First launched thirty years ago, SisterShip Magazine has been taken out of drydock, refitted, and is now ready to set sail. Our team has been busy in the ‘shipyard’ and we are about to untie the lines. We would love you to join us on our voyage!
Here is a taster of what is coming up – there are plenty of other surprises… don’t miss out, follow us on our Facebook Page or via our website, so you’ll be the first to know when the first issue is ready.
“You’re finally settling down?” Friends are intrigued.
“Well, no. We still travel but on home land, not foreign.” We explain.
I’ve discovered that travel is your mind’s view, not just your eyes’. Our own park-land replaces far-flung cultures. We still explore exotic communities, only this location fits better, like a warm, floppy jumper.
Moorea Island, Pacific Ocean
Now, the tender whicker from a happy horse saying g’day replaces the mellow swish of parting ocean waves.
The travel-music of boisterous, hull-pounding seas is usurped by sixteen strong hooves thundering against native grasses, feisty back-legs hurled in the air just for the hell of it! Their hoof-beats are my heart-beats.
Before, when watching thick fog roll over the vast plains of salt water to swallow us into its chilly wisps, my shoulders rose up to my ears as I tensed sensing unseen dangers. Now, as the mist claims our valley I calmly ignore the night-time brisk that nips at my extremities, and I witness the white swirls settle as a waterfall would slide into a river.
Mist rolling along our land under a full moon!
There’s no town illumination to dampen the cosmic display. The clear nights reveal mystifying galaxies that hang above us with such clarity that a sharp intake of breath could draw them in. The blackness is so silent we whisper, fearful that the glass stars may shatter.
Fragrant black coffee wafts through our tiny, temporary home, the steam rising in sync with the morning mist. The tang of sweet smelling grass, earthy mud, sun-cream, grainy horse feed, burning logs, damp socks – are the aromas of fulfillment.
The mileage may be limited, but not my journey or freedom. Seventy acres of undulating heaven needs care, as do we. The steep-hill-exercise will keep us fit and strong long into our dotage. We take care of the land, it takes care of us.
As I take in the surroundings, I notice the vibrant bush fights for supremacy along the ridges and tall trees become custodian to flitting birds; a playground of leafy limbs for our feathery friends.
Proud gums come alive with squawks and chirps. Rainbow lorikeets flash by, flapping fire-red, ocean-blue and deep-sea green; in a pause between the cacophony the Kookaburras cut the stillness with a hearty cackle, are they laughing at us?
The creek hums a lullaby as it roams along pink and grey rocks painting them a shiny black. The clear icy water strays along the sandy bed carving new paths after flood rain, pushing at reeds that wave a farewell.
We’re creating our own travel history on romantic moors and enticing peaks. I’m awash with besotted intrigue – what’s around the next corner? Is that a new tree? Beautiful weeds are classed as noxious. I fight for control pulling, bagging, burning the grasses that want to take over but are not permitted. It’s hard labour that keeps my butt tight with effort, just like the constant moving on a sailboat during our sea voyages.
On the land, marauding wombats scratch cavernous holes under the cover of darkness, leading into a labyrinth of tunnels, like giant rabbit warrens. Beneath the scorching sun, wedged-tailed eagles swoop on air currents, their splendid tableau unique to them. Ants scurry within their mounded battlefields ready to take on a giant human at a moment’s notice.
Evening comes too fast, but we greet her with a cool beer and dirt-smudged faces. My hands feel the stretch of dryness and the sting of cracks, sore muscles remind me that I’ve achieved middle-age, my torn, grubby clothes don’t matter because I wear a bright, satisfied smile.
Travel changes you. You change while everything back at home stays the same. Here, at our home, there’s a surprising synchronicity – time, place and people are changing together. Noel and I are in harmony. A perfect choir of love.
But as with each journey, my soul is reshaped. I’ve bid farewell to places where I know I’ll miss the people and the lands, but also a part of me because I’ll never be that way again.
I wonder what part of me I’ll leave in which corner of our natural Disneyland. And what new thoughts and outlooks I’ll collect to replace what I’ve left behind; refreshing my layers with a view for every occasion.
My motto: ‘Be an encourager, there are far too many critics in the world already.’
Cruisers’ Accumulated Acumen is selling incredibly well and has been tagged by a top sailing magazine as, “…probably the most comprehensive reference book designed for preparation for cruising life.”
Here’s an excerpt from our book – which not only includes over 1,800 tips, tricks and ideas for living on board, but also informative and fun articles such as this…
Your grab bag, ditch kit, flee bag (sounds like my old dog), jump-and-go-bag should include stuff to measure your own priorities and capabilities. What would you need? Who is on board and where you are going? Does everyone on board know where it is?
Align your inclusions with distance. Seasons don’t count, anyone on the water knows you can experience all four seasons twice in one day. However, thinking about the sea temperature is important; hypothermia has an insatiable hunger. The sea gods also have an unquenchable greed and anything in your boat that you think you need should have a piece of string (lanyard) fitted, to give you a fighting chance of hanging on to it. Common sense, speedy reaction and lack of panic should be mentioned, although I am not sure how to pack those things. The bag obviously needs to be watertight and waterproof, a bright reflective colour is a good idea (boats don’t just sink during the day).
Each to their own; some people include their obituaries – how very odd . . .! Other cruising buddies suggest a book and a mattress! All very nice, but I can think of several more important items. I’d rather have an extra bottle of water than reading material.
At the very least have water, flares and attention grabbers, surviving is nice, but being rescued is even better. The ditch kit should contain items for immediate use and possibly some months. Short-term think injuries, hypothermia and signalling devices. Mid to long-term survival, think water and food. Are you going to make water or catch it? Can you catch fish? Provision for prevention of sun exposure is imperative if you don’t want to end up like a crisp.
I have seen lists for short-term (minutes to hours), mid-term (hours to days), medium-term (days to weeks) and long-term (weeks to months). All very useful but how do you know which bag to collect when your boat sinks? Do you take all four? Think necessity not holiday!
Can the bag be snatched quickly? Paperwork is a good one, your passports and boat papers have to be somewhere, why not in the grab bag? Add a few dollars (American dollars are the most widely accepted if you are travelling overseas). Think of all the bureaucratic bits of paper that cause major headaches and gnashing of teeth, if you had to replace them.
As terrifying as it sounds, one day you might need it; now’s the time to think carefully about what it should contain. Grab bags provide thought-provoking conversations to all boat people. (Young, ‘Include my favourite toy’, old, ‘Put in the fine Scotch dear’), both would argue that their life depends on it.
Research suggests forgetting everything you have seen in the movies, on TV and in novels. But I tend to disagree, who’s to say what happens – survivors of course, but what of those who don’t. That monumentally dramatised scene could be precisely what happens. We’ve met a survivor whose boat took fifteen minutes to sink. He had ‘all the time in the world’ to grab stuff from cupboards. He now thinks all boats take this long to be swallowed in to the deep. Most of us know a story where a boat vanishes within seconds; those brief moments may give you enough time to grab your survival bag.
We have one big bag on our boat, which ideally should be split in two (1) Absolute necessities and (2) Necessities. However, it’s not and at the time of writing we are firmly welded to a mooring (for now). Our bag includes years of ideas gleaned from chatting to other people on boats as to ‘what’s in yours?’. It has (in no particular order): survival suits, sunglasses, wind up torch, handheld radio (VHF) and spare batteries, Spirulina (nutrient source in powder form), survival sheets (space blankets), hand Watermaker, toilet roll, water, string, fishing hooks/line, signalling mirror, knife, seasick tablets, First Aid with extra strong painkillers, flares, sanitary products, wet/baby wipes, tea towel, plastic bags, sea marker dye, lighter, paperwork (passports/boat papers/money), sunscreen, t-shirts, whistle, barley sugar, handheld GPS and batteries.
Diving into the bag after a year I am surprised to see that the wet wipes are still moist and the Spirulina still edible (mind you, it does look and smell remarkably like mould – even when new). Clearly, batteries should be replaced regularly, as should water in plastic bottles (leeching). Sunscreen and tablets/pills will have use by dates to be aware of too. We have spent over three weeks at sea in one go and been 1,500 miles from the nearest land, hence a fairly comprehensive bag. In compiling our kit, we gave careful thought to all the yummy stuff already included in our life-raft when it was last surveyed. Our EPIRBs are mounted in the boat, perhaps one should have been in the bag. Now, I would also include the Leatherman and some cereal bars. But the bag is heavy already.
Our small Watermaker was purchased in America (US$600). In Puerto Rico we met a guy who spent 66 days in a life-raft, in the Pacific Ocean, with his wife. They were attacked and holed by a pod of whales, ‘they were so lovely, riding alongside us and suddenly they turned . . .’ (Note to self: do not enjoy company of whales, turn on engine and shoot flares into water if same happens). He claims that they would be dead if they had not had the Watermaker in their grab bag. Before setting sail into the mighty Pacific, we purchased one. The emotions of coughing up the equivalent of almost a thousand Australian dollars were an odd mix; unwillingness to part with a large chunk of our cruising budget, conflicting with the thought that should we find our lives depended on it, it would seem a remarkably small amount of money. The Watermaker is still in its bag, unused and lonely, long may it remain so!
Other suggestions from friends:
My humble opinion
Chemical heat packs
Space blanket is smaller and works well
Book to read
Wool and rubber work gloves
Maybe one pair
Enema sack for rehydration
I’d rather drink the water
Already in life-raft
Swiss Army knife, sharpening stone, tube of oil.
Make sure knife is sharp to start with
Way too hard to use in life-raft
In life-raft already
Chemical light sticks
Dried fruit and chocolate
I’d never say no to chocolate (ensure fruit is not already in chocolate – this stuff can really go off)
Survival ship’s biscuits
Small plankton net
Photocopies of all essential crew documents
Yup(or the originals)
Shore survival items in case you land in an uninhabited island: waterproof matches, flint, wire saw
It’s all getting a bit much
Self-inflating foam pad or air mattress
What about a snugly blanket and a cuddly teddy bear too – really . . . !
Spare prescription glasses
Good idea – these are in our life-raft
Pack all gear into separate waterproof bags
Not a bad idea
We hope you found this article useful. It was compiled with ideas from many different cruisers and survivors. They all openly expressed their survival considerations, experience and concerns.
I produced some rather snazzy bookmarks, detailing my books/adventures. My mum hands them out to anyone she meets or whoever knocks on her front door. She’s brilliant – my No.1 fan – and quite passionate!
She has just written me a note about accosting someone famous on my behalf! She’s either brilliant or mad – but probably both. She says:
“On the way home Dad went into Sainsbury’s car park to get the papers and a few bits and whilst I sat in the car. You’ll never guess who walked passed, ONLY Paul Young!! I smashed on the window and leapt out of the car and said who I was plus you and ENPC (Enfield Chase Pony Club). I think he thought I was some mad woman accosting him. I blurted out your CV and could have kicked myself as I didn’t have any BOOKMARKS to give him. What an absolute chump am I! Anyway, I mentionedwww.jackieandnoelsjourneys.com and think he got it but he was in a hurry and had to get away.”
Mum’s not totally loopy – Paul’s daughter used to be a team member of Enfield Chace Prince Philip Cup Team and my mum and dad used to manage this team – so she did know him (and, I believe, he has sailing on his bucket list).
I was suitably impressed, as the first album I ever purchased was No Parlez. The first time I saw Paul was on daytime TV, after Rainbow, I was off sick from school – I’ve admired his work ever since.
I think Mum deserves a pay-rise, I’ve offered her double what she receives now – I think that’s fair.
I’ve offered Paul an audio, kindle or paperback book – I wonder if he’ll receive my message – perhaps he’s a little scared….. not from my mum – but selling up and living your dream is a brave step…
On the 11th November I’ll number each share and ask someone to randomly pick a number.
Here’s the blurb:
“We are from Australia, we have cash, and we have jet-lag and a desperate stare in our eye. In short, we are mugs ready to be led down the path of nautical slavery. If you can’t sell us a boat, there is something very wrong.”
The pull of the ocean was too strong to ignore any longer. Four years prior, they’d circumnavigated the globe on their 33-foot boat, Mariah. Now they wanted a new challenge.
So they sold all their belongings and flew to America from New South Wales in search of a boat.
Then Jackie and Noel set sail south, meeting descendants of the Bounty mutineers on Pitcairn, taking in the grand statues of Easter Island (the remotest inhabited island in the world) and making lifelong friends in Suwarrow.
Along the way, they lost a friend and came nail-bitingly close to losing their new boat. But they gained so much more.
This is a story of storms of emotions and oceans, travel, love, and relationships, and two people figuring out life and fulfilling their need to move and be challenged.