Friday 2nd August, 3:00pm and we are finally heading out of Mindarie and turning right – Thankyou Hugh and Helen for the sign on the breakwater giving directions.
Peter thought we would ease into travelling with a 17 hour, overnight leg to Jurien Bay. This is not quite the easing in I had in mind, but there is a lot of WA coast to cover. We pulled safely into Jurien at 7am the next morning.
I really enjoy travelling at night. Feeling the boat move confidently over the swell while I’m plugged into my ipod (one ear only as the other needs to listen to the boat), scanning in the spotlight for craypots and watching the radar and AIS for things we would rather not bump into – it is quite Zen. The moon even wore a thin smile as we headed north. It is comforting to know that the boat is designed for open ocean cruising and can happily handle far more than I can. She has been grumpy with us lately, as we didn’t use her as much as we should have these last few years. And we waited to do some of the maintenance she needed until Peter had retired and could help (read ‘learn what to do from the various mechanics’, not just rely on reading the manuals). Peter is promising to write a piece about getting ‘Opal Lady’ ready for our trip, for those of you interested in the more technical aspects. ‘Opal Lady’ is a passagemaker type boat. Passage-making is the name for what we are intending to do; traveling relatively long distances, in relatively remote locations, by boat, but in relative comfort. It’s all relative.
The only one who is not happy is Neon – it seems he gets seasick.
Questions we have been asked: Why are you taking a cat on a boat trip?
We didn’t plan to take Neon with us – he just didn’t die. Neon is our son’s cat and at 16 is in the twilight of his life. He spends most of his time sleeping and cultivating his hates – other cats and most people. We couldn’t leave him with strangers and a one-way-trip to the vet is just not the right ending for one of the fur family; so here he is. What we have done to accommodate a cat? Neon has a life jacket in the ditch box (he does not like it). His toilet tray fits nicely in the front bathroom and we have changed to a natural clay product that is easier to dispose of. We brought all his cushions and his bowls from home, so there were some familiar smells. When we are maneuvering or boat-busy he gets locked in the front bedroom and in rough weather he will be locked in his kitty carrier, which can be secured in the shower recess to keep him safe. I invested in a new vacuum cleaner, as he is a good shedder (especially when stressed – he lost kilos of fur when we had to put him into a Kattery).
The story according to Neon
It was thought two years ago that I would have passed on (something to do with my being an old cat) and the stupid dog (I’m not being species-ist, as that is an accurate description for a Staffy) would be surfing the ocean waves with Mum and Dad. As fate would have it, Harley got dementia (I ask you how can you tell with one of those dogs, really?) and didn’t make the move to the boat, but I live on.
My name is Neon and at 16 years of age, I am in the prime of my life. I did have a run in with a Tiger Snake 14 years ago, but aside from the week in a coma and my occasionally staring down cracks in tiles, I’m perrrrfectly fine. I am a grey and orange tabby cat of significant stature. Mum says I have ‘resting angry face’ and my happy purring is something akin to 80dB of untuned motor bike. My human (Mitchell) says I am big furred, not overweight as Dad insists. I love Mitchell, but he is at University and as I never had the opportunity to further my education past ‘PrePrimary Show and Tell’, I can’t join him. So…I have ended up living on a boat. I did my best to adjust to the move; I keep out of the way of strangers (I believe Mum has already posted a flattering photo of my best attempt), I ensure there is a good fur to carpet ratio (because Mum loves cleaning), I don’t mind the new kitty litter (better for the boat, but nobody consulted me – the sacrifices I make), I check that Mum’s lungs are strong by sleeping on her during the night and that Dad’s neck muscles stay flexible by snoozing on his tummy when he is watching TV. And I don’t like swimming, which I am told is a good thing. But…..No-one mentioned that this boat home MOVES!!!!! (incorrect overuse of apostrophes fully intended).