I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

P.S. All material on this blog, words and photos alike, are copyrighted by me. Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. If you decide that this material is worth re-publishing, please give me credit and lots and lots of money.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving (And Lack Thereof)

Time is a funny thing.  I am trying to remember when I moved onto Merkava (Mark's boat) and escaped from 1980, but am having difficulty doing so.  I am also having difficulty grasping the fact that I just missed out on my favorite holiday, especially because it is hot, sunny and there are no other Americans around to care.

Let's back up.  Mark helped me to escape 1980 (Bundaberg) just over a week ago (I think).  I piled my essentials onto his boat - surfboards, dive gear, guitar and a few clothes - and we left before dawn one morning.  We spent the next three days sailing down the east coast of Australia through the Great Sandy Strait, which is created by Fraser Island.  We managed to do a bit of exploring, but really it was a bit of a slog, sailing all day to get to the next anchorage before sundown.

On the third day we arrived at our destination: Mooloolaba.  Say it.  Moooo-looooo-laaa-baaaa.  Yes, it's cool.  And not only is the name cool but the place is pretty sweet as well.  We decided to spend some time here because, if you look at GoogleEarth, you can see that the marina is about 100 meters from the beach and there is potential for good surf on many beaches.

In Mooloolaba the marinas are up a river and boats have to cross the bar to enter the harbor.  Mark took the helm as we entered the breakwater and we were motoring along quite nicely until - THUD.  We stopped.  Then jerked forward as the engine revved and then THUD.  Again we stopped.  Oh shit.  Fortunately we were only stuck on the bar for a few seconds before a wave broke behind us and Merkava surfed in through the breakwater.  Not the most graceful entrance, but hey, we made it.

For the next few days I wandered around in a bit of a daze, looking wide-eyed at the high rise hotels and the flashy stores.  They even have Starbucks here!  Not that I have been - a grande mocha is about $6 AUS.  And maybe it is because I have been in the cuts for the past few months, but everything seems pretty damn flashy around here.  Granted, Mooloolaba is a tourist town, but still.

I am not sure if you remember but I became a surf lifesaver last year when I was in New Zealand.  They have the same volunteer lifeguard program here in Australia and the other day I went to their massive surf club/bar/restaurant/state-of-the-art lifeguard station to see about joining.  It is not that I am super keen to be a lifeguard, but it is a good way to meet people and to stay fit.  And they have sweet toys.  However, when I asked about joining they pretty much wrote me off - gave me a phone number and a website to visit.

In spite of their lack of interest I called the offices who then told me that even though I have my bronze award in NZ, it is not recognized in Australia and I would have to pay $300 to do the course again.  To become a volunteer lifeguard.  No thanks.  In NZ it was $30, and I will stick with that.

I must admit I was feeling a bit down after that so I decided to go pay guitar on the beach.  I watched groups of people playing cricket on the beach and couples walking arm in arm down the street, feeling a bit lonely and sorry for myself.  "If I made only one friend here, one friend, I'd be happy," I thought to myself.

As I strummed I noticed a guy walking down the beach with a guitar.  Hey!  I thought, I'll go see about jamming with him - or - if nothing else it will be a good excuse to talk to him.  I walked down the beach and caught up with him, introducing myself with the pretext of wanting to play guitar with him.  Turns out he is a Canadian guy who was just visiting for the day, but he introduced me to a group of backpackers hanging out on the beach who were all very welcoming and generous with their bags of cheap wine, which is called "Goon" here.  Finally, I made friends!

Not only did I make friends, but the surf came up!  The first few days we were here the ocean was totally flat, but finally a small swell came through and Mark and I got nice waves at a beach break called Kawanas.  The next day we took the dinghy out to Alex Heads for a surf and were given heaps of information about waves by an old local guy.

Since then I have been to Brisbane and back - given a tour of the city (and a place to stay!) by my friend Emma who I met in Fiji.  She and her mate Rowan drove up to hang on the beach with us, took me home with them for an urban tour, and then got me back in time for the swell yesterday.  Door to door service!  Brisbane is a cool city but it was a bit of a whirlwind tour so I will definitely have to go back for further investigation.

Yesterday, being Thanksgiving, was 100% not celebrated here by anybody, at least that I am aware of. In fact I nearly forgot that it was my favorite holiday until Emma reminded me.  I considered buying some sort of fowl to cook up for dinner, or at least some deli-sliced turkey for a turkey sandwich, but alas, I was too buys surfing and playing at the beach all day and by the time I got home was too tired to cook anything elaborate.  Mark and I ended up having ramen noodles for dinner which, in spite of being totally stoked off the day, was a bit sad.  It definitely made me miss friends and family.

And in spite of eating instant noodles for Thanksgiving, life is good here in Mooloolaba.  I am in the process of looking for a job, which really means going surfing and asking around the marina if anybody needs an extra crew, and - believe it or not - I already have a few leads.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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