Sailing Dreams – Darwin to Ambon Yach Race And Banda Neira
Sailing Around The World
Just reading these words in a consecutive way gets my imagination fired up and butterflies in my stomach. Imagine sailing where there is no land at sight, meeting new people and learn about their culture,seeing exotic places, going on adventures and trying new things. It may sound like a crazy dream, but every day, thousands of people are making that dream come true. So I decided to make that dream a reality.
Step 1 – Learn To Sail
After finishing a sailing course in Melbourne, I was constantly looking for a boat to crew on, as that was a good way I could gain international sailing experience. After a few months, while I was discovering the Opal mining history of the remote town in the Australian outback,Coober Pedy, I got a phone call from a skipper who needed someone for the Darwin to Ambon yacht race, a 600 nautical miles race from Australia to Indonesia.
I obviously agreed immediately.
We met a week before the race and prepared the boat for the journey .In croc infested water we loaded food and water, calibrated the autopilot and coated the bottom of the boat with antifouling paint. We were now set to go.
Peter Charles, a 74 years old skipper who has been sailing his whole life! from the Royal marines commando in England to sailing in the Pacific ocean The stories from this man never end. Peter left a strong impression on me as he decided to participate in this race despite malfunctioning knees and a tumor on his heart. He continued doing what he loves no matter what his health condition was.
Brett Collier , A life warrior diesel mechanic,who embarked on this adventure with no prior sailing experience. Brett and Peter have been friends for many years and Brett knew that this trip may be the last one together.
Bill Armstrong- at the age of 76, he is a retired man who is no novice to sailing. Joining us for the race to Ambon and returning with another boat.
The Boat , Wings Won, a 42 foot multi hull race boat, designed for speed, not comfort. This boat is about 30 years old and won many competitions.
We hoisted the sails on the 5th of September,2015, ready to tackle this exciting adventure.
Since I got on the boat that morning, I was in a constant learning mode, I was trying to absorb as much as possible; Raising the anchor, hoisting the sail, trimming the sails, navigation, even how to drink like a sailor!
I also learnt what does it mean to live at sea; cooking on a rocking stove,socializing with your crew and hours and hours of physically doing nothing, but mentally constantly active, thinking about everything.
The day turned into night and the hours into days. My life was now all about wind and sun. There’s no better way to be aware of the elements than sailing a boat, and there is not an earthly experience that can match the feeling of floating for days in a desert of water.
Things Turn Out Not As You Expected
Unfortunately an old feeling had creeped into my brain and body. I was seasick,
and no matter how many pills I took or what I ate,I still felt really bad. I was told that after 3 days your body gets used to it, but my body suffered the whole 6 days to Ambon.I started to question the plausibility of my dream to sail around the world.
Eventually, we got to Ambon and we were welcomed with dances, dinners and beauty.
I was overwhelmed with the landscape,history and people of this new land but after a week my boat was heading to a new destination- Banda Neira. 175 nautical miles from Ambon a small group of islands with rich history and nature. How can I miss this rare opportunity? I had to give sailing another chance!
I decided to try sailing again. to beat the motion sickness! But 36 hours of sailing to Banda Neira and I still got ill.
It was worth it though. Banda Neira is Spectacular! Old relics and the museum remind us about the dutch nutmeg industry, the dutch built a big fort to protect themselves from the Portuguese. Planted Nutmeg,Cloves and cinnamon to ship back to Europe and killed anyone who tried to stand in there way. Except the interesting history there are some wonderful things to do, such as climbing an active volcano which erupted 30 years ago, going on a spice tour or diving/snorkeling in reefs rich with fish and corals.
Unfortunately we had to leave this paradise and sail back to Australia.
I know that my way back home will be the last chance for me to decide, will I continue to pursue my dream of sailing around the world or should I accept the fact that sailing is not for me. Although I found sailing to be amazing, bringing great freedom, connecting me to nature and opening a path into my soul. The crook feeling in my guts and head was strong enough to make its point. I need to find another way to travel the world.