by Danny Dekker

Anchored at Kingfisher Resort


On June 11, 2007 we arrived at Hamilton Island following four months of cruising north along the east coast of Australia from Sydney.  Hamilton Island is the reason I come to the Whitsundays.

I love the village atmosphere. We love hooting around the island on golf buggies, enjoying the sunset drinks, beautiful restaurants and lovely pools.Daniel went to the island's child care facilities three times a week so he could socialise with other young children and give Anna and me some time to relax at the beach or by the pool.

In December 2006, I found my dream boat a Riviera 39 called Serenity. Anne and I spend the next month preparing the boat for the trip while it was berthed at Birkenhead Point Marina. We left Sydney on February 15, 2007 and travelled to Broken Bay at 10 knots so Anne and Daniel could get their sea legs. We spent two weeks travelling the calm waters of the Hawkesbury River, Berowra and Pittwater. The most important item we brought on-board was a laptop with wireless Internet. Every day I got the weather updates and kept in touch with family friends and business associates. My brother met us at the Royal Motor Yacht Club on February 2 and joined us for the next leg.

Anne took Daniel by car to Port Macquarie. In all my experience of travelling the east coastal waters, I have always found the roughest seas to be between Sydney and the Gold Coast, and upon leaving Broken Bay my worst nightmare but with the weather reports being completely different to what we were experiencing. We were getting up to two metres of ground swell and my crewman getting seasick made it an uncomfortable trip. I was glad not to have Daniel and Anne on board.

We bypassed Port Stephens because there were no berths available in the marina there.As we were passing Crowdy Head, an unpredicted huge storm hit us from behind. We were shocked because the torrential rain meant we could not see two metres in front of us. We waited about 30 minutes before we could finally see the entrance to Crowdy Head and took comfort for the night.Arriving at Port Macquarie on March 1, I added 400 litres of fuel before heading to Coffs Harbour at a cruising pace of 10 knots for seven hours.

Port Macquarie is one of my favourite spots because of the closeness of the central business district. We spent two weeks there and were able to travel by road and visit all the towns that we missed by boat. This was the purpose of having our own car, so we could travel up and down the coast visiting towns that we couldnt visit by water. As we arrived at each port, Id go ashore and catch the train back to the previous port and drive the car to where we were moored so we could explore each town by road along the way.Moving north, we stayed in Coffs Harbour for three weeks and, on March 22 put in 1,007 litres of fuel before heading further north to Yamba at the mouth of the Clarence River.

Another wonderful catch for dinner. Caught out on the reef


The first boating problem struck between Yamba and the Gold Coast when one the raw water hoses split. Travelling at 10 knots with one engine for four hours, the journey to the Gold Coast took a long nine hours.We spent one week at Manly in Brisbane before cruising to Mooloolaba.At 5am on May 6, we set off on the next leg to Tin Can Bay at the beginning of the Great Sandy Straits, inside the worlds largest sand island, Fraser Island.

On this trip, we met with 35 Riviera owners, enjoying their annual Fraser Island Experience event. We planned to reach Wide Bay Bar at high tide and with an entourage of other Rivieras, we thought thered be no problems. However, two hours into the trip, I could smell diesel in the engine room...

Read the full story in Riviera The Magazine.



Parallel Lives 

by Kym Kuhn  

Kim Kuhn aboard Loafing with husband Falko and their dogs Inka and Zak


There are stories, and then there are extraordinary events. This is about an extraordinary event, even in today’s world these can happen, especially with the help of the internet. 

To start, I must go back several years to the day my husband came home from work and said: “Let’s sell everything and buy a boat.” Well, we were always going to buy a boat. But sell my new house and our business? We had only just finished building the house, and what about all the lovely furniture, especially the pieces from Beijing. 

I didn’t mind about the business; we had been doing that for 10 years and working hard. It was time to enjoy life. The whole sea change took us 21 months from beginning to end. Inevitably, i became detached from the furniture and realised that, by your possessions you become possessed.

By the time we left Noosa to pick up our Riviera on the Gold Coast, I couldn’t get there fast enough. And so the new life began, different ways of doing things, living the life of a nomad. 

My husband is a seasoned sailor but this was my first boat and the first couple of passages were a bit scary, especially the leg from Mooloolaba made on New Year’s morning north to Fraser Island. 

As we learned new skills for our boating life, my eldest daughter suggested that I should start researching our family history. I thought about it, but filed it away in the back of my mind for later. 

Slowly we made our way north, reached Townsville and somehow got stuck in paradise. It was here I met Lyndall, who lived on a boat called Illywhacker. She was doing family research: Genealogy. She encouraged me to start my own family history.  

Well, it had been in the back of my mind for a while and, in the back of my living memory, there was a lot of information about grandparents and family in England where I grew up. I dabbled for a while then got a new computer with a great family tree program, and I started getting serious.

I even joined what I was pleased to call the “Hysterical Society”, really the historical society! One of the ladies at the society suggested that I join Genes Reunited, a Web-based UK program designed to link families with common ancestries.

You enter your basic family tree and they notify you of contacts, then you contact the person via email. So I joined. Then I forgot all about it, probably because I slipped over, knocked myself unconscious and was in hospital for five days. The next time I looked at my computer, I had some matches.

One was of particular interest to me because it said, and I quote: “Looking for information on a Peter MacLean born in Islington 1874.” Peter MacLean was my grandfather. I emailed back: “I have a Peter MacLean, and his father Peter Snr. was a bootmaker.” I added a postscript: “I live in Australia.” 

I received a reply the very next day saying: “Well it seems we have relatives in common, and I also live in Australia! Peter married, and had a daughter, Elsie Lillian, born December 1909. Is she your mother? Please email me. Regards Alison.” 

I was able to answer her question; indeed Elsie Lillian was my mother.” This was getting exciting.

Alison Ferry shares a joke with Kym


You have no idea how hooked you can get on family history. I replied and again threw in a postscript: “I live in Townsville.” 

The very next day I had another email: “Kym, I don’t believe this, I live in Townsville too!!! Please phone me.” I rushed to my phone. My mouth was dry as Alison’s husband answered...

Read the full story in Riviera The Magazine


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