Saturday, 8 September 2012

Bareboating the Whitsundays

Our Catamaran
The marina where the catamaran was "parked"
Hills Inlet

The magnificent Whitehaven beach
Interesting artwork, courtesy of resident crabs


For the 10 days in late August, Mr HSH and I and his parents chartered a catamaran named Tropical Sunset and bare boated around the Whitsundays.  For those who don't know, bareboating refers to renting or chartering a sailboat to live in, navigate and operate during the duration of the charter.

Mr HSH's parents plan on buying their own cat one day to sail the world during their retirement so this trip was one where they could learn, practice and get a taste of what their retirement may be like. Mr HSH and I tagged along, partly for the fun and unknown of sailing, but mostly because of the opportunity for some family bonding prior to getting married. Mr HSH and I are, for lack of better words, an interracial couple. He is of eastern European origin and my heritage is Chinese. For our parents, accepting us as a couple have not always been easy, and continues to be a prickly journey. However, we have always endeavoured to gain acceptance and even, dare I say, approval, by his and my family as they are both very important to us. From my point of view, this trip have helped to bridge some of the gap that exists between me and his family and I hope this continues to improve as they get to know me. I can't fault his parents during this trip. They have been nothing but accommodating and kind to me. However, it may be long into our marriage before we will see approval or true acceptance but at the moment, things are gradually looking more optimistic.

We basically spent the 10 days, sailing between islands and dropping anchor at designated spots so we could stop to explore the area, snorkel etc. Mr HSH's dad was the skipper of the boat whilst his mum provided valuable insight in navigation and potential hazards. She also controlled the use of water down to the last drop. We sailed for 10 days with 700litres of fresh water. We had the option of refilling the tank at some points but chose not to. Instead, we saved water by showering irregularly (every 2-3 days) and post snorkeling or swimming. That was very difficult for me as I shower every day normally. Imagine, salt, sunscreen and no showers....not pleasant. We also washed dishes but wiping excessive food off, washing in salty water before finally rinsing in fresh water. All our efforts mean that we got through the whole trip without needing to refill which is uncommon. During the trip, Mr HSH developed a healthy interest in sailing and I am proud to say that he took to it like a fish to water.

We saw many whales in the waters around the whitsundays as it was mating season for them. It was spectacular to see them jumping out of the water so effortlessly. We also saw lots of dolphins, turtles, various fishes etc. Mr HSH got bitten by some unseen jellyfish and may still be battling the consequences...(long story for another day but he's ok).

Anyway, a great trip and probably another one for follow in subsequent years as his parents want to return again to hone their sailing skills.

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