A few weeks ago, while we were still cruising around Bass Strait, fellow yachties nominated our site for the Sunshine Blogger Award, in recognition of our “positive, creative and inspiring” posts. Ellen & Seth at Gone Floatabout, and a few days later Viki at Astrolabe Sailing were kind enough to think of us.
It goes without saying that we were rather delighted with this. Getting the acknowledgement that the blog and photographs are of strong interest to others is very flattering, especially from such amazing people as Ellen & Seth who sail around the Arctic and Alaska on their yacht Celeste. We are avid readers of their posts and admirers of the adventurous life they live. They have a huge amount of experience and in very tough conditions. We also share a love for wildlife photography. And then Viki followed suit which was really sweet of her. She is a New Zealander preparing to sail the world. She runs an informative blog about her adventures on Wildwood and what she is learning from her Ocean Yachtmaster studies.
We should have responded earlier, but the Bass Strait Islands were keeping us focused! However now that we are back on land, it is time to first of all say thank you officially and also respond. With the award comes a set of questions to answer and then you get to “pass it on”to other bloggers you admire and find positive, creative and inspiring.
So many thanks for the award Ellen, Seth and Viki! And now onto our answers to your questions! As most of our travelling is on our catamaran, we are answering the questions from a sailing view point.
1 What is the best part about travelling/sailing for you?
Freedom and independence, away from crowds, in the wilderness. I love nature, I love the sea, I relish the challenge of being out there. It allows me to combine several passions. I feel it, photograph it, write about it!
Wade adds he quite likes having our daily routines dictated by the weather, in tune with the elements and having the challenge of finding the best spot to be in a set of conditions.
2 What is the most difficult part about travelling/sailing?
Working with the weather! It is that balancing act of enjoying where the wind allows you to be, and having the patience and calm to go with the flow. Sometimes we have to move on before we are ready, other times we get stuck longer than we’d like, but that is what keeps us safe. You have a plan, but it has to be highly flexible.
3 What camera do you use and if applicable what photo processing software?
A Canon 7d Mark II for wildlife, nature, landscapes, with a variety of lenses, but the main ones being the all rounder Tamron 18-270 mm zoom, and the Canon 100-400 mm for wildlife. I sometimes get the macro or the wide angle lens out, but it is less frequent. And recently we have added the Olympus TG4 for underwater photography.
I do all my photo processing in Lightroom as I shoot in RAW rather than JPEG, and I do some editing in Photoshop.
4 What is an off-the-beaten-path location you would recommend we visit?
We have to give two, very different locations. First, Port Davey in South West Tasmania because it is one of the rare places that are uninhabited and a true wilderness, yet reasonably accessible. There is a certain desolate beauty and ruggedness about it that you have to experience! Lord Howe Island is the second one; a tropical, stunning place to arrive at under your own steam, but accessible to general travellers. It is a nice combination of eco-tourism, wild scenery and history. We would go back there in a flash.
5 What is your favourite book?
No particular book comes to mind, but we both have ebooks which allow us a wide variety of styles, and take no space at all on board. Everything goes in there: fiction, crime, fantasy, history. The only hard copy books on board are for reference: birds, fish, wildflowers, shells and anchorage guides!
6 What is the strangest thing you have eaten or drunk while travelling?
Abalone (a mollusk with brilliant mother of pearl inside the shell) – not so strange now, but it was at first for me. And they would not have been for Wade who used to professionally dive for them in his much younger days. We dive for them, then prepare them for a feast by cutting them thinly then lightly frying them in lemon, ginger, chilly and/or lemon grass. As for the strangest drink, it would have to be kava in Fiji. Never again! It tasted like muddy water, gave you a tingly sensation in the mouth and numbed your brains!
7 Why did you start blogging?
As a way to gather experiences, journals, articles and photography in one spot. Initially it was for family and friends, but now it is about connecting with people who share our varied interests. From a personal point of view, it keeps me writing and taking photos regularly with a purpose. It is great when we get the opportunity to meet followers in person and this happens from time to time in anchorages we have written about! Once we have had a couple pursue us in an anchorage, as they had recognised the boat and wanted our autographs on articles! But seriously it is nice to learn from others, share information, and interact with people from all over the world.
8 Where would you most like to revisit and why?
We would love to go back to the Great Barrier Reef. We got a taste of it last year at Fitzroy Reef. The snorkeling, the vibrant colours, the underwater wonderland were just breathtaking. And the underwater photography was to die for! With greater freedom once we give up work, we want to see much more of it in the future. Swain Reef is on our bucket list.
9 How do you approach your travels?
Carefully, with an eye to the weather. We do our research for places we would like to go to, we gather charts, study anchorages and read blogs or reports from other sailors who have been there. But we also stay really flexible to avoid disappointment and to stay safe, because you can’t always get to where you want to go, just like any other type of travel. The difference with sailing is that you not only have to take care of yourself, but most importantly take great care of your vessel. It is not just your mode of transport, but your home, and your life depends on it.
10 Where are you from and what is the most common misconception or stereotype about your home state or country?
We are both Australian, based in Melbourne, but I was born and raised in France and my family is still there. Plenty of stereotypes about the French: arrogant, argumentative, great lovers, slim no matter what they eat… Just as many labels about the Aussies: larrikins, adventurous, sports crazy, a bit uncouth. I guess regardless of where you are from, there will be some labels that stick. Are they fair or accurate? May be not!
11 What is the biggest lesson you have learnt?
Just go with the flow. Stressing about what might or might not be is a waste of energy. Especially with sailing, you can’t control the elements. The ocean, the wind, the weather will dictate what you can and can’t do. So don’t fight them, work with them and relax.
So now I get to nominate a few other blogs I admire. These are:
- Emily Carter Mitchell – a gifted nature and wildlife photographer based in the US, Emily takes superb botanical and wildlife images, capturing their beauty and personality. Her bird photography is always inspiring.
- Leanne Cole Photography – a fine art photographer with a distinctive style, she has a vision and her work stands out from the crowd. Luckily she is based in Melbourne, so I enjoy her coaching and company. She has been instrumental in helping me develop my own skills.
- Robin Kent Photography – an explorer and travel photographer based in Washington, he takes us to enthralling places I would love to see: the Arctic, the Antarctic, the Galapagos, Iceland. Like us, he does his research and delves into the history of the places he goes to.
- Sarah at Taking One Day at a time – a photographer and poet with a strong eye for design. I like her work, and I particularly admire the fact she does not let ill health limit her.
- Susan at Our French Oasis – she has lived in all corners of the world, but decided to settle with her family in a small village in France. She keeps me connected to the things I miss about my native country: the good food, the antiques, the architecture, the old stones, the history, the culture.
So to my nominees, here are the “rules” of the Sunshine Blogger Award:
- Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
- Answer the eleven questions set by the person who nominated you
- Nominate up to eleven other blogs and give them eleven questions to answer (you can use the ones I was given or write your own).
- Notify your nominees
- List the “rules” and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post
The 11 questions I was given remain unchanged for you:
- What is the best part about travelling for you?
- What is the most difficult part about travelling?
- What camera do you use and if applicable what photo processing software?
- What is an off-the-beaten-path location you would recommend we visit?
- What is your favourite book?
- What is the strangest thing you have eaten or drunk while travelling?
- Why did you start blogging?
- Where would you most like to revisit and why?
- How do you approach your travels?
- Where are you from and what is the most common misconception or stereotype about your home state or country?
- What is the biggest lesson you have learnt?