Cairns by day: water aerobics, not a religious revival


Cairns by night: user friendly and illuminated paths.


Tropical forest on Fitzroy


The summit on Fitzroy

Easter weekend is ahead of us and the South East trade winds have arrived, heralding the end of the cyclone season. Steve Friedman our neighbour on the water, has made new shade cloth side screens for Esprit’s cockpit to keep the sun and insects out, when necessary. He also made topside covers for our dinghy to protect it from the sun and extend it’s life, as well as a cover for Annie’s paddle board. Well made!

Dinghy with new taupe covers.

Our new 10kg folding bikes from Taiwan have been in use for a fortnight and are really easy to fold and store in their bags. The Iridium Go sat phone hub arrived from the US and the antenna and installation has been done. I hope to have it up and running in the next week and will post the number at the end of this post, as we will be out of mobile phone range for about two months.

Dirk, Annie, Louis & Madelein. Louis & Madelein sailed to Cairns from Cape Town.


Today is Easter Monday, as we sit here in Esprit enjoying a cup of tea. All our chores are done, Annie is reading and I am sitting here thinking – sometimes I am just sitting. Some observations came to mind which I thought I could share. (not Greek philosopher’s material)

During our year of intermittent cruising along the Australian East coast, we have met a large number of very friendly people, both sailing and non-sailing. The yachties will always stop to chat and exchange ideas – probably because they have more time and are relaxed. But then, non-sailors will also go down to a marina to live life vicariously through the sailors. They will ask to look at your boat and want to know where you are from and where you are going. It’s always a pleasure to chat to them.

The sailing types can be broadly classified into three groups:


The cruising pensioners (aged pensioners/disability pensioners/mature age students/carers etc.). Some may have more assets than what the means test for these pensions allow. Therefore collecting a pension or two every fortnight and live on board, for far less than a house would cost them.

The cruising self-funded retirees is another group. They rent out their homes, live off the rent and have savings or investments. Some retirees’ sail for a while, then tie up at a marina for a while to travel on land. This is still cheaper than living in and maintaining a McMansion.

All salt of the earth people with their unique stories to tell, and not having to worry about mortgages, mowing the lawn, or commuting.

The third group are the racers and the pretend to be sailors (some racers have modest means). They have bigger boats than they can afford, with cars and houses to match. Their boats have all the bells and whistles and they always want to go faster than anybody else. These people are often stressed and in a hurry, but always have time for re-enacting their last race or exploit at the teak reef (bar).


Another interesting observation is the diminishing property prices as we travel further North. In Sydney you can’t buy an outhouse for under a million, but here in Queensland as you go North, houses for $250 – 350,000! I have told Annie that if she mentions a house on a block again, I will run away. You can buy a beachside apartment, 1-2 bedrooms with running everything for around $250,000. We may keep renting our Sydney properties and live like movie stars in central Queensland!


200l of diesel in jerry cans below the saloon table – keeps Esprit’s centre of gravity low.

Departure date is getting near. Esprit is loaded with food and beverages, the water and diesel tanks are full, with another 200l of diesel in jerry cans stored below the saloon table. One of the aft cabins is filled with solar panels, regulators, batteries and cabling for Hans’ community lighting projects in PNG, which we will help him with during the next two months.


My 70th birthday and our 30th wedding anniversary came up in April and were suitably celebrated – how time flies!


Dinner at the Prawn Star.

From cave man in the 70’s to family man in the 90’s!

Lots of jokes about Crocs and their appearance, made me vow never to wear a pair.



But what does Annie give me for my 70th birthday? A pair of Crocs sandals!


We won’t have internet or phone reception in the Louisiades, so I won’t be doing posts for the next two and a half months, until we get to Darwin. You can SMS us free on our satellite phone number.

How People can Call/SMS your Iridium GO! Annie & Dirk’s Iridium Go number is:+8816-2346-4872


  1. Dial “+” then Iridium GO! number (e.g +8816-2346-4872). This is an international call and will be billed to the caller at their long distance rate by their telephone service provider.
  2. Free SMS messages (up to 160 characters) can be sent to your Iridium phone number from This is the most popular way to send SMS messages to an Iridium GO. 

STOP PRESS – 1st May 2017: This evening a tropical depression has formed near 10S 163E or between the Solomon Islands and northern Vanuatu, called 99P by Guam. We were about to set sail on the 2nd May, but we will have to wait a while to see where this system will track before we can depart.

Our new tracking link:

Cheers for now.

Dirk & Annie