The trip is wrapping up.

Alex Belmont
Tue 29 Nov 2011 02:43
Well, I said goodbye to Orianne and the crew a few days ago. I have a flight to America next week and had to get to Brisbane. Orianne is on Middle Percy Island getting a bit of a makeover and I caught a ride to the mainland on The Joshua C.

I did get to hang out on Percy for over a week. This is a truly amazing place. John and Kate (the lease-holders) have a homestead on the island. They are growing fruits, veges and grains, working towards being completely self-sufficient. There is too much to talk about here. We did so many interesting things on the island. A definite highlight was the goats. As an introduced species, the goat population quickly grows out of hand and destroys the native ecology. Every couple of years they have to cul a couple hundred of them. Anyway, we only killed a few, but it was quite an experience. For the first one, Martin and I ran a small herd on to the beach, where their hoofs sink into the sand and slows them down. We managed to simply tackle a couple of them, letting the smaller of the two go free. The other one made a very nice stew. A couple of days later we went hunting with Steve (Kim's dad and part-time resident of Percy). He shot two nice-sized billies. That night we had a big party on the beach with the other cruisers. Kim and I made a goat curry which was delicious. I had never had the opportunity to go hunting before, but I think if you eat meat, it is a very good (not always pleasant though) experience. While butchering the first goat, I found that it felt unnatural to be handling warm meat. How silly is that? The only meat we usually cook with comes from a refrigerated case at the market. That is unnatural. Cutting up an animal that you killed just minutes ago and will be eating in the next few hours is - I think - a better way.

Sadly, I had to leave my friends and the beautiful boat we sailed across the pacific on. They will finish the cosmetic work and sell her without me. I did make the most of the situation by hitching a ride on a really cool boat. The Joshua C, built and sailed by Robin and his wife Anne, is an 80' baldheaded gaff schooner. Yeah, a bit different from the Beneteaus, Catalinas and Bavarias you see at every marina. Robin built her to traditional lines and with a very traditional rig. You would think an eighty footer with no winches would be a handfull, but she is actually very easy to sail. I was amazed. I have had a great time sailing on The Joshua C. Anne and Robin are so much fun and so welcoming. This is one of the coolest boats I've ever sailed, and I have been lucky enough to sail some really cool boats.