3rd Aug 2012 6:47am | By Jo Hutchinson
Spending her days on a yacht, English traveller JO HUTCHINSON describes the serenity, the beauty, and the beasts...
Gradually my eyes flutter open revealing a mast tip gently bobbing back and forth in a cloudless blue sky, visible through a skylight positioned perfectly above my head. Ah, I relax happily, horizontal in my cushioned cabin at the bow of a slowly rocking boat anchored just off Great Keppel Island. The start of another tough day in paradise for me.
Heaving myself out of my cocoon of warmth I wander down to the main room at the stern of the boat where Greg the skipper is already idly making coffee. “Morning”, I greet him cheerfully, and he looks up smiling at me peacefully. Having spent most of his life on the water, Greg’s character matches that of his lifestyle: tranquil and slow. We take our steaming coffee mugs and wander up onto the deck. We sit there sipping them in the morning sunshine, surveying today’s playground, rising proudly in front of us: Great Keppel Island.
Feeling suitably awake it’s time to stretch our legs on the land, so we hop into the dinghy and motor over to the nearest stretch of sandy bliss. Meandering slowly from one end to the other and back again, the bright colours, fresh breeze and cool lapping of the sea slowly awaken every sense.
Pausing to perch on some rocks, we are lost in our gaze over the postcard view before us. The glittering sea with its sprinkling of yachts, topped by smoky mountains floating mysteriously on the horizon.
“Tough life,” we mutter to each other smiling, then we amble back slowly towards the dinghy.
On our way back to the boat we spot life ahead. It’s a couple appearing on the deck of a nearby yacht. Feeling sociable we motor over to say G’day. They invite us aboard for more coffee and biscuits, how could we refuse?
And so the morning is whiled away, exchanging tall tales and relevant local nautical knowledge, as well as the usual where did you come from? Where are you off to next?
Back on our vessel we rack the fridge for inspiration for lunch and then it’s time to get down to work. After a cup of tea of course.
I start to pull out the rolled up charts one by one until, “AAAAAH” I squeal, jumping away from the dropped roll. There scutters the cause of my fear – the only creature capable of surviving a nuclear Holocaust – a cockroach. Just thinking about these putrid creatures makes me shudder.
Greg, realising the cause of my alarm, hunts for some bug spray and aims it at this black filth-on-legs. We watch the life leak out of it, evidenced by the decrease in energy of its jerky movements. Crunch! Greg stamps on it and shovels it into the sea.
With mounting apprehension our attention drifts back to the remaining charts still stuffed in that dark shelf of terror. Greg chucks me another spray can of cockroach doom and together we go to battle.
At last the war is won and we fumigate the room, escaping onto the deck with a well deserved coffee, carefully ensuring our fates are not similarly dictated by the fumes.
Having entertained enough excitement for one day, the blanket of serenity is pulled back over our minds as we watch the growing collection of dinghies gently making their way from their respective yachts to the shore.
Knowing smiles sneak up on our faces, indicating the dawning of our favourite time of day. The one which begs to be spent sat around a campfire with a glass of red in hand watching the sun inch its way into the sea.
Life is tough on Great Keppel Island.