Sand bar Notoriety

Ted Bundy … The Boston Strangler … Jack the Ripper … Notorious figures from history that conjure thoughts of evil criminals doing heinous things. I could write plenty on their notoriety and how we seem to be so voyeuristic toward the macabre (just look at the popularity of the spate of recent True Crime podcasts: Stranglers, Felon, Casefile, Crimetown, 48 Hours, etc). But I’ll leave that to someone else.

Instead, our brush with something notorious was a lot less sinister, but scary all the same. In March we cast off the lines and commenced our two-year sailing adventure up the east coast of Australia and around Asia. Within 24 hours of starting we had to cross our first big hurdle: the “notorious” Wide Bay Bar. Any seafarer knows that bar crossings are not something to take lightly. (For the non-seafarer, a bar is collection of sand that gathers at the entrance to rivers and inland waterways). Bars are dangerous because they are often shallow and conditions can change quickly and without warning, sometimes causing boats to capize. Just days before we were due to cross the Wide Bay Bar, a boat very similar to ours (a 12 metre catamaran) capsized on the bar and the sailors had to be rescued. In fact, lots of boats end up with the same fate on this particular bar each year, hence its notoriety.

Anyway, our day came. We had meticulously studied the weather forecast and chosen the 2nd of March due to the relatively calm conditions and morning high tide (so you aren’t looking into the sun when you are crossing). We contacted the local Volunteer Coast Guard to get the latest condition report and reference points … and then it was time to cross! We donned our life jackets, fired up the boat motors and set off. We had another catamaran in front of us and a fishing boat behind us. We could see breaking water on both sides of us (nicknamed the “washing machine”, which indicates shallow water where it is most treacherous) but we were cruising through the gap. No problems so far.

Part of the Wide Bay Bar’s notoriety is the extended nature of the bar. It’s also nicknamed “the mad mile” because it takes a while to get fully across the bar, but we continued to follow the Coast Guard’s reference points, and phew! Across. Just then we looked back and a water spout rose out of the water where we had just been! That would have made our crossing very interesting!

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For more of our sailing adventures, check out our sister blog, The Alpha Odyssey.

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Fear. Bravery. Courage.

“You only have to be brave for the first twenty seconds”, We Bought a Zoo

This week’s coagulation of ideas is about fear and bravery. The seed was planted when I rewatched the feel-good movie, We Bought a Zoo. I love Matt Damon movies. Throw in Scarlett J and lots of animals and you have a winning combo! But the opening premise of the movie is so true: you do only have to be brave for the first twenty seconds. Take a deep breath and … go for it!

My thoughts started to take more shape while I was reading possibly the worst memoir ever written: How to amputate a leg, and other ways to stay out of trouble, by Nathan Mullins. I applaud people who serve in the military and emergency services, but this guy was a self-serving tool who exaggerated stories to try and sound heroic. A particular low-point was the chapter on shark attacks, which was little more than a few interactions with a reef shark and a wobbegong! Anyway, I gave up reading it about halfway through, but I did flick through the chapter on fear. Mullins thinks he may be an expert in the field: “I suppose I have experimented with fear many times in my life. Maybe I’m an expert.” But he was right about one thing: being brave and being unafraid are two different things. Bravery is being scared about something and doing it anyway. If you aren’t scared, it isn’t bravery. This was also a point drawn out in the audiobook I just finished listening to: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin. A novel based on historical fact. Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator who was the first person to fly non-stop from the USA to Europe was unafraid of flying. In contrast, his wife Anne, who he taught to fly in order to be his co-pilot, was sh*t-scared of flying, but was brave enough to do it anyway.

From all this stimuli, I’ve noted a few ideas for the sitcom. (If you are new to this blog, I’m collecting ideas for a sitcom. Read more here). In each “episode” the storyline will include different house guests at the health retreat. One of the guests can be a Nathan Mullins-inspired know-it-all idiot. He’ll be called Mac (an unflattering acronym which I won’t spell out here). And another can be an olympic athlete. Maybe of a really obscure olympic sport that noone has ever heard of. Or maybe it could be a cameo from a real olympic athlete, like Hussain Bolt.

Anyway, I traded in the crappy memoir for Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – still sticking with the themes of courage, survival and resilience. I haven’t seen the movie version yet, but I’m keen to.

I’m also:
-catching up on the Mamamia Out Loud podcasts
-up to Level 1853 on Candy Crush, and playing 9 people in Words With Friends.
-and trying to live by Eleanor Roosevelt’s motto:

“Do one thing every day that scares you”.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in my world. Hope you are enjoying yours!

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What do Buddha, Wolverine and orange have in common…?

May the 10th, of course! It’s a busy day…

First up, it was Buddha’s Birthday. Happy birthday Buddha! How many candles would be on his birthday cake??

Secondly, in the Pastafarian calendar of holidays, it was Wolverine Day. If you haven’t heard of the “church of the flying spaghetti monster”, google it. Without wanting to invoke a major discussion about faith and religion, it’s a really interesting read. And personally, I agree with several of their points. From their website: “The system of Pastafarianism ethics is based on the “The Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts” – a series of suggestions on how to live your life in a happy manner without infringing upon others rights to do the same with their own lives. The 8’s outline a morality which is based on harmonious co-existence, non-judgemental conduct and generally not being a dick.” Overall they shun the dogma of mainstream religion, including the idea of religious holy days. In pastafarianism, every day is a holy day! (My birthday is Underdog day. What’s yours?)

It was Wear Orange Day to recognise SES volunteers. I tried to get on board (because they do a bloody good job and deserve recognition), but the only orange clothes I have are singlets and shorts, and it was a cold windy, rainy day here, ie NOT singlets and shorts weather. But hoorah to the SES and the great work they do.

It was also the day I finished watching season 2 of Orange is the New Black. I’m always slow to catch on to good TV shows, so I usually miss out on the water cooler discussion when they are first airing, but it means I can binge-watch when I finally do get on board. Anyway, another great season. How good are TV script writers? I recently read a memoir, What I was doing while you were breeding by Kristen Newman and she works as a sitcom writer. She provides a few glimpses of how TV sitcom writing happens: a bunch of writers in a room coming up with stuff. If I was going to write a sitcom, I would definitely have a pastafarian as a character. So much content right there, and lots of crazy costume opportunities: for example Dec 19th, Dalek appreciation day.

But back to Orange is the New Black. For those that have watched it, have you ever listened to the opening lyrics: “taking steps is easy, standing still is hard”? So true, although arguably counter-intuitive. Anyway, the season ended with a bang, as they always do (spoiler alert: I’m glad V copped it), but there are still so many juicy plot lines unfolding. I need to track down seasons 3 and 4. I’m already missing all the characters.

So, I might have to explore the idea of writing a sitcom a bit more. At the least, note good sitcomy ideas here on the blog. So far I have a pastafarian, and I guess another character would loosely be based on me – an adventurer trapped in the mundane. I’ll need a good setting. Prisons have been done. Hospitals have been done (to death!) Groups of youngies living in apartment buildings have been done. Maybe a “wellness retreat” starting up in a remote island of an under-developed country. The owners and staff are a motley crew (including the pastafarian!) and then each week there are different clientele. There is always some disaster or drama occurring. Often they are first world problems (for example, off the top of my head, running out of soda stream gas canisters) but also big disasters, like cyclonic weather, or a volcano erupting (did I mention it’s going to be set near an active volcano…?). Ok, let’s see where this goes…

In the meantime, I’m:
-scuba diving in the Whitsundays and having a picnic with cockatoos. (seriously…this isn’t sitcom world anymore). To read more about that, head over to our sailing adventure blog, the Alpha Odyssey.
-reading a memoir that I’m not really warming to called How to amputate a leg by Nathan Mullins. (edit: I’m not reading it anymore, it was too painfully narcissistic. I applaud people who serve, but not who trump up their experiences to make themselves out to be heroes).
-hoping to start watching The Tudors, season one, except I don’t know how to get .avi files to work on mac.
-listening to the podcast S-Town which has been a bit hard to keep up with to begin with (it starts as one story and then goes down the BIGGEST rabbit hole ever), but it’s really interesting.
-trying to teach myself Bahasa Indonesia, but so far I’m not the most diligent student.
-trying to meet my newly-set blogging goals, thanks to Blogging U course from The Daily Post.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening in my world. Hope you are enjoying yours! (And if anything other than spambots is reading this, let me know what you are reading/watching/listening to in the comments.)

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