doing a spot of renovation, working and having friends over for days at a time. With no one else left, I have can only envy myself  :- )

Anyway, with Telstra keen on the testimonial value of my enjoyment of their gear, they organised a team to come and interview me! In a reality TV type effort, they intend using my mug and chatter in some corporate presentations. At double time, the team arrived from Sydney and before a beer was drunk, had me pretending to coil some ropes on the foredeck as the sun went down...  in front of cameras. Luckily, Dot.Com's recent works made her a bit more presentable...

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19 Jan 2007: 19 Jan 2007 - Say it again with more feeling!
Uncompromising in their efforts, the film crew were back at Dot.Com at 6am as promised. Friend Andy, had become dinghy driver, adviser and stand in fruit delivery guy. He's so handy, Andy. The crew were only in paradise for 24 hours and looking for as much footage to make up to 2 minutes of John Nayler exposure. At a rapid clip, I was enjoying the paper and coffee on the foredeck, taking delivery of fruit (from delivery boy Andy) and making tracks for the islands.

Chased by a second vessel, I was all but handstanding on the front deck, while making video calls and checking the rigging, Master and Commander style.

Once again at anchor, I was happy and able to honestly tell of my success in using Next G to make my life better while the camera rolled. Video conferenced, keyboards tapped, mouses moved with a "Matrix style" 3 screen surround, it all looked pretty high tech in a island bay surrounding.

Let's hope that it was all worthwhile, with not a dollar changing hands, I happily expect that the compensation will come in other ways. Lucrative Internet consulting contracts in foreign capitals, free stuff from Telstra to test in the rigours of a water based office environment ... and a public speaking tour, talking to business large and small about the real opportunities for work / life  balance using Next G enabled phone and computer.  Ha ha  - John Nayler - the face of Telstra's small business solutions.

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21 Jan 2007: 21 Jan 2007 Plumbing day
Sunday, the day of rest for some is just like any other day on Dot.Com. With hundreds of hours still required to make Dot.Com a show pony, today's improvement is taking the water fill from the galley step to a deck fill.

Required: 3 m of water pipe, deck fitting and handy mate.

Today's handy mate is Colin. Mistakenly approaching me in the carpark after I returned with the other materials, Colin's suggestion of coffee is soon focused toward an on board cuppa. Caffeine loaded and topped with chocolate Colin is soon peering over my shoulder and advising on the advancing water pipe installation. In true Huck Finn style, enthusiasm for the project is soon converted into a drill wielding Colin, eager to cut the hole in the deck, with his now "assisting" boat owner undertaking works below deck.

Shortly after, the mission has become a complete success with the hose soon shoved in for the "inaugural fill". God bless her, and all who shower in her - Water can now be easily added to Dot.Com without concern about hoses indoors.

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02 Feb 2007: 2 Feb 2007 - Rain Rain, its here to stay
Spending some time away for a birthday may bring more fortune than imagined.

News from home is that its raining, raining, raining. Having supposed to be back in Sydney for a civilised dinner, mate Charlie was out at Proserpine airport to be amongst the 100+ people that were told that their plane was not coming.

Charlie, having being around the Sundays for a number of years knew that the excess rain would mean double trouble for the local roads. With 280 mm falling that night, it would be a challenge for most roads come to think of it.

Not prepared to wait around for news about the flight, Charlie took flight, not the aeronautical kind. Shortly he found himself confronted with long stretches of flood waters over the roads. With his trusty Jackaroo in 4x4, he and co-pilot pressed on to the point where it seemed that the water was getting deeper. Heartened by a Landcruiser coming in the other direction, they shortly returned to the state of "concerned" as the waters threatened to carry them off. Not a good thing.

In the end they popped out the other side and made it to back to Airlie.

Left behind was the other 200 people, who spent the night.

So let me set the picture. Proserpine airport, despite a very nice refurb, is essentially a block building with a tin roof, planes on one side, people and cars on the other. You can see it on Google Earth, but its blurry. Because opposition airlines don't talk to each other, the currently stupid situation has both the Virgin Blue and Jetstar flights arriving at the same time, which makes it creak at the seems with 600 odd passengers + friends try to make good with their arrival or departure plans.

Catering to the dining and snack needs of the travellers is a friendly cafeteria with nice sanga's, a pie, a limited number of ales and spirits, and my personal favourite, a moderately stocked tub of ice creams.

Not seeing the impending situation clearly, the cafe made record sales during to the afternoon, only to find that by sun down, they were sharing the last of the chewies.

Suffice, the women and children got an uncomfortable place to sleep, the rest got really uncomfortable places to sleep. By morning, the flavour had absolutely left every chewie making the morning rescuers very welcome.

09 Feb 2007: 9 Feb 2007 - Ready to sail again
Having "dropped" $4k on a new highly recommended Profurl furler C42, the pointy end of the boat (does that apply to cats) is now looking fab-o with a collection of shiny metal things.

A headsail furler for the uninitiated, is a system that allows the head sail or front sail to be rolled up onto the front wire of a yacht or cat. This allows easier gather and release of the headsail and to some extent reduce the amount of sail being used. Key to the furling system is the drum, which has a coil of rope on it while the sail is out, which you pull off and unwind, to wind up the sail.

The trap for young players in this area is that not all furlers are born with the same "track" for the sail to mount on ... and someone I know did not check that the old headsail "boltrope" would fit the new track... Thus some embarrasing moments and an $80 bill from my sail maker to change it.

Anyway, today marked the returned of the sail to the track - thus making Dot.Com ready to tackle the trials and tides of lolling around in paradise.

To mark the event, a magic sunset was delivered by the big guy and settled over the ranges at the NW of Airlie for a great opportunity to sit with a quiet ale on the foredeck as the perfect cool of evening descended on the marina.

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15 Feb 2007: 15 Feb 2007 Induction Cruise
With reasonable weather and a couple of chores racked up it was time to take to the water again. Aided now by new inductee, Joey and a bit of food, we headed out into the passage to try and head south on the Easterly breeze.

With the breeze shifting in the new steering configuration at issue, we soon found ourselves at anchor in the Dent Passage oppo the island resort of Hamo.

This anchorage is most popular during busy periods in the Whitsundays as an alternative spot to through out the peg and watch the bustle of Hamo from a distance.

Joey meanwhile was hard at the grind, taking position at the 2nd notebook on board and punching into a new project. Joey is very handy and I had consented to him approaching the new project with his favoured and dear to heart open systems language of PHP. Unfortunately, a number of problems appeared and my inability to assist saw the decision to move the project to my preferred and deeply experienced Active Server Pages. This way I could educate Joey on the E Central way and assist - Good move!

To celebrate progress in the project - there was only one thing to do - Head to the Hamo Yacht Club for a couple of drinks.

Being a Wednesday night it was soon clear that island did not have the opinion that it was a party night. The bloke on the door soon cleared the air - Tuesday and Friday's are big, with the numbers swelled with the staff (Tuesday must be pay day)

With the new information in hand, it was time to high speed dinghy back to DOT.COM across the tidally moving Dent Passage.... Its only about 2 minutes tops at 20 knots!

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16 Feb 2007: 16 Feb 2007 Burning Point expidition
With time to spare and no need to back at Hamo until Friday, it made sense to move on to some other place. The weather was clearish, and sailing from Dent to the East of Hamo the setting sun supplied a splash / dash of golden colour.... Turning South, the assisting flood tide shot us down to Burning Point, Shaw Island in double time.

The steering adjustments had continued and now too twitchy, the rudders and helm caught in a cabin belonging to 3 bears... The auto pilot stuck with the uneasy job of Red Riding Hood in a too much, too little scenario that was quite disconcerting...

Joey continued his punching the keyboard, with the new site coming forward at a rapid clip, while I maintained some other sites.

With some Mexican washed with Red wine feeding the night, the perfect night demanded some laying about outside to ensure the universe was in order.

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17 Feb 2007: 17 Feb 2007 Buring point and return to Hamo
With a big tide coming in till 10am, and a perfect day above, the waking sound of anchors up bought Joey on deck. With boards up, Dot.Com needs only 600mm of water - making it perfect for beach approaches when able.

Soon enough the anchor was set in about a metre of water and the stern tied to a tree. With a hull check scheduled.... we peered over the side at the teaming numbers of stingrays, which we observed from a safe distance.

At some point our flat friends moved on to something else than basking in the shallows and we ventured into the water to find quite a large amount of growth on the hull of Dot.Com. Joey displayed more all round skills, having cleaned quite a number of boats in his time - so we took a hull each and got busy.

With a mid afternoon commitment to photographing happy Hamo staff starting 2pm, there was barely time to chuck a donut to capture some video footage of Burning Point for YouTube and Cumberland Charter Yachts' web site. Video on the net is the next big thing... and you can catch my handwork using YouTube to promote the Whitsundays at here

Done as past Club Med Lindeman, we were soon at Hamo, just in time for a clearing squall and fd (fast dinghy) to Hamo. The next hour was buggy riding and photos - happy staff everywhere, along with bumping into some old contacts which would make something for later that night.

Back at the boat, Joey was now fast become an ASP guru, with the gathered photos growing the resources to make the art work of the new site.

After some dinner and bit of kip, a late jump to the islands' night life was prepended with a number of Tequila shots which I would later regret.

On island, Joey and I met up with my old acquiants and a couple of drinks later wondered what was going to come of the thumping base of the nightclub, that we had somehow found ourselves transported into.

Dumb faced and slightly tipsy, I threw on my favourite nightclub decoy, shaking it harder than John Trav morphed with MC Hammer. Joey meanwhile, had attracted the attention of a very nice lass stopping over for a couple of days from Scotland.

Before you say "What do you mean last song?" we were on the harbour front street with 200 other patrons. With little option it was back in FD for some slow flying back to Dot.Com.

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18 Feb 2007: 18 Feb 2007 Heavy head and sail home
With a slightly heavy head, it became obvious that I had too much fun last evening.

During this day there was much laying about, consumption of water, fish and chips  ... just in time for Uncle Nev to turn up on the Hamo ferry for the sail home.

With swelling crew numbers we dashed across the passage through a squall, turning up in a slightly disorienting position down near Pine island.... not to worry, we were just taking the scenic route. Ha

While rockmelon was consumed and the islands observed, Unc Nev was getting some basic computer training at computer position 1. With Joey at workstation 2, seemingly ready to eat his own arm rather than convert completely to the temple of Microsoft as some of the inadequacies of active server pages showed themselves....

Soon enough we were back in Abel Point Marina, just in time for some tea.

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28 Feb 2007: 28 Feb 2007 Fame - but where is the fortune?
At the recent Telstra share holder meeting, I had my first outing for my new career as the face of Telstra small business. Part of a 3 minute presentation, my "mug" signed off the introduction to the benefits of the new Next G network. Only joking about the title, its one that I have bestowed upon myself.

While it doesn't pay, it is fun and exposure can't be valued. Is it not better to me a millionaire of fun and happiness anyway?

Below, I have loaded "my bit" onto YouTube - conversion has buggered the lip sync - but you get the idea :-)

Now, double click the play button in the centre of the picture below:

01 Mar 2007: 1 March 2007 - Anti ad

Mate Derek, has suggested that this text would be better for my advertisement.

"My business is E-thanol which is an alleged internet consultancy. I live in the Whitsundays where even Centrelink are convinced I have a job, the ocean is my toilet. Before Next G I had to return to the harbour to restock the bar fridge, now I can just stay out on the ocean pissed and order more grog via the internet. I’ve tested a range of alcohol extensively over the years but it’s only with Jack Daniels I find the freedom from stress that I want. It’s so good I can’t even remember what I am supposed to be saying. I can’t remember who my clients are either but they seem to enjoy the big porn files I send them.

Next G technology allows me to drink whatever I want, wherever I want and whenever I want which is all the time."

09 Mar 2007: Next Stop - The Nation's Press
Fresh from driving local friends crazy with spot in the Telstra presentation, the request has come through to use me in a nationwide print campaign. Having caught the imagination of Telstra marketing execs with the quality of my lifestyle, I will shortly appear in newspapers and magazines. Who knows where this could end? To make the most of it, more photos were required. By picking and film and photo mates from Hamo recently.

Selecting a spot on the northern tip of Dent Island, the palm tree background, blue sky and clear water were a perfect backdrop for some hamming it up, phone and notebook in hand while Gee snapped away.

The resulting photos narrowed to just a few that should start appearing during March 2007.

What else can come of this?

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10 Mar 2007: Real Estate done right
The culmination of recent hard work is baring fruit for my Real Estate agent clients, Storkeys' Team. The site, logo and function that I have designed for them now enjoys over 30 properties, a significant number of which being prestige properties on Hamilton Island. While my ongoing consultancy brings constant improvement to their site, the really nice part is being backed up by Chuck and Gee Sanhueza This dynamic pair are capturing impressions of top of market properties and presenting them online as masterpieces. Gee's photos are great and Chuck's rock video approach to property presentation makes everyone feeling like buying property. A great example of this is the Yacht Harbour Towers 2 property on Hamilton Island. Contained in an entire floor of a centrally located high rise, this property has a whopping 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, making it an ideal hang for groups, couples and families. Wow. Take a look at Yacht Harbour Towers 2, remembering to register to take a look at the video.

13 Mar 2007: Late night stock trading
I love sleep. Anyone that has spent any amount of time with me, knows that I love sleep.... as I have probably nodded off in their company.

So if I am staying up, then it had better be a good reason. Enter the lair of the stock market training group at Stock Course - Noosa. Cameraman Chuck in tow, we flew to Brisbane, drove to Noosa just in time to be late to start rolling on for advertising and testimonial value.... The reward, some great new knowledge and training on trading the Q's. This imaginary beast is a thing that you get to bet on with Puts and Calls.

This knowledge in hand and cold hearted logic overriding emotion, one is supposed to make 7% per night... After 4 hours of training, a dinner break, and an opportunity to meet some of the students, the market opened. !!

And then...


We expect the market to TANK further, with bear activity.... but we pushed through 1.30am watching a green and red graph oscillating like a gentle ripple on a pond. Lyn is behind me right now insisting that lunch is coming and that could yield some activity.... I am not convinced and happy to call it a night.... Good night.

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17 Mar 2007: 19 March 2007 - On the double
Taking advantage of the YouTube opportunity, we are creating video experiences for each of the vessels in the Cumberland Charters fleet.

Here is a rough of the first one.

Its a tough life for some

22 Mar 2007: 22 March 2007 - Channel Whitsunday makes the paper
Local rag and read by all has given coverage to, the new adventure for Chuck and I. Slated at the international coverage angle, WT has quoted champion of the cause, Rogin saying he was not sure about what YouTube was, but none the less happy with the exposure for the issue. Chuck is a bit out of sorts that it quotes only my name, but I intend to make it up to him :-)

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04 Apr 2007: 4 April 2007 Hello Belgium
Long time friend from Belgium, Fem has recently become "between jobs". We would not want say that she is unemployed, desperate, or just wandering the world at the moment, she IS committed to a job back in the home land, with another one waiting! With a long career in market research ( the kind where you dim the lights and sit in bean bags - weird eh?), 30+ countries and 5 languages she has skills that few have.

Having met her in NZ 2 years ago and travelling with her was fun. We criss-crossed the South island in her $2000 yellow Nissan Coupe.

This time, she dropped into the "Sundays" for a bit of relaxation and some sailing...

Pity the weather was not better. Consistent high winds and occasional rain throughout the time meant for a dreary time at Hamilton (only spiced up by our Whitsunday Sailing Club group being tossed out of the Marina tavern) and a couple of cancelled attempts to get to Whitehaven. Highlights instead included the Tsunami warning for the Queensland coast - which I found a bit comical as have that thing at there... what was it called.... the Great _____ Reef.... That's right "Barrier!". Yep, long after global warning has killed the reef, bleaching all its colourful inhabitants, it will remain as a semi-submerged wall between de ocean and the majority of the Queensland coast line.

The other great place that we found was just around the corner from Stonehaven, opposite Hayman island. There is a little pad of sand, and sandy beach that makes a great spot to "park up" in Dot Com, keels and motors up sitting on the sand at low tide beautiful. I cleaned the hull, we had some lunch, grabbed some photos and then headed back to Airlie.


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12 Apr 2007: 8 April 2007 - Brisbane or bust
With commitments in Brisbane for Easter and a 50th birthday party, a road trip was in order. Just how much can you cram into easter. We find out.

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Drive out of town with Belgium friend, Fem.
Open air motor through the night and the Marlborough stretch, full moon over head
Arrive Rocky hotel
Kill "in room" Cochroach before turning in

Drive to parents place at Howard
Have lunch
Drop Fem to Hervey Bay
Catch up with family

Rise 4am
Drive to Cleveland, Brisbane just in time to board 43 foot French built cat
Chase Brisbane to Gladstone start
Get some photos
Arrive Mooloolaba 7pm
Find some late night street front dining

Bus / Train back to Brisbane
Have lunch with friend
Get car
Visit another friend
Race to buy birthday present
Arrive for shower and dress 1/2 hour before the arrival of maxi taxi
Drink, dance and have fun

Wake to 8am phone call to be somewhere for coffee
8.15 have coffee
Drive noosa for client visit
Drive parents for more catch up

Drive Airlie for Tuesday interview and photoshop for magazine coverage of

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14 Apr 2007: 14 April 2007 Airlie Beach Markets
On the hustle for has been fun. Already, Chuck and I have made a splash at the TW networking functions, spoken to pollies, and put ourselves in front of some community organisations and event coordinators.

But it came to time to put ourselves in front of a large number of locals.... and the best way to do that is the Airlie Beach Markets. Conducted every Saturday morning by the local Lions club, these markets have a good array of local products, friendly characters in a beach side location. Wonderful.

During the morning we showed off the site, talked to a lot of people and gave out a mountain of business cards. To also got the camera rolling to do a spot on the markets.... and the best one... sucked in some people with our screen test. We asked a few people to read out a couple of cards to see if they could cut it behind our newsdesk. The first page was easy, the second page .... well you can see what happened at

With focus on fun and the community, there is sure to be more of this kind of behaviour.

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01 May 2007: 1 May 2007 City Life Cover

Despite the early days of online broadcasting being upon us, the word was getting out. Through some connections, we found ourselves talking to the Mackay based City Life magazine which is a high quality, glossy coffee shop special, distributed throughout Mackay and the Whitsundays. Must have been a month short of quality stories, as they were soon confirmed a story and decision to that we were "cover worthy".

Shortly after, clothed in the best garb from Beachworx, Airlie Beach (THANK YOU!), Chuck's wife, Gee was snapping up a memory card full of ..... memories. For us, dressing up made for returning to childhood games. Why stop playing?

The interview occurred via phone, with a 1 hour long conf call that left us short for jokes by the end...

The result, well you can see for yourself. Check out the excellent magazine site, which includes a "turn the page" motif done "way cool" in Flash.

Thank you City Life

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02 May 2007: 02 May 2007 Fantastic Weather

Taking advantage of some great weather here in the Whitsundays the recent Friday saw Dot Com free of her berth and heading out on a video mission. I am currently upgrading the Cumberland Charter Yachts with video circuits of the anchorages, with voice over about the anchorage. We are already getting great reviews, even more so the boat videos I am doing to enable people to see the holiday in action or even just walk through each boat.

With the ready availability of fast Internet and the advent of YouTube and other such sites, the Internet will change gears and become chock a block full of video content. The words and pictures won't go away, by the most popular part will be the videos, where we will go from one to the next.

Anyway, off the soap box!

The first night was May's Bay - with the amazing weather and star filled sky something to be in awe of!

The next morning with the weather perfect, I set off on an attempted circuit of Whitsunday island, stopping at each anchorage to take a full stills and then chuck a 360, much to the intrigue of watchful boaties.

The week prior, I had worked my way across the northern end of Whitsunday island and have already uploaded the videos to

While enjoying this amazing day, Whitsunday island on one side, Hamo on another, I had a surprise phone call. Gee (Chuck's wife) had been planning to start a photo shoot on Fantasea Ammari (a-mar-ee) starting the next day. One fella had dropped out and she need someone else to take his place ... being photo'd on this new lux cruise ship. After some protest about the suitability of my appearance, we I was confirmed to be the one..... Dot Com was turned tail and pointed toward Airlie Beach for a early Saturday arrival and shortly thereafter transfer to board Ammari. O MY GOD!

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04 May 2007: 04 May 2007 Fantastic Fantasea Ammari
Armed with fist full of coat hangers carrying loaned clothes and some select items from my robe, I joined the assembly of 8 people in the group for the shoot.
Gee photographing, Chuck assisting, Jenny and Tony playing the older couple, myself, Jacqueline and young Cedar playing the newly weds or family, and finally Jody, our Fantasea marketing leader.

Dressed to cruise ship class we started shortly there after, photographed getting on the tender, transferring to the ship, listening to the briefing, etc. The vessel is amazing, the staff terrific and the clients accommodating! The continuing perfect weather from the last few days made for immediate plans for the vessel to head straight out to Fantasea's outer reef, "Reefworld" platform for the first night.

The next shoot was sunset, and a change of clothes later, we were on the upper deck once again posing. Working quickly in the perfect sunset, the happy couples / family paraded for Gee and the film crew. The next surprise was the request from the video cameraman for myself and Jacqueline to kiss. Being completely professional :-) ... HA! ... we were soon lip to lip in front of one of the most perfect sunsets on record.

The days that followed were similar. Sunrise photos, relax, lunchtime photos, relax, action photos, relax, dinner photos. It was actually pretty easy. The rest of the time was our own as guests of this 5 star moving resort as it went to the reef, Whitehaven, Langford reef / Stonehaven, and then back to Hamo.

The final night was probably the highlight. After dressing up for another sunset - this time for a mock wedding, skipper, bouquet and all... the friendships with staff and guests made for the opportunity to carry on the theme of the evening till the end... Let the mock wedding continue! Dared to do that song from "Ghost", I was soon singing rather badly while my limelight loving mock wife showed off her belly dancing prowess.

Dinner was more of the same. Dared to get up and do a speech, I took the mike from the guitarist and thanked various people, acknowledged the beauty of my mock wife and thanked Uncle Don and Aunty Karen (paying guests of Ammari) for coming all the way from Lake Taho for the event. Uncle Andy (another paying guest) then got up and said a few things as well, did the telegrams, and took on the role quite nicely.

The crew then supplied more entertainment as we moved the party back to the bar with Karoke, dancing and a few too many drinks on a magic boat, in magnificent Stonehaven under a perfect full moon night sky.

What a great theme party to have, a pretend wedding ... and a great way to re-experience married life with out halving the bank account!! :-)

For more information about Fantasea Ammari:

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06 May 2007: 6 May 2007  Wintemoon weekend.
Reputed in the local area is the Wintermoon Festival, now in its 11th year. For some months, friends Terry Kemp and family have suggested that I come along with them and sample the folk flavours ... with them going the xtra mile and purchasing a ticket for me on hearsay.

Lucky me. Wintermoon rocks (in a folksie way).... and luckily, we organised the cameras to be there for With a short phone call, Chuck and assistant were on the FOC list and when they turned up Sat night, were able to take themselves by car to the main stage - lucky them.

My efforts had started some hours before, finding friend, fun and flavour from early in the day. There were plenty of people that I knew and the Kemps very welcoming. There was even other "stars" from the cruise ship modelling that were camped a surprising 20 metres away.

With 3 stages going simil, there was always something going on. There was fun for the kids, with maypole, waterslide, hoola hoops, etc.... (Did I just say they were for the kids?)

As it turned out, I stayed over for the two nights, with the dance party being the best part for mine. Rocking to the up-beat positive vibe went till ONLY a reasonable hour.

In the fun stakes, this was only closely tagged by the stream that runs along the site. Every day there were people taking a dip in the slightly cool running waters.... I went to the next level, borrowing a very dodgy 2 man inflatable and riding the (timid) rapids !

It was great fun all round.

Don't believe it....? See it all unfold, log onto and see for yourself in some of Chuck's best video work to date!

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11 May 2007: 11 May 2007 - Sailing with Alan and Trish.
Take a look at lazing in Hill Inlet, Whitsunday island. What a great place for breakfast.

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19 May 2007: 19 May 2007 - Donna, Karen, Zoe and Eliose
With so much good weather around it is a pleasure to see the arrival of more friends from Brisbane - yet more excuse to spend some more time on the the water and go to some special places.

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25 May 2007: 25 May 2007 Sanctuary Cove Boat Show
Back in the grind again, I had put the hand up to volunteer at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show 2007 for Cumberland Charter Yachts. Its a mean task, standing all day, talking to nice people about the best holiday in the world, hanging about in the sun, looking at brand new boats.... Day dreaming about sailing adventures around the world. Ho - Hum, poor poor me....

And crap.... I picked up more work.... to do a site for the new Spirited 380. Bugger!! :-) ... and then there was the secret mission for CCY. If we pull it off, it will be a great opportunity for CCY to do something good.

In the final hours of the show, Terry, Tina and I knocked out this little comedy skit with "Marvin the Martian", using the blow up green man from Fusion Electronics..

04 Jun 2007: How do you spell reign?

Time up for grabs after the "Sankie" cove boat show opened up the opportunity to zip over to Perth for some quality time and adventures with Lee. Lee spent some time in Airlie during an attempted migration in 2006. Even though he had looked settled and had purchased half of Pronto the wonder cat, it did work out and so now he is back in the West closer to friends and family.

Such a situation is a boon for this intra-continential travel. Lee is a wonderful host and b4 the bags a barely unpacked and its off sight see Perth from a couple of great angles, including a lovely lunch from the Southern shore of the Swan River looking back to Perth's CBD.

There is also the trip down to "Free-o" (Freemantle) another day. Famous fish and chip lunches, the city walk and a tour of the coastline back to Lee's northern abode at Joondalup.

The long weekend beacons and we book into the 5 star Abbey Beach resort. The sky is perfect, the waters calm. Its seems that the foreshore is protected as public space.... behind the beach and in the dunes is a broad walk that seems to stretch to the entire coastline... which makes for a lovely stroll.

In the evening its down to visit Jason and Denise. Jason is another Airlie beach part time, who loves his guitaring, more than he likes work... or MOST other things. The evening includes live music (at the house), the rounds of the Dunborough night spots including the very hip "Attitude" bar, "The Wine Bar" and the "rubba-dub-dub" = 3 Bears pub.

Its a great night out and includes Denise's mum, who insists on another round of shooters before we can leave to go home!! :-)

At the Altitude bar I was lucky enough to find out that a local new born lad had landed the name "Reign", spelt that way. I made a fuss about this important issue. How many children of the word are ending up with hard to spell names, all in the name of the parent's vanity and desire to "appear different". Don't you realise what you are doing!! The kids is going to be cursed through our life, forced to spend many hours in any given year spelling his/her name to call centres on bad phone connections... probably in India! All the misaddressed letters and badgering at school. If you are going to choose a freaky name, please ensure that its spelling is completely obvious!

Sorry, now off the soap box.

The trip continued to be eventful. We did the rounds of the wineries, enjoying the ambience of lunching at one of them. In the evening, it was off to the Settler's Arms at Margi River. The place was heaving. Not long after arriving the concern about misnamed children erupted again when Lee and I met Tina, Chris and Megan. None of whom could spell Reign correctly. Luckily the reggae music soon started to settling the score and filling the night with music.

This pretty much concluded the week "O W " (Over West) .... Breakfast at Bunker Bay Cafe was yum with great views .... we had also been allowed to dine in our complete scruffie-ness despite the well dressed people prior to us being turned away as "breakfast had finished"..... must have been "feed a dero day"

Back in Airlie Beach now, the weather has turned and the next adventure awaits....

01 Jul 2007: Sailing with Duncan and Racheal

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29 Jul 2007

30 Jul 2007: Best weather on record.
With the return to the Whitsundays of friends Mary and Megan all the way from New Jersey, it was time to round up some good weather, some provisions, drag my UK mate/ cameraman from his slumber and head for the islands.

First stop, Nara inlet, where we rendezvoused with Darcy and Vicky. Long time friends from Brisbane, they had won 5 days on a yacht in the Whitsundays. The new little Beneteau 323 was great for the couple... and long time sailor and know it all, Darcy was impressed with the boat... to my amazement. He is a very tough judge! :-)

With a couple of drinks down'd, dinner became a united effort and the parma ham wrapped chicken was sliced and served alongside a yummy chicken and vege dish that Vicky had arrived with...

Next day, we planned to meet up at Cataran Bay, Border island for some snorkelling. Its one of the best places for a snorkel, but we arrived at a low tide.... its best a couple of hours after low... I donned the snorkel gear and made my way across to Darcy and Vicky, who were enjoying a swim also. Imagine the laughter and surprise when I turned up to find that they were skinny dipping... with my expensive dive mask allowing perfect review of the various tackle on display... The joke went on for hours.

Next up we made our way to Hill Inlet, where we anchored Dot.Com in a "hole" adjacent to the Hill inlet look out. It's a great spot to pull up while it exists. The continuously moving sands mean that this spot will soon disappear, but in the meantime, low tide means that you are in 2 metres of water .... in a pond - surrounded by sand. WOW.

And that is perfect.... Perfect for some Playstation Singstar!  Yeah!!  With just a few drinks on board, the challenge was on for the best voice of the night award, under the stars, with no fear of anybody listening in!! Finishing order for mine was Mary, Megan, Duncan, then myself. I guess I will have to wait until my voice breaks.

Next morning, we did the photo opp at Hill inlet, and captured some footage for for a coming feature about Whitehaven beach. With the tide once again receding, we made it out of the inlet and down to Whitehaven beach, where the shallow draft of DOT.COM allowed us to anchor just 15 metres from shore. The girls went about Whitehaven duties (swimming, sunbaking, walking, frisbees) while the lads fiddled with camera's and shot some more

Leaving it as late as possible, we enjoyed the day at Whitehaven and headed around to Hamilton harbour. Despite booking and paying ahead, we found that our allocated berth had been taken by a pesky Bertrum 25... Not to worry, we tied up in a superyacht berth....  Wine and Pizza later, the evening fizzled out from the long day. I managed to assist the tuning of a hifi to a DVD system on a new 35 foot white boat in the next berth. After some further entertainment of the assembled fans, I collected a free bottle of wine and returned to Dot.Com.

The morning came with a knock on the hull. The very apologetic marina lad, informed me that a high ranking employee of the island owned the offending Bertrum and had tied up despite being told not to. He would not reveal the name of the person... Lucky... his name would have appeared in here ________! :-)

Hamo is a great place to spend the morning and a couple of hours were happily spent collecting some baked breakfast and coffee, heading to the One Tree Hill lookout and eating with some of the best weather on record.

After collecting some stuff from Trader Pete's at the marina, and viewing another testimonial appearance in the paper for Telstra, we made for home.  Another perfect 3 nights amongst the islands of the Whitsundays. What could possibly be better?

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12 Sep 2007: 12 September 2007 - Dot.Com Refit
Having last done some serious work on Dot.Com in May 2006, there has been a lot of unfinished work related to the original replacement of the roof when I purchased the vessel. There has also been a couple of things annoying me about the layout and workings of the boat. Combine this with tired paint and antifoul and its definitely time for a serious haul out.

With the tides high, I enlisted the assist of quality mate Gary to project manage the haulout as we headed up on to Edge's beach - a small clearing in the mangroves in a hidden spot at Edge's boatyard.

Since we beached, we have a two week window of smaller tides to get on the job. The boat is simply parked at a tide level of 3.5m, and the phase of the moon has some of the highest tides heading down to 2.7m. Some days the water won't get to the back of the boat. Gary has been busy coordinating and sanding, while local boatbuilders Rex and Chippie get on with the changes to the wood work and layout.

The saloon settee and table are getting raised about 300mm to give better sight lines while enjoying some lunch, there will also be a vinyl plank flooring going down to really spruce the underfoot. That's the first two things on the list indoors. Out doors, Rex has already chopped in a swim platform, which, with a ladder will make Dot.Com easy to swim off. There are also covers getting made for over the tillers arrangement - previously a work place health and safety concern. (there will be new tillers and rudders too). Rex will also be cutting down the helm station during the next week.

I await the arrival of local stainless guru to start on the a new "Seawind 1000" style seat between the davits... which will make it a great place to sit and watch while sailing.  

Lucky for us the September weather is wonderful, warmish days, blue skies and light northerlies. Great sailing weather - but even better boat building / painting weather.

More soon.

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19 Sep 2007: 19 September 2007 - Progress showing.
With the saws and grinders providing a sabre toothed symphony, DOT.COM is showing real signs of change.... Hopefully a butterfly with emerge from the Whitsunday mangroves in the next week or so.

Presently the boat is primed and patched after loosing some soft spots in the exterior finish. The swim platform is well formed up also, making swimming a much more attractive option while aboard. Inside, the new settee gets the once over from Ricky the wonder dog. And we are underway with the new cushions and curtains.

Stainless is another area to splash out. Claude has begun the cockpit seat that will provide great views from high and aft in the boat. A perfect place to watch the world pass by, while the water sparkles underneath.

Now the paint is to be applied, and sanded and applied and sanded. . .  and painted.

7 days to go.

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29 Sep 2007: 29/9/2007 Making Pancakes

Recently it I was shocked when it took someone 2 hours to make pancakes.... So I set out to find out - how quickly can you make pancakes?

10 Oct 2007: With the boat back in the water after the majority now being repainted, the real work starts. Re-assembling the vessel is a major time consumer ... and the works not complete yet. The changes are starting to show their true beauty. The higher settee in doors makes it easier to see out while lounging. The paint work looks great and is getting a lot of comment. The nets went back in up the front, re-sewn and tidied up. Access aft is now direct without tripping the steering gear. The aft, over water seat has been refined already, making it wider - and more comfortable.

The most massive improvement is the steering - not something really noticeable to other to than the trained eye. The boat used to have troubles holding course, the simplicity of the rope system comes with some slack normally that meant rudders doing their own thing a bit... and the way it was originally wired - the ropes got in the way of my 3.1m inflatable dinghy when raising into the davits. Now the Spectra lines from the helm feed through 3 roller bearing Ronstan blocks either side and into the enclosed steering gear. We have also employed Ackimens (spelling?) Principle, so that the rudders are at different positions in turns, the "outside" rudder steering a wider arc. You can see it work - its a dream.

Anyway with some sea trials complete, the results are very positive!

Now if I can just get these trades people to finish some jobs... the new fridge, hot water, etc, etc, the list goes on, as does the work.

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19 Oct 2007: 19 October 2007 - Time with Doctor John Demartini
With a couple of days to spare, the morning calendar reminded me of the impending course opportunity in Brisbane with Doctor John Demartini.

While working through the morning coffee and sorting out some more boat improvements, I managed to find my way onto his course, onto a flight (leaving in 2 hours), get accommodation.

All from the comfort of DOT.COM parked up nice and neat in front of the Airlie Beach lagoon.

While seemingly expensive once you total air fares and accomm, the few days away proved very fruitful. Catch up with a friend for dinner on arrival, check on a client and then the next couple of days were flat out in Dr John's program for self improvement.

Having done a number of courses in self development, you find that they offer similar outcomes and use similar ingredients. ie, if you ask a chef to serve up Lamb Roast with Port Wine Sauce, he or she is going to use similar ingredients, relatively similar methods to get a relatively similar outcome. Dr John is a little different. In a matter of fact way, laced with baudy humour he keeps you entertained while he explains that all things are brought to balance, never ending happiness a fanciful illusion and proves his case using Quantum Physics. For the techo type punching out this report, the science behind his message is conclusive.

Along the way, there are plenty of book and product purchase opportunities, which are a little more overt than in flight shopping, convincing anecdotes and processes and means to get to a better place.

Overall, I recommend his course "Breakthrough" for anyone seeking a technical, grounded understanding of our life experience. and a means to get a little more from it. He also has some proven, if not slightly tedious processes to help clear emotional baggage for you and your love ones.

In the end there is no question of his intentions, enthusiasm and commitment to the cause of humanity.

Thank you Dr John.

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23 Oct 2007: 23rd October 2007 - Better Floors
With some serious design changes in doors on Dot.Com in place, there was now provision for attention to the flooring in the vessel. Having used the Karndean Da Vinci product before, it was a simple step to get to the Van Gogh product. Wider panels, but otherwise the same was going to make this stuff even easier to lay.

In stock at the local specialist was the "Antique" flavour of the product and plenty of black beading. The result, wonderful. You can torture your Van Gogh panels any way you like, cut them through, nick them-fold them-snap them, sand em, belt them with a hammer (which has little outcome, other than the pleasure of beating somethin with a hammer), etc.

To make them more of a feature, I put the black bead around them in the saloon and it looks striking, in the hull floors, they are down on floor board timbers making the surround bead a little more at risk of breaking away via the lifting bending, etc.

An important step to in the hulls was to bridge the panels across joins, to HIDE THE JOINS. The guy who made the floor boards originally lined up the panels with the joins, which made them look like.... errr ... separate floor boards. The result from bridge and slice apart... as you can see ... is much better.

The other thing is glue. Contact cement or "Contact" gel is excellent for contact application, or simply wipe the glue on and walk up down them. I prefer to use less glue. Particularly given the eventuality that water will get in (it is a boat afterall), there are plenty of panels in the floor that are not glued at all, because they have plenty of reason to stay exactly where they are.

Floors done - now where is that stainless railing and table ... "CLAUDE!!" :-)

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25 Oct 2007: 25th October 2007 – Saloon coming together
With a fresh instalment of Stainless and allo welded gear from Claude, the wonder worker, the saloon of Dot.Com is starting to look like a ½ serious contender for the comfort cat stakes.

There are still cushions to come, and some stainless wires for the new railing adj my work station, and the ever present wires.... but otherwise its a much nicer place to command the vessel, modify a few web sites and write the odd blog. :-)

And when all that is said and done, the room in the saloon allows for a full size ironing board, so shore power assisted their is the ironing to catch up on.

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26 Oct 2007: With little progress showing elsewhere, I may be obsessing, but I am happy to put away the left over flooring, and stop sniffing contact cement.

With the bead line straight and all the internal floors now covered - I can move onto the million other things there are to do on the boat.

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01 Nov 2007

03 Nov 2007: 3 Nov 2007 - Visiting Royalty.
Today we had an unexpected visit from royalty. None other than the designer, builder and creator of Dot.Com, Barry Williams. On a mercy dash to return a boatie to Cairns, Barry lobbed on the aft step (the equiv of the door step).

Luckily, the surprise visit found the boat in a reasonably show-ee state and a blessing was received for the improvements to the vessel. The work continues.

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10 Nov 2007: 11 November 2007 - Gloucester Eco Photo Shoot
Having be recently commissioned to produce a new web site and video ad for Cape Gloucester Eco-Resort, the team was assemble and Dot.Com sailed the 17 short miles around and into the Gloucester Passage and the resort at the Western end.

In tow were Troy and Tamara, a terrific Canadian couple that I met over a game of volleyball. Instant friends they came to hang out and help with some of the chores on the boat. (Thanks guys) It just so happened that the couple were also quite photogenic, so they became obvious camera fodder to the mission at Eco Resort.

You can see the results of their efforts in the various photos we took around the resort at The service we received at the resort was great as well. GM, Peta was ever helpful and stayed on after the work to enjoy the various meals available on the menu and just a couple too many cocktails.

Over the time there, mates Joey and Jacinta drove the 50 minutes from Airlie to join in some of the shenanigans, with an adventure to the bottom of Edgecumbe Bay for coconuts, swimming, fishing, and watching the sunset.

The boat is looking much better ... and working so much better now too. Recent works include:
- New fridge in galley provided by re-orienting one of those esky fridges by teaching it to stand on its side - its now looks like a bar fridge and is very efficient. The unit is a 70 litre unit from "Downunder".
- The displacement of the existing fridge, was not a waste... it has now found its way to cockpit where the lid is now labelled "Beer" to ward off champagne and other girls drinks
- The saloon table is now bolted in place and centre piece of a very tidy area that awaits further painting and the long %&*)&$^ overdue cushions.
- The workstation (where I spend so much time) looks like Never-what-was-it-called in the Matrix... Surrounded by multiple computer screens, radio, navigation, Raymarine remote control, phones, etc, I can work while sailing and keep a "proper look out"

As always there is more to do, and any visitors can expect to be press-ganged into some odd jobs around the boat.... You are welcome.

Just fantastic.

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30 Dec 2007: Whitsunday Peak
The crew of Dot.Com take on Whitsunday Peak to burn of the post Christmas fat.


Broadcasting the Whitsundays to the World is our new AdVenture at

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Next G Coverage
Telstra Next G coverage continues to impress. Using my Tu500 handset, I have been able to get on the net at high speed at various places. The latency of the network also seems very low when I get on. Very nice.

Coverage Test List

Says it all : "Sailing" by Christopher Cross
It's not far down to paradise
At least it's not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away
And find tranquility
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

It's not far to never never land
No reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy
Of innocence again
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

Takes me away
To where I've always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

It gets the best of me
When I'm sailing
All caught up in the reverie
Every word is a symphony
Won't you believe me

It's not far back to sanity
At least it's not for me
And when the wind is right you can sail away
And find serenity
The canvas can do miracles
Just you wait and see
Believe me

The Dot Com Story

Read how Dot Com came to be


Check out the layout

Whitsunday Guide
Visit the Cumberland Charter Yachts Site for the most comprehensive online area and anchorage guide. Second only to "100 Magic Miles".

Cats are better
There is no argument. They simply are.

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