Expat Magazine

The Eureka

By Thebangtoddowenwaldorf @BangLiving

The Eureka

Here I am on the Eureka II.  I had always thought eureka was spelled ‘eureeka’ but I guess I was wrong, or maybe not, I’m still not sure.  The Eureka II is a sail-boat.  I am on my third excursion with this yacht.  My training was to be for two.  See Mel owns this boat.  He doesn’t do training charters anymore.  He used to though.  He also races his boat.  The Eureka II is the boat that he races.  He has owned dozens of boats before this one but he has sold them all except for the Eureka II.  “I will keep this one forever.” he says.  It’s a really nice sail-boat.  I’ve lived on it for a week and a half.  When we are docked at Adel Point Marina at Airlie Beach I stay on the boat.  We aren’t docked very long though.  Just one night and then we are out sailing again with a new group of passengers.  Mel took me on board as to give me one-on-one training in a commercial environment.  He has a deckie named David who helps me learn too.  Mel made the exception to take me on and train me because of a call that my friend Jeremy made.  Jeremy provides the provisions to many of the sail-boats, but not Mel’s.  Mel finds it cheaper to do his own food shopping.  Today is the last day of my third excursion.  

I am really learning to sail and it is magnificent.  It is a very technical thing.   I don’t think anyone is surprised about that.  I love learning about all of the pulleys and when to use each wench and how to handle the ropes.  It is all very precise and it will take a lot of practice and hands-on experience to get a firm grasp of it.  Each trip we go on lasts for three days and two nights. 

Mel and Dave are great at keeping the atmosphere really light and fun while showing respect at the same time.  They are hard-workers but they don’t take life too seriously.  The one-on-one and on-the-job training are both excellent opportunities for me and I express my gratitude to them both.  I want to learn.  I am working on a commercial ship with passengers instead of a training ship with trainees.  I get to interact with passengers and I am introduced as a member of the crew.  I still  tell everyone that I am training though.  I want them to understand that I have only been sailing for a few days now.  They are surprised when I tell them that. 

I love looking around at the sea.  I never knew sailing would feel like this.  I don’t know what I thought, but I definitely didn’t think I would feel like this.

I had thought learning to sail would just be another thing that I could learn to do.  I enjoy learning things.  I always want to learn.  That is what I have found myself saying over the years.  I like to do nearly everything.  I seek out new experiences and new skills continuously.  Sometimes it is for self improvement and others it is just to fill this wild desire within me.  Some people that have gotten to know me call me Mr. Random.  Deep down I think I enjoy that.  Airlie Beach is the gateway point to the Whitesunday islands.  Many months ago I had chosen those islands as location that I would dive the Great Barrier Reef.  There are seventy-four islands.  Along with access to the Whitsunday Islands Airlie Beach offers something else, a sailing culture.  That is why I decided to learn how to sail now.  It felt right.  Maybe one day I’ll write what I really mean by that, as I use it as my guide.  I wanted to sail long ago when I lived in Florida.  I had made a note in my mental notebook that I would look to sail out of Tampa Bay.  I always said that I would learn and I knew that it was just a matter of time.  There was a hidden desire to learn ropes and knots too.  So here I am now learning to sail and I’m happy to say that I’ve learned some knots too!

Mel said I could stay on his boat for several charters so that I could build on my experience.  I think he said that because he likes me.  Well, it must be so, because if he didn’t like me I don’t think he would have offered me such an opportunity.  “Mel wouldn’t have kept you on if he didn’t see potential.” Dave said to me last-night.  There is a log-book that records each time that you sail.  I will have one entry for these five charters.  Mel will fill it out and then I will have it ratified and stamped by a place called MSQ.  The log-book is my proof of experience.  It will help me get on boats in the future.  I will also receive a competency certificate for my training.  I will be in an international system now.  I guess you could say that I am an official sailor.  There are several others certificates that I will get later on.  The more certificates I obtain and the more entries I log will allow me to get onto more boats in the future.  At least I believe it will.  There is a lot of opportunity out there.  Who knows what could happen?  I could sail for recreation, commercially, or work up and skipper my own boats.  I get a little starry eyed about it.  I have opened up another avenue to a whole new set of experiences to explore.  I won’t change my idea of moving around right now though.  I don’t like to say I’m traveling.  That is a by-product of what I am doing and not the focus.  I like to say I’m learning.  I will continue to move around and learn and while doing so I will keep this sailing idea at the forefront of my mind and see future opportunities to build upon it.  There is a website called findacrew.com.  On that website you can get on someones boat when they are seeking competent crew.  I am sure there are many websites just like it.  When I want to sail I think I’ll just get out there and walk the marinas.  Instead of looking for work on fishing boats, now I can look for work on sailboats!

What a wonderful idea this was.  I am so glad that I decided to sail.  It became my focus and quickly won me over scuba diving out of Airlie Beach.  I will sail again in the future.  I know I will.  The guys that I work with and the gorgeous Eureka II have all humbled me and reminded me that life can present to you fortunate opportunities if your willing to accept them.  I am no more or less than the next creature on this earth, and when something spectacular befalls upon me the only just way that I know how to accept it is with humility and appreciation.  I live here on these turquoise waters on a million dollar boat in the Whitsundays.  I am learning to sail. 

Life, what an interesting thing.

The Eureka

The Eureka II

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