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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chapter Sydney

Thus concludes Chapter Sydney.  Did you like it?  I did.  If you remember way back, I originally intended to spend the holidays in Sydney with Mom and Dad and then return to the Sunshine Coast.  Three months later I am leaving Sydney to return to the Sunshine Coast - where I will meet up with my good friends Annette and Sara, and we will road trip from Brisbane to Melbourne.  

But first things first.  I quit my job yesterday!  In a melodramatic, "I am leaving never to return" kind of way I said goodbye to my co-workers and thanked my boss for all the work (money) he has given me.  I had been telling them I was leaving Sydney for the past three weeks now, so I think they were all glad to be rid of me, although there is a small chance I will get another few days of work with them when I am back down this way.

Yes, Sydney was good to me.  I tend to love any city that has surf, and Sydney definitely delivered in the wave department.  It also delivered in the night-life department, beach scene, art scene, tourist scene and on and on.  There are tons of travelers and foreigners in the city, so I fit right in.  

In reflection, I think Manly is my favorite part of Sydney.  Geographically it is awesome because as it is at the northern point of the bay, the anchorage is nice and protected from the northerly winds.  From the bay to the beach is an easy two block stroll past designer surf shops and swanky cafes.  When the winds turn southerly it makes the waves at Manly hollow and fast, and although one has to dodge all the beginners, surf skis, paddleboards and angry locals, it is a damn good place to surf.  

On the weekend you can find the local bars of Manly packed with good looking young people - backpackers and locals, tourists and transplants; everybody radiating the sun soaked up on the sand all day.  I must admit there is a bit of a "bro" vibe in the bars, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to be taken to an open mic night on Thursday where everybody was not perfectly tanned with bleach blonde hair.  I was impressed to find this little pocket of eclectic, poetry reading, didgeridoo playing group of people in the midst of the "RoxyBillabongHotelBarHighRentAndHighHeelsOnly" vibe of Manly, which I generally tend to ignore.  It was refreshing.

Cool little pockets of funky bars and cafes, music and art scenes exist all over Sydney, and I must admit that I am a bit blind-sighted by my quest for surf and forget to explore more of the underground scenes.  If you make it to Sydney I would highly recommend checking out Newtown, Surrey Hills and the northern beaches in addition to Manly and the Opera House.

Yes, the northern beaches is where we are now.  Palm Beach is the northernmost point of the spit of land that makes Pittwater, where we are currently anchored.  The plan is to weigh anchor at 05:00 tomorrow morning and head north towards Brisbane.  It's hard to say when and where we will stop, as there are many nice bays and anchorages (and surf!) along the way.  

It feels like one chapter is ending and another is beginning as we leave Sydney.  I always get a bit anxious when we leave a place - particularly one we stay in for a long time and one I like so much - but such is the life of a salty sailor.  It's actually pretty exciting to be on the go again, and the idea of meeting up with old friends as well as meeting new gets me stoked on the whole thing all over again.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll (and my birthday!)

How do I begin to describe my life in a realistic, reasonable and rational light? 

Shredding birthday waves!

Quarter century, baby!  That's how long I've been around on this planet.  And I must say, for the past 10 years or so, each year has been successively better.  Each year I can't imagine how the coming year will top the last, but lo and behold, it does.  Granted, my expectations are getting extremely high - from crossing oceans to free diving pristine coral atolls, from working on super yachts to working as a writer - but I hope with a good attitude and an adventurous spirit, my expectations will continue to be met.

The past few weeks, however, have been somewhat ridiculous and a bit too much fun, therefore I do not expect the rest of my life to top the party that has been my life recently.  You see, a visit from Emma, Sydney Mardi Gras, a Cat Empire concert, epic waves and my 25th birthday just happened coincide within a few very action packed weeks.

A few weeks back I convinced Emma to come down to Sydney from Brisbane for Sydney Mardi Gras on Saturday night, and then managed to swoop two tickets to see the Cat Empire on Sunday.  She flew in on Thursday night and we proceeded to have a four day party, which started off with drinks with Couchsurfing friends on Friday night - complete with dancing at a seedy club until 3am.

Saturday night was Sydney's Mardi Gras, which is the official gay and lesbian party of the year.  Emma, our friend Alex and I headed downtown, but not before convincing Mom and Dad to join us.  The streets were absolutely packed with people young and old, wasted and sober, gay, straight, transgender and everything in between.  As we got there a bit late we did not see much of the parade (too many people) but we managed to find a table at our favorite bar, Coco Cubano, and people-watched and shared silly stories until the early morning.  It was a pretty wild scene.  (For the record, Mom and Dad did not join us at the bar, but I might have seen them dancing on a float that went by in the parade.)  

Mazel Tov Mardi Gras!

If I remember correctly, Emma and I spent most of Sunday sleeping and recovering from the two previous nights before gearing up for the Cat Empire concert.  It was on my bucket list to see the Cat Empire - my favorite Aussie band - in concert while I was in Australia, and I am sure glad I did.  The show was at the Metro and, while the Cat Empire usually plays huge venues and headlines music festivals, this concert was in a smaller venue where everybody could see the musicians and sing and dance along.

The Cat Empire rocks.  They have two lead singers, brass, keys, a DJ and drums.  They jam super hard and although they have a new album out that they were debuting, they played a great mix of old and new songs.  It can be kind of tedious to stand there and listen to songs you have never heard before at a concert, but I loved all the new songs I heard, and all of the old songs I know and love were played in slightly different versions, all awesome and rock-a-licious.  I think it might be the best show I have ever been to.

Fortunately I didn't work on Monday, as I would have been totally ruined and useless after partying all weekend.  In all honesty, I do not remember too much about the next week, only that I might have worked a day or two, and spent the rest of my time gallivanting around Sydney with Emma.  I convinced Emma to extend her "long weekend" trip and stay for my birthday, a few days away.

A day before my birthday Mom and Dad took the boat up to Manly upon my request, as I could think of nothing nicer than waking up in Manly, walking over to the beach side and catching some epic birthday waves.  While Rutea sailed past the Opera House Emma and I took heaps of photos, trying to capture the the beauty of the city and the iconic, "I sailed here on my sailboat" photo. 

"I sailed here on my sailboat"

The next day was my birthday and I awoke in Manly to bright blue skies.  Dad offered to take some pictures of me surfing and managed to get a few, although I swear the waves were WAY bigger than they look on camera.  After surfing Mom made me an excellent Mexican breakfast - made with legit Mexican products imported (smuggled) in from the US (and Mexico).  We spent the day drinking screwdrivers, swimming off the boat, listening to music and enjoying life.  In the evening we went out for a fun sushi dinner and to the bar afterward for a totally unnecessary drink.

Happy birthday to me: Screwdrivers, sunshine and two of my favorite chicks!

By this time I am sure you are thinking, "Doesn't she work?  Is she an alcoholic?  What a bum!"  And yes, I am a bit of a bum.  Work has been very spotty and way less hours than I would like, but I have been making the most of my free time.  And yes, I have been partying quite a bit but, hey mate, that's the Aussie way of life!  I do, however, expect things to mellow out for a while - at least until my friends Annette and Sara, who are currently traveling Asia, meet me in Brisbane for a road trip. 

I live a charmed life.  I know this.  I recognize the fact that I have been given so many fantastic opportunities, and try - really try! - not to take them for granted.